Los Angeles is often associated with Hollywood, beautiful beaches, and picturesque mountains. However, it’s important to note that LA also has its fair share of areas that are best avoided due to high rates of violent crime, property crime, and vagrancy. If you’re planning a visit, it’s essential to be aware of the ten neighbourhoods that made the list of the most dangerous in LA for 2023. So, let’s take a closer look at these areas and what makes them particularly risky for visitors and residents alike.
1. Downtown LA
Downtown LA, also known as DTLA, is the most dangerous neighbourhood in Los Angeles. Although it is recognized as the city’s economic focal point, it is also notorious for criminal activities. According to FBI crime statistics, the violent crime rate in Downtown LA is alarmingly high, making it 12 times more dangerous than the national average. Furthermore, when property crimes are considered, the overall crime rate in this area is 530% higher than the national average. As per LAPD records, the number of violent offences reported in 2022 was 1,702, and in 2018, the murder rate reached an all-time high of 490.
Walking alone or in a group at night is not recommended, especially in certain areas. Downtown has a significant homelessness problem; pickpocketing and robberies are frequent occurrences. While crime isn’t as prevalent during the day, it’s still important to exercise caution. The most dangerous spots are located south of 3rd Street, north of 7th Street, west of Alameda Street, and east of Main Street, so it’s best to avoid these areas altogether. It’s also wise to avoid carrying large amounts of cash, as this can make you a thief target.
2. West Adams
West Adams is known to be one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Los Angeles, mainly due to its high crime rate. With a population of 11,961, the area experiences a staggering 6,811 crimes per 100,000 people, translating to a 1 in 15 chance of falling prey to criminal activities. Most of the crimes committed in West Adams are violent and often linked to drug and gang-related activities. Although the neighbourhood has a significant police presence, residents still express concerns about the authorities’ ability to handle multiple criminal incidents simultaneously.
Crime is a significant concern in this area, with robbery, assault, and theft commonplace aside from gun violence. As a result, it is strongly recommended to avoid walking alone after dark. Even when taking public transportation, many locals express unease due to the overall lack of safety in the neighbourhood.
3. Wholesale District/Skid Row
Skid Row, also known as the Wholesale District, is among the problematic neighbourhoods in Los Angeles and is infamous for being one of the largest homeless encampments in the country. The number of permanent homeless residents in Skid Row is estimated to be between 9,000 and 15,000, which is a significant cause of concern for commuters and residents alike. The sheer magnitude of homelessness in the area can be overwhelming for many.
According to recent statistics, crime rates in the Wholesale District have surged by an alarming 59% since 2010. The year 2013 saw a staggering 13,122 reported crimes, including 2,698 cases of assault, 1,350 incidents of vehicle break-ins, and 2,453 thefts. Unfortunately, the homeless population is often involved in many of these crimes, primarily driven by drug-related activities. Pickpocketing and thefts are also common issues in the area, with San Pedro Street being notorious for such incidents. Moreover, Skid Row is known to become a hub of gang and drug activities after 6 PM, as cycling or walking is prohibited, making it a dangerous spot for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
It may surprise you to learn that Hollywood, despite being home to some of the largest movie production companies in the world, is also considered one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in LA. With a population of 90,322, Hollywood has a significant crime problem, with a crime rate of 4,894 per 100,000 people, which is 109% higher than the national average. Property theft and pickpocketing are common occurrences in this neighbourhood, making it essential to keep your personal belongings secure. While walking during the day is generally safe, walking around Hollywood at night is not recommended. Despite being a popular tourist destination, caution is advised to avoid falling victim to crime.
5. South Los Angeles
With a population of 249,670 and a crime rate of 4,268 per 100,000 people, South Los Angeles, formerly known as South Central, is notorious for being one of the most dangerous areas in LA. The area is predominantly affected by drug trafficking and gun violence, closely associated with gang activity. Despite a heavier police presence since the 1990s, gang activity levels vary depending on the neighbourhood. It is recommended that residents take precautions when walking around at night, but during the day, walking is relatively safer, and using public transit is generally considered safe.
Compton, a neighbourhood in Los Angeles, has a notorious reputation for being one of the most dangerous areas in the city. Although crime rates have decreased since the 1990s, Compton is still plagued with drug activity, poverty, and gun violence. Unfortunately, violent crime remains a significant concern, with a crime rate of 3,533 per 100,000 people, making it 51% more dangerous than the national average. In 2005, the neighbourhood had the highest murder rate in the country, but that number has since decreased. However, recent reports indicate an uptick in violent and property crimes since 2020. Despite the presence of law enforcement, some residents feel that the police lack the necessary resources to respond to incidents effectively.
The neighbourhood of Watts is known to be one of the most challenging areas in Los Angeles. It has a crime rate of 50% higher than the national average, with an overall rate of 3,514 per 100,000 individuals. Shockingly, the chances of falling victim to a crime in this area are as high as 1 in 29. Although the violent crime rate in Watts has decreased since the 1990s, it is still considered a risky place to be.
Watts experienced a total of 1,574 violent crime incidents and 1,943 property crime incidents in the year 2022. It is strongly advised to avoid walking alone at night, taking public transit, or carrying substantial amounts of cash or valuables.
Koreatown, with a population of 72,523, has a higher crime rate than the national average, with 2,978 crimes per 100k people. This neighbourhood is considered 32% more dangerous than other areas. Gang and drug activities are prevalent in Koreatown, and it is not unusual to see crimes associated with prostitution. This neighbourhood’s Southern and Eastern regions are considered the most dangerous.
Crimes like robberies, assaults, and pickpocketing are prevalent in many areas. Public transit is a common place where these crimes occur, and keeping an eye on your belongings is crucial to prevent any mishaps. It is advisable to avoid walking alone at night and avoid areas like Hancock Park and Wilshire Center to ensure your safety.
9. Fashion District
With a modest population of 2,466, the Fashion District has a crime rate that is 28% higher than the national average. You stand a 1 in 35 chance of falling prey to crime, with a crime rate of 2,870 per 100,000 people. However, during the daytime, walking around or using public transport is safe as long as safety measures are taken.
10. North Hollywood
North Hollywood, also known as NoHo, is a neighbourhood with a population of 64,587. It has a crime rate of 2,592 per 100,000 people, 10% higher than the national average. The community shares a boundary with Universal Studio and is mainly known for gang and drug activity.
Property crimes are the most common in North Hollywood, making up 82% of all crimes reported in 2022. This includes offences like burglary, robbery, and assault. However, during the daytime, areas around Magnolia, Lankershim, and the 170 highway are generally considered safe. Taking public transit is also usually trouble-free.
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