Areas to Avoid / Crime, Long Beach
Be forewarned about what you may read into the understanding of Long Beach. Don't get the impression that it is completely a ghetto city! As a young woman who comes here frequently, I have felt fine here- without carrying a weapon!
Long Beach has just as much appeal in being a fun and unique town like Hollywood. Also, L.B. rivals the beach life of Santa Monica and Orange County's Huntington Beach.
There are really two sides of Long Beach as seen by those knowledgeable of the city. It is a paradise and a kind of hell all in one. What's delightful in L.B. is the beach view, as well as the downtown charm that is growing. That which is hellish of course is the typical big city predictament of pollution- not just environmental but that of human crimes and tough ghetto life.
Generally, the places to avoid in Long Beach are towards the north-east, by the border of Los Angeles. Though, riding on the Metro through here is not so bad and is a very good way to get to the better part of L.B. for both locals and those visiting L.A. as a major destination spot.
So, yes, there are some rough neighborhoods here but as a tourist, one usually stays clear of the really bad parts by visiting major tourist points of interests like the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village, the main beach area, The Pike, Belmont Shore and Naples.
GANGS, MURDERS, VANDALISM - ECONOMY HAS TAKEN A TOLL ON THIS CITY AND SECTION 8 WAITING LIST IS CLOSED. THEY FINGERPRINT HERE FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, SO CRIMINALS ARE HAVING A HARDER TIME. BEWARE OF THE FRIENDLY PEOPLE WHOM TRY TO TALK TO YOU AT THE STORES AND RESTAURANTS FOR MONEY BECAUSE THEY MAY ACTUALLY BE A CRIMINAL UNABLE TO QUALIFY FOR HELP BECAUSE OF THEIR ACTIONS. MOST DO NOT CARE IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING TOO.
I REALIZED A LOT OF ONCE DECENT PEOPLE ARE NOW HOMELESS AND THE YOUNG FOLKS SEEK AN OUTLET. NAIL EVERYTHING DOWN, LOCK UP EVERYTHING. LIVE LIKE THE WAGON DAYS, EVERYONE MUST PULL TOGETHER AND IF IT SOUNDS OR LOOK SUSPICIOUS, CALL THE POLICE. DO NOT TRY TO HANDLE IT YOURSELF BECAUSE IT WILL ONLY ESCALATE AND YOU COULD BE A VICTIM.
RENT IS HIGH, NOW THEY WANT TO INCREASE THE UTILITIES AND THIS WILL ONLY IMPOUND THE HARDSHIPS OF MANY. IF YOU HAVE EVER SEEN ANIMAL HOUSE AND BEEN TO EAST ST. LOUIS YOU WILL SEE IT IS POSSIBLE TO END UP LIKE THAT. NO POLICE, TRAFFIC SIGNALS AND STREET LIGHTS DO NOT WORK AND IT IS A GHOST TOWN. WHAT A SHAME.
SEE CHAIN OF EVENTS AND SIMILARITY - READ BELOW ABOUT EAST ST LOUIS
The city was dramatically affected by mid-century deindustrialization and railroad restructuring. As a number of local factories began to close because of changes in industry, the railroad and meatpacking industries also were cutting back and moving jobs out of the region. This led to a precipitous loss of working and middle-class jobs. The city's financial conditions deteriorated. Elected in 1951, Mayor Alvin Fields tried funding measures that resulted in raising the city's bonded indebtedness and the property tax rate. More businesses closed as workers left the area to seek jobs in other regions. Crime increased as a result of poverty and lack of opportunities. Brownfields, areas with environmental contamination by heavy industry, make redevelopment more difficult and expensive.
Street gangs appeared in city neighborhoods. Like other cities with endemic problems by the 1960s, East St. Louis suffered riots in the latter part of the decade. In September 1967, rioting occurred in the city's South End and the following summer there were some sniping attacks. The violence added to residential mistrust and adversely affected the downtown retail base and the city's income.
The construction of freeways also contributed to East St. Louis' decline, as they cut through and broke up functioning neighborhoods and community networks. The freeways made it easier for residents to commute back and forth from suburban homes, so more people moved out to newer housing. East St. Louis adopted a number of programs to try to reverse decline — the Model Cities program, the Concentrated Employment Program and Operation Breakthrough. The programs were not enough to offset the industrial restructuring.
In 1971, James Williams was elected as the city's first black mayor. Faced with the overwhelming economic problems, he was unable to make much of a difference. By the election of Carl Officer as mayor (the youngest in the country at that time at age 25) in 1979, many said the city had nowhere to go but up, yet things grew worse. Middle-class whites and blacks left the city. People who could get jobs simply went to where there was work and a decent quality of life. Because the city had been obliged to cut back on maintenance, sewers failed and garbage pickup ceased. Police cars and radios stopped working. The East St. Louis Fire Department went on strike in the 1970s.
In the 1980s the state imposed a financial advisory board to manage the city in exchange for a financial bailout. State legislative approval in 1990 of riverboat gambling and the installation of the Casino Queen riverboat casino provided the first new source of income for the city in nearly 30 years. In 1991 Gordon Bush was elected mayor.
During the last decade, the city has completed several redevelopment projects: in 2001 it opened a new library and built a new city hall. Public-private partnerships have resulted in a variety of new retail developments, housing initiatives, and the St. Louis Metrolink light rail, which have sparked renewal. Some observers have questioned whether access to the Metrolink from the East Side has increased crime in the Saint Louis Metro Area.
The city, now small in terms of population, has drastic urban blight. Sections of "urban prairie" can be found where vacant buildings have been torn down and whole blocks became overgrown with vegetation. Much of the territory surrounding the city remains undeveloped, bypassed for growth in more affluent suburban areas. Many old, "inner city" neighborhoods abut large swaths of corn and soybean fields or otherwise vacant land. In addition to agricultural uses, a number of truck stops, strip clubs, and semi-rural businesses surround blighted areas in the city.
In 2010 the East St Louis community gardening movement began to develop plots for "urban farming", as has been done in North St. Louis. Inspired by Detroit's planned use of vacant land for green development, community associations, nonprofits and universities collaborated to spark green development in East St Louis.
OK--I'd say the worst part of LB is bounded by Cherry on the east, PCH on the north, 7th street on the south, and the Los Angeles River on the west. Very grimy and gritty, although pretty interesting part of town--lots of Cambodians, good eats. Low income, no doubt. North Long Beach is overrated for crime. It's very residential, and it's probably the minority-ness of this part of town (Mexican/Black primarily) that turns off the Caucasians among us. Also, it's lower middle class and there are no big shopping centers in NLB. West LB is a bit gritty (thinking west of the LA River here), quite industrial, lower middle class, but generally it's citizens that live there. Again, there's not a lot of shopping/tourist attractions, and you're getting toward the port and Wilmington, so it's not really aesthetically pleasing, let's say.
Long story, short, Long Beach is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and I think that's where the "ghetto" impression comes from, frankly. That said, I know LB is not Brentwood or Laguna Beach, but it really is a lovely city with beautiful weather, down-to-earth people, and is centrally located between LA and OC
I moved to Long Beach for school and had only visited a couple times, so I did not know where to move to, brought my toddler and I was also on a budget, limiting my options and wish I had been given a clearer idea of what I should expect and where I should look for housing. Since moving to Long Beach, this is what I have observed and I hope it helps anyone planning to move here or visit.
Downtown Long Beach is fairly safe, especially by the Pike. There are a few sketchy people there and some intoxicated people downtown but I have been able to bring my kid with me hundreds of time with no issue at all. Also, maybe the movie theater has changed since the poster called it "ghetto" because it is the best, most well run theater we've been to in Long Beach. It's very clean, with validated parking, and very few people except on Tuesday discount night and even then it doesn't fill up. (dominant ethnicity: none, diverse)
Saint Mary's: I don't know what this neighborhood is called so I am naming it temporarily for the hospital located in it. There are a lot of bars on the windows of the houses there which tells me there is crime. There are also some nice houses behind the hospital between 10th and PCH. The Polytechnic high school there is known to be a good one and they are building what I think is a middle school there too. We have 2 (dominant ethnicity: unsure, diverse, maybe Asian or Hispanic)
Willmore District: Above downtown is a mix of families, some professionals and unfortunately gangs, so it it fine til after dark, but then not so good (dominant ethnicity: hispanic)
Wrigley: I don't know much since I've only visited once and passed through. i imagine it's a mixed bag. The block we went to was very nice with single family homes but I have heard people speak about it with less excitement. (dominant ethnicity: unsure)
Bixby Knolls: I work there. It's very close to Compton but really nice and doesn't seem to have a lot of crime. (dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
Santa Fe Ave (In N. Long Beach): BAD BAD BAD, I check the Long Beach Patch pretty regularly and there are shootings there way too often. (dominant ethnicity: African American)
North Long Beach: Also a mixed bag, but with way too many gangs, but also families and single workers.(dominant ethnicity: unsure)
Signal Hill: Seems pretty safe except it borders PCH which may not be as safe, even though I have never witnessed any kind of problem there. It is a mix of mansions, single family homes, condo developments and apartments. It is also not very walkable, with mainly franchise stores and industrial warehouses, so this may help cut down on crime from citizens and from outsiders (dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
Lakewood: Is beyond cookie cutter with every house coming from the same design and some big box stores, but it is pretty safe with good schools.(dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
Los Altos: Is a safe, nice neighborhood with good schools right near CSULB, so it is mostly college students and families. Not much crime, but it is on the Long Beach airport plane path so you can hear every single plane and helicopter that flies by. (dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
The Traffic Circle is pretty safe though I can imagine that PCH a little to the West, which is part of the Zafaria district is not as much since I looked at an apartment there and there were bars on the windows of the houses on the block, and there is a small homeless presence that mainly hang out at bus stops and parks in the area but rarely panhandles (dominant ethnicity: unsure, diverse)
Naples: As close to Beverly Hills as Long Beach is going to get, so very safe. Though I assume there are some burglaries or at least attempted ones.
Belmont Shores: Is pretty safe and filled with families, professionals and college students. Other than the occasional bar fight, or burglary or domestic violence inside the houses, I can't imagine much happens there to be worried about. (dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
I am not in Belmont Heights that much, but it seems ok, more issues with house parties and the like than major crimes. (dominant ethnicity: caucasion)
Bluff Park has a lot of nice houses and might be the yuppiest people outside of Naples, so safe yes, fun no. Just a lot of dog walkers.
Rose Park is fairly nice with some crime probably more from the outlying areas that carry it in. (dominant ethnicity: unsure, diverse)
Alamitos Beach: Is a mixed bag. it's where I live and it is quiet on a Saturday night if that means anything. There are some nice houses and apartment buildings, as well as more low income ones. A lot of families live in both. There are some students and young professionals, especially the more counterculture and hipster kinds, and a portion of these, as well as other people with less obvious employments seem to be pursuing recreational activities that could get them into trouble. There is also a small gang presence. There are also a lot of dive bars nearby which probably elevates crime too. We have had 2 shootings (that I know of) in the area this year. But it is also close to the beach, and retro row which is pretty nice and filled with vintage stores and good restaurants. I take my daughter out in our neighborhood all the time with no problems, and and I have come home from class at or after 10pm on many nights and never been bothered by anyone. (dominant ethnicity: unsure, diverse)
Hope this helps!
So recently had to move down here from a nicer city due to some family issues a few months ago. I have been in and out of long beach for the past 30 years (due to extended family, and went to school here for a few years, had friends in different parts of Long Beach), so I'm pretty familiar with trends going on in the city. Long Beach has a strong military/veteran heritage due to the formerly large strategic Naval base that used to be here. A lot of Long Beach people are conservative (with strong family values), but yet very street-smart (as you need it to survive the sketchy people). There are lots of thugs and sketchy neighborhoods, most especially near the freeways (especially the 710). Towards the eastern half of Long Beach, there are very nice houses close to, as well as away from, the freeways. So long beach can be super nice and downright scarey!!!... depending where you are. All of the comments posted below so far are true.I would like to add a few things i've noticed.
I will focus on North Long Beach for brevity's sake. First, in North Long Beach, they are making massive improvements to the landscape of the city streets. Lots of beautiful street lights and bus stops are being added (probably just in the last few months... in 2014). It is incredible, comparing what it looked like before, to what it looks like now!! There are new curbs, with beautiful trees and garden landscaping, definitely MASSIVELY improving the curb appeal of major streets like Long Beach Blvd. and Atlantic Avenue in North Long Beach. Second, the asian (primarily cambodian) population is increasing dramatically in the past couple of years, along with the continued steady but slow increase in mexicans and whites again (used to be a lot more whites (80%) before "white flight" happened in the 80's and decreased whites to no more than 20%). I think it's the proximity to Los Angeles, nice breezy weather, and price that makes some whites buy here, plus there are a lot of nice residential areas in North Long Beach. It's primarily made of old neighborhoods almost 100 years old that have a distinctly old world charm. Lots of big old trees, birds, shade, big yards compared to the smaller houses. I think cambodians move here because lots of cambodian food in Long Beach, plus the houses are cheap and nice, and cambodians tended to save money where other cultures dont save as much, so they were in a better position to buy. The cambodians make the neighborhoods seem safer because they are very peaceful and family-oriented. Hispanics and mexicans in Long Beach are cool too. They tend to be family-oriented as well. There are some whites, usually single older men, and they seem upper middle class, well-educated types (whom I guess like to have cash and don't want to spend over half a million living close to Los Angeles with the ensuing increase in property taxes). I see a lot of them jogging around or walking their dog... morning or evening.
North long beach is bordered by 3 major freeways, and has much less traffic than either Los Angeles or Orange County, so it makes this place appealing for commuters. The amount of blacks seem to be steadily decreasing, just like the amount of blacks in compton. I don't know why, maybe the economy tanked and they lost jobs or i really don't know. But I see that trend. There are some that seem like drug dealers or car thieves (with super nice cars [brand new lexus large sedans, BMW SUVs, and Mercedes E-class with all the bells and whistles...way nicer than would seem to be justified living in a lower middle class area like North Long Beach) and sketchy (the apartments that line the major streets and freeways seem pretty run down and full of convicts or ex-convicts). Also a lot of professional, family-oriented blacks. But I think it's half and half. I don't know where they're all moving to, even Compton has so much less blacks now... who knows?
Anyway, this area seems to be in major transition as far as demographics and curb appeal. I'm glad Long Beach is investing a lot in the curb appeal of the area. It also seems like a lot of very desirable mom-and-pop shops are cropping up all over the place. There are some really excellent El Salvadorian little restaurants, mexican place that specializes in Pupusas!, Thai food that taste simply better than in much more affluent neighborhoods, American hamburgers, etc. This city really is super diverse (cambodian, white, black, mexican, samoan, el salvadorian...just a plethora), and I see some tension between the different racial groups (mostly blacks trying to boss asians around or pick on whites, hispanics staring at blacks), but mostly the focus of many in North Long is family...given the really cheap price of housing, big yards, and proximity to the beach and Los Angeles. If the neighborhood was better, with less tension, and less sketchy people it is physically a really nice area with great weather to boot! (however the sketchy people add trash to the area cuz they don't pick up after themselves, and drive annoyingly crazy). There's a breeze every afternoon!! I think because North Long Beach is so close to Compton and Carson, plus freeways, that it attracts sketchy people. I would say North Long Beach is almost like a buffer zone area to the nicer areas (like Bixby Knolls) in Long Beach. Wish the house I got was in a better area, but seeing a general trend that's good for North Long Beach, I remain hopeful. The weather, location, and physical beauty give the area a lot of potential.
Everyone's other posts seem paranoid. Yes, avoid the beach water at all costs; no one that is native to Long Beach EVER goes in the water (we know better). Head south down PCH (pacific coast highway) to seal beach or huntington if you want to swim. The Wrigley area (the wriggs) on the west is dangerous [high auto theft & crime also seen on Bait Car]. I can honestly tell you many people living on the west of Pacific are criminals or ex convicts. North Long Beach itself is a no no (definitely at night) so once you've hit north of del amo either keep going until you hop on the 91 or U-turn but do not stop there or walk around. The first 3/4 blocks by the beach are always fine but after that it gets really sketchy. Don't make yourself a victim! Don't flash money or valuables and don't talk to any questionable people. Long Beach police also don't like to follow up on crime reports so if something happens to you you're basically screwed and on your own. Signal Hill is really nice and so is Lakewood, however the Lakewood mall is not the best mall to shop so you might want to go east on south st until you hit the Cerritos Mall. Bixby Knolls is one of the best neighborhoods (Long Beach Blvd -Orange Ave, 36th-San Antonio areas), also near the Virginia Country Club, Naples and Belmont Shore (2nd & broadway-2nd & PCH). You can never go wrong on 2nd street (bars, restaurants, boutiques). The best movie theatre is the Edward Cinema 26 at the Long Beach town center which also has a big food court and restaurants (Islands, Lucille's, El Toritos) or the Marina Pacifica which is AMC and has some food restaurants nearby (Hoffs Hut, In N Out, Tantalum, Joe's Crab Shack, Ruby's, etc.). PCH (pacific coast highway) is known for it's hookers, pimps, and crime so I wouldn't suggest strolling down it at night. The traffic circle (PCH and Ximeno area) is pretty nice with its small little shopping center with Chipotle, In n Out, Panda Express, and our only Krispy Kreme (they stopped making fresh donuts though). The Pike and Shoreline Village are other areas to check out (the aquarium, the lighthouse, Hooters, etc) however I wouldn't suggest watching a movie at their theatre, it gets pretty ghetto in there.
In response to a prior post about moving to the 1000 E Ocean Bl area:
I'm a Long Beach realtor and a 35 year resident. Was just recently looking at condos on Ocean for friends who want to buy. The downtown area is a popular area if you can afford it. I just learned that 2 new condo buildings are going to be built at Ocean and Alamitos, which will likely increase property values. You can't beat being very close to the water too!
My mom used to ride the RTD (now called the Metro bus service) from Hawthorne to CSULB (Cal State Long Beach), one of the best California State Universities. She said she never carried a purse. She said an young woman once advised her to carry a knife with her if she was going to ride that route regularly.
I'm not sure if the bus ride is still dangerous (my mom went to school in the late 1980s). My mom, even though she is mentally tough, is one of the most delicate people I know, and she never got robbed or mugged. But, the fact that she was advised to carry a knife is scarry. My mom never did carry a knife to school and it goes to show that even the most delicate lady can be tough.
SInce RTD has merged with Metro, there is a very modern rail system that goes from L.A. to Long Beach, the Metro Link Blue Line.
Living in a beach community should be picture perfect. Not if you reside on the west side of long Beach. Particularly on West 9th Street between Chestnut and Cedar. If you like dog owners who allow their dogs to roam the streets freely, dog poop left in the common areas, chicken bones and other trash lying around, flies, m-80's all year round, drug deals, bipolar and mentally ill neighbors - than West 9th Street is for you. We carry bear mace and a stun baton every time we go out. My landlord told me that this was a "transitional neighborhood". I guess you could say it is a short transition to imprisonment. Do not go to the west side of L.B. Limit your travels to the east side only if you would like to remain living.
North Long Beach and West Long Beach are considered high crime areas and are canvassed with seedy motels and hotels. Take care to ensure that your hotel is located in a safer area. Your safety is worth the few extra dollars.
Anything North of 7th Street is not safe. Stay away from the West side of the 710 Freeway also. You may not get rolled but it is an industrial area with no amenities and very few people. Not well lit either.
Please be careful and alert. The usual safety precautions should suffice. Some parts of this city at night can be deemed dangerous. Really. For female tourists/travelers, DO NOT walk around alone at night.
Do NOT venture away more than 7 blocks from the beach (stay south of 7th Street) because from thereon, the neighborhood gets a little tougher. All the cute little areas (sections) are pretty close to the water.
i'm a 19 year old girl, and i grew up in long beach. i visited not too long ago and i noticed there were actually bullet marks on the glass at Cherry Ave Liquor, so it's probably a good idea to avoid stopping on cherry. this is where most Cambodian gang activity goes on, and while it's unlikely for a tourist to get caught up in gang scuffles, cherry avenue simply isn't worth the risk, no matter how small that risk may be. all cherry is is a long stretch of liquor stores anyway. and also, what they say about north long beach is true, definitely more dangerous then the south side. still not south central, but too close too Compton for most people's comfort.
This is an area to avoid and it is criminal! when we walked along the beach, we seen a massive road all the way along it, we thought it was odd and wondered what it was about. When we got down there, we realised why... There was massive signs everywhere saying that humans shuld stay out of the sea because they pump that much sewage into it that the sea contains toxins and poisons that can cause... death! There was still people in the sand and goign upto the shoreline, but I can tell you now, after what I spotted on the beach I got off the beach as soon as I could.
It was a shame as the areas that we passed through of this town seemed really nice... The beach lets the area down.