As with so many cities, Los Angeles is not without its problems. Lost souls are very common in many outer and inner cities. There was sadly abundunt of lost souls within the confines of the Civic Center area. So be on your toes, even though I have never had too much trouble, but you never know. Especially if you explore into the areas where there may not be enough foot traffic especially on weekends. Safety in numbers is always a good thing if you can. There are lots of hidden plaza's with fountains and scrubbery. Just something to think about.
LA seems to have a disproportionate amount of mentally ill and/or homeless people walking around. They can be quite abusive at times, particularly in the city centre. Apparently the authorities feel this is a much better way of doing things than ... oh, I don't know ... actually giving these poor people some treatment and rehabilitation. Anyway, just take it in your stride, and be alert, particularly when driving.
I heard it was dangerous the way from downtown to Little Tokyo. In fact when we passed by car, our behind person was staring us all the time during our waiting for red signal. I was frozen at that time.
In 1990 there was and horrible clashes in there.
The city hall was taken by the criminals... and this area is not recommended to be after 7pm....i am s-e-r-i-o-u-s...
I also I walked to the Greyhound station for continuing my trip to Phoenix....i saw lot of strange people...very rare...and no police patroling.
A person of the area escorted me until station and told me later he was a police...I WAS LUCKY!!
The biggest risk you take when entering the boundaries of L.A. is feeling inadequate to all the beautiful people. It's true, there are a lot of good looking people in the City of Angels...and they know it. It's not a secret that most people come to L.A. to be discovered, or because they've already been discovered, and so their physical appearance is extremely important and they put a lot of work into it. I felt inadequate going to Starbuck's for my morning coffee. Isn't everybody supposed to look bad in the morning??? Not in L.A.
Stay away from Downtown after sunset.
Same is applicable for most beaches (especially Venice and Santa Monica). When the crowd goes home, the homeless and junkies remain in those areas. You don't want to mess with those folks...
Watch out at the clubs - you never know who's going to come and try to make a move on you. If he or she is wearing a hospital bracelet, you should probably be concerned.