Unsafe Areas, Los Angeles

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  • stephpoet's Profile Photo

    Warning about gang colors, areas, bandannas...

    by stephpoet Updated Jan 18, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I wasn't aware until I first moved here, but if you look even slightly black, Latino, or Asian, do NOT wear red or blue. These are gang colors, and many people have been shot for being suspected rival gang members.

    The biggest gang activity happens in Van Nuys, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Mar Vista, downtown, East L.A., Hollywood, Watts, Inglewood, Compton, Long Beach, and Eagle Rock, but be careful everywhere you go.

    Also, do NOT wear bandannas on your head.

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  • Bad Areas

    by Bobochicken Updated Mar 13, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I cannot imagine any reason for a tourist to be in any gang area. They are concentrated in neighborhoods far away from any tourist destinations or entertainment areas. If you have to go to USC or any of the theaters or museums near there, you will be safe if you get there following directions on major boulevards *in a car* and park in official lots adjacent to your destination. (do not take our busses to odd locations at night. You don't want to be sitting on a bus stop god knows where waiting for a bus at night--though they are totally safe and reliable to take you straight to the beach during the day.) Families who live in safe areas here take their kids to events, IMAX, the science museum, air and space museum, and cultural events on the USC campus all the time. There is nothing to fear. If you are odd enough to be taking "shortcuts" through unfamiliar neighborhoods or trying to save money on parking and parking and walking on unknown streets in any unfamiliar urban area, then you just lack common sense and I can't help you.
    l have lived here for 24 years. The city is enormous. Most of it is perfectly safe, as it is well populated and any major venues, shopping areas, tourist destinations are safe well lit, contained, properly patrolled. I go out at night as a single woman. I'm not scared. I stay away from areas covered in graffiti with boarded up windows, just like I would in any major city. If I'm dressed up, in heels, meeting friends at a restaurant in an area I don't go to often, I pay to valet. that's it. Some hotels offer car service. Look into it. If you stay somewhere like Santa Monica, you can easily enjoy the beach, walk to great shopping, entertainment, restaurants and the ocean, and rent a car locally only on the days you want to explore other parts of the city. Another odd thing tourists do is they walk down to the ocean at night. Again, common sense. The beach is gorgeous and well populated during the day. But at night, it is PITCH BLACK, life guards and patrol are off duty. No one could possibly hear you yell over the din of the ocean, and no, you can't run very fast on sand. The beach is not famous for being dangerous at night. I'm just saying its empty because most people are aware enough to avoid pitch black unpopulated areas in a city. So, find an area, near a well lit pier or a restaurant on the water with a private lit beach, if you want to see the ocean at night. There's nothing to see--it's vast and black. But, maybe that's exciting to you. Lol. You don't have to be "street smart" at all to visit LA. just have basic common sense. that's all. I feel safer here than in condensed walking cities like SanFrancisco, New York, Chicago, etc. Here the "bad" areas are generally pretty well removed from "good" areas, or concentrated in little neighborhoods that you wouldn't be going to unless you lived there. There's not a lot of walking at night, sitting around using public transportation alone in strange neighborhoods, you're just not as vulnerable here. If in doubt, ask you concierge, your local friends, friendly looking people on the street or at the cafe table next to you. Have fun. There's a lot to enjoy here.

    LA is is beautiful, there are many wonderful walking areas and lots of hiking areas and beaches to explore. Just don't be dumb. Stay in hotels near great places that can be explored by foot. Don't leave your laptop and camera sitting on your passenger seat (duh) and don't worry. In 24 years, I have known only one person who was a victim of a crime (and came out unscathed). the crime was just random and as unexpected as it would be anywhere and took place in safe area... So, come, enjoy, don't be afraid. Just be as smart as you would traveling anywhere in the world.

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  • DueSer's Profile Photo

    Protests A-plenty!

    by DueSer Written Jan 31, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Westwood is known for UCLA and some good places to eat and go see a movie. However! This is also home to the local federal building and when a group of people want to protest about something - anything - they usually do it in front of the federal building. These protests almost always take over the streets there - a busy place to drive on a regular day. So, if you're driving in LA and want to avoid sitting in your car for a long time and especially if you have somewhere you have to be at a certain time, be sure to catch some news every day to see if anything is planned or is currently happening there or, if possible, just avoid that area all together.

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  • Stop Watching The News

    by CasP80 Written Feb 20, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I went to Los Angeles by car in 2000 from Toronto. We didnt have any money just enough to get down there we had no place to stay so we just slept in the car. There was 4 myself included. The only thing that made me feel unsafe was the LAPD. The first thing we heard was a radio announcement what to do if the LAPD pull you over never pull over in a dark area never make fast movements always say your recording even if you are not. We got lost in all of the areas just from one wrong turn we ended up on crenshaw , then to inglewood , then compton once we got out it was on to East La not by choice and this all happened at night. What iam trying to say is stop believing everything you hear its nothing but an insult to those working class neighbourrhoods to have to hear nothing but negative about their home especially when there is a lot of positive coming out of there but the news doesnt want to show the positive things. You can get shot anywhere so stop limiting yourself due to fear. The main thing I can suggest though is make sure you have money its no fun without it lol we were there for a meeting so it wasnt just a joyride trip lol lol

    GO TO LA CANT SPEAK ABOUT IT TILL YOU BEEN

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  • The LA Chicken Little Brigade is out in full force

    by JMGLA Written Apr 22, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I arrived in LA, like many of the people reading this board, with bug eyes and shaking hands thinking there were gang members around every corner and I was going to be shot.

    Didn't happen.

    Lived in East Hollywood (GASP!)

    I worked at the Walmart on Crenshaw (OMG!)

    I used the bus and Metro (I think they fainted)

    Not once was I mugged, shot, stabbed or offered a demo cd and the closest I've came to dying in LA is from a nasty case of food poisoning after eating at a Taco Bell in Mid-City.

    Keep your eyes open. If something doesn't seem right then it probably isn't. Can't stress that enough. Most visitors who became victims of crime here ended up that way because they paid zero attention to their surroundings.

    Sounds racist but if you don't like the looks of the black or Latino guy in the gansta get up walking toward you, cross the street.

    Pay attention to your surroundings and you the only time you'll be mugged is by one of the overpriced restaurants in town.

    Enjoy your visit to LA.

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  • Richmond's Profile Photo

    Welcome to the Jungle

    by Richmond Written Jun 19, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Welcome To The Jungle
    Guns N Roses

    Welcome to the jungle we've got fun and games
    We got everything you want honey, we know the names
    We are the people that can find whatever you may need
    If you got the money honey we got your disease

    CHORUS:
    In the jungle, Welcome to the jungle
    watch it bring you to your knees, knees
    I wanna watch you bleed

    Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day
    If you want it you're gonna bleed but it's the price to pay
    And you're a very sexy girl that's very hard to please
    You can taste the bright lights but you won't get there for free
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle
    Feel my, my, my serpentine
    OOh, I wanna hear you scream

    Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here every day
    Ya learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play
    If you hunger for what you see you'll take it eventually
    You can have everything you want but you better not take it from me

    CHORUS

    And when you're high you never ever wanna come down
    so sown, so down, so down....YEAH

    You know where you are?
    you're in the jungle baby...you're gonna DIEEE
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle
    watch it bring you to your knees, knees
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle
    fell my, my, my serpentine
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle
    watch it bring you to your knees, knees
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle
    watch it bring you to you
    its gonna bring you down....HA!!

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  • Stay on the beaten path

    by sdsurfer Updated Jul 7, 2007

    Yes, LA is crime ridden, but so are most other major cities. You should be fine in the tourist corridors. The most dangerous parts of the city haven't seen a tourist in 50 years, unless they take the wrong exit or break down.

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  • Los Angeles remains unsafe for tourists

    by Travellerfromaus Written Oct 18, 2013

    LA is a very unsafe place to visit. My daughter from Australia got beaten up last night and robbed of all her possessions (in the central district). No one helped her. The police were not interested and recorded the stolen goods as lost - less paperwork they said. Women are totally unsafe in LA. There are plenty of other places to holiday in the world.

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  • Stay out of skid row! DUH!

    by DizKahuna Written May 27, 2014

    @TravellerfromAus: I have to doubt the veracity of your post. What kind of person goes cruising through skid row? Not a very smart one, I'm afraid. Perhaps you should read "The Six Blind Men and the Elephant" before making sweeping generalizations about LA. Skid Row is about a square mile east of downtown civic center, which is where your pictures are from. Based on that "experience", you apply that "unsafe" label to all 500 square miles of LA!!

    No tourists have any business going there or even being there. It's not hard to stay out of the area bounded by Main St, 4th, 7th, and the LA River. There's no reason to go there, and any sane person can take one look and realize that this is not a good area. EVERYBODY in LA knows not to go there. You have the other 499 square miles to choose from, most of which are pretty safe.

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  • Want danger? Try Detroit!

    by deterzz Written Feb 18, 2010

    I was born and raised in Detroit then moved to LA. Detroit is more dangerous hands-down. LA has more people, but Detroit has a higher percentage of crime. I was robbed twice within 3 hours in Detroit. So far I feel safer in LA.

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  • Los Angeles..danger?

    by MrMan1048 Written Feb 24, 2010

    If you have grown up or ever been to any of the Midwest cluster ***s such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincy, Milwaukee, ect. then you will be baffled on how anyone can call Los Angeles on of the most dangerous cities. Walking around the Mid west is like walking through a valley of death and anyone who has lived there would agree. L.A. is fine just be aware of your surroundings.

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  • Consider the size of the city

    by mngoddess Written Jul 5, 2011

    Regarding the crime rates you may hear in L.A, you have to consider the size the city is. The larger the city, the higher the crime rate and it's just simply because of it being more populated. But if you were to compare city-size to crime rate ratios, you should notice that it's not that much different really than any other city. Yes, there are crimes that are gang-related and also yes, you should stay clear from certain neighborhoods such as areas in south central, but mostly because as a tourist you are unfamiliar with the area and there isn't anything as far as entertainment going on there anyways. Also consider that California, especially Los Angeles, is a melting pot for many different kinds of people, so if you're concerned about sticking out, I would not worry at all. There is non-stop tourism in L.A. A day doesn't go by without seeing someone who doesn't fit it (and trust me when I say the non-fitters are almost always locals). So I way enjoy yourself and take any regular precautions you would normally take if you were going out in your own city. Just use regular common sense.

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Comments (4)

  • DueSer's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    "I've even managed to see some white people in the area, so it can't be that bad."

    Wow, Divinte, did you *really* just say that? That's...mind-bogglingly HORRIBLE.

  • Blahnix's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Spend your time on Rodeo Drive and try to avoid the traffic jams.

    • giampiero6's Profile Photo
      Mar 11, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Naaaaah. You don't really want to spend all your time on Rodeo...but yeah, you do want to avoid the traffic. Pick your time to travel or just stay close to where you are!

  • Jan 8, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    Your right on that. I just moved here from Milwaukee.

  • Nov 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Upscale and tourist areas that you want to go to that are 100% safe: Santa Monica, Malibu, Brentwood, Beverly Hills. Basically anywhere west of Fairfax and north of the 10 freeway. Stephpoet is completely mistaken when said that most gang activity happens in Venice and Santa Monica. There is "some" gang activity in Venice, very small. Santa Monica has virtually no gang activity but perhaps for the most southern portion of the city adjacent to - Venice. But to say that most of gang activity is in Santa Monica and to bundle it with places like East L.A, Watts, Compton and Inglewood is just a complete lie. Mar Vista has does not have a gang problem either...geez it's almost like she has no idea what she is talking about.

    • giampiero6's Profile Photo
      Nov 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Excellent point!

    • DueSer's Profile Photo
      May 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      ITA, Kevin! Thank you for saying that! It's very true. Sometimes men just don't take the time to consider something from a woman's perspective.

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