Los Angeles is a city famous for its sunny weather, stunning beaches, and the presence of many prominent personalities. However, this city of angels may not be all about luxury and charm. There are several areas in Los Angeles that one should avoid due to their high rates of violent crime, property crime, and vagrancy problems. In the year 2023, these are the ten most dangerous neighborhoods in LA, so it’s essential to be aware of them.
10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles (2023)
- Downtown LA
- West Adams
- Wholesale District/Skid Row
- South Los Angeles
- North Hollywood
- Fashion District
1. Downtown LA
Downtown LA, commonly known as DTLA, is considered the most perilous neighborhood in Los Angeles. Despite being the city’s economic center, it is notorious for criminal and unlawful activities. According to FBI crime statistics, the violent crime rate in Downtown LA is alarmingly high, 12 times more than the national average. When property crimes are factored in, the overall crime rate in this area is a staggering 530% higher than the national average. LAPD statistics reveal that there were 1,702 reported violent offenses in 2022. Furthermore, the murder rate peaked at an all-time high of 490 in 2018.
It is not recommended to walk alone, whether it is night or day. Downtown areas are plagued with homelessness, pickpocketing, and robberies. Although crime rates are relatively lower during the daytime, it is still advised to exercise caution. It is best to avoid the areas located south of 3rd Street, north of 7th Street, west of Alameda Street, and east of Main Street. To prevent any untoward incidents, it is highly recommended not to carry large amounts of cash.
2. West Adams
West Adams, located in Los Angeles, is notorious for its high crime rate, making it one of the worst areas to reside in. With a population of 11,961, the neighborhood has a crime rate of 6,811 per 100,000 people, resulting in residents having a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of a crime. The majority of crime in West Adams is violent in nature, primarily stemming from gang and drug-related activities. Despite a strong police presence, residents often express their dissatisfaction with the police’s inability to respond to multiple criminal incidents simultaneously.
Walking at night is not recommended in this area due to the prevalence of crimes like robbery, assault, and theft, in addition to gun violence. Residents have expressed concerns about the lack of safety, even when using public transportation.
3. Wholesale District/Skid Row
Skid Row, also referred to as the Wholesale District, is ranked among the most hazardous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It is home to one of the most extensive homeless communities in the United States, with a permanent population estimated between 9,000 to 15,000 individuals. The sheer magnitude of homelessness in the area can be overwhelming for both commuters and residents alike.
The Wholesale District has seen a staggering 59% increase in crime since 2010. In 2013 alone, there were 13,122 reported crimes, including 2,698 assaults, 1,350 vehicle break-ins, and 2,453 incidents of theft. Unfortunately, much of the crime in the area can be attributed to the rampant drug trade, and pickpocketing and theft are also common among the homeless population. San Pedro Street is particularly notorious for its high crime rates. After 6 PM, cycling or walking is no longer allowed, which turns Skid Row into a hub for gang and drug activity.
It may come as a surprise, but Hollywood is actually one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in LA. Despite being renowned worldwide for its movie production studios, the area is plagued by high crime rates. With a population of 90,322, the crime rate in Hollywood is a staggering 4,894 per 100,000 people, which is 109% higher than the national average. Visitors should be aware that property theft and pickpocketing are prevalent in the area, although walking during the day should be relatively safe as long as personal belongings are kept secure. However, it is not recommended to walk around Hollywood at night.
5. South Los Angeles
With a population of 249,670, South Los Angeles is infamous for its high crime rate of 4,268 per 100,000 people. Previously referred to as South Central, this area is considered one of the most perilous in Los Angeles. The primary issues that plague this neighborhood are drug trafficking and gun violence, which are closely associated with gang activity. The implementation of a stronger police presence in South LA has led to a gradual decrease in crime since the 1990s. However, the level of gang activity can vary depending on the neighborhood, and residents are advised to exercise caution when walking at night. During the day, walking is somewhat safer, and utilizing public transportation is generally deemed secure.
Compton, located in Los Angeles, is notorious for its high crime rate and is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. Although the crime rate has decreased since the 1990s, the area is still plagued by gun violence, drug activity, poverty, and violent crime. The population of Compton is 97,740, and the crime rate is 3,533 per 100,000 people, making it 51% more dangerous than the national average. In 2005, Compton had the highest murder rate in the country, but it has decreased over the past two decades. However, there has been an increase in violent and property crimes since 2020, and despite a significant police presence, residents feel that the police lack the capacity to respond to incidents promptly.
Watts, situated in Los Angeles, is widely recognized as one of the most perilous neighborhoods in the area. The crime rate in Watts is 50% higher than the national average, with an overall crime rate of 3,514 per 100,000 individuals. The possibility of being a victim of a crime in Watts is 1 in 29, which is quite alarming. Although the violent crime rate in Watts has fallen since the 1990s, it is still a matter of concern.
Watts experienced a total of 1,574 violent crimes and 1,943 property crimes in the year 2022. It is not recommended to walk alone at night, use public transportation, or carry a significant amount of cash or valuable items.
Koreatown, with a population of 72,523, has a crime rate of 2,978 per 100k people, which is 32% higher than the national average. This neighborhood is known for its prevalent gang and drug activity, as well as other crimes such as prostitution. The most dangerous parts of Koreatown are the Southern and Eastern regions.
Robberies, assaults, and pickpocketing are prevalent crimes that one should be cautious of. These offenses are frequently committed on public transportation, so keeping track of one’s belongings is highly advised. To ensure safety, it is suggested to refrain from walking around at night and to steer clear of neighborhoods like Hancock Park and Wilshire Center.
9. Fashion District
With only 2,466 residents, the Fashion District experiences a crime rate that is 28% higher than the national average. At 2,870 per 100,000 people, there is a 1 in 35 chance of becoming a victim. However, it is safe to walk or take public transit during the daytime as long as necessary precautions are taken.
10. North Hollywood
North Hollywood, also known as NoHo, is a neighborhood with a population of 64,587. Unfortunately, the area has a higher crime rate compared to the national average, with 2,592 crimes per 100,000 people. Gang and drug-related activities are prevalent in the neighborhood, which shares a boundary with Universal Studio.
In 2022, North Hollywood saw a high incidence of property crimes, which made up 82% of all crimes in the area. This includes burglaries, robberies, and assaults. However, during the daytime, areas near Magnolia, Lankershim, and the 170 highway can be considered safe. Additionally, taking public transit is typically hassle-free in these areas.