- Downtown LA
- West Adams
- Wholesale District/Skid Row
- South Los Angeles
- North Hollywood
- Fashion District
The most dangerous neighborhood in Los Angeles is Downtown LA. Often abbreviated as DTLA, Downtown LA is the city’s economic hub. While this may be LA’s financial hub, it’s also a hotspot for crime and illicit activity. Based on FBI crime statistics, the violent crime rate is very high in Downtown LA, making it 12 times as dangerous as the national average. When property crimes are included, the overall crime rate in Downtown Los Angeles is 530% higher than the national average. According to LAPD statistics, there were 1,702 violent offenses reported in 2022. In addition, the murder rate downtown was at an all-time high of 490 in 2018.
Walking alone or in a group is highly discouraged at night. Homelessness remains a large issue downtown while pickpocketing and robberies are common. Crime isn’t as rampant during the day, but caution is still highly advised. The worst areas are located south of 3rd Street, north of 7th Street, west of Alameda Street, and east of Main Street. Carrying large amounts of cash is highly discouraged.
West Adams is another one of the worst areas in Los Angeles when it comes to crime. The neighborhood has a population of 11,961 and a crime rate of 6,811 per 100,000 people meaning that residents have a 1 in 15 chance of becoming the victim of a crime. Much of the crime in West Adams is violent crime stemming from gang and drug activity. There is a solid police presence in this neighborhood, but residents often complain that police cannot respond to so many criminal incidents at once.
Aside from gun violence, crimes like robbery, assault, and theft are common. Because of this, it is not advised to walk at night. Many residents complain of a lack of overall safety, even when taking public transit in this area.
The Wholesale District, commonly known as Skid Row, is another one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It's also one of America’s largest homeless encampments. Estimates of Skid Row’s permanent homeless population range from 9,000 to 15,000 people. Commuters and residents often feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of homelessness in the area.
Since 2010, crime in the Wholesale District has increased by 59%. In 2013 there were 13,122 reported crimes, with 2,698 assaults, 1,350 vehicle break-ins, and 2,453 incidents of theft. Much of the crime among the homeless population stems from the ubiquitous drug trade, with crimes like pickpocketing and theft also common. Areas such as San Pedro Street are known for being especially bad. Since cycling or walking is only permitted until 6 PM, Skid Row becomes a hotspot of gang and drug activity.
Surprisingly, Hollywood is also one of the worst neighborhoods in LA for crime. While Hollywood is known worldwide as the home of many of the biggest movie production companies, the area also has a major crime problem. The neighborhood has a population of 90,322, and the crime rate is 4,894 per 100,000 people making Hollywood 109% higher than the national average. Despite being a major tourist attraction, property theft, and pickpocketing are very common in Hollywood. Walking during the day shouldn’t be an issue as long as personal belongings are secure. However, walking at night isn’t advised.
South Los Angeles has a population of 249,670 and a crime rate of 4,268 per 100,000 people. Formerly known as South Central, this is one of the most dangerous areas in LA. It is mainly affected by drug trafficking and gun violence, which is closely linked to gang activity. A heavier police presence in South LA has resulted in a gradual reduction of crime since the 1990s. The level of gang activity depends on the neighborhood, and residents are advised to take precautions when walking at night. During the day, walking is somewhat safer, and using public transit is generally considered safe.
Compton is also one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Although the neighborhood's crime rate has decreased since the 1990s, Compton is still dangerous, and the area has a reputation for gun violence, drug activity, poverty, and violent crime. With a population of 97,740 and a crime rate of 3,533 per 100,000 people, Compton is 51% more dangerous than the national average. In 2005, Compton topped the national charts for having the highest murder rate in the country, but that has dropped in the past 2 decades. However, since 2020, there has been an increase in violent crime and property crime in Compton. Despite having a significant police presence, residents feel that police lack the capacity to respond to incidents.
Watts is another one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The crime rate in Watts is 50% higher than the national average. Overall, the crime rate is 3,514 per 100,000 people, and the chance of becoming the victim of a crime in Watts is 1 in 29. Just like Compton, Watts’ violent crime rate has fallen since the 1990s.
In 2022 there were 1,574 incidents of violent crime and 1,943 incidents of property crime in Watts. Walking alone at night, taking public transit, and carrying large amounts of cash or valuables is not advised.
With a population of 72,523, Koreatown has a crime rate of 2,978 per 100k people making this neighborhood 32% more dangerous than the national average. Gang and drug activity are common in this neighborhood, with other associated crimes like prostitution being quite common as well. The Southern and Eastern parts of Koreatown are considered to be the most dangerous.
Other crimes, such as robberies, assaults, and pickpocketing, are common as well. Many of these types of crimes occur on public transit, and it is advised to keep all belongings accounted for at all times. It is recommended to avoid walking during nighttime and to avoid areas like Hancock Park and Wilshire Center.
Out of a small population of 2,466, the Fashion District’s crime rate is 28% higher than the national average. The crime rate is 2,870 per 100,000 people, making the chances of becoming a victim 1 in 35. During the daytime being out walking or taking public transit isn’t dangerous as long as precautions are taken.
With a population of 64,587, North Hollywood has a crime rate of 2,592 per 100,000 people, making the neighborhood 10% higher than the national average. Also known as NoHo, this neighborhood shares a boundary with Universal Studio. North Hollywood’s criminal activities are mostly based on gang and drug activity.
Property crimes are the most prevalent in North Hollywood, accounting for 82% of total crime in 2022. This is not limited to other crimes such as burglary, robbery, and assault. Areas around Magnolia, Lankershim, and the 170 highway are considered safe during the day, and taking public transit rarely presents any issues.
Los Angeles is a sprawling city made up of a variety of diverse neighborhoods. Even though many of these neighborhoods have higher crime rates, many remain popular tourist attractions. Neighborhoods like Hollywood and Koreatown offer cheaper rent than other areas of the city. However, even with cheaper rent, these neighborhoods might not be the best places to live if safety is a concern as they continue to face issues stemming from property crime and homelessness.