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Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

most dangerous neighborhoods in los angeles

Are you planning a trip to the City of Angels?

Los Angeles is one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the United States. There are numerous attractions for visitors to explore, which are scattered across the city.

The most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles to avoid?

Yes, unfortunately, visitors need to take extra care when exploring the city, especially after dark. Certain areas are notorious for violent crime, vagrancy, and property crime. So, let’s discover the most dangerous places in Los Angeles and tips for staying safe when passing through.

Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Downtown LA 

Downtown LA is home to the city’s central business district, and you’ll find numerous skyscrapers and office blocks. This section of the city also boasts excellent eateries, cool coffee shops, bars, and nightclubs. Plus, the vibrant nightlife scene and numerous museums attract scores of tourists to the area. 

But despite the fact that numerous tourists are attracted to this area, it is actually the most dangerous area in LA. It is a real hotspot for crime and other types of illicit activity. The violent crime rate here is twelve times higher than the average in the United States. This number rises to 530% above the national average when property crime is factored into the crime rate. 

Alarming crime stats…

In the last year alone, 1,702 violent crimes were reported in this part of the city. Back in 2018, the murder rate was at an all-time high, and 490 people fell victim to murder. Most of the crime takes place at night, and visitors should try to avoid the area after dark.

Although this is a fairly wealthy district, on the face of things, there are a large number of homeless people. Robberies and pickpocketing are fairly common at night, more than during the day. Particularly notorious areas include east of Main Street, north of 7th Street, and south of 3rd Street. 

West Adams 

This historic district can be found in the southern part of the city. The area has a large number of notable houses and historic buildings, including mansions and churches. Particularly of note are the Eugene W. Britt House and Engine House No. 18. West Adams also includes a fairly wealthy community, along with several private schools.

This part of the city has a population of just under 12,000 people. And for every 100,000 people, around 6,800 crimes are reported. This makes the chances of being a victim of a crime in this area around 1 in 15. 

And not just any crime…

There is a particularly high percentage of violent crime in West Adams, which is often related to drug and gang activity. Although the area maintains a strong police presence, the police force is often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of crime. A high number of crimes, such as petty theft, robbery, and assault, are also reported in this area each year. 

West Adams

Wholesale District 

Although most people associate LA with wealth, this district features one of the largest homeless camps in America. Also known as Skid Row, this area runs parallel to the Los Angeles River and Alameda Street. It mainly features refrigerated storage facilities and warehouses. 

This area is a notorious red-light district, and prostitution is rampant here. After dark, ladies of the night can be found mingling with the homeless community. A recent survey estimated that the homeless population in the area is between 9,000 and 15,000 people. 

Not surprisingly…

Crime in this section of the city has increased by 59% since 2010. More than 18,000 crimes are reported in the area each year. These crimes include vehicle break-ins, assaults, and theft. 

There are very few reasons for visitors to venture into the Wholesale District, especially at night. And even during the daytime, it is important to remain vigilant. In fact, walking and cycling in this part of the city are only permitted until 18:00. 


This area can be found to the south of the Downtown district and is a notorious hive of gang activity. Although the crime rate has reportedly decreased since the 1990s, it is still particularly high. This is partly due to the high population density, as Compton is home to more than 97,000 people.

Hub City…

The area’s central location has earned Compton the nickname Hub City. This is a working-class community, and the poverty level is one of the highest in this part of the United States. Compton is composed of several infamously poor neighborhoods, including downtown Compton, Sunny Cove, ‘Richland’ Farms, and Leland.

The crime rate in Compton is over 3,500 for every 100,000 people. This makes the area 51% more dangerous than the average in the United States. And again, although it has dropped in the last two decades, Compton had the highest murder rate in the United States in 2005. 

North Hollywood 

This section of the city can be found in the San Fernando Valley. North Hollywood showcases several vibrant tourist attractions, including the El Portal Theatre and the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences. The NoHo Arts District is another hotspot, and interesting events are often hosted here after dark.

Visitors are provided with easy access to the district via the North Hollywood Metro Rail station. However, visitors to North Hollywood need to take extra care when riding the subway late at night. Crowded subway platforms and cars are often a lure to pickpockets and other casual thieves. 

North Hollywood 

How many people are we talking about?

Well, the population is a little under 65,000. And the crime rate is over 2,500 per 100,000, which is 10% higher than the average in the United States. The majority of crime here is related to drug and gang activity.

However, property crime has been on the rise in recent years and currently accounts for 82% of the total crime. Assault, robbery, and burglary are particularly high in certain parts of North Hollywood. Fortunately, there are also relatively safe areas, including Lankershim and Magnolia. 

South Los Angeles 

Also known as South Central, this area can be found south of the Downtown district. The neighborhood covers an area of 51 square miles and is home to around 250,000. However, most of the crime takes place in the most densely populated area, which covers sixteen square miles. 

Your chance of falling victim to crime in South LA?

The crime rate in this area is over 4,200 per 100,000 people. Most crime that takes place here is connected to gun violence and drug trafficking. And while the crime rate has been slowly decreasing since the 1990s, it is still much higher than the national average. 


This area was founded as a ranching community towards the end of the 19th century. After the construction of Watts Station and the railroads, the small and close-knit community quickly expanded. So, although it started off as an independent city, Watts was consolidated with Los Angeles in 1926.

The neighborhood was transformed into a mainly working-class African-American district in the 1930s. By the 1960s, Watts had become notorious for its low income and high crime rate. Street gangs quickly took over the area, making it a very dangerous part of the city to explore after dark. 

It still attracts many visitors, though…

Watts has a number of historic landmarks which are popular among lovers of architecture and history. These include the Watts Towers by Simon Rodia, while several buildings have been featured on the covers of hip-hop albums. However, visitors need to take care when exploring the area, especially after sundown. 

The crime rate in this section of the city is 50% higher than the average in the United States. A little over 3,500 incidents for every 100,000 people. This means that the chances of being a victim of crime in Watts are 1 in 29

Although the violent crime rate has fallen slightly since the 1990s, it is still comparatively high. 1,571 incidents of violent crime were reported in Watts in the last year alone. There were also 1,943 incidents of reported property crime in the same year. Visitors should avoid taking public transportation if visiting the area and keep their valuables hidden. 


Lovers of Asian cuisine are often attracted to this vibrant neighborhood. There are numerous authentic Korean restaurants to enjoy in Koreatown. The area also includes spas, grocery stores, and shops that mainly sell products that hail from Korea.

KTOWN Night Market is one of the most popular attractions in the area and never fails to attract large crowds. While exploring the market can be a lot of fun, visitors need to watch over their belongings. Pickpocketing is common in the market, as well as in other parts of the district.


But that’s not all…

A little over 72,500 people live here, and this area is fairly densely populated. There is a particularly high rate of drug and gang activity in Koreatown, making it fairly hazardous after dark. The crime rate is a little over 2,800 for every 100,000 people.

As a whole, Koreatown is 22% more dangerous than the average in the United States. The eastern and southern parts of the area are notorious for assaults and robberies. Visitors should avoid areas such as Wiltshire Center and Hancock Park. And again, even more so after dark. 

Fashion District 

Previously known as the Garment District, this area is a sub-neighborhood of Downtown LA. More than four thousand retail and wholesale businesses can be found in this part of the city. Most of these businesses sell fabric, clothing, footwear, and accessories.

And as the name implies…

The Fashion District is packed with merchants, shoppers, and tourists during the daytime. Generally speaking, exploring the area during the day is a fun and interesting experience. However, high numbers of pickpockets take advantage of the crowds, lifting the wallets of inattentive visitors.

At around 2,500 people, the Fashion District has a relatively small population. However, the crime rate is 2,870 for every 100,000 people, which is 68% higher than the average in the United States. So the risk of being a victim of crime in the Fashion District is around 1 in 35


Hollywood is famous around the globe as being the movie and entertainment capital of the world. This district is a magnet for people who are seeking fame and fortune. This part of the city is usually associated with glamour, wealth, and sophistication.

However, Hollywood is not only home to the rich and famous. West Hollywood is the heart of LA’s gay community. This vibrant district boasts excellent restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs, and coffee houses.


This part of the city is home to around 90,000 people. Despite the fact that there are numerous luxury homes here, the Hollywood crime rate is particularly high at 4,894 per 100,000.

This is 109% higher than the average in the United States!

Pickpocketing is the main hazard for visitors in Hollywood, and tourists need to be careful of their belongings. Even when walking through the area during the daytime, it is best to make sure your valuables are hidden. And tourists should avoid walking through this area at night if possible. 

By now, you should have a much clearer idea of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. But what about the rest of the US?

If You’re Worried About Moving to a Dangerous City…

We’ve got you covered! Find out about the 10 Most Dangerous States in the US, then the 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the US, the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Washington DC, the 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago, the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC, and even the Most Dangerous Cities in Florida. Also, take note of the safety tips provided for traveling through these places in 2023.

We can also help you compare the quality of living, like New York City vs Chicago: Which Is Better, or LA vs. NYC Living, and the Best Neighborhoods In Long Island for safe commuting.

The safest neighborhoods to live in?

No problem! Check out everywhere from the Safest Cities in Texas, the Safest Places to Live in Florida, or the Safest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia, to the newest US cities like the Safest Neighborhoods in Atlanta! Simply search our website for your neighborhood of interest.

Ok, back to today’s dangerous US neighborhood report

Final Thoughts

While most visitors to Los Angeles are likely to have a fun and safe experience, it’s important to take care. Beneath the glitz and glamour, there is a seedy and dangerous side to the city. Many of these areas have interesting tourist attractions, which are attractive to large numbers of visitors. And this attracts the likes of pickpockets.

But because rents tend to be lower in areas with higher crime rates, these areas also boast cheap hotels. So, if you are on a budget, you may be tempted to use one of these areas as a base. However, if you do, it is important to be particularly vigilant and try to avoid these parts of the city late at night.

Safe LA travels!

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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