The 6 Most Dangerous Areas in Los Angeles in 2024

Los Angeles, California, USA downtown skyline from Griffith Park.
© Sean Pavone/

Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Published: February 12, 2024

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Even though it is affectionately known as the City of Angels, there are some parts of Los Angeles that have higher crime rates. These neighborhoods can be quite dangerous, especially if you don’t know what to watch for and when to avoid them. Crime rates tend to be higher in the evening, night, and early mornings when there are as many bystanders around. Known for the iconic Hollywood sign, Los Angeles definitely has more to offer than just the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Many of its most historic neighborhoods go back to the 1800s. Unfortunately, the high cost of living, drug issues, and other unrest over the years have also resulted in some major crime problems in parts of the city.

Approximately 3,85 million people live in Los Angeles, making it one of the most populated cities in the United States. It is notorious for its terrible traffic and poor air quality. But this doesn’t stop many people from wanting to visit or even relocate to this city on the California coast. Even with its reputation for higher-than-normal crime rates, the city has a lot to offer. Just make sure to know where to go and where to avoid, especially during hours with a higher risk for crime, to stay safe in LA.

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Cityscape Los Angeles, California, USA

Downtown Los Angeles is home to businesses and commercial spaces, although it has a high crime rate.


The downtown neighborhood is one of the most dangerous and has some of the highest crime rates in all of Los Angeles. Within this neighborhood, Skid Row has especially high crime. Skid Row is known officially by the name Central City East. Overall, downtown has a large homeless population. Los Angeles is developing initiatives to address the homeless crisis that add more affordable housing options to the city. In Downtown LA and Skid Row, this is a major contributor to crime rates.

West Adams

The West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles was founded in 1781 and developed in the late 1800s.

©Phatblackmama/ CC BY-SA 4.0 - Original

This neighborhood in South Los Angeles has historic ties to the city. Unfortunately, it also has high crime rates. Violent crimes, including gun violence and aggravated assault, are common in this part of Los Angeles. Theft is also an issue that comes up often in this area. So if you are visiting, make sure to keep track of your valuables.

South Central Los Angeles

Dinosaur skeleton

There are numerous dinosaur skeletons on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

©Matthew Dillon / Flickr - Original / License

This is a large area of Los Angeles, just south of downtown and Skid Row. It is notorious for its high crime rates in the city. Its reputation as a crime-ridden area extends even beyond LA and many associate South Central with crime. However, crime rates have gone down in recent years and it seems like the neighborhood is becoming more stable overall. This is good because there are some places definitely worth checking out, including the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, events at the BMO Stadium, and Magic Johnson Park.


Compton has its own stop on the LA Metro public transit system.

©HanSangYoon/ CC BY-SA 4.0 - Original

The Compton neighborhood is east of South Central and has similar crime rates. Compton is known for its high levels of gang activity as well as gun violence and drug activity. It has a long history within Los Angeles as one of the oldest parts of the city. Compton was founded in 1888 and was influential in the development and culture of the other areas that popped up around it. Compton is also the home of many celebrities, including Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Venus and Serena Williams, as well as numerous others.


The Watts Towers were built by Sabado “Simon” Rodia over 33 years out of steel, concrete, and wire mesh with tile, glass, and shells inlaid in the designs.

©Moe.217/ CC BY-SA 4.0 - Original

A small neighborhood within South Central, Watts has high crime rates within a small area. The Watts Towers are an art installation in this area that dates back to the 1950s when they were completed after over 30 years of construction. They are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In August 1965, the Watts Riots occurred after an altercation between a Watts resident and the local police led to accusations of police brutality. The crime rates in Watts have improved since the 1990s, but the area can still be dangerous.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park highlights its vibrant arts culture with murals on the sides of buildings and the Hyde Park metro stop.

©Jengod/ CC BY-SA 4.0 - Original

The neighborhood of Hyde Park joined Los Angeles in 1923 but it was founded in 1887 as a railway stop. Even though the neighborhood has higher crime rates, it’s still a vibrant and interesting community. Destination Crenshaw on Crenshaw Boulevard is an open-air arts and culture museum that showcases the history of the area. It is still under construction but promises to be a hot spot with community spaces, art installations, and murals, as well as local businesses.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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