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Is Long Beach Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Long Beach Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Long Beach safe to visit?

Yes, you can visit Long Beach safely, but keep your wits about you. The city’s crime rate is a bit high, partly because it’s a tourist spot. Also, watch out for natural concerns like earthquakes and polluted beaches. Just use common sense and check the latest safety tips, especially if you’re planning to hit the beach.

Long Beach in California is one of the most popular destinations for a coastal vacation, especially for families. The town has many popular attractions, including ones that are attractive to kids.

You can visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, with one of the best collections of marine wildlife in the world, or the retired Queen Mary ocean liner to see how people once traveled. Of course, spending time on the beach is a must while in town, whether you head to El Dorado Nature Park or walk along Long Beach Waterfront.

Long Beach is a popular vacation destination, but before you head there, you probably want to know if it’s safe to visit, especially if you are planning on taking your kids there. Keep on reading to learn more about how to stay safe while visiting.

Is Long Beach Safe to Visit?

Lighthouse with palm trees on either side of a sidewalk leading to the beach pictured for a guide titled is Long Beach safe to visit

Curioso Photography/Shutterstock

Long Beach is safe to visit, but it’s not the kind of place where you can completely turn your street smarts off while walking around town. It has some problems, such as crime.

Long Beach has a moderately high crime rate. According to some crime aggregators, Long Beach has a higher crime rate than most other communities of its size.

The total crime rate is 31.68 incidents per 1,000 residents, which is higher than in 91% of communities in the United States. However, the way we calculate crime rates isn’t fair towards popular tourist destinations such as Long Beach.

Crimes are often committed against tourists and are counted in the city’s crime total, but then are divided just by the number of permanent residents, not visitors. This means tourist destinations such as Long Beach have disproportionately high crime rates.

Common crimes that occur in Long Beach include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Bag snatching
  • Mugging
  • Vehicle theft

Keep in mind that although Long Beach is a popular tourist destination, it’s not just a tourist town. It’s also a city with one of the country’s largest cargo ports, meaning it has all of the problems a city may have, including crime.

As long as you use basic common sense precautions when walking around town, you should be safe. Like many parts of California, Long Beach is vulnerable to natural disasters.

Although fires haven’t come close to the city recently, frequent wildfires in Southern California affect the air quality and other safety factors. Long Beach is also located close to the fault lines in California and experiences frequent earthquakes, although most are very minor.

Read up on earthquake safety procedures before going. You can also look at a website such as Earthquake Track to help you see if there are higher than usual levels of seismic activity.

If you are coming to Long Beach with the goal of swimming in the ocean, keep in mind that the stretch of shore along Long Beach is one of the most polluted in Southern California, in part thanks to the presence of the port close by.

There are periodic algae blooms or times of high pollution when swimming isn’t safe, especially close to storm drains or runoff areas. Check the official Long Beach city website, which has recent samples, to know if it is safe to go swimming.

Crime in Long Beach

Historic Belmont Pier in Long Beach pictured for a guide to whether or not the city is safe to visit

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Crime is one of the most common problems you will encounter in Long Beach. Like any city of its size, it has its fair share of crime. The Long Beach Police Department publishes official crime statistics that offer a snapshot of what the situation in the city is like.

According to crime statistics from 2023, most crimes committed in Long Beach are property crimes, which make up 65.8% of total crimes committed. The most common type of property crime is motor vehicle theft, which makes up about 20% of the total property crimes committed in the city.

This is followed by petty theft (although the basic statistics don’t differentiate between theft from people and theft from businesses), which makes up 18.6% of total property crimes committed in Long Beach.

Unfortunately, the proportion of violent crime is also fairly high in Long Beach. Violent crime makes up about 30% of the total crimes committed in the city.

The most common violent crime is simple assault, which makes up about 55% of total violent crimes committed, followed by aggravated assault, which makes up about 27% of total crimes committed. That said, there are some positive trends.

There were only 26 murders in the city in all of 2023, which is low considering it is a city of several hundred thousand people. Plus, violent crime has been declining over the past few decades, showing that it’s becoming safer over time.

Petty Theft

As in most other tourist areas, petty theft is a crime you can expect to see in Long Beach. Hotspots for petty theft tend to be in areas popular among tourists, such as Downtown Long Beach and the waterfront.

The same common sense precautions you would take anywhere else apply also in Long Beach. Make sure that you don’t leave your purse or bag unattended anywhere. A moment’s inattention at the wrong time could mean someone gets away with your belongings.

You also don’t want to put your phone, ID, or wallet anywhere where you can easily get pickpocketed. Putting your wallet in the back pocket of your jeans is a big no-no, as is leaving your phone on the table when you are in a restaurant or café.

Make sure to keep important items zipped and out of sight as you walk around town. Since thieves sometimes target tourists while out and about, make sure to try to blend in with the locals. Walk with purpose, and don’t hold maps open in public.

Motor Vehicle Theft

Car theft is the most common type of crime in Long Beach, so it pays to be careful when visiting. The best way to protect against car theft is to avoid bringing your car to Long Beach.

The city has reasonably good public transportation, and most of its infrastructure is fairly compact, so you don’t need a car if you are just coming on a short trip. If you have to bring your car, make sure you park it in a secure place.

Book accommodations with secure garages or parking spots. Don’t leave your car on the street in a sketchy neighborhood overnight.

Make sure you lock the doors and use other anti-theft precautions, such as a steering wheel lock. Theft from vehicles is also fairly common, even if your car itself won’t get stolen.

Don’t leave any valuables, including small items such as loose change, rattling around your car. Don’t leave bags in your car while sightseeing or after you go shopping. If you have to leave anything in your car, make sure that it isn’t visible from outside.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Homeless people in tents along the street in Long Beach for a piece on how to stay safe when visiting

Long Beach / USA/ 03/09/2020 Beach in the Morning walking on the bike path/Saga Seeker/Shutterstock

Certain parts of Long Beach are at higher risk of crime than others, so knowing which areas to avoid is an important part of staying safe. Downtown Long Beach is great for exploring during the day but can get unsafe at night. Avoid it after dark.

The beach is also not the safest area after dark. The area around Long Beach Airport has some popular shopping areas but also some neighborhoods that are higher in crime.

Other neighborhoods where you should take additional precautions include:

  • Poly High
  • North Long Beach
  • Signal Hill

Things to Consider

Long exposure image of cars driving by the camera at night under a nice light sky with palm trees towering over the road

LONG BEACH, US – Jan 14, 2023: Long exposure shot of a busy city street at dusk in Long Beach, California, with multiple cars driving and headlights illuminating the road/Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

Here are some additional tips for visiting Long Beach:

  • Long Beach has a high homeless population. The vast majority of people who are homeless are just down on their luck and looking to live their lives in peace. Areas where there are many homeless people, such as downtown, can get sketchy after dark, but just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean that they’re a criminal.
  • Be careful of scam calls. This problem is widespread throughout the United States, including Long Beach. Scammers will pose as city officials and demand personal information, which you should never give out over the phone.
  • Research the neighborhoods. The safety varies greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, so ask your host or a local friend for advice on which areas to avoid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gorgeous orange sky over the Naples Canal pictured with boats on the water for a piece titled Is Long Beach Safe to Visit

Marcus E Jones/Shutterstock

These common questions can also help you understand the safety of your trip to Long Beach:

Is Long Beach safe to walk around at night?

While some parts of Long Beach are safe to walk around at night, you shouldn’t take risks. Outside of well-lit areas with plenty of other people around, take a taxi.

Is Long Beach, California, worth visiting?

If you’re in the area, Long Beach is worth visiting, thanks to its spectacular aquarium and growing food and culture scene.

Is Long Beach a nice part of LA?

Long Beach is part of Los Angeles County but not the city itself. It is one of the most livable parts of the county, far away from the noise of the city itself.

Is Long Beach safe to raise a family?

Long Beach is a family-friendly city and safe for raising a family. Just make sure that you research neighborhoods ahead of time and stick to those that are safe.

Where in Long Beach is safe?

Some of Long Beach’s safest neighborhoods are Bixby Knolls, El Dorado Park, and Los Altos. Ask a local for advice about which neighborhoods are safe.

So, Is Long Beach Safe to Visit?

Long Beach is fairly safe to visit, although you should be careful of petty crimes. Secure your valuables, including your car, against theft, and you should be fine. Happy travels!