Is Los Angeles safe to visit in 2024?
In Los Angeles, the assault rate stands at 463.3 incidents per 100,000 people, higher than the national average, with theft being the most common crime. Despite a rise in crime in 2022, 2023 statistics indicate a decrease in violent crimes like rape and robbery.
While certain areas have higher crime rates, most locals feel safe, and the city’s crime-ridden reputation is often amplified by outdated perceptions and pop culture.
Los Angeles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Nearly 50 million people visit each year, according to statistics from the city itself.
Most people are drawn to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood (including the famous Hollywood sign), Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive, the types of sites you see in movies.
Los Angeles is also a great city to visit for arts and culture, with stunning museums such as The Getty and attractions like the beautiful Griffith Observatory. No trip to Los Angeles is complete without some shopping and dining — be sure to try some authentic Mexican food while you are in town.
A trip to Los Angeles is certainly a trip to remember. However, you don’t want to accidentally put yourself in danger by going to a new destination unprepared, especially one that is a big city.
This detailed travel guide can help you prepare for anything you might encounter in Los Angeles. Keep reading for more information about safety challenges, including crime.
Is Los Angeles Safe to Visit in 2024?
Yes. Los Angeles is safe to visit! In fact, according to some metrics, it is the safest big city in the United States.
That being said, it is still a big city and still has some of the problems you might encounter in any big city, such as crime. Los Angeles is not just one of the prettiest cities in the United States thanks to its palm trees and gorgeous location.
It is also one of the safest. It scores a 76.5 in the 2021 edition of The Economist’s Safe Cities Index. The only U.S. cities that score higher are New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
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Of course, Los Angeles has crime, just like any big city. Common crimes that occur in the city are:
- Petty theft
- Theft from vehicles
- Car theft
- Drug abuse
- Gang violence
Not all of these crimes are distributed equally throughout the city. Some neighborhoods have much higher crime rates than others. Other crimes are far more likely to affect locals than visitors, such as gang violence.
The important thing to remember is that Los Angeles is a huge city — one of the biggest in the world, in fact. It’s easy to stay out of trouble as long as you know which neighborhoods to avoid, or which streets are better not to walk down at night.
Besides crime, you have a few other things that you should keep in mind when visiting Los Angeles. The city lies on an active fault line, and earthquakes are common.
Los Angeles County has earthquake survival tips on its website. Before visiting Los Angeles, read up on basic survival tips. During a quake, drop low, take cover under a sturdy object such as a table, and hold on to something secure.
In recent years, California has suffered from severe wildfires every summer. Although most wildfires start in remote rural areas, some of them have reached the outskirts of Los Angeles before.
If you are traveling to Los Angeles during wildfire season, read local news to see if there is a risk of fires in the city. You may want to reschedule your trip if you have respiratory issues as the air quality becomes terrible.
Part of the draw of Los Angeles is that it is close to a lot of nature. Whether you choose to go hiking or swimming in the Pacific Ocean, make sure that you are following the right precautions to keep yourself safe.
When swimming, follow the advice of lifeguards and beware of riptides. When hiking, prepare for the sunny, hot weather with sunscreen and water, and always let someone know of your plans.
Los Angeles is mostly a safe city, but you shouldn’t be completely carefree during your vacation. Make sure that you take the right precautions to keep yourself safe during your visit.
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Crime in Los Angeles
Crime is probably your primary concern when visiting Los Angeles. Most big cities struggle with crime, and Los Angeles is no different. For most types, the crime rate in Los Angeles is higher than the national average.
For example, the assault rate is 463.3 incidents per 100,000 people, while the national assault rate is 282.7 incidents per 100,000 people. That makes sense because the national crime rate is calculated including small towns and rural areas with not a lot of crime, driving the national average down.
The most common crime in Los Angeles is theft, at a rate of 1,274.6 incidents per 100,000 people. Most incidents in Los Angeles are non-violent theft incidents.
Los Angeles suffered from an increase in crime in 2022. Overall, it rose by 11% that year. The overall crime rate was 60 incidents per 1,000 people. Social factors such as high rates of drug abuse contributed to this increase.
It’s important to note that crime rose across the United States in 2022 as COVID-19 lockdowns ended, and this problem is not unique to Los Angeles.
According to more recent crime statistics from the LAPD, the prognosis is more optimistic. In early 2023, violent crime dropped by 3% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Rape and robbery rates decreased dramatically.
However, some violent crime rates, such as gun homicides and assault, are still high. Still, most locals feel safe in their city. According to a survey, 47% of people feel pretty safe in Los Angeles, while 36% feel at least somewhat safe.
There are still safety concerns, but if locals are not worrying, you shouldn’t panic either. The reputation of Los Angeles as a crime-ridden city is often greater than the actual crime statistics.
There are a few reasons for this. One is that people base their knowledge of Los Angeles on pop culture that will exaggerate the violence in the city for dramatic purposes, such as gangster rap.
Others are more familiar with the city during its peak crime levels back in the 1980s and 1990s, and don’t know that crime has declined since then. Many locals feel as if stereotypes of their city affect how people perceive them.
It is true that Los Angeles has a lot of impoverished neighborhoods, including a large homeless population, but just because a neighborhood is working-class does not mean that it is dangerous. Try to keep an open mind when you visit the city.
The most common crime you might encounter in Los Angeles is pickpocketing or other forms of petty theft. Other common forms of petty theft include bag snatching and theft from vehicles, but pickpocketing is the most common.
Pickpockets primarily operate around Los Angeles’s popular tourist destinations. Watch your bags around popular attractions such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame or Venice Beach.
Pickpockets are also prevalent in bars and nightclubs after dark, especially in swanky areas such as Hollywood. There are two important things you can do to prevent being victimized by a pickpocket.
The first is to make sure that your valuables are in a secure location where a thief can’t access them easily. Keep items that are irreplaceable, such as heirloom jewelry and your passport, in your hotel safe.
Put your phone, wallet, and ID in a zipped compartment of your bag, front pocket, or cross-body purse. The second trick is to make sure you don’t stand out to potential thieves.
Don’t wear expensive jewelry or clothes: you may be in Los Angeles, but a lot of locals have an understated sense of style. Don’t flash lots of cash or expensive items, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area.
Most people worry about being mugged or robbed when in Los Angeles. Robberies are more common in most American cities than plain pickpocketing, and a lot more traumatic if you go through them.
The good news is that robberies are not that common either in Los Angeles, especially if you take the right precautions. They tend to occur in more dangerous neighborhoods and not in areas that are popular with tourists.
Robberies also occur primarily at night. As long as you are careful with your movements after dark and save more risky trips for the day, you can avoid a lot of problems.
Avoid dangerous neighborhoods after dark (and research areas to avoid beforehand). Even if you are walking in “safe” areas, avoid poorly lit side streets or parks. Griffith Park is a wonderful attraction but can get sketchy at night.
You also don’t want to do anything that might attract the attention of potential robbers. Don’t take money out from an ATM at night, as you never know who might be watching and will now know that you have cash.
Try to take money out during the day and opt for places that allow you to pay with a card. Los Angeles may have world-famous nightlife, but you want to enjoy it responsibly.
Robbers often target people that have been drinking because they know that they will be carrying money to pay for L.A.’s notoriously expensive drinks and will have their wits dulled by alcohol. Don’t overdo your limits as that might make you vulnerable when getting home.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Avoiding bad areas is very important to staying safe in Los Angeles. Certain parts of the city have far higher crime rates than others, driving up the crime rate for the city overall.
Some neighborhoods with high crime rates include:
- South Central
- East L.A.
- Boyle Heights
Some areas that are safe to explore during the day are not that safe to visit after dark. Avoid L.A.’s parks and Venice Beach at night due to higher rates of crime, especially drug abuse.
Skid Row is Los Angeles’s notorious homeless encampment, and some say one of the largest encampments in the world.
It is located close to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the STAPLES Center. Avoid the encampment as many criminals use the local homeless population as cover for their crimes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions people have previously asked about L.A:
Is it safe to walk around LA at night?
Your safety in Los Angeles at night greatly depends on where you are. Main streets in safe neighborhoods such as Hollywood are pleasant, but avoid poorly lit areas, beaches, parks, and dangerous neighborhoods.
Is Los Angeles CA safe to live?
Los Angeles is safe to live in, which you can tell by the fact that millions of people live here and thousands more move to the city each year. It just depends on which neighborhood you pick to live in.
Is LA worth going to?
LA is absolutely worth going to, especially if you are a movie nerd. It is the center of entertainment, culture, and fashion as well as very beautiful.
Is Beverly Hills safe at night?
Beverly Hills is one of the safest and poshest areas of Los Angeles. This is true after dark as well (if you ignore some rowdy crowds on Sunset Boulevard).
Is LA or NYC safer?
New York City is actually safer than L.A. According to crime data, NYC has a lower crime rate than the Californian city.
Book Your Trip to Los Angeles Today!
You should take a few precautions when planning your trip to Los Angeles, just like you would when visiting any big city around the world. However, it is overall a mostly safe place to visit. Happy travels!