Is Los Angeles safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Los Angeles is a world-class city and the heart of Southern California. It’s the second most populous city in the US after New York, home to roughly 3.86 million people. It used to be merely a large village but has become an important center of commerce and tourism, attracting approximately 35 million tourists each year.
Also known as The City of Angels, Los Angeles is a premier tourist destination known to the world. It’s where you’ll find the iconic Hollywood Sign perched on a steep hillside in Griffith Park. Some of the nation’s top attractions also call the city home, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Universal Studios Hollywood, the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and many more. While it’s a fantastic city to explore no matter the season, the peak period to visit Los Angeles is from March to October due to the warm, pleasant temperatures and clear, blue skies.
Visiting Los Angeles can be an exciting experience with so much to do and see in the city. However, it’s easy to get too caught up in the thrill that you forget about travel security. To protect your belongings, leave them with Bounce luggage storage in Los Angeles. Once your items are secured, you can explore with peace of mind and less burden. We’ve also compiled valuable information and tips on Los Angeles safety to make your trip memorable for all the right seasons.
Is Los Angeles safe to visit right now?
You’ve probably heard the news about gang violence and violent crimes in many cities in the US that make you wonder, “is Los Angeles safe?” The answer to that question is yes! In fact, it received a very high overall score of 76.5 on the 2021 Safe Cities Index, making it the 18th-safest city among 60 cities worldwide. That’s a huge feat, considering its size.
There are certain things beyond your control, like the weather, but Los Angeles natural disasters aren’t high-risk concerns, and it rarely rains there. There are also no travel restrictions for visitors. The only impending dangers you might want to be aware of in this huge city are petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching, so practice caution and always stay alert.
While there’s no such thing as a perfect Los Angeles safety guide, we’ll do our best to provide the necessary security advice and tips to help you enjoy the safest trip to L.A. Do additional research, especially if you’re an inexperienced traveler. But whether experienced or not, we recommend you check your government's official travel guidelines for the city and country you're visiting as part of your travel preparations.
Top petty crimes and scams in Los Angeles affecting tourists
Los Angeles isn’t just about glitz and glamour. Beyond the famous Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which is the home of the stars, are scammers and thieves looking for an opportunity to take advantage of unwary tourists. You can reduce your risk of being a victim by knowing the potential dangers waiting for you in the city and ways to protect yourself and your belongings.
There has been a surge of pickpocketing in the City of Angels in 2022. According to police data, the number of pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and pick-purse cases in the city in the first five months has already exceeded the total of incidents in any of the previous years. Women are more likely to become victims of these crimes, and there are more cases during holiday weeks.
While appreciating L.A.’s attractions, remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Don’t make yourself an easy target by looking like a tourist and being distracted. Be mindful of everyone around you, and be suspicious if someone ‘accidentally’ bumps into you, as it could be the pickpocket’s way to distract and steal something from you. To be completely safe, leave your valuables in a Bounce luggage locker and only carry a small purse you should place in front of your body. Avoid putting your cell phone or wallet in your back pocket.
For a popular city, Los Angeles is not immune to scams, and there are different types of fraudulent behaviors aimed at tourists. One is when a local asks you to take a picture of them. When you return the camera, they will purposely drop it. They will blame you for breaking it and demand payment. Refuse taking anyone’s picture unless you’re sure they’re not locals.
Taxis overcharging is another tourist trap to avoid by checking that the meter is working before hopping in. Map out your journey, especially if you're coming from Los Angeles International Airport, so you have an idea of how long your trip should take and how much it would cost.
There’s a high risk of being mugged in Los Angeles by gang members, especially for people displaying their high-value items in public, including expensive bags, jewelry, and watches. The troubling trend in Los Angeles called follow-home is plaguing some high-end places in the city. It’s when thieves follow victims from nightclubs, the Jewelry District, and luxury restaurants, targeting their valuables.
Residents and visitors are warned to be cautious and check their surroundings for anything out of the ordinary before exiting stores, buildings, or cars. Avoid displaying your valuables, and call 911 if you notice someone following you.
Is Los Angeles safe to travel alone
Solo travelers exploring Los Angeles can have peace of mind because it’s a safe city to travel to on your own. As the second-largest city in the United States—a safe country ranking 32nd in the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index— Los Angeles boasts a secure environment for women to visit.
In any case, Los Angeles wouldn't receive tens of millions of annual visitors if it weren't safe for tourists. While there’s a low risk for solo female travelers in Los Angeles, you should still avoid poorly lit streets, deserted areas, and unsafe neighborhoods at night. Like in any place or big city, women are more vulnerable to crimes, whether violent crimes or petty offenses. Don’t walk around alone at night, and avoid displaying your wealth. Be confident and recognize all potential safety hazards to reduce risks.
Safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is generally safe, considering its size, and features elegant neighborhoods and family-friendly districts where you’ll feel safe throughout your stay. However, it’s not without its fair share of dangerous neighborhoods. Below are some of the safest Los Angeles neighborhoods worth discovering and shady areas you might want to stay away from during your trip.
Found at the foothill of the Santa Monica Mountains is an affluent residential community of Bel Air. Bel Air, along with Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills, makes up what’s known as Los Angeles’ Platinum Tringle, providing a safe haven for wealthy people, the elites, and celebrities. Crime here is rare, especially violent crimes, with a crime index 60 percent lower than the regional average, making it safer than most Los Angeles neighborhoods.
An eclectic mix of residents in Los Angeles lives in Los Feliz. It’s a celebrity-packed community that perfectly blends nature with urban development. It sits between Silver Lake and Hollywood, not far from the city’s top attractions and the main action. Visitors can take a breather in one of America’s biggest urban parks and hit the trails of Griffith Park or enjoy its nightlife and shopping opportunities.
A prestigious L.A. neighborhood, Brentwood is one of California’s best places to live. Not only is it due to its safety, but also because of the lovely services and offerings it has. It is nestled between Santa Monica and Westwood on the Westside, featuring lush garden pastures, trendy restaurants, and high-style boutiques. It provides a peaceful and tranquil escape where you can connect with nature.
Now that you know the places to go, it’s time to discuss the places you should resist visiting, especially when traveling alone. These include Skid Row, a gang-dominated area with many homeless people, and South Los Angeles, formerly South Central. It is known for its high crime rate, mainly influenced by drug trafficking and gang violence.
Is Los Angeles public transportation safe?
Los Angeles takes pride in its public transportation networks, including buses, shuttles, subways, and light rails. They are connected to virtually every corner of the Greater Los Angeles area. It is well-maintained, clean, and, more important, safe. Considering how many people ride public transportation in L.A. every day and how massive the Metro system is, your chance of becoming a victim of a crime here is pretty low.
But due to the amount of traffic, you’ll meet different types of individuals. You might encounter someone who is aggressive, yells a lot, is mentally ill, or is inebriated, but that’s also uncommon. Avoid riding the Metro late at night and use utmost safety protection. Rideshares and taxis are also available and have a lower safety risk.
Important emergency numbers in Los Angeles
You should be able to contact the right authorities for help during an emergency or if you feel you’re in imminent danger. Save a list of emergency numbers on your phone and ensure you’re aware of your embassy number when using your phone in Los Angeles.
- US Country code: +1
- Los Angeles area codes: 310, 424
- Emergency hotline: 911
- Police (Non-Emergency): 877-275-5273
- Police (TDD Service): 800-660-4026
- City Services: 311
- LA City Emergency Management Department (EMD): 213-484-4800
Travel safely in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of Southern California. It’s also one of the country’s top tourist destinations, so it only makes sense that the nation does its best to ensure travelers enjoy a fun and trouble-free visit to the city.
While it’s not perfect, Los Angeles is safe to explore and discover with proper preparation and safety precaution. If you need help navigating this big city, get navigating tips on How to Get Around Los Angeles. We’ve also compiled valuable information on the best accommodation in our guide on Where to Stay in Los Angeles: The Ultimate Guide.