Los Angeles: The Safety Guide

BY Liam Casey

Los Angeles: The Safety Guide


As far as big cities go, L.A. is relatively safe, but like anywhere, common sense is key in not making yourself vulnerable. While there has been a decades-long trend in American cities of decreasing violent crime, L.A. included, LAPD reported a 31 percent increase in homicides in 2020, and a 50 percent increase in people wounded by gun violence; 2021 witnessed a continuation of this shift. Thefts and burglaries can occur almost anywhere: Hollywood, which has thousands of oblivious tourists on any given day, is fertile for pickpocketing; some of the most high-profile burglaries have occurred in upscale neighbourhoods like Hancock Park or Pacific Palisades. Most experts agree these upticks are related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic fallout which has rendered more people desperate.

It’s not uncommon to see local gang graffiti tags—like MS-13—sprayed on walls or buildings. The 18th Street Gang, one of the largest in L.A. County, is reportedly responsible for at least one robbery or assault a day. While Los Angeles has been colloquially known as the “Gang Capital of the World”, the reality is that overt gang violence does not shape the lives of many Angelenos, and depending on where you are, is a distant concept.

Be cautious when drinking in public: you can get a fine of potentially $1,000. Jaywalking is rarely enforced, but you should be careful considering the volume of cars speeding down streets. On average, some 250 people a year die in traffic accidents. In a Los Angeles Department of Transportation brief from 2019, female respondents that identify as Latinx, Black, or Asian, are more likely than those that identify as white to feel unsafe on public transportation.

If you're planning to visit Los Angeles, have a look at our local guides to discover where to go.