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Downtown LA safety

  1. Nov 15, 2009 #1
    I plan to visit Los Angeles around New Year and was picking a hotel when i ran across articles that recommended staying away from downtown LA because of safety concerns(especially at night-time). I read about South Central and know it is one of the most dangerous places in the US(because of gang violence, shootings, etc), but i was never aware that downtown LA was dangerous after 5p.m. I read a lot of conflicting opinions - from it's very dangerous(you're gonna get killed at night to it's way over-rated). Does anyone have first-hand experience and which areas are to be avoided. I am travelling with my wife and 3-year old daughter. Is the Westside around Culver city safe?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
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  3. Nov 15, 2009 #2

    Ben Niehoff

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    Downtown LA is about as dangerous as any large city. Sure, there are occasional muggings, but the actual gang violence is mostly in South Central, not Downtown. Just take some standard precautions and you'll be fine (keep together as a group, don't wander around with your iPods hanging out, don't leave any items visible in your car, etc.). Note that the city of LA has gone to great lengths to "clean up" downtown, to make it a place to be proud of again. I think it is carefully defended. There isn't much to do there, though...most of the nightlife is in Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, and West Hollywood (which are also fairly safe, and West Hollywood is fairly gay).

    Westside is the posh neighborhood. I think you'll have no worries there. However, in my opinion, standard precautions apply no matter where you go.

    Culver City is a bit of a mix. There are some nice parts, and some less nice parts. In general, it gets less nice as you go further south (i.e., closer to LAX).
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  4. Nov 15, 2009 #3
    I don't think it's any more dangerous than any other big city's urban zone. Of course, if you're from a small town, and have little/no experience with such places, it can be intimidating. (Walking past the occasional transvestite freaks out some people. :biggrin:)

    Generally speaking, "downtown" Los Angeles is almost exclusively a "9 to 5" business area. There are a handful of tourist spots (e.g., http://www.olvera-street.com/" [Broken].)

    Culver City is fine, but there's not much to it. "The Westside" is generic for a huge portion of L.A., so I can't say much without more specifics.

    I've lived most of my life here. I'm more of an outdoors person, but my sister is definitely a city gal. Between the two of us, we can answer any questions you have. Feel free to ask here, or PM me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Nov 15, 2009 #4
    FYI: A few years ago, the city council officially renamed "South Central" to "South L.A."
     
  6. Nov 15, 2009 #5

    Monique

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    I'm European and I can tell you that I wouldn't recommend staying in downtown LA. I don't know where you're from and how much you know about the city layout, but downtown LA is mainly a business center. I did enjoy visiting the China town, but that is about it.

    *edit* just to clarify, I had great expectations of downtown areas of cities such as Detroit or LA, but the way the cities are laid out are just completely different than what I was used to.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2009 #6

    Moonbear

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    Yes, often in the US, the "downtown" of a city is the business district, or location of things like the courthouse, police station and post office, not necessarily the fun, touristy part with things to do at night.
     
  8. Nov 15, 2009 #7
    Get a hotel on Redondo or Venice beach
     
  9. Nov 15, 2009 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    Parts of downtown L.A. are very dangerous especially after sundown (you don't want to be anywhere near skid row - my last jury duty involved trial for a skid row stabbing) but if you've got a car and you're staying in a good hotel in a good area, it shouldn't be a problem. I think staying downtown would be pretty boring, though. Most people stay there when they are on business travel, visiting for a convention.

    I never go into South Central area at any time of day. Even driving through the far outskirts of that area gives me the willies!

    Culver City is nice, has a remodeled downtown area, great places to eat, and a new mall. (If you stay there, you might check out doing a tour of Sony studios). Santa Monica rocks, but it will cost you a little more to stay there. (if you do visit Santa Monica, check out 3rd street promenade). Marina del Rey is a very safe area, but it has no night life (if you like boats, pelicans, and sea lions, it's the place to be - I highly recommend the $11 harbor tour at Fisherman's Village) .

    Sometimes you can get decent deals on the hotels on the Westside - watch out for the parking charges, though - sometimes they are as high as $30/day and they might not tell you that when you make your reservation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  10. Nov 15, 2009 #9

    mgb_phys

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    If you are in LA the one 'must do' is brunch at the Queen Mary in Long Beach - 30min drive south
    (it's about $30 you might have to make reservations at holidays)
     
  11. Nov 17, 2009 #10
    I don't think there is much I could say that has not already been said.
    The issue of safety is slightly over blown, of course if you happen to be someone who gets mugged or have your car broken into you're not going to consider it all that over blown.

    Not that long ago there was an issue in Culver with a hotel allowing several sex offenders to live there. That was about a year ago now and should have been taken care of. They were also likely staying in a run down "crack motel" so as long as you stay in nicer places you should be fine. Just something to keep in mind though. If you are not used to prices around here you might think that $50-$60 a night is mid range. It's not. That would be a cheap motel. For a relatively nice hotel (where you wont see hookers and druggies) you are looking at probably $80-$90 minimum.

    As far as staying away from the bad areas it is pretty easy to tell which ones are the bad areas. If you see lots of people that look like gangsters, homeless, and druggies you are probably in a bad area. Note that people do dress in the "gangster fashion" that are not gangsters. If the clothes they are wearing are nice and relatively new then you probably don't have much to worry about. Depending you may also want to look out for skinheads. They tend to live in middle class areas more than poor areas. If you are not much familiar with skinheads aside from shaved heads they tend to wear black military style boots (usually red or white laces), dickies pants usually cut off, flight jackets, white "wife beater" tank tops, and red bracers (suspenders). Of course they don't always dress this way but if they have big tattoos of swastikas, the nazi eagle, or SS bolts then you can be fairly certain of what they are.

    As already mentioned don't leave things lying in plain sight in the vehicle when you leave it. That includes during the day; no purses, ipods, or even cheap disc man cd players. Also make sure that if your vehicle has a GPS navigation system it can be removed and hidden someplace. Its one of the oddest things I have noticed at my work that people will leave expensive GPS nav systems in their car over night mounted right up there on the dash all lit up like a beacon for thieves. And definitely always make sure you know where you are going and have adequate directions for getting there. If you get lost and wind up in a bad neighbourhood it could take quite a while to find your way out.
     
  12. Nov 17, 2009 #11
    Just bring the 'heater' and you'll be ok :smile: Know what I'm saying?
     
  13. Nov 18, 2009 #12
    Thanks everyone, your advice is appreciated. I made a reservation at Radisson Westside on Centinela Avenue. Read a few good reviews and decided i would give it a go. We have our own share of crime here in Bulgaria(EU) but reading some newspaper/magazine articles, it seems our crimes are of different sorts. I've never felt afraid of being robbed or mugged day and night here, but as i said there is crime everywhere, including here in Varna. It's clear some countries/cities are worse than others - I couldn't fill my car up at a petrol station in London at 10pm, because the salesman had locked all doors and insisted we communicate through a whole in his bulletproof windows(at that time i was Hmmm, WTF??). I've been to Sri Lanka when the civil war wasn't over(military jets were lined up for take-off before our A330) and I am generally extremely tolerant towards adrenalin rush, this time though i am travelling with the kid and can't afford a wrong move. I've read there were nearly 2 billion people in prisons in the US at any time, it's amazing crime couldn't be contained to a very low level considering the harsh measures taken. As elsewhere, i presume it has to do with lack/insufficient education of minorities and decline of morals and values and the sales of guns/ammunitions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  14. Nov 18, 2009 #13

    BobG

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    The population of the US is 300 million, so the 2 billion people in prisons is probably incorrect. Actually, it's around 2 million or so (which is still incredibly high considering China only has about 1.5 million in their prisons).

    Your presumptions about why the prison population is nearly 7 times the free population are probably equally wrong unless you have some statistics that show some kind of correlation between crime rates and gun sales, show how the education of minorities is different than the education of whites, and define your morals and values and explain how the US fails to meet your personal standards.

    If you're travelling with the kid and can't afford to make a wrong move, it might be worth humbling yourself a little and to avoid offending the natives by calling them all uneducated, depraved criminals.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  15. Nov 18, 2009 #14

    It's a typo(obvoiusly not billions LOL). Data was taken from here:

    "It is perhaps not surprising then, that the United States, with its current population approaching 304 million people, also "leads the world in producing prisoners": 2.3 million of them and climbing."

    This survey puts the US as number one in prisoners per capita in the world:

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri_per_cap-crime-prisoners-per-capita

    It was a typo. Obviously.

    Sure but I did not offend anyone, unless you consider admitting that not everyone gets proper education "offence"(evidently a failure of the system, not of the population). I also said "as elsewhere" meaning that things aren't that much different between countries.

    Anyway, this thread served its purpose. Talk on crime should be directed to another thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  16. Nov 18, 2009 #15

    mgb_phys

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    That's probably how many the prison dept is claiming for from the treasury.

    This is LA, that's almost complimentary compared to what the rest of the country call them.
     
  17. Nov 18, 2009 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    There are only two reasons that I would go to SC LA. The first was work. We had some hospitals in that area that we serviced [mobile CTs]. The only other thing that could get me there was the need for killer tripe tacos. :biggrin:

    Having grown up around LA gang bangers, beyond the comments already made, the best advice that I can give is to never look a gang member in the eye. If you see a gang coming your way, look away. Eye-to-eye contact is as good as a challenge.

    I lived in LA for most of 30 years. The only really bad stuff happened to me when I was in school. As an adult it is pretty easy to avoid any problems if one uses a little sense. On the flip side, I once met a fellow engineer who had traveled the globe for many years. He told me that LA was the most dangerous place he had ever been. Considering that we were in Jersey at the time, that's saying something!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  18. Nov 18, 2009 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Given that Britain banned personal firearms long ago, why do they have bullet-proof glass at gas stations?
     
  19. Nov 18, 2009 #18

    Monique

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    Because it is also resistant to impact with baseball bats or other weapons. These gas station attendants are often sitting by themselves in the middle of the night. Besides that, criminal people probably have access to illegal weapons.
     
  20. Nov 18, 2009 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    Ah. So you are saying that when firearms are illegal, only the criminals have them. :biggrin:
     
  21. Nov 18, 2009 #20

    mgb_phys

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    Longbow robberies - it worked at Crecy and Agincourt so they aren't taking any chances
     
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