One of the best things about Los Angeles is the night life. People from around the world flock to Tinsel town to visit the bars, clubs and restaurants that have been made famous on Hollywood films.
However, whenever you’re out in a new city – particularly if you are drinking – it is important to stay safe. We are about to give you the lowdown on nightlife safety in Los Angeles so you’ll only have good stories to take back home.
Crime in almost every city in the world increases at night time, so you need to use common sense and be alert when you head out in Los Angeles. The same types of crime happen in LA as most places, including drink spiking, theft and violence.
By sticking to safe areas and not wandering away from places you feel comfortable with, you will minimize your risk of being involved in crime. You are safest when you are inside a venue, so avoid going between bars or clubs if possible.
When you want to enjoy a night out the last thing you want is to be concerned about your safety. If you plan your nights around areas that are known to be safe for tourists, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.
Typically the safest areas of LA are those that are affluent and relatively unpopulated when compared to the crowded inner city. Most tourist areas fall under these categories.
Affluent beach neighborhoods such as Malibu are very safe at night. There are rarely any serious crimes (there has only been one murder in the past 10 years), with general drunkenness usually being as bad as it gets.
The east San Fernando Valley, with neighborhoods such as Burbank and Toluca Lake, is also very safe to head out in.
Famous tourist areas such as Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades (all part of The West Side area) are considered to be some of the safest areas at night. Not only are they safe but some of the best clubs and bars are located there – so it’s a good night all round!
Places To Avoid
Los Angeles can be a wonderful city, but there are many parts of it that most people will agree are dangerous. They are particularly dangerous if you are not a local as you will be unaware of the risks.
It is known that Los Angeles is an under-policed city, with just under 500 people per police officer, so naturally there are areas that are less safe than others.
The notorious gangs of Los Angeles tend to hang in certain areas, which are definitely to be avoided at nighttime and during the day. Gang plagued areas are easily recognized by run-down buildings, graffiti and abandoned cars – so if you accidentally stumble across an area like this always get out immediately. Serious crimes are much more common in these areas.
South Central Los Angeles is also a no-go area at night (and during the day). Murders are very common in this area (over 600 since 2007) and although tourists are rarely involved, it is certainly not an area you want to be hanging around in.
You should follow similar advice for east Los Angeles and the rest of the downtown area. The general rule is to head out to the less-populated areas on the edge of the city. The more affluent an area, the safer it usually is
Nightlife in Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard
A huge amount of nightlife, particularly tourist-oriented, is situated in and around the famous Hollywood area. Although it is not an area you need to avoid, you do need to act with caution as it is always very crowded. With the crowds comes an increased risk of pickpockets and theft – so always hold your belongings close and stay alert.
Before you head out on the town, take these safety tips into consideration.
- Always carry enough cash to get a cab home, even if you think you want to walk back.
- Carry the number of a local taxi company on you – ask your hotel for a number before you leave.
- Never accept drinks from strangers, unless you have seen the bartender pour it.
- You are in a strange place, so avoid drinking as much as you might back at home. The more you drink the more danger you are putting yourself in.
- Avoid running a bar tab with your credit card as many people have access to these cards while the bar is holding onto it.
- Don’t get involved in a fight – always walk away.
- Avoid being on your own – try to stay in at least two’s.
- Write out directions and a plan of where you’re going before you leave – avoid travelling into new areas as they could be dangerous.
- Ladies, carry a bag that you can hold all night so you don’t need to leave it unattended.
In the USA, the number for emergency services is 911, which is a free call from any payphone. If you have a non-emergency, such as your car has been broken into, call 311.
The Traveler’s Aid hotline, which can put you through to your local consulate, is 211.
About the Author: Zac Grace is a travel blogger and Jet Ski lover. This post was written by Zac on behalf of Virgin Australia.