On the footstep of Los Angeles, the city of Long Beach is its smaller, beachside cousin.
It’s home to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and hosted part of of the 1932 Summer Olympics.
There are many reasons to go and visit Long Beach for a vacation, but there is some speculation to how safe it is.
Long Beach is a relatively safe city as long as you avoid certain areas and keep your wits about you. Long Beach does not come up on lists of California’s most dangerous cities and reading through its crime stats may seem daunting, but it’s quite safe compared to other cities in the state.
The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) breaks down its crime rating more specifically than many other cities.
Their report lists ten different subsections of property crime and four for violent crime.
The police department has an interactive map that plots crime incidents across the city.
There is hardly a section of the map that is not filled in, though there are some small gaps without reported incidents.
Long Beach Crime Stats
Here are the crime stats for 2019 and 2020 according to the Long Beach Police Department:
Following these numbers, it means that you have a 1 in 62 chance of being a victim of a crime.
The most common property crimes are (in descending order):
- petty theft (of less than $50)
- grand theft auto
- auto burglary
The most common violent crimes are (in descending order):
- aggressive assault
The statistics for violent crimes fluctuate year to year and, since 2016, have had a general decrease by about 7%, despite going up some years and down others.
(Related: The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California)
Neighborhoods To Avoid
Crime Grade is an interactive map that charts crime per 1,000 people.
Green neighborhoods are considered safe, given an A grade, and red are considered dangerous, given an F.
The more dangerous the neighborhood gets, it fades from green to yellow to orange to red.
According to the map and after cross referencing with AreaVibes, the neighborhoods that you want to avoid are:
- Downtown (998 crimes /100k people)
- Poly High District / Cambodia Town (852 crimes /100k people)
- Wilmington (757 crimes /100k people)
- Area surronding the airport (700 crimes /100k people)
- Wrigley (672 crimes /100k people)
- North West Long Beach (583 crimes /100k people)
Is Downtown Long Beach Safe?
Though a popular tourist destination with plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants – even the aquarium – Downtown isn’t rated very highly on the safe neighborhood list.
Residents don’t seem to think it’s dangerous, though. The best bet is that if you’re vacationing here, be sure to keep your wits about you and not be a clueless tourist or easy target. Also be weary when walking around at night.
Which Neighborhoods Are Safe?
According to actual residents, safe neighborhoods include:
- Los Altos
- Belmont Shore
- El Dorado Park
- Carson Park
- Lakewood Village
- Old Lakewood City
They include Bixby Knolls on their list, but the map mixes the area in green, yellow, and orange.
Other green neighborhoods according to the Crime Grade map are:
- South of Conant
- East Side
- North Long Beach
- Rancho Estates
- Bixby Village
- Alamitos Heights
What Do Residents Say About Long Beach?
Reviews are mixed when you ask actual residents how they feel about Long Beach.
One Reddit thread goes back and forth between opinions. Some people say they love it. Whether born and raised or new to CA, they think any city has its cons but that Long Beach has enough pros that it’s worth it.
Others disagree. They do support the stereotype that Long Beach can be a dangerous place.
One recommends not leaving your bike anywhere, ever, if you value it.
Quite a few joke about having to pick a gang side once you move in. Despite their jokes, they still live there, though.
The most recent estimates put its population at 462,628 residents, the majority of which are not criminals and lead normal lives there. It’s up to you to decide which faction to listen to.
Is It Safe At Night?
In high crime cities like San Bernardino, residents themselves warn about going out at night.
For Long Beach, however, no one seems to mention staying in. Going out at night in the city shouldn’t be much different from any other big city.
The same guidance for Downtown comes with going out at night: just be smart and you should stay safe.
Is It Safe To Visit Alone?
Long Beach isn’t a very public transport-friendly city, visiting it alone may not be the best idea.
Unless you’re renting a car, it’s hard to get around Long Beach, let alone closer to tourist destinations and greater Los Angeles.
You could try to navigate the bus system, but be careful not to get lost in an unfamiliar city.
Tips For Staying Safe
Long Beach PD have a whole page of links to various safety tips based on situation. They’re mostly helpful for residents wanting to protect themselves from identity theft, burglary, hate crimes, scams, and your business. As a visitor, safety tips are pretty straight forward:
- Don’t walk alone at night or in unknown neighborhoods.
- Always lock anything: your accommodation, your car, etc.
- Let friends or family know your plans. Even if they’re not in the city, they’ll know where you meant to be in case something bad happens.
- Don’t get drunk alone. No matter how confident you are in yourself, an unfamiliar city is not a safe place to be inebriated in.
Long Beach is a city like any other in that it will have its potential dangers. Its crime statistics shouldn’t scare you away from visiting, though. As long as you exercise caution when visiting you should be able to have a very nice visit.