Is Compton Safe To Visit? (Crime Rates And Crime Stats)

Compton’s violent reputation was put into the national spotlight by the rap group NWA when they released ‘Straight Outta Compton’ in 1988. With it’s release, the city became synonymous with gang violence, drive-bys and murder. More than 30 years later, does the city still deserve its notorious reputation?

If you are thinking about visiting Compton and have qualms about the safety of the city, we go you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the city really is.

Compton Crime Stats

Looking at the crime statistics, Compton is a unsafe safe place to visit. In 2019, Compton had a violent crime rate of 1,142.41 incidents per 100,000 residents and it had a property crime rate of 2,427.62 per 100,000 residents. Out of the 100 most populous cities in the United States, Compton’s violent crime rate is the 14th highest.

is compton safe

Nashville, San Bernardino, Chicago, all have similar violent crime rates as Compton.

The national average for violent crime is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the national average for property crime is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents. Compton’ violent crime rate is MORE than 3 times the national average and its property crime rate is a little bit more than the national average.

Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Compton Murder Stats

In 2019 Compton reported 18 homicides, which gives it a murder rate of 18.63 per 100,000 residents.

The national murder rate is 5 per 100,000 people. Compton’s murder rate is more than 3.7 times more than the national average.

*Murder rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported murders by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000. In 2020 there were 54 murders in Compton and the population was 69.093. This equals a murder rate of 78.15 per 100,000 general population.

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in Compton for 2019 compared to 2018

  2018 2019 Percentage Change
Homicide 22 18 -18.18%
Rape 38 40 +5.26%
Robbery 424 427 +0.7%
Aggravated Assault 690 619 -10.28%
Burglary 362 334 -7.73%
Larceny/Theft 1,349 1,285 -4.74%
Motor Vehicle Theft 848 727 -14.26%

*All data is from the California FBI UCR Data

Compton vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States

Here’s a list of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rate. It can give you some perspective on Compton’s violent crime rate, which is 1,142.41 per 100,000 people.

Compton’s violent crime rate is 2.11 time LESS than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

City Population Number of violent crimes in 2020 Rate per 100,000 people
Memphis 633,104 15,310 2,418.24
Detroit 639,111 14,370 2,248.44
Baltimore 2,707,064 9,273 2,027.01
St. Louis 301,578 6,017 1,995.17
Little Rock 202,591 3,657 1,805.11
South Bend 103,453 1,765 1,706.09
Cleveland 372,624 6,281 1,685.61
Milwaukee 577,222 9,407 1,629.70
Kansas City 508,090 7,919 1,558.58
Lansing 112,644 1,699 1,508.29
Springfield 169,176 2,545 1,504.35

*All data is from the 2019 FBI Crime Stats Report**

Compton vs The Rest Of California

Here’s a table showing you violent crime rate and property crime rate of the top 10 most populous cities in the state of California.

Compton’s violent crime rate of 1,142.41, places it 2nd behind Oakland and its property crime rate places it 5th behind Sacramento.



Violent Crime Rate

Propery Crime Rate





Compton 96,638 1,142.41 2,427.62

Los Angeles




San Francisco








Long Beach








San Jose




Santa Ana




San Diego








*All data is from the 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Datasets

What do residents of Compton say about its safety

  1. "It is not as bad as it was in the 90’s. However, there are still parts that I wouldn’t want to be at night."
  2. "The crazy era is definitely over, but there is still elements of gang violence lingering."
  3. "Compton used to be way worse in the 80’s and 90’s. so its not as bad as it used to be."
  4. "It’s not that bad but there are a lot of gangs and their are very active. If you aren’t in a gang, you should be ok"
  5. "I wouldn’t drive through random blocks of the neighborhood slowly at night."
  6. "Compton has improved a lot over the years, but it is still considered dangerous especially at night. I would advise against walking down or driving through a residential street at night."
  7. "Compton gets a bad rap, it’s not that bad. I would rather be in Compton than South Central."
  8. "Don’t be wandering in any gang neighborhoods at night and you shouldn’t have any problems."
  9. "It’s not that bad anymore, safe at daytime at least."
  10. "Compton isn’t a nice area, but it’s fine if you’re aware of your surroundings and aren’t looking for trouble (drugs, gangs)"
  11. "Stay away from residential streets. No reason to be there"
  12. "It has vastly improved from those NWA days. Just be aware of your surroundings and use common sense."
  13. "Compton is very different than the 90s and 00s. There was a lot of gang violence in those days and I was afraid to be outside at certain points."
  14. "Compton is not scenic nor welcoming but it isn’t a war-zone like some people make it out to be."
  15. "The two Metro Blue Line stations are sketchy. I would advise using them unless you know what you are doing."
  16. "Compton’s violence is drastically different from the 90’s. As long as you are not affiliated with a gang and not roaming around at night, you should be fine."
  17. "Compton is not a tourist town, there’s not many things a tourist would want to see. Although if you want to get a good burger, stop by Hawkins House of Burgers!"

Is Compton safe at night?

Compton is not safe at night, especially for a tourist who doesn’t know the layout of the area. It is especially unsafe in the neighborhoods of Compton where gang life is still very active.

Is it safe to visit alone?

Compton can be a safe place to visit alone if you visit during the daytime and avoid wandering around the neighborhoods.

(Related: Things To Do In Compton)

Tips to stay safe while visiting Compton

  • Don’t go sight seeing at night. Don’t walk around neighborhoods at night.
  • If you go there acting like a tourist you might get looks, try to fit in.
  • Walking in LA is generally not a thing. It is very much a car culture.
  • The public transportation can get really dicey at night. You are better off taking an Uber or getting a taxi.
  • Never wander around non-crowded areas at night.
  • When confronted by aggressive bums, just keep walking. Stopping only leads to escalation and guaranteed confrontation.
  • Know your routes ahead of time so you don’t need to ask for help.
  • Always lock your car and don’t leave any valuables inside.
  • Keep situational awareness at all times. Don’t have your headphones on and bury your face in your phone.

Is Compton Safe To Visit?

Although Compton has vastly improved from the 80s and 90s where violent crime was more rampant, it is still not an entirely safe area to visit, especially at night. Compton’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in California and in the nation.

While you will probably not encounter any problems during the day time, the situation is vastly different at night, where many residents of the city advise against walking around town, especially in the neighborhoods.

Quick Facts About Compton:


Compton, California

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020



White alone, percent



Black or African American alone, percent



Hispanic or Latino, percent



Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019



Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019



Median gross rent, 2015-2019



High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019



Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Persons in poverty, percent



*All data is from the U.S. Census

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Compton, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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