The most concentrated homeless population in the city is Downtown, and on some blocks panhandling is common. Hollywood and Santa Monica are other areas where you're most likely to be approached for money or food.

After years in decline, gang-related violent crime has recently been on the rise, prompting aggressive new antigang initiatives. Gang-related street violence is concentrated in certain neighborhoods; South L.A., Compton, and Watts should be avoided, particularly at night.

Of the Metro lines, the Red and Green lines are the safest and are more heavily patrolled. The Blue Line can be sketchy after dark. Avoid riding in empty cars, and move with the crowd when going from the station to the street.


Very minor earthquakes occur frequently in Southern California; most of the time they're so slight that you won't notice them at all. If you do feel a stronger tremor, follow basic safety precautions. If you're indoors, take cover in a doorway or under a table or desk—whichever is closest to you. Protect your head with your arms. Stay clear of windows, mirrors, or anything that might fall from the walls. Do not use elevators. If you're in an open space, move away from buildings, trees, and power lines. If you're outdoors near buildings, duck into a doorway. If you're driving, slow down and pull over to the side of the road, avoiding overpasses, bridges, and power lines, and stay inside the car. Expect aftershocks; if you feel a smaller quake following a larger tremor, take cover again.