California : Safety by City
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- San Mateo
- Santa Ana
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
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- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
Hawthorne, California, is home to the future of space travel with SpaceX headquartered here.
This is also the city that brought us the Beach Boys.
The Tesla’s of the future are being designed here.
There’s just a lot of history and future promise in this L.A. metro town.
This city is a little rough around the edges and has a fair amount of crime.
Don’t assume that just because SpaceX is located there, that means space workers are living in the nearby neighborhoods.
Many of those higher salaried people are choosing beach communities and commuting to Hawthorne.
Unless you are visiting friends and family, or need to be close to LAX, the only reason you’d choose Hawthorne is for lower hotel prices.
The city doesn’t offer a lot of tourist amenities, but it does have a great central location for all the attractions of Southern California.
Warnings & Dangers in Hawthorne
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium overall risk in Hawthorne. The violent crime rate is especially concerning. When you're nearly as likely to be a victim of a violent crime like petty theft, you know you're in a riskier neighborhood.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
The Los Angeles Metro bus and rail system goes through Hawthorne. You can also get a rideshare or taxi. There's a medium risk when doing so, due to the dangers that could await at a bus stop or taxi stand. The rides themselves should be safe, but you've got to be on your safety game in Hawthorne.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as 365 pickpockets and purse snatchings were reported in 2020. That's the highest I've seen of any city I've researched. There were more pickpockets than robberies in all of 2020.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and power outages can impact Hawthrone, giving it a medium risk. This whole region is in a big earthquake zone, so you might feel a tremor from time to time.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery rate is four times higher than the national average. Add that to a violent crime rate almost double the national average and you've got a medium risk here. Don't ever fight with your life for a purse, wallet, or phone. Just be a good witness so you can give detailed information to the police.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as well. With SpaceX in town and surrounded by a massive metro area, that's going to make it a potentially hard target for terrorists.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There's more of a chance you'll get robbed outright than have to go through a detailed scam, but because of the criminal nature in some parts of this community, we have to give it a medium risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
This isn't a community many women would feel safe walking around, even with a group of friends. There's a medium risk just because thieves can perceive women as easier targets, especially if the women are carrying around big purses.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Hawthorne did get two violations of the water quality rules, but neither was health-related or involved contaminated water. There's a low risk, but check the water report before you go for the most updated version.
Safest Places to Visit in Hawthorne
There’s a historical marker for the Beach Boys in the neighborhood where they grew up.
It’s not a big tourist attraction as it’s just a brick wall with some plaques on it, but it’s a good Instagram moment.
Just be sure to visit in the daytime.
You can see SpaceX from the street and might see a rocket from public view, but there are no tours available for SpaceX’s facility as of early 2022.
It is a good drive-by opportunity.
Visit the Hawthorne Historical Society to learn about the origins of this city and how it grew from a plot of land in 1905 to the city it is today.
You are also just five miles from Manhatten Beach.
Placess to Avoid in Hawthorne
You might notice there isn’t a lot mentioned in the “safest places to visit” list.
That’s because there just aren’t that many places to visit.
This is a working-class town.
There isn’t a mall — it closed in 1999.
It has been used in some popular movies, like The Green Hornet, Minority Report, and Tenet.
In early 2022, the mall burned down in a case of arson.
Crime maps show the southeast part of town is the most dangerous.
The farther west you are, the safer a place you’ll be.
The city also doesn’t have a lot of popular restaurants, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your personal preference.
You will find a lot of mom-and-pop ethnic restaurants here.
There are many community parks in Hawthorne, but those can also be a place for gang activity, so talk to a local policeman about the safest parks if you want to visit one.
Crime trends can change, and a park that is safer today could be more dangerous when you visit.
This is just a city where you don’t want to go driving around just to see the community.
Dangerous areas can differ by streets, not by neighborhoods.
Always keep car doors locked when driving and windows rolled up.
You might be safer staying in nearby Torrance.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Hawthorne
- You’ll want to check the community crime map before you go to see where crime trends are happening. Use any browser except Google Chrome, as the information doesn’t display correctly there.
- There are red-light cameras in Hawthorne, so don’t try to blow through a red light and think you didn’t get caught. You’ll get mailed the ticket (yes, even in a rental car) and you’ll have to pay a fine.
- You’ll want to be able to navigate traffic better and the go511.org website is a great resource to help plan your travels. Hawthrone is right in the heart of some very busy freeways. You can see live accident reports, construction updates, and live cameras of most major intersections and freeways.
- If you’re going to be leaving your hotel, only bring what you need and put any valuables in a safe if the hotel provides one in your room. Make sure you have a small purse with a crossbody design so you can keep it close and won’t be tempted to put it down.
- Don’t carry around a large amount of cash, and if you do want to carry cash, try to hide it somewhere that isn’t your wallet or purse, just in case of a robbery. Putting it in your sock or the inside pocket of a jacket could help.
- Wildfires can quickly dump smoke onto Los Angeles neighborhoods, especially in late summer, fall, and winter. Check the air quality report before you go out so you can decide if you should do outdoor or indoor activities.
- Sign up for the South Bay Emergency Notifications system so you can be alerted to any criminal activity, weather dangers, or civil emergencies.
- There are gangs in Hawthorne and you should stay away from them at all costs. If you see an area with a lot of graffiti, or a group of people dressed similarly, go the other way. Graffiti is used by gangs to mark their territory.
- Make sure your vehicle has an anti-theft device for the steering wheel and wheel locks if you can get them from the rental car company. This will help make your vehicle and tires less likely to be stolen.
- There are plenty of homeless people and panhandlers in Hawthorne. Do not donate money to them if you are approached, even if they get a little feisty. Keep walking confidently and say a firm “NO.”
So... How Safe Is Hawthorne Really?
It’s not really that safe, especially if you are traveling from a relatively safe community.
Some people here will say “it’s not that bad” and there’s not an imminent risk of a crime.
It’s just a dangerous community that doesn’t have a lot of attractions for tourists anyway.
You could stumble into a bad situation if you’re looking for something to do in the wrong part of town.
Here are the risks of being a victim of a crime in Hawthorne, according to 2020 statistics reported to the FBI:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 130
- Robbery: 1 in 313
- Theft: 1 in 92
The violent crime rate is almost double the state and national average.
Property crime rates are actually under the California average.
This is a less expensive part of the pricey Los Angeles area and it shows by the lack of amenities, shopping, and things to do.
There are a lot of condos and apartments here, as the average person makes $54,000 a year, yet the average house price is half a million dollars.
60% of the people here speak a language other than English at home.
Knowing Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Japanese will help you in this community.
Of all the great tourist destinations in Southern California, Hawthrone just isn’t one of them.
A lower hotel price isn’t worth the risks that come with these neighborhoods.
How Does Hawthorne Compare?
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|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
- Visas - You go through the Visa process at the airport or port of entry. You don't need additional identification to get into Hawthorne. You will need an ID to rent a hotel room and purchase alcohol.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency used here. Avoid carrying around cash, and don't use an ATM when there are people around you. Certainly don't use an ATM at night. Using one credit card for all payments is preferable and don't carry around unnecessary credit cards you might normally keep in your wallet or purse.
- Weather - The weather is one big bonus of Hawthorne. It rarely gets colder than 50°(F) and average highs are in the 70s. If you are going to be traveling west to the Inland Empire of Los Angeles, keep in mind it's a good 10-15°(F) warmer. If you plan to hike in the mountains, it's going to be 10-15°(F) cooler. Bringing layers of clothing like tank tops, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies are ideal for packing.
- Airports - Los Angeles International Airport is just five miles away. It's the closest and biggest airport option. Hollywood Burbank Airport is about an hour north. Long Beach International Airport is about 45 minutes away. John Wayne Airport, Ontario Airport, and San Bernardino Airport are other options, but those are going to be 1-2 hours away from Hawthorne.
- Travel Insurance - Get travel insurance for your trip to make sure weather delays don't ruin your financial planning. Also, check your insurance for rental cars and how covered you are for things like break-ins or rental car theft.
Hawthorne Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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