California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
- Chula Vista
- Costa Mesa
- Daly City
- El Cajon
- El Monte
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- Lake Forest
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Mission Viejo
- Moreno Valley
- Mountain View
- Newport Beach
- Palm Springs
- Rancho Cucamonga
- Redondo Beach
- Redwood City
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Leandro
- San Luis Obispo
- San Mateo
- Santa Ana
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
- Santa Clarita
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Monica
- Santa Rosa
- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
Looking at South Gate, California, on a map can make it seem like it blends in with all the other cities just outside downtown Los Angeles.
It’s a city with middle-income housing, basic amenities, access to crowded interstates, and a gang and drug problem.
South Gate was even one of those cities where I could not find real estate agents touting the “Why You Should Move to South Gate” videos on YouTube.
I began to get worried about how to write this.
Then you dig past the daily crime reports and incredibly high violent crime rate and you find interesting tidbits.
This city is where famed female aviator Amelia Earhart took her first flight, leading to an adventurous and tragic career.
This was once a place where novelty car rides were offered, as the city branded itself the “Gateway to the Sea.”
The homes in this city sit on some of the most fertile soil in California.
South East High School is now on the land where the first multi-model car production facility was housed before World War II.
That was the old South Gate and the new South Gate is working on itself.
A traveler won’t find any fancy hotels here.
There are just a handful of bare-necessities options throughout the city.
Most activity, good and bad, happens along Firestone Boulevard.
You’ll find more videos of rappers than realtors when you research South Gate.
South Gate sits just 7 miles from downtown Los Angeles and does have easy access to several freeways.
Warnings & Dangers in South Gate
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in South Gate. The crime statistics are concerning, especially when it comes to violent crimes. It's not the kind of place you stop and ask for directions.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
You have access to the inner-city GATE buses and the regional Metro Bus and Rail services. Taxis and rideshares are also available. There's a medium risk with the bus options. With a lot of violent crime, sitting at a bus stop, which could be up to 24 minutes according to the GATE website, could make you a mark.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Only 13 pickpockets were reported in this city, and I have to give that a low risk. However, it's also a city where criminals are more likely to take by force than by being sneaky.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Earthquakes, wildfires, and flooding are the big concerns here. The city has a comprehensive plan for dealing with all emergencies, and it's worth reviewing before you visit.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
More than half of the 174 robberies reported happening in public. There's a medium risk with a robbery rate that's twice the national average.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Due to South Gate being part of the Los Angeles Metro Area, it's going to be at the same medium risk as any other city. Los Angeles is known to be a hard target, but that means the people who fight terrorists in America are working to keep LA from getting attacked.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are no scams that directly impact tourists, so there's a low risk, but there are higher risks of other kinds of crimes, so keep your guard up.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Women have a medium risk when traveling here. It's just a dangerous city. As of early 2022, as I write this, there have been two recent smash-and-grab robberies at a popular local beauty product store and a popular discount clothing store. The thieves came in, took as much as they wanted, and left, without security or police stopping them. These are stores where many women enjoy shopping. Just be on alert when visiting South Gate.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
South Gate has no recent violations of its tap water and it meets or exceeds standards. The city utility does warn people before it flushes the pipes, and this act can cause disclosed or milky water after the flushing is complete.
Safest Places to Visit in South Gate
South Gate Park is the “Central Park” of this community, spanning nearly 100 acres, and includes a swimming pool, batting cages, skate park, and walking trails.
The South Gate Civic Center and Museum walks you through the history of South Gate and hosts modern performances and events.
You will definitely feel safe here as it’s right next to the police department.
This community is 95% Latino or Hispanic, so you can bet you’ll get some of the best ethnic food you’ve ever had here.
Check with your hotel front desk or read Yelp reviews for the best places to try.
Beyond that, the reality is, if you want to do things beyond going to a park or visiting big-box stores, you’re going to have to leave South Gate to do it.
Places to Avoid in South Gate
Crime maps show the northwest part of town and the east side area along the 710 freeway has the highest crime rates.
There is a pocket of high crime in the center of the city with Firestone and Tweedy marking the north and south border, and Otis and California marking the east and west boundaries.
Here’s the thing with South Gate — don’t drive through the neighborhoods for a shortcut or just to look around.
Stay on main roads and keep the doors locked while driving.
If you look up the recent smash-and-grab robberies, you’ll see how even going to a popular store could be risky.
This doesn’t mean it’s going to be all the time, but the potential is there.
Avoid walking around at night, even if you are with friends.
Safety Tips for Traveling to South Gate
- Crime statistics can ebb and flow through years and months, so be sure to check the most recent crime maps before you go. The city police department is very transparent with the crime numbers and offers a mapping program to do a hyper-local search in the area where you’ll be staying.
- Siglaert.com is a great website showing traffic conditions throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Since South Gate is right by the 710, 110, and 105, you’ll be using the freeways a lot. Be prepared to sit in traffic to get onto the freeways as much as sitting in traffic while driving the freeways.
- Shake Alert LA is an app everyone needs to have when visiting Los Angeles. This is an app so sensitive it can tell you about an earthquake before you even feel the shaking. Most quakes felt are small with minimal damage done, but it can be scary for a person who’s never been through any kind of earthquake.
- If you see graffiti while you are visiting South Gate, report it to the Graffiti Hotline at 323-563-5793. This is available 24 hours a day.
- Many of the hotels offered in South Gate are one-story motels with a window and door that face the parking lot. There’s not a whole lot of security with that kind of a layout, so if you leave valuables in your room, ask if the motel has a safe in the room or be sure to hide valuables well in the room. Don’t leave things lying out on top of tables or dressers, just in case.
- 88% of people who live in South Gate don’t speak English as their first language. It’s going to help you to know conversational Spanish or have someone with you who can translate.
- You might get approached by panhandlers here, as 17% of this city lives in poverty. People can get aggressive in their approach, but a firm “No” and a confident walk away should be sufficient. If you are harassed, call the police and try to get a video of the incident.
- If you see a crime happening in South Gate but want to remain anonymous, you can report it through the Los Angeles Crime Stoppers website. The Crime Stoppers program does offer rewards for tips that lead to arrests. You can also download the WeTip app where you anonymously report crimes specific to South Gate.
- South Gate is tied for the highest tax rates in California. The total rate is a whopping 10.25% for purchases. Compare that to Los Angeles, where the tax rate is 9.25%.
- There are some streets where you cannot park overnight in South Gate. You will need to get a parking permit from the police department. If you plan to park on a street during your visit, call (323)563-5400 to get more information. The last thing you want on vacation is for your rental car to get towed.
So... How Safe Is South Gate Really?
Your perspective is going to determine how safe you feel in South Gate.
Any city right next to a major metropolitan city is going to have a certain amount of crime.
It comes down to three things:
- How used you are to crime like drug activity, robberies, and gangs.
- How comfortable you are in a city that is predominately Hispanic/Latino.
- The safety precautions you are used to using in your home city.
Cars get stolen often here.
Cars also get broken into a lot.
This is a working-class community, so if you think you’re coming to a sun-drenched pristine SoCal community, this is going to take you by surprise.
There are random attacks here, but there are mostly crimes that involve domestic situations or gang-on-gang crime.
The chance of being a robbery victim is one in 533.
The chance of violent crime is one in 145, which is about 25% above the California average, but again, many of those crimes are domestic situations and not random attacks on tourists.
There were 3 homicides in 2020 and 3 more in 2021.
There are about 20 aggravated assaults a month.
The chances of YOU being a victim might be low, but the potential for crime is higher than in other cities nearby.
It’s also not a city with a lot of amenities.
Unless you are visiting family here, you might want to choose a safer community with more amenities or tourist destinations, so you’ll sit in less traffic getting to and from those places.
How Does South Gate Compare?
|New York City
|Niagara Falls (Canada)
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
You won't need additional processing once you've completed the Visa process at the airport or port of entry.
The USD is the only currency accepted here. There are a lot of Hispanic/Latino restaurants, which might take pesos, but you'll be just fine only using credit cards. I'd advise against keeping large amounts of cash on you here.
The weather here is mild to warm throughout the year. Winters have lows in the lower-70s and the coldest it will generally get is the upper-40s. There's a gradual warm-up in spring and into the summer where highs reach the mid-80s and lows are in the 60s. It's a good idea to pack layers since the high and low temperatures on a given day can be so far apart.
Los Angeles International Airport is 14 miles west. Long Beach International Airport is 15 miles south. Hollywood Burbank Airport is 21 miles north. All of those three closest options take you through major freeways, so be sure to check traffic times. A 15-mile drive doesn't seem too long, but it could take an hour to get there in traffic.
You'll want travel insurance for your trip in case anything goes wrong with flight schedules or if a wildfire causes temporary ground delays.
South Gate Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month