2.1 out of 10

West Athens

33.9238096508348 -118.304224591485
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Internet Access
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
  • Childcare
  • Eating Out
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles


1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 2/5

"Can't Judge a Book by Its Ranch Homes"

According to the LA Times, West Athens is the 4th most dangerous neighborhood in all of Los Angeles. In this neighborhood of just over 9,000 there have been 10 murders since 2008. So in the last 3 years, your chances of dieing in a shooting were roughly 1 in 3000. That combined with the number of assaults and burglaries have lead to the neighborhood’s designation as 4th most violent. To be fair, not all of the violent activity in the area was of the usual kind that we associate with gangs and robberies. For example, two of those murdered were a mother and son who were shot by the father in a dispute that got out of control.

There are other ways in which this doesn’t seem like the typical gang territory. The average household in this area makes almost $50—so this is close to a middle-class neighborhood. This is not your typical rundown neighborhood like you get in some other areas where gang shootings are a major problem. The houses here are largely Ranch homes from the 1950s and 70’s, squat and in many cases long. The streets are wide and the front lawns are well-kept. If I did not know the crime statistics, I would not guess that this neighborhood had a problem with crime.

It is also a neighborhood popular with LA firefighters—which, again, doesn’t mesh with my sense of what I expect from a “dangerous” neighborhood.

Unfortunately, something that does mesh with an area that is known for high crime and gangs, is the quality of the many of the local schools. There is no high school in West Athens, but George Washington Prep in Inglewood serves the population of West Athens. George Washington is, without a doubt, one of the worst schools in all of Los Angeles. All you have to do is look at it objectively. Its API score—a common measure used to judge schools—is as low as it gets, 1 out of 10. Test Scores were similarly abysmal for the school, with only 1% passing the math section of the STAR test in 2010 (up from .6% in 09) and only 17% passing the English section. SAT scores were similarly low, with the average being 1076—way below the national and state average. I suppose, if you are looking for a bright spot, George Washington is improving on No Child Left Behind. In 2007, it missed all 22 benchmarks. It has steadily worked itself up—missing only half the benchmarks this previous year.

In case that is not enough to convince you not to move here, you should also consider that back in 2005 this was voted the Number One Ozone Area in LA because of the bad air quality. It is really a shame, because it really looks like a nice 1970’s style neighborhood.
  • Nice Ranch Homes
  • Clean Streets
  • Diverse
  • Crime
  • Terrible Schools
  • Violence

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