Skid Row is one of the most dangerous streets in US – Here is why

Netflix's latest crime docuseries 'Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel' explores the dark history surrounding the hotel, with the venue playing host to murders, rapes and drug abuse while also providing shelter to some of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the United States.

What is often forgotten about the Cecil Hotel is the kind of area it's located in. Deep in the heart of Los Angeles' infamous '"skid row" region, the hotel is within a stone's throw away from some of the most dangerous and violent streets in all of America.

You would be forgiven for wondering how on earth an area like this has managed to form in a country as advanced as the US. Skid Row is littered with drugs such as meth, which can be purchased for around $2 a hit, as well as thousands of alcohol bottles all used by the vast population of homeless people who call the location home.

Around 5,000 people spend day and night in Skid Row, underneath a skyline made up of skyscrapers that play home to some of the wealthiest banking corporations in the world, while they try to dodge the many different things that could prove fatal to a resident.

Some are "fortunate" enough to spend the evening's in missions or homeless shelters, while others are left to fend for themselves in tents or sleeping bags.

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Recent studies have discovered that being homeless in Los Angeles is currently more dangerous than ever before, with a 2019 report report revealing how the number of homeless deaths had doubled over the course of five years between 2008 and 2013, with the overall death rate up by a third.

When analysing the most fatal aspects that come with being unfortunate enough to find yourself within the Skid Row region, there are a number of illnesses and dangers that could rear their head at any given opportunity.

Though drug and alcohol overdose was the biggest cause of death at 27%, violence was just behind with 24%. Murder was the reason behind 6% of all deaths inside Skid Row according to the damning report conducted by the Los Angeles County of Public Health.

The Netflix series analyses the case of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old student who was reported missing for over a week before eventually being found dead in the Cecil Hotel's water tank.

  • Cecil Hotel's dark past and how 'bad-tasting' water led to body of woman in tank

Though tragic, given the history and location of the hotel, another death was hardly out of the ordinary. This hotel has seen the likes of Richard Ramirez, otherwise known as the Nightstalker, pass through it's doors. Ramirez killed numerous women and was in some instances believed to have been seen walking around the hotel covered in blood.

Armes, a Skid Row resident for over a year, told the Sun Online: "This is the Wild West, We have everything crazy going on here; drugs, alcohol, prostitution, fighting, violence.

"It's a society within a society, the homeless people sell drugs and alcohol to other homeless people.

"But there's no love for anybody."

One policeman, when interviewed for the series, said it would not be uncommon to be called out to the hotel up to three times a day, the Cecil, and Skid Row was a hotbed for crime.

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