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Old 09-16-2010, 06:30 PM
81 posts, read 162,099 times
Reputation: 86


Hello everyone, I am currently a senior at UC Berkeley and majoring in legal studies. My ultimate career goal is to do criminal investigation for the FBI, but I want to get a few years of experience in law enforcement before applying. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and LA really appeals to me because I like the weather. It will also be nice to get away from home while not being too far away. I really love the Bay Area (I love all of CA to be honest) but I want to experience the LA area (I have always been attracted to LA). I plan on applying to the LAPD and hopefully be able to work there for a few years. LAPD is a huge department and I would be excited to tackle the challenges that go along with it.

Anyway, the reason that I am writing this is that although I have been to the LA area many times, I would like the advice of locals on what neighborhood would best suit me. I gave you a little background so that maybe you can take that into consideration. My salary would probably be around $48,000 and I do have about $10,000 worth of student loans to pay off. Given my very tight budget, I was wondering which area in or around LA would be best for a lower-mid 20's male just starting out. I am well aware that rent is high in the LA area, but I am willing to live in a less than desirable apartment starting out. I would prefer to live a tiny, run-down studio in a nicer area as opposed to a more spacious, nice apartment in a bad area. Another thing I think would be helpful to know in order to give me the best advice is that I am definitely not a late night party/club guy. I am more of an outdoors/nature kind of guy. I am very healthy and a devoted runner (I run 10+ miles a day). I would like it if there were a park with good trails and/or is scenic that I could have fairly close access to.

I know it is a challenge to give advice on a neighborhood to live when you don't know where I will be working because of the long cummutes. I was just hoping to get a list of some neighborhoods to check out and keep in mind for when I move down there. Unlike many people on here, I like to fully investigate potential moving locations before pulling the trigger and moving on a whim. Sorry for the long post and thanks for any advice in advance!
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:43 PM
Location: Back in the Southland
1,054 posts, read 1,611,646 times
Reputation: 585
You might want to look into the Glendale/San Fernando Valley area, it should be cheaper there. You might be lucky and find a place in Downtown if you look hard enough. You could also try Santa Monica or Venice.

Just stay away from cities in the South LA and East LA areas.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:29 PM
4,364 posts, read 9,229,971 times
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First off, you won't need to worry about running. They will run you plenty in the academy.

You shouldn't settle on a place right away for 3 reasons.

1.) You will be at the academy for I believe 6 months to start. I'm assuming you already have a job when you do this. If this is the case, I'd recommend renting a guest house or a room in a home somewhere on the westside since the academy is at LAPD's training facility in Westchester. If you try to rent on your own in that area, you will not like the prices in the decent areas(Studios $1050+). El Segundo, Westchester, and Playa Del Rey would all do just fine.

2.) You don't get to choose where you do your probation at. Thats a year or more I believe. Since LAPD stations can be as far as 40 miles or more from each other(say the Southeast station vs. Mission Station), you may want to move again once you get your probation assignment.

3.) After all that, you will be assigned to another station. Same thing as #2 applies. Anyway, most of the cops don't seem to like to live in the area they work....most live quite far away. So that might be something also.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:44 PM
81 posts, read 162,099 times
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Thanks for the informative post John! I wasn't planning on settling on a neighborhood because I am aware that I could be stationed anywhere. I just wanted to hear about a few "potential" neighborhoods that fit my financial situation in different parts of the city. Knowing that the academy is in Westchester is very good to know. Maybe that will be a good starting point for me.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:10 PM
Location: Northridge, Los Angeles, CA
2,685 posts, read 6,622,334 times
Reputation: 2370
Hah, another fellow Cal Bear! I just graduated this past December and am back in the LA area (GO BEARS!), so I'm glad that there's another one of us in the slew of USC/UCLA grads there are here.

Anyways, the best advice I can give you is to make sure you actually get into the LAPD academy first. I have a few friends from Cal who applied for the academy, but didn't make the cut because there is a general hiring freeze for the police right now. I don't know how much the situation will substantially improve by next May, but if something drastic doesn't happen, we might be seeing LESS cops as opposed to more.

Do you like the area you live in Berkeley? I can give you some rough equivalents in the LA area. You should know that rent here is so much cheaper (shock to most LA residents, but its true) for roughly equivalent areas in Berkeley. However, it really all depends how much you want to commute to the academy.

In terms of running trails, there's NOTHING that can beat the Fire Trail in Berkeley for nature and outdoors running, but there are a lot of mountains around the city that are special for their own right. I usually go running in the Hollywood Hills whenever I'm around the area, especially around Griffith Park. There are really nice views of the LA skyline and the Hollywood sign from some of the trails around there.

See what you think you can fit into your budget, and get back to us!
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:34 PM
Location: Declezville, CA
16,731 posts, read 35,320,810 times
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Originally Posted by calbear11 View Post
I plan on applying to the LAPD and hopefully be able to work there for a few years.
Something tells me this won't endear you to the PD. Academy training is too expensive to be spending it on short-timers.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:36 PM
81 posts, read 162,099 times
Reputation: 86
Hey Lifeshadower, it is great to hear from another bear! I won't move down there unless I do get accepted into the academy. I didn't realize there was a hiring freeze in LA (SFPD is currently in a hiring freeze as well). I plan on getting started with the application process during thanksgiving break in the hopes that I can at least get a head start on things. Part of the reason I came on here was so I can at least get some preliminary ideas of where I should look to get situated if I am able to get into the academy this summer.

I am actually living from home in Walnut Creek and commuting to Berkeley for school. It saves me a lot of money. I really do love Berkeley. I love the cute restaurants and shops and just the general feeling you get there. I would like to find something similar in LA if possible. My one complaint about Berkeley is the large amount of homeless, but that really doesn't bother me all that much. The firetrail is amazing. I'm not sure if you ever went to Redwood Park in the Oakland hills, but that park is pretty amazing as well! I have heard good things about the parks you mentioned and also Malibu/Topanga canyon. I know the scenery won't be exactly the same, but just as long as there is a good amount of running trails I will be happy.

I am fortunate to have a family that is willing to help me get my feet on the ground. I am looking for rent about $1,000 - $1,200. $1,200 would be my absolute max though.

Thanks again for all of the help!
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:49 PM
Location: Los Angeles
6,521 posts, read 8,335,424 times
Reputation: 8333
Sent you a PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:31 PM
10,630 posts, read 24,288,411 times
Reputation: 6728
You might be able to find something in Los Feliz; Vermont has nice restaurants, shops, bookstore, etc., and it's right by Griffith Park. You should be able to find a studio in or near there in your budget. I'm completely blanking out on the official name of the neighborhood that runs along Franklin Ave (just north of Hollywood Blvd in the east Hollywood part) - Franklin Village? In any case, that's also right there, and there are, or at least used to be, some affordable apartments along that stretch. That would also put you right there by Griffith Park.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:18 AM
1,882 posts, read 2,986,908 times
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why not move to lincoln heights or chinatown? close to the academy and you can run in elysian park. during the day of course.
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