The Hollywood Walk of Fame, made famous by movie premieres, award show red carpets and legendary star ceremonies, is supposed to represent glitz and glamour, but from crime concerns to homeless encampments, many believe Hollywood Boulevard is long overdue for another makeover.
It doesn’t take those visiting the 1.3-mile stretch along Hollywood Boulevard to realize that much of the area is more grit than glam.
“It’s definitely not what we expected it to be,” tourist Sarah Saryan said. “It’s not clean and everything like it appears in movies.”
The famous tourist destination is plagued by homelessness and filthy streets and has become an area where many locals say they don’t feel safe.
Evie Pasi Rosca, who works at a gift shop along the Walk of Fame, said theft is a serious problem in the store.
“Every day they try to steal stuff, crazy people every day,” she says.
Steve Nissen, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said he believes these are valid concerns about the state of the Walk of Fame.
“If you sense something that makes you uncomfortable, you’re not going to come back,” Nissen told KTLA’s Mary Beth McDade.
One of the problems, according to the chamber president, is a lack of police patrols. Pre-pandemic, 60 officers were assigned to just the Hollywood Entertainment District. That number has since been cut in half, making it much harder to control crime.
KTLA filed a public records request for crime reports for the last several years along the main tourist stretch, from Vine Street to Highland Avenue along Hollywood Boulevard.
While incidents involving unhoused people have increased, as have assaults with a deadly weapon and sexual assaults, Hollywood as a whole is seeing progress.
Overall, violent crime is down 11.6% from 2022 to 2023.
“Some of that is attributable to the great nonprofits that work the streets here,” Nissen said, referring to the unarmed volunteers who started patrolling the streets last year.
The volunteers help people who may be experiencing mental health or addiction crisis. In addition, many of the businesses along Hollywood Boulevard have hired private security guards, but the chamber president admits that perception is important.
“Part of feeling safe is not just that the crime statistics are going down, but also that you’re walking streets that look clean and these streets are not often clean,” Nissen said. “You can walk down the street; you don’t want to be panhandled, accosted.”
A beautification plan called the “Heart of Hollywood” was created three or four years ago by a councilman who was later voted out of office, so the modernization project never got underway. There is, however, a new councilman who has been devising his own facelift plan.
“The idea of modernizing and making Hollywood Boulevard one of the most beautiful streets in the world is still there,” Nissen explained.
In the meantime, some businesses have shown they’re looking ahead too. Netflix has recently become a tenant of the entertainment district as well as Kim Kardashian who has headquartered her shapewear and clothing brand company SKIMS there.
In addition, there are several new high-rise apartment buildings.
The goal, according to Nissen, is for the Walk of Fame to have a big reveal in time for the 2028 Olympics.
“We want the rest of the world to see Hollywood Boulevard and go back and talk about it with friends and neighbors all around the globe rather than leave like they do today, a bit disappointed,” he said.
For those who want to weigh in on the Hollywood Boulevard Safety and Mobility Project, a virtual town hall is being held on Thursday, Feb. 1. More information on the project and how to RSVP for the event can be found by following this link.