For a community that's never bothered incorporating, Altadena seems to have a very strong sense of pride, place and community.
The population of roughly 43,000 people is 40% white (mostly English and Lebanese), 27% Latino (mostly Mexican), 24% black, 6% Asian – making it noticably less Asian, and much more black than most of the San Gabriel Valley. I’m assuming that this is why it’s most often considered to be part of the San Gabriel Valley but The Verdugos region by the LA Times – despite the fact that none of it is located in the Verdugo Mountains or their smaller geographical siblings, the San Rafael Hills and Shadow Hills.
To many, Altadena has a reputation as a high crime area.
In researching for this blog entry I’ve read descriptions stating that it’s “gang infested" or "the ghetto." As with all of LA, people tend to perpetuate, exaggerate and overstate how dangerous an area is.
The average amount of violent crimes reported in Altadena per month is 1.8.
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When people hear the disyllabic sounds, “alta” and “dena,” I would wager that most of them think of the well-known City of Industry-based Alta Dena Dairy, which was started by the three, Missouri-born Stueve Brothers in Monrovia, California in 1945.Oddly, more than five minutes of internet research haven’t helped me figure out why they named their dairy after a fellow San Gabriel Mountains community located some miles west of their hometown.Nonetheless, I based my map's "typeface" on their logo.Its violent crime rate is lower than that of neighborhoods like Chatsworth, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, West Hollywood and plenty of other places less-often (or never) characterized as ghetto.While any and all violent crime is lamentable, fear of it should not factor into one's exploration and enjoyment of any neighborhood.The sad fact of the matter is that "gang infested" and "ghetto" are thinly-veiled code words for young, black men and Latinos.