LAPD facing challenges as department is down 800 officers, city sees rise in homicides, robberies

The Hollywood Walk of Fame – known across the globe as one of the most famous streets, adorned in the names of the rich and famous.

But lately, Hollywood is beginning to become synonymous with crimes. On Monday, we buckled up with LAPD to find out what's really going down.

"For the most part, Hollywood is relatively safe," said Los Angeles Police Department Captain Ray Valois.

Capt. Valois broke down crime stats in the Hollywood area for FOX 11. He said rapes and aggravated assaults are down compared to last year. On the other hand, homicides have doubled and robberies have become a consistent theme of Hollywood – up about 15%.

"You’ll have a victim walking back to their car, maybe from a night out, and a suspect will come up behind them with a gun and say, ‘Give me all your money.’ Those are the ones that concern me the most and those are what I believe we had a spike in," Capt. Valois said.

Capt. Valois says it's important for Angelenos and visitors to be aware of street lighting, especially at night.

"There’s not a great deal of lighting on this street. So you’ll have people who enjoy the clubs but then when they walk back to their cars it is dark, they’re by themselves," He said, describing parts of Selma Avenue. "Be aware of your surroundings. Have your situational awareness."

As FOX 11 did a ride-along down Hollywood Boulevard, Capt. Valois said LAPD's biggest challenge is manpower. He said the entire department is down about 800 officers.

For example, Hollywood had a typical 26 officers deployed Monday morning. Twenty officers were at the scene of a shootout on Hollywood Boulevard at 1 a.m. that killed a teenager.

RELATED: Teen killed in shootout near Hollywood Walk of Fame

"We had no units available this morning," Capt. Valois recalled. 

"What happens if something else happens?" asked FOX 11's Hailey Winslow.

"We go outside the division," Capt. Valois said.

He estimates it'll take about five years to fully replace the officers they lost. In the meantime, Capt. Valois is urging visitors and locals to be aware of their surroundings.

"Have your situational awareness," he said.