Well, obviously anything bad can happen anywhere.
However, a friend of mine lived in that area for many years - she is black and had no problems whatsoever.
It certainly wouldn’t be an area where I would be interested in living - I would suggest West Hollywood - but it isn’t easy to find “cheap” rent in WeHo unless maybe getting a roommate. Note that I said WEST Hollywood, and not “Hollywood”, which is nice in a few parts but also pretty odd and not so great in most other parts.
My guess is that after he lives wherever for a short time, he will get the lay of the land and probably move again. My two cents: have him look around a bit more and check out some other areas of LA.
The key factor is budget. If you ain’t got the bucks, you are up a creek as far as finding something nice, safe and close to the action. Otherwise, you are sort of stuck going where the cheap apartments are located, which usually is a crappy part of town - pretty much the same story as any large urban area.
Can you cough up some extra funds for perhaps the first six months, allowing a better choice, at least until he has time to meet others and maybe get a lead on a better, inexpensive apartment once he has time to discover the area?