I have a new listing, a 2bd/1ba condo conversion in the exact area I believe you are referring to N . of Pico, E of Lincoln, S. of Olympic & the 10 Frwy, W. of Cloverfield on 20th St a couple of blocks N of Santa Monica College.
My mom retired from the city of Santa Monica & I'm told there is some gang activity in the general area but mainly going east towards Cloverfield. As far as crime is concerned, it is always present in any metropolitan city. With that being said, I've talked to the neighbors who rent in the area & they've lived there for years with no issues. Overall, there are hardworking, middle & lower middle class families, college students, etc that live in the area. Santa Monica is just one of those cities where unless you have a million dollars to spend, you have to live amongst the commoners which is the category most of us would fall into. I say go for it.
Keller Williams Realty Marina/LA