Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in California?
We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.
No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of California — and anyone looking to move to California — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.
The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Golden State:
- Emeryville (Photos)
- Red Bluff (Photos)
- Commerce (Photos)
- Oakland (Photos)
- Barstow (Photos)
- Oroville (Photos)
- Eureka (Photos)
- Clearlake (Photos)
- Santa Cruz (Photos)
- San Bernardino (Photos)
Why did Emeryville take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or learn more about the safest places in California.
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In California For 2018
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California
How we determined the most dangerous cities in California for 2018?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in October 2018.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 418 cities in California.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 418 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in California — Emeryville. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in California.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in California.
Population: 12,060Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,094
Property Crimes Per 100k: 14,270
It will probably surprise most people to see Emeryville as the most dangerous city in California. However, this is the second year in a row it occupied the top spot in our analysis.
North of Oakland, east of San Francisco, and home to Pixar Studios, Emeryville is one of the smallest city on this list.
Residents face crazy high rates of property crime, with a 1 in 7.0 chance of being the victim of one (that’s 9 times higher than in Los Angeles).
Luckily, violent crime has fallen by 37% between 2014-16, but there’s still an unsettling 1 in 91 chance of being the victim of violence here.
2. Red Bluff
Population: 14,138Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,124
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,759
Red Bluff’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 2nd most dangerous city in California might stain that saying a bit.
Located 125 miles north of Sacramento, Red bluff residents have a 1 in 12.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year.
Violent crime has also gone up nearly 30% between 2014-16, with a higher than 1 in 88 chance of being the victim of violence.
Population: 13,128Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 990
Property Crimes Per 100k: 9,315
Commerce calls itself “the Model City,” and, to its benefit, it’s one of the least violent cities on this list.
But this small city to the southeast of Los Angeles does have super high rates of property crime, which earns it a 3rd place spot for the most dangerous places in California.
The good news is that violent crime has fallen by almost 30% in recent years, and property crime is also slowly dropping down to a 1 in 10.7 chance in 2016.
Population: 424,998Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,425
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,635
Oakland is only the 8th biggest city in California, but it’s one of the most violent by far.
Bump City residents face a ridiculously high 1 in 70 “shot” of being the victim of a violent crime, a number that has been steadily rising.
Property crime has also increased between 2014-16, so Oakland may overtake Emeryville in a few years.
Population: 23,894Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,510
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,754
Barstow ranks 2nd and 17th for violent and property crime.
And while the city has about half the rate of property crimes as some other cities, its below average score still earns it the title of 5th most dangerous city in California.
Population: 16,322Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 863
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,148
A city of Butte County, Oroville’s ranked as the 6th most dangerous city in California.
With regards to crime, Oroville has little to celebrate of late, with violent and property crime rates each going up by roughly 11% between 2014-16.
There’s now a 1 in 11.1 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Population: 26,981Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 945
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,637
Eureka ranks highly for the occurrence of crime. In particular, violent crime rates in Eureka stick out for being the 14th worst in California.
There were 255 violent crimes in Eureka, but that’s down from earlier in the decade.
A City Data user says, “I dO NOT recommend Eureka for a single person looking to get out there and have fun and meet people.” Probably because going out there leads to crime.
Population: 15,165Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 982
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,464
Clearlake ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in California.
Over 15,165 people jam pack Clearlake which must contribute to its high level of violent crime (22nd highest overall). Property crime is a bit less of an issue placing 13th overall.
9. Santa Cruz
Population: 64,969Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 801
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,556
Santa Cruz is the 9th most dangerous city in California overall.
From 2015, the property crime rate dropped, which is good news for people who like knowing that their stuff is safe.
The bad news for people who like their safety, though, is that violent crime ranks 24th in California.
10. San Bernardino
Population: 217,303Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,324
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,223
While San Bernardino has seen crime become a problem over the last decade, it improved its numbers year of year to finish in 10th.
A stubbornly high violent crime rate continues to be an issue and prevent it from falling out of the top ten this year.
Locking It All Up In California
The latest FBI crime data shows that Emeryville ranks as the most dangerous city in California for 2018.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Emeryville’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in California:
- Palos Verdes Estates
For more California reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In California
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Find Love In California
- These Are The 10 Easiest Cities To Get Laid In California
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In California
|Santa Fe Springs||20||31||18,401|
|Desert Hot Springs||36||22||28,573|
|San Luis Obispo||68||66||47,774|
|South El Monte||81||59||21,032|