What do Biggie, Tupac, and Snoop Dogg have in common? They’ve all written songs about some of the most dangerous places in California.
That’s right, from Stockton to Compton, The Golden State has some pretty sketchy places and RoadSnacks is here to tell you just where those places are located. Yes, we’ve done the unthinkable and created a list of the top ten most dangerous places in California for 2020.
In order to compile our list, we looked at FBI data for violent crimes and property crimes in California cities with a population of 5,000. That left us with 418 cities. We discovered that the cities that made our list have robberies happening in broad daylight, car jackings, and daily shootings. There are neighborhoods in these cities that you shouldn’t drive thru, ever, and there are areas that you definitely shouldn’t be in after dark.
Why’d we make this list? We did this for the people who don’t necessarily want to travel to these places, but want to know the facts. And the facts are as follows: one, the state’s violent and property crime is up above the national average and still climbing; and two, the effects of these numbers are continuing to claim many of California’s biggest cities. Cities like Oakland and San Bernardino just can’t catch a break.
California’s crime numbers have also catapulted the state into the top 20 most dangerous states in America; and sadly, the home to Hollywood currently has nine-yes, nine- of the most dangerous cities in the country.
Want to learn more about our methodology and where California’s most dangerous places are located? Keep reading, there may be some that surprise you.
Do we think the problems in California’s most dangerous places are directly related to high umeployment, poor wages, and a lack of rehabilitation programs? Absolutely. Not to mention, rent in most of California’s safest places and best places to live is out of reach for most people, making it difficult for people to make a move. This keeps the people in these places feeling angry, defeated, and more likely to commit a crime.
So, what is the most dangerous place in California? That would be, Emeryville.
To see how the rest of your favorite places in California faired, take a look below; and if you don’t find your favorite there, head to the bottom.
Learn more about the safest places in California.
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In California
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- Cheapest Places To Live In California
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In California For 2020
It will probably surprise most people to see Emeryville as the most dangerous city in California. However, this is the THIRD 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 6.0 chance of being the victim of one (that’s 9 times higher than in Los Angeles).
Luckily, violent crime has fallen by 37% between 2017-2018, but there’s still an unsettling 1 in 70 chance of being the victim of violence here.
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 78 “shot” of being the victim of a violent crime, a number that has been steadily rising.
Property crime has also increased between 2017-2018, so Oakland may overtake Emeryville in a few years.
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 13.0 chance in 2018.
Red Bluff’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 4th most dangerous city in California might stain that saying a bit.
Located 125 miles north of Sacramento, Red bluff residents have a 1 in 19.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year.
Violent crime has also gone up nearly 30% between 2017-2018, with a higher than 1 in 86 chance of being the victim of violence.
Coming in as the 5th most dangerous city in California is Barstow.
While violent crime has been steadily dropping in recent years, with a 10% total drop in violent crime from 2017-2018, property crime went up by nearly the same rate during this interval.
That left residents of Barstow a 1 in 1221.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018, and a 1 in 84 chance of being the victim of violence.
West Hollywood isn’t in the top for either category of crime, but a cumulatively bad score lands it in 6th place.
On the bright side, violent crime was reformed in a serious way between 2017, with the instances dropping to 301.
That amounts to a 1 in 124 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2018.
San Bernardino is one of the most crime-ridden cities in California.
Violent crime and property crime have become an issue between 2017-2018, which left San Bernardino’s residents with a 1 in 75 chance of being the victim of violence, and a 1 in 24.2 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.
Santa Monica makes it into the top 10 most dangerous in California. After a huge growth spurt in the 60’s and 70’s, people are actually leaving Santa Monica in droves, which could be in part to its high criminal population.
As of the last FBI report, crime in Santa Monica has been ticking upwards, and statistically, 1 in 19.6 residents here was recently the victim of a robbery or car theft.
The smallest city to make this list, Signal Hill is located 45 miles northwest of California’s capital, Sacramento.
The small city experienced a large rise in violent crime between 2017-2018.
Still, Signal Hill is the 29th most violent place on this list, with residents facing about a 1 in 136 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
Eureka, with a population of 27,174 ranks as the 10th most dangerous city based on 2018 data.
Between 2017-2018, violent crime fell, leaving residents a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
Property crime also dropped during these years, meaning Eureka may be off this list in another year if the trend keeps up.
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In California
How we determined the most dangerous cities in California for 2020?
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 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.
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 California 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. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in California.
Locking It All Up In California
The latest FBI crime data shows that Emeryville ranks as the most dangerous city in California for 2020.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Emeryville and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in California:
- Danville (Pop. 45,202)
- Orinda (Pop. 20,020)
- Imperial (Pop. 17,976)
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In California
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- Safest Places In California
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Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In California?