California is one of those states that everyone dreams about. It has perfect weather, amazing people, and is a great state for anything outdoors. When we think about California, you probably aren’t thinking about how safe it is. When you move or visit a new place, one question should always be asked: How safe is it? A city can seem magical on postcards and Instagram but have a darker side to it that you should be wary of. Some cities you may be able to safely walk home alone after midnight, but others you may want to take an Uber.
So how do you know which cities in California are the most dangerous? Luckily for you, RoadSnacks did the work to bring you that exact information. We looked at the most recent FBI data on violent and property crimes per capita to see where the most crime occurs in the Golden State.
Read on to see which cities came out as the most dangerous in California.
Many people may first think of Oakland as the most dangerous city in California, but it actually ranks second on our top 10 list. Other dangerous cities in California include San Francisco and San Bernardino. Yup, even San Francisco came out as one of the most dangerous places in California.
In total, we analyzed 418 cities in California using the most recent FBI crime data to determine which cities were the most dangerous.
What was the most dangerous city in California? There was one clear winner: Emeryville, California is the most dangerous
Want to learn more about our methodology? Read on to see how we crunched the numbers and to see how your favorite cities in California ranked.
Learn more about the safest places in California.
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- 10 Best Places To Live In California
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places 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 2015-17, 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 2015-17, 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 2017.
The 281st-largest city in California is a dangerous one. Though crime looks like it ticked down recently, it’s still, statistically, the 4th most dangerous place in the state of California.
Residents here have a 1 in 84 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rape, aggravated assault and murders.
Red Bluff’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 5th 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 2015-17, with a higher than 1 in 86 chance of being the victim of violence.
Located in Los Angeles County., West Hollywood is the 6th most dangerous city in California.
With residents facing a 1 in 124 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017, West Hollywood it earns a spot on the most dangerous places in California.
San Bernardino is one of the most crime-ridden cities in California.
Violent crime and property crime have become an issue between 2015-17, 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 2017.
Santa Monica ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in California.
The Santa Monica ranks as having the 20th highest violent crime rate and 11th highest property crime rate.
The tiny town of Signal Hill might not be familiar to most residents of California. Signal Hill has really seen crime rise very quickly in the last few years.
For instance, there were 86 violent crimes in the entire city. For a town of 11,711, that’s a lot.
Residents in Signal Hill have a 1 in 17.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the FBI.
Eureka is the 10th most dangerous city in California.
From 2015-17, violent crime went up by 25%, leaving residents with about a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017.
How Is Your Town In ?
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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
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.
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)
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