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:
- 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 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 5th is Barstow, a city of over 24,095.
With residents facing a 1 in 84 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018, Barstow ranked 10th for that criteria.
Property crime now ranks 16th in California.
West Hollywood ranks as the 6th most dangerous city in California according to 2018’s data.
While there’s still a 1 in 17.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime in West Hollywood, their crime statistics in both categories have been falling steadily over recent years.
San Bernardino placed 7th on our list due, in part, to a 1 in 24.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
Santa Monica ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in California according to 2018’s data.
While there’s still a 1 in 19.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime in Santa Monica, their crime statistics in both categories have been falling steadily over recent years.
Signal Hill ranks as the 9th most dangerous city in California because it has a marginally higher rate of violent crime.
Residents of Signal Hill had a 1 in 136 chance of being the victim of a rape, murder, or assault in 2018, and a 1 in 17.0 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
Eureka takes 10th because of its 31st place finish for violence.
Located in central California, 30 miles north of Sacramento, Eureka experienced rise in violent crime between 2017-2018.
This left residents with a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violence and a 1 in 18.2 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.
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 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 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: