10 Most Dangerous Cities In California For 2020

We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Golden State for 2020.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our fifth time ranking the most dangerous places to live in California and is updated for 2020.

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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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

For more California reading, check out:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In California

Most Dangerous Cities In California Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In California For 2020

Emeryville, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,016
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,414 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 16,760 (1st most dangerous)
More on Emeryville:  Data | Photos

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, CA

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Population: 430,230
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,273 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,390 (8th most dangerous)
More on Oakland:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of Oakland by HomeSnacks User

To everybody thinking about moving to Oakland : It’s dreadful, horrible chaos. Please just stay where you are.

Actually, Oakland s a wonderful place to live. We just don’t need any more people here. Really.

Bad: weather. Bad: diverse, fun population. You’ve been warned. Lol

Commerce, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,961
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 987 (14th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,676 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Commerce:  Data | Photos

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, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,315
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,152 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,022 (14th most dangerous)
More on Red Bluff:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of Red Bluff by HomeSnacks User

I live in this horrible town. Moved here from WA state five years ago to retire. In the last 2 years the entire side of my house was defaced with graffiti, my car has been broken into twice, human excrement along with toilet paper has been thrown over my back fence, and little pieces of wood with nails in them have been strewn all along my driveway on two occasions. This town is full of m**h addicts, drug dealers, bikers running drugs on I5 corridor, thieves, animal abusers, molesters, hundreds of homeless – most dragging around pathetic pit bulls. It really is the dregs of society; and a few really nice people who are trying to make it better but are hopelessly outnumbered. Oh, and most everyone is a Republican with several guns – and I do not mean handguns. Don’t even think about coming here unless you have one too and are willing to use it.

Ramos donuts actually has nice people working and great donuts. That’s it. Litter is everywhere, people still throw it out car windows and their cigarette butts too. Probably 80% of the people who live here still smoke. Nowhere to go except a few restaurants; no one is on the streets after dark, no one except the bicycle people who spend the night and most days stealing and then selling their goods.

Barstow, CA

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Population: 24,095
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,182 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,573 (16th most dangerous)
More on Barstow:  Data | Photos

The 28most populated city in California, Barstow ranks as the 5th most dangerous.

Barstow’s crime problem has been slowly improving in recent years, with violent crime going down from 2017-2018, and property crime dropping.

Still, Barstow residents face about a 1 in 21.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.

Review Of Barstow by HomeSnacks User

This place is absolutely the worst place to stay or drive through.

Everything felt super dirty and everything is super depressing and gloomy.

West Hollywood, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 37,478
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 803 (22nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,603 (4th most dangerous)
More on West Hollywood:  Data | Photos

Coming in as the 6th most dangerous city in California is West Hollywood.

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 West Hollywood a 1 in 1217.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018, and a 1 in 124 chance of being the victim of violence.

Review Of West Hollywood by HomeSnacks User

I went to West Hollywood for just a couple of days. I fell in love immediately. We stayed at a little motel that wasn’t the best, but that didn’t even matter. We walked around all night and drove around the next day for hours.

My favorite thing to do would just be to sit outside at a restaurant and people watch. I loved the shops. We drove around and looked at the different apartments and houses.

San Bernardino, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 217,986
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,333 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,135 (27th most dangerous)
More on San Bernardino:  Data | Photos

The 7th biggest city in California, San Bernardino is also one of the biggest when it comes to crime.

San Bernardino experienced a rise in its violent crime rate between 2017-2018, while property crime steadily fell.

This drop meant that residents had a 1 in 24.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018.

Review Of San Bernardino by HomeSnacks User

It’s pretty bad these days. Used to be better. There are a few nice areas left.

Santa Monica, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 92,674
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 860 (20th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,106 (11th most dangerous)
More on Santa Monica:  Data | Photos

Coming in at number 8 on our list of most dangerous places in California, residents of Santa Monica had a 1 in 16.8 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Signal Hill, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,711
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 20)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 734 (29th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,891 (3rd most dangerous)
More on Signal Hill:  Data | Photos

For a relatively small town, Signal Hill has had an extensive amount of industrialization over the past 100 years.

This level of industrialization may contribute to the higher occurrences of crime within the city, good for a 1 in 17.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

Eureka, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,174
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 724 (31st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,486 (6th most dangerous)
More on Eureka:  Data | Photos

Eureka may not even be on this list in another year if the current trends continue — violent crime was more than cut in half between 2017-2018, with the number of instances falling from to 197.

Property crime also fell during this time, so Eureka is improving its crime altogether.

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:

  1. Danville (Pop. 45,202)
  2. Orinda (Pop. 20,020)
  3. Imperial (Pop. 17,976)

For more California reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In California?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Emeryville 12,016 1,414 16,760
2 Oakland 430,230 1,273 5,390
3 Commerce 12,961 987 7,676
4 Red Bluff 14,315 1,152 5,022
5 Barstow 24,095 1,182 4,573
6 West Hollywood 37,478 803 5,603
7 San Bernardino 217,986 1,333 4,135
8 Santa Monica 92,674 860 5,106
9 Signal Hill 11,711 734 5,891
10 Eureka 27,174 724 5,486

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

23 thoughts on “10 Most Dangerous Cities In California For 2020

  1. Stockton is the most horrible city I have ever been to, we got robbed, stole everything we had, and burned the moving trucks, the city is full of bastards. Don’t ever go there, it is a deadly, filthy, hell hole.

  2. When are you planning to update this list with more recent data? I’m very curious to see where the CA cities net out now.

  3. In san Francisco, a major problem is cars windows being broken into for theft. As this is considered a “misdemeanor'” those who are caught are let go without being charged.
    Likewise, bicycle theft.

  4. This list is Garbage. I have lived in a few of these cities and there is no way that this list is accurate. Here is a better top 5 list.

    Los Angeles
    San Francisco

    Not necessarily in that order for all of them but… Grass Valley? REALLY? The Title of this article is These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California For 2017 and is clearly Clickbait! ALL of us who read it and this comment have all wasted our time.

  5. These are “per capita” numbers. Big Bear Lake’s full-time population is 5,209 but it’s a resort town and its weekend and holiday population can be over 100,000. So the numbers are obviously skewed and proves that this article has a very flawed formula.

  6. This article is bull I live in Red Bluff, Ca nothing happens in Red Bluff. This town is so dead and lifeless that you can hear the crickets chirping at night. So go f yourself. You’re probably some snot nose liberal that’s got his/her thumb up their..

  7. AHAHAHAHAH! What a complete GARBAGE list I’ve ever seen.

    Have you ever been to Carson, South Gate, Stockton, Modesto, Oakland, and other notorious places? Of course not, because you listed the sleepy community of Grass Valley on this list. Do you have any idea what Grass Valley is like? Seriously, this list is absolute trash you and have to stop posting this list. It’s completely flawed and is lying directly to the reader’s faces.

  8. I live in Grass Valley. This year alone six dead (so far) on 49 and 20 by reckless /drunk drivers. Alcoholism is rampant. Multiple murder cases, robberies with assault, graft. Your the clueless self righteous no nothing idiot.

  9. RE San Francisco: “but hey — the numbers don’t lie.” “These numbers are much worse than Los Angeles, and they’re only getting worse.”

    The numbers aren’t lying, but the author is definitely screwing with the facts. At the bottom, the list shows San Francisco’s violent crime per capita rate is smaller than Los Angeles (715 vs 716), and by all accounts, the trend shows the violent crime rates in both cities are declining, not getting worse.

  10. All you guys Cap’n, n just over exaggerating cause stockton not even that bad stockton full of nice ppl

  11. Show me a place run by democrats and I’ll show you a place that is or is turning into a ghetto. Detroit, Seattle, Portland, San Fran, Oakland, etc…

  12. Stockton is an ok place to live. I live here currently and we have been egged, and our mail has been stolen, and more bad things, but we do have nice neighbors. Stockton is getting worse by the year, but it’s not that bad for now…

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