Growing up, our parents taught us many things: how to make friends, how to share, how to tie our shoes, and most importantly, how to stay safe. Safety is a large concern for anyone, especially those who live alone or are moving to new places.
But one of the most exciting parts of starting a new job or graduating college is having the possibilities to move to new places you always dreamed about. One place in particular that people often love in California.
When you think of California, what are the first things that come to mind? Is it the sunny beaches? Disneyland? Seeing the iconic Hollywood sign for the first time? What about strolling through the streets of San Francisco and seeing seals lapping up the sun?
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 for you to bring you that exact information.
Interested to see which cities came out as the most dangerous in California?
We analyzed 417 cities in California using the most recent FBI crime data to determine which cities were the most dangerous. There was one clear winner: Emeryville, 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.
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.
Or 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 2019
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 5.7 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 79 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 76 “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.
Red Bluff’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 3rd most dangerous city in California might stain that saying a bit.
Located 125 miles north of Sacramento, Red bluff residents have a 1 in 14.8 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 88 chance of being the victim of violence.
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 4th 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 11.1 chance in 2017.
Eureka might be one of the smallest city to make this list, but it proves that small towns can be every bit as dangerous as big cities.
Eureka has seen their property crime statistics drop by over 10% from 2015-17.
Still, for every year you’re within Eureka city limits, you face a greater than 1 in 19.4 chance of being robbed.
We may get some heat for including San Fran on this list, but hey — the numbers don’t lie. The cultural and commercial center of Northern California and the most densely packed city in the whole state, the City by the Bay also has a bit of a crime problem.
Residents face a 1 in 16.2 chance of being robbed, and a 1 in 139chance of being the victim of violence.
These numbers are much worse than Los Angeles, and they’re only getting worse, with violent crime up by 24% and property crime up by 32% from 2015-17.
Crime in Barstow has been heading in the right direction over the past few years, as both property and violent crimes have been on the decrease .
Barstow residents have a 1 in 24.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime, good for 32nd worst in the state. Additionally, they have a 1 in 79 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, 7th worst in California.
This smallish city, Taft ranks as one of the most dangerous places in California.
Violent crime has been held steady in recent years and property crime has fallen.
Still, a 1 in 23.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime hardly seems like a cause for celebration.
Located in the heart of the Golden State, Clearlake has the 30th worst rate of property crime in the state, with residents facing a 1 in 16th chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
The city had a 1 in 104 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017.
This trend holds true today as San Bernardino ranked 5th for violent crime in California and 10th in the most dangerous overall ranking.
But it’s really parts of San Bernardino that you need to look out for. Certain neighborhoods have much more violent crime than others.
How Is Your Town In ?
How we determined the most dangerous cities in California for 2019?
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 417 cities in California.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 417 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 2019.
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:
- Moraga (Pop. 17,653)
- Ojai (Pop. 7,603)
- Los Altos Hills (Pop. 8,579)
For more California reading, check out: