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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When you think of California, what are the first things that come to mind? Is it the sunny beaches? 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 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.

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

8.5
/10

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 2015-17, but there’s still an unsettling 1 in 70 chance of being the victim of violence here.

Oakland, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

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 2015-17, so Oakland may overtake Emeryville in a few years.

Review Of Oakland by HomeSnacks User

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

Actually, Oakland s a wonderful place to live. We just dont need any more people here. Really.

Bad: weather. Bad: diverse, fun population. Youve been warned. Lol

Commerce, CA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

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 2017.

Barstow, CA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

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 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.

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.

Red Bluff, CA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,315
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
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 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.

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. Dont 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. Thats 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.

West Hollywood, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 37,478
Rank Last Year: 18 (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

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.

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

4
/10

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

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.

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

8.5
/10

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

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.

Signal Hill, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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

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, CA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

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 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:

  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 Barstow 24,095 1,182 4,573
5 Red Bluff 14,315 1,152 5,022
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

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.

20 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.

    Oakland
    Los Angeles
    Stockton
    San Francisco
    Victorville

    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

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