These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California For 2018


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Golden State for 2018.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in California?

We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.

No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of California — and anyone looking to move to California — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.

The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Golden State:

  1. Emeryville (Photos)
  2. Red Bluff (Photos)
  3. Commerce (Photos)
  4. Oakland (Photos)
  5. Barstow (Photos)
  6. Oroville (Photos)
  7. Eureka (Photos)
  8. Clearlake (Photos)
  9. Santa Cruz (Photos)
  10. San Bernardino (Photos)

Why did Emeryville take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or 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:

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How we determined the most dangerous cities in California for 2018?

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 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in October 2018.

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.

Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Most Dangerous Cities In California Graph

Click To Enlarge

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in California.

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1. Emeryville

Emeryville, California

Population: 12,060
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,094
Property Crimes Per 100k: 14,270
It will probably surprise most people to see Emeryville as the most dangerous city in California. However, this is the second 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 7.0 chance of being the victim of one (that’s 9 times higher than in Los Angeles).

Luckily, violent crime has fallen by 37% between 2014-16, but there’s still an unsettling 1 in 91 chance of being the victim of violence here.

Not feeling safe in Emeryville: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

2. Red Bluff

Red Bluff, California

Population: 14,138
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,124
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,759
Red Bluff’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 2nd most dangerous city in California might stain that saying a bit.

Located 125 miles north of Sacramento, Red bluff residents have a 1 in 12.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year.

Violent crime has also gone up nearly 30% between 2014-16, with a higher than 1 in 88 chance of being the victim of violence.

Not feeling safe in Red Bluff: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

3. Commerce

Commerce, California

Population: 13,128
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 990
Property Crimes Per 100k: 9,315
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 10.7 chance in 2016.

Not feeling safe in Commerce: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

4. Oakland

Oakland, California

Population: 424,998
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,425
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,635
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 70 “shot” of being the victim of a violent crime, a number that has been steadily rising.

Property crime has also increased between 2014-16, so Oakland may overtake Emeryville in a few years.

Not feeling safe in Oakland: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

5. Barstow

Barstow, California

Population: 23,894
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,510
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,754
Barstow ranks 2nd and 17th for violent and property crime.

And while the city has about half the rate of property crimes as some other cities, its below average score still earns it the title of 5th most dangerous city in California.

Not feeling safe in Barstow: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

6. Oroville

Oroville, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 16,322
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 863
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,148
A city of Butte County, Oroville’s ranked as the 6th most dangerous city in California.

With regards to crime, Oroville has little to celebrate of late, with violent and property crime rates each going up by roughly 11% between 2014-16.

There’s now a 1 in 11.1 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Not feeling safe in Oroville: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

7. Eureka

Eureka, California

Population: 26,981
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 945
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,637
Eureka ranks highly for the occurrence of crime. In particular, violent crime rates in Eureka stick out for being the 14th worst in California.

There were 255 violent crimes in Eureka, but that’s down from earlier in the decade.

A City Data user says, “I dO NOT recommend Eureka for a single person looking to get out there and have fun and meet people.” Probably because going out there leads to crime.

Not feeling safe in Eureka: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

8. Clearlake

Clearlake, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 15,165
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 982
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,464
Clearlake ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in California.

Over 15,165 people jam pack Clearlake which must contribute to its high level of violent crime (22nd highest overall). Property crime is a bit less of an issue placing 13th overall.

Not feeling safe in Clearlake: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

9. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

Population: 64,969
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 801
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,556
Santa Cruz is the 9th most dangerous city in California overall.

From 2015, the property crime rate dropped, which is good news for people who like knowing that their stuff is safe.

The bad news for people who like their safety, though, is that violent crime ranks 24th in California.

Not feeling safe in Santa Cruz: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

10. San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

Population: 217,303
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,324
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,223
While San Bernardino has seen crime become a problem over the last decade, it improved its numbers year of year to finish in 10th.

A stubbornly high violent crime rate continues to be an issue and prevent it from falling out of the top ten this year.

Not feeling safe in San Bernardino: Protect yourself with a state of the art home security system.

Locking It All Up In California

The latest FBI crime data shows that Emeryville ranks as the most dangerous city in California for 2018.

However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Emeryville’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.

If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in California:

  1. Imperial
  2. Palos Verdes Estates
  3. Danville

For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In California

City Rank Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
Emeryville 1 1 12,060 1,094 14,270
Red Bluff 2 3 14,138 1,124 7,759
Commerce 3 10 13,128 990 9,315
Oakland 4 2 424,998 1,425 5,635
Barstow 5 12 23,894 1,510 4,754
Oroville 6 14 16,322 863 8,148
Eureka 7 20 26,981 945 5,637
Clearlake 8 21 15,165 982 4,464
Santa Cruz 9 9 64,969 801 5,556
San Bernardino 10 4 217,303 1,324 4,223
Modesto 11 7 212,880 988 4,379
Anderson 12 13 10,273 895 4,399
Grass Valley 13 5 12,961 740 5,462
Stockton 14 11 308,348 1,420 3,773
San Francisco 15 8 871,155 710 5,441
West Hollywood 16 25 36,594 751 4,375
Vallejo 17 15 122,293 861 3,933
Marysville 18 26 12,241 784 4,117
Redding 19 23 91,918 783 4,174
Santa Fe Springs 20 31 18,401 608 6,434
Signal Hill 21 27 11,677 590 7,330
Palm Springs 22 24 47,909 574 5,748
Selma 23 17 24,641 1,209 3,356
Hemet 24 16 84,838 723 3,997
Taft 25 33 9,543 764 3,720
Richmond 26 110,868 919 3,413
Fort Bragg 27 67 7,292 575 4,470
San Pablo 28 18 30,674 694 3,957
Culver City 29 55 39,880 534 5,165
Needles 30 5,010 938 3,213
Montclair 31 35 39,085 537 4,382
Willows 32 51 6,053 693 3,667
Fresno 33 38 524,796 610 3,910
Yreka 34 28 7,559 714 3,545
El Cerrito 35 56 25,222 543 4,218
Desert Hot Springs 36 22 28,573 787 3,240
Huntington Park 37 40 59,692 775 3,330
South Gate 38 53 96,791 681 3,548
Gridley 39 39 6,584 1,579 2,976
Big Bear 40 5,250 628 3,714
Dos Palos 41 68 5,158 659 3,586
Atwater 42 30 29,437 689 3,417
Santa Monica 43 48 93,921 505 4,300
Corning 44 52 7,522 505 4,280
Bakersfield 45 42 378,788 480 4,524
Berkeley 46 44 122,651 490 4,419
Arvin 47 107 21,195 901 2,991
El Centro 48 57 44,213 463 5,233
San Leandro 49 60 91,870 530 3,842
Antioch 50 34 112,090 678 3,291
Sacramento 51 36 495,471 716 3,084
Artesia 52 91 17,049 522 3,648
Fortuna 53 84 12,013 499 3,812
Merced 54 29 83,106 588 3,337
Riverside 55 73 325,896 529 3,456
Turlock 56 43 73,031 525 3,427
Madera 57 54 64,753 779 2,870
Ukiah 58 32 15,897 943 2,711
Paramount 59 72 55,673 562 3,132
Brawley 60 46 26,076 479 3,608
Arcata 61 100 17,913 457 3,723
California City 62 19 13,244 687 2,944
Salinas 63 71 158,729 633 2,987
Compton 64 79 98,861 1,142 2,557
Hawthorne 65 62 89,299 732 2,836
Long Beach 66 69 476,476 597 2,985
Dinuba 67 37 24,156 741 2,711
San Luis Obispo 68 66 47,774 372 4,345
Lodi 69 58 65,067 539 2,973
Blythe 70 41 18,961 411 3,607
Victorville 71 49 123,438 605 2,858
Pomona 72 80 154,109 497 3,034
Watsonville 73 47 54,110 439 3,211
Costa Mesa 74 75 113,816 361 4,050
Santa Barbara 75 103 92,519 429 3,307
Delano 76 119 52,656 501 2,947
Citrus Heights 77 93 87,811 450 3,047
Monterey 78 63 28,506 350 3,799
Los Angeles 79 104 4,007,905 719 2,473
Calexico 80 64 40,336 406 3,141
South El Monte 81 59 21,032 518 2,757
Pinole 82 61 19,451 313 4,585
Carson 83 145 93,613 539 2,589
Oxnard 84 77 209,048 453 2,905
Capitola 85 87 10,241 273 7,411
Laguna Beach 86 192 23,486 493 2,750
Crescent City 87 114 6,622 800 2,219
Yuba City 88 143 67,198 404 3,020
Chowchilla 89 228 18,487 459 2,850
Moreno Valley 90 118 206,224 418 2,966
El Segundo 91 133 17,113 309 4,271
Visalia 92 83 131,186 365 3,198
Redlands 93 88 71,485 314 4,074
Lynwood 94 161 72,471 647 2,363
San Rafael 95 89 59,435 418 2,882
Concord 96 78 129,903 344 3,338
Colton 97 106 55,100 386 2,987
Ventura 98 92 110,228 333 3,402
Hanford 99 45 55,973 475 2,672
Chico 100 74 91,122 321 3,610

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12 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California For 2018

  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..

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