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 for 2019:
- Emeryville (Photos)
- Oakland (Photos)
- Red Bluff (Photos)
- Commerce (Photos)
- Eureka (Photos)
- San Francisco
- Barstow (Photos)
- Taft (Photos)
- Clearlake (Photos)
- San Bernardino (Photos)
After analyzing 417 cities in California, 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.
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
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.
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 is not the refuge that you might be expecting — it ranks as the 5th most dangerous city in California.
It has the 19th highest overall violent crime rate.
On the plus side, property crime ranks 14th in the state, meaning it’s not even in the top 10% of cities in California.
Put differently, property crime isn’t a problem to the same extent violent crime is in the city.
6. San Francisco
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 9)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 715 (32nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,168 (6th most dangerous)
More on San Francisco: | Photos
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.
The city of over 24,028 ranks as the 7th most dangerous city in California and has the 32nd highest rate of property crime in the state.
Taft is another city that represents its county as one of the most dangerous places in California.
Coming in at 8th on our list, Taft mixes (relatively) middle of the pack violent crime and property crime without (relatively) excelling in either one.
We say relative because while its crime rates are middle of the pack for the top ten, they are still high for California as a whole.
Clearlake ranks as the 9th most dangerous city in California.
Over 15,018 people jam pack Clearlake which must contribute to its high level of property crime (30th highest overall). Violent crime is a bit less of an issue placing 16th overall.
In this case, San Bernardino finished as the 10th most dangerous place in the Golden State.
Violent crime is an issue as the city ranks 5th overall for violent crime, while also ranking 43rd for property crime.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California For 2018
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In California
|26||Santa Fe Springs||18,339|
|43||Desert Hot Springs||28,717|
|55||South El Monte||21,012|
|77||San Luis Obispo||47,934|