Most Dangerous Cities in California
There's no doubt that California is one of the most endearing states in the U.S. But its notoriously absurd cost of living can often translate into high crime rates.
Cities in the Bay Area are most affected by insecurity as a direct consequence of the inequality between the billionaire tech bros and everyone else.
These are the five most dangerous cities in California — though don't make the mistake of thinking you need to skip them altogether. Rather, make sure you lock your car when you visit.
Violent crime rate: 9.6
Property crime rate: 33
*Rankings are based on Safewise's "Safest Cities in California" 2022 report. Population stats are sourced from World Population Review.
Bottom Line: Richmond
Richmond has a privileged location right on the gorgeous San Francisco Bay, but its property crime rates are quite high, especially in the flatter areas that are easier to access than the suburbs perched up in the Richmond Hills.
Despite its relatively high crime rate, residents and tourists love the area for its proximity to Wildcat Canyon Regional Park as well as its World War II ship museum, which is right on the waterfront.
Violent crime rate: 9.9
Property crime rate: 33.3
Bottom Line: Vallejo
North of Richmond, on the San Pablo Bay, Vallejo has many things to offer. People come here to enjoy Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or to hit up hiking trails with scenic views of the bay.
But Vallejo residents have to live with the reality of high crime rates, especially in the past few years. Experts say that the social and economic upheaval brought on by the pandemic is to blame.
Violent crime rate: 12.8
Property crime rate: 29.8
Bottom Line: Stockton
This Central Valley city is a pleasant place to live in, with parks, lakes and a beautiful Japanese garden.
But, as California's 13th largest city and one with a seaport at that, Stockton's downtown and civic center are two of the hardest-hit spots in terms of property crime.
2. San Bernadino
Violent crime rate: 14
Property crime rate: 28
Bottom Line: San Bernadino
San Bernadino is the only southern California city to be named one of the most dangerous places in the state. Located just outside of Los Angeles and home to California State University, the city puts the state's famous inequality right on display.
Wealthy areas enjoy a relatively low crime rate, though no city is actually void of danger. Lower-income areas, however, have to deal with high rates of violent and property crime.
Violent crime rate: 12.9
Property crime rate: 51.65
Bottom Line: Oakland
Residents of San Francisco's most famous counterpart have to deal with a property crime rate of over 50, which is almost double that of San Bernadino! Violent crime is also extremely high, affecting 12.9 people per 1,000 residents.
That said, you shouldn't believe internet narratives that tell you to stay away from the city. Yes, there are areas where you need to be a bit more aware of your surroundings. And, yes, you shouldn't leave things unlocked. But that applies to almost every city on the planet. We think Oakland is one of the coolest cities in California, so don't hesitate to visit it.