Welcome to California: the land of perpetual summer and happiness. We all dream of this place, whether the dream includes having a star on the Walk of Fame or leading a simple life and sipping wine in Napa Valley is just a thing of personal preference. Those who bravely decide to move to California need to know a few things about this state, so let’s start with the basics before we move on to our list of the safest cities in California.
California is the largest state in the US by population and the third-largest by area. It has the largest sub-national economy in the country, and if it were independent of the US, California would be the fifth largest economy in the world.
It has always been a place of innovation, in every aspect: from fast food to political movements. California, or specifically, Silicon Valley, has become the technological center of the world. Los Angeles has been the center of the entertainment industry for over a century. It’s no wonder everyone wants to be there.
But if they decide to go, they’ll need to learn more about California’s cities. That’s where this list of the safest cities in California comes in; listed below are the safest cities in the state, together with basic information such as the number of residents, the median income and age, and average house prices. Property and violent crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants are listed next to each city, and more detailed information can be found in the text. This will let you know which cities in California require getting a home security system.
The 10 Safest Cities in California
(Property: 346; Violent: 62)
The honor of beginning this list and the title of the safest city in California belongs to Imperial. Incorporated in 1904, this also makes it the first city in the Valley to incorporate. The city also had the first brick buildings and the first church in the area, as well as the first printing press and stores.
Imperial has a population of 17,095. The median income in the city is $73,000, and the median age of the residents is 30.2 years. According to real estate data, an average home can be purchased for $247,000. So what’s the best city to live in California? This just might be your answer.
Imperial is a popular tourist destination, as it brings a breath of fresh air into the desert that surrounds it. Golf courses, camping grounds, and sand dunes for buggy enthusiasts are all just minutes away from the city.
When it comes to living in Imperial, the most positive side of the city is its crime rates. During 2018, Imperial had 61 property crimes (36 thefts, 14 burglaries, 11 vehicle thefts) and 11 violent crimes (8 assaults, 2 robberies, 1 murder), which makes it the safest place to live in California.
Even though it’s the safest, Imperial isn’t the best place in CA. One of its main negative sides is its unemployment rate of 23.7%, which is among the highest in the US. In addition, the city has had a population increase of 126% in the last 19 years, driving the housing prices up.
(Property: 783; Violent: 35)
Danville is one of the oldest farming communities in California and one of the few incorporated municipalities in the state using town instead of city in its name. It’s also one of the best places to live in California, for those who can afford it.
There are 44,400 people living in the town of Danville. Their median income is $140,000, the median age is 44.8 years, while an average home is priced at $1,320,000.
The city has everything you’d ever need for a happy life or a fun visit; the Iron Horse Regional Trail runs nearby for all your running, hiking, biking, and horse riding needs. There’re also plenty of museums and other things to do.
In addition to being one of the safest cities in California in 2018, Danville also has an unemployment rate of 3.9%, well below the national average of 5.2%. Having an average of 260 sunny days in a year, Danville is one of the best places for those who like the summer weather year round.
The minimal crime in the city is what attracts most to Danville; last year, 353 property crimes (272 thefts, 55 burglaries, 26 vehicle thefts) were reported, together with 16 violent crimes (9 assaults, 6 robberies, 1 rape).
Danville happens to be one of the most expensive cities in California. Insane housing prices are accompanied by a cost of living that’s 193.2% higher than the US average.
Palos Verdes Estates
(Property: 918; Violent: 22)
Named after the peninsula it’s located on, Palos Verdes Estates is best known for its public school system’s national ranking, which has been anywhere between 8th and 44th place. The city was officially incorporated in 1939.
13,682 people live in Palos Verdes Estates. Their median income is $171,000, while the median age is 48.2 years. It is of the most expensive California cities when it comes to real estate prices, as an average home here can be purchased for $2,115,000.
Palos Verdes Estates has it all: sandy beaches that attract surfers, trails and nature preserves for those who’re into hiking, and multiple other things to do await the visitors. As mentioned before, the schools are one of this city’s main advantages, together with the low crime rate. In 2018, 125 property crimes (77 thefts, 43 burglaries, 5 vehicle thefts) and 3 violent ones (2 robberies, 1 rape) were reported, which makes it one of the safest cities in America.
The main negative to living in Palos Verdes Estates is the cost of living. With it being 328.7% above the national average, not many can afford living here. Buying a home in the city will also cost you as much as buying 10 average ones in the US.
(Property: 725; Violent: 34)
Named after Joaquin Moraga’s grandson, who is responsible for starting this city and the city of San Jose, Moraga was officially incorporated in 1974. Today, it is one of the top 10 answers to the question, What are the safest cities to live in California?
Home to 17,256, Moraga has a median income of $132,000, a median age of 44.7 years, and an average home price of $1,349,000.
Even though it’s not a coastal town, there’s plenty to do in Moraga. As with most of California, natural sights are what attract visitors. It’s also a part of what gets them to stay here, together with the unemployment rate of 4.9%, which was supported by positive job growth in the last year. Being a close contender for the title of the safest city in California for 2018 should also encourage anyone moving here.
Moraga had 128 property crimes (89 thefts, 29 burglaries, 10 vehicle thefts) last year, along with 6 violent crimes (2 assaults, 3 robberies, 1 rape).
The cost of living, which is 199.4% above average, is perhaps the only thing that can be considered a bad side of living in this city.
(Property: 774; Violent: 51)
Orinda is a suburban city that serves as a peaceful home for those who work in the bigger cities in the area, such as San Francisco and Oakland. Orinda was incorporated in 1985, and it isn’t too far from having the lowest crime rate in California.
The city has a population of 19,278, a median income of $167,000, and a median age of 46.4 years. Houses are expensive, with an average asking price of $1,700,000.
Orinda is the place where all Bay Area hikers and nature enthusiasts go during the weekend, as it has multiple parks and trails. Searching for other things to do here might be a difficult task, but the proximity of bigger cities is a major plus that solves the issue. In addition to being one of the safest cities in California, Orinda also has an unemployment rate of 4.9% and a great public school system.
Last year, Orinda had 153 property crimes (94 thefts, 53 burglaries, 6 vehicle thefts), as well as 10 crimes that were classified as violent (3 assaults, 6 robberies, 1 rape).
The main downside of living in Orinda is the cost of living; it costs 253.9% more to live here than in an average city in the US.
(Property: 758; Violent: 85)
One of the safest cities in Southern California in 2018, Aliso Viejo is a part of the land that used to belong to the Moulton family. When this immensely rich family sold off portions of their land, multiple cities and towns were able to develop. The city was officially incorporated in 1979.
Home to 50,195, the median income in Aliso Viejo is $102,000. The median age sits at 36.1 years, while the average home price is $625,000.
Aliso Viejo is a typical Californian coastal city, with gorgeous beaches suitable for surfing and perhaps the best place to live in California for those who like having the luxury of being surrounded by nature while living in a city that offers plenty of amenities. Finding work in Aliso Viejo shouldn’t be an issue, as the city has an unemployment rate of 3.5%.
When it comes to crime, this city shows exemplary numbers: 394 property crimes (299 thefts, 62 burglaries, 33 vehicle thefts) and 44 violent crimes (32 assaults, 8 robberies, 4 rapes) were reported during 2018.
It might answer the question Where is the nicest place to live in California? But the city of Aliso Viejo has its setbacks. The most notable one is a cost of living that’s 75.4% higher than the national average.
(Property: 1,042; Violent: 32)
Los Altos was once a small agricultural town, but that changed during the 1980s as Silicon Valley became a technology center of the world. This is the city where Apple Inc. was started and where the first 50 Apple Computer 1s were made.
The city has 30,671 residents today. The second most expensive city in California and America has a median income of $157,000 and a median age of 46.2 years. An average home is insanely expensive, at $3,610,000.
Los Altos has everything you’d expect from one of the most expensive cities in the world; numerous entertainment options are available, regardless of your interests. A strong economy and a low unemployment rate (2.9%), as well as a top-notch public school system, make this city one of the most desirable places in America and one of the first considerations for those searching for where to live in California.
The crime in Los Altos is one of the city’s upsides; last year’s reports show that there were 321 property (215 thefts, 87 burglaries, 19 vehicle thefts) and just 10 violent crimes (5 assaults, 2 robberies, 3 rapes).
As expected, the cost of living is as insane as the house prices, sitting at 566.4% above the US average.
(Property: 1,276; Violent: 73)
Once home to the Seunen people, the San Ramon area has become one of the top answers to the question, What is the best city in California to live in? There are 76,134 people in San Ramon. Their median income is $129,000 and the median age is 37.5 years, while an average house in the city is priced just above $1,000,000.
Large parks are located within the city, together with museums, breweries, restaurants, and all the other amenities necessary for a pleasant visit. Those staying longer, or permanently, will be glad to learn that the unemployment rate is 3.3% and that the school system is funded better than most of the US.
The city also helps lower the overall numbers when it comes to California crime statistics. San Ramon had 974 property crimes (768 thefts, 126 burglaries, 80 vehicle thefts) last year. Additionally, 56 violent crimes (18 assaults, 30 robberies, 8 rapes) were reported.
San Ramon is quickly becoming overcrowded; the city’s population has increased by more than 70% since 2000. With a cost of living that sits at 150% above the US average, this city is becoming one of the most expensive ones in the country.
(Property: 622; Violent: 107)
Once the title holder for the most expensive suburb in the US, Saratoga holds nearly the lowest California crime rate for a city of its size today. It also ranks as the eighth wealthiest city in the US.
30,968 people are fortunate enough to live in Saratoga. Their median income is $168,000, with the median age sitting at 47.7 years. Those planning to buy a property here will need to write a check for $3,000,000, average prices show.
Vineyards and wineries, running and hiking trails, as well as some other entertainment options, are available to those who visit Saratoga. The unemployment rate of 2.9% is an encouraging factor for those moving here. Can it be ranked as the safest city in California for its size?
Last year, Saratoga experienced 192 property crimes (81 thefts, 94 burglaries, 17 vehicle thefts) and 33 violent ones (22 assaults, 6 robberies, 3 rapes, 2 murders), making it one of the safest cities in the Bay Area.
In addition to being one of the safest cities on this list, Saratoga is also one of the most expensive ones. Adding on to the millions of dollars needed to buy a home in the city is the cost of living, which is no less than 476.6% higher than the national average!
(Property: 1,000; Violent: 104)
What are the top 10 safest cities in California? The list of answers to this question concludes with Mission Viejo, one of the largest master-planned communities in the US. The city has 97,156 inhabitants. Their median income is $98,000, with their median age being 43.6 years. Buying a house here costs $733,000 on average.
The city holds numerous events throughout the year, attracting visitors from all over the country. When there are no events, the trails, parks, and lake are available to have fun in. People love coming to Mission Viejo, even though it’s not one of the safest cities in California from earthquakes. The unemployment rate in the city is 4.1%, so there are basically no issues finding work here.
When it comes to crime in Mission Viejo, the numbers show that it’s one of the safest cities in the state of California: 969 property (733 thefts, 158 burglaries, 78 vehicle thefts) and 101 violent crimes (61 assaults, 26 robberies, 13 rapes, 1 murder) were committed last year.
Just like all of the cities listed before it, Mission Viejo’s main downside is its cost of living—it’s 94.3% higher than the US average. Even though it’s one of the more expensive California cities, the schools are underfunded compared to the national average.
The 10 Most Popular Cities in California Ranked by Safety
(Property: 1,316; Violent:61)
Developed during the 1960s and incorporated in 1971, Irvine is the home of Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of some of the most popular games in the world, such as Overwatch and World of Warcraft.
Irvine has a population of 256,927, a median income of $92,000, and a median age of 34 years. The average home in this city is priced at $853,000. And Irvine should always be included on the list of answers to the question, What are the safest places to live in California?
This city attracts tourists with its nature and beaches, and it attracts students with some of the best higher education in the US. The attractive setting of the city, as well as its unemployment rate of 3.3%, gets students to stay in Irvine after graduating—while also attracting new residents. In addition to its universities, the public schools receive more funding than what’s typical for California.
Last year, there were 3,635 property crimes (2,814 thefts, 627 burglaries, 194 vehicle thefts), Irvine crime rate statistics show. 169 violent crimes (66 assaults, 55 robberies, 46 rapes, 2 murders) were reported as well.
Irvine is not cheap to live in, much like the majority of the state of California. The cost of living in the city is 111.5% higher than the US average, representing the only thing that could be taken as a downside.
(Property: 1,949; Violent: 132)
Corona was once known as the lemon capital of the world, as it was founded in the midst of the citrus production boom. Today, it’s known as the Circle City, due to the odd layout of its streets, and it’s one of the safest cities in California with more than 150,000 residents.
164,226 people live in Corona. Their median income is $77,000, while the median age is 33.4 years. An average home in this part of California costs $481,000.
The city of Corona honors its lemon-related heritage with a museum and multiple events throughout the year. Guitar enthusiasts from all over the world come here to visit the Fender guitar factory and visitor center. The unemployment rate is on par with the national average of 5.2%.
The Corona, CA, crime rate is exemplary for a city of its size, and it manages to stay well below the state and national averages: 3,297 property crimes (2,177 thefts, 561 burglaries, 559 vehicle thefts) and 223 violent crimes (79 assaults, 107 robberies, 36 rapes, 1 murder) were reported in 2018.
The main negative side of living in Corona is how much it costs; the cost of living here is 62.8% higher than average. Additionally, air quality is a common complaint among residents.
(Property: 2,269; Violent: 102)
Once a humble Native American settlement, Temecula has become the safest city to invest in for those who work in tourism. It’s one of the leading regions in California when it comes to tourism and wine production.
The city has 112,011 inhabitants. Their median income is $78,000, while the median age is 33.6 years. Buying a house here typically costs around $465,000.
Temecula and its economy rely mostly on tourism. Some of the best wineries in the state are located here, together with golf courses and interesting museums. The unemployment rate in the city is 4.8%, with positive job growth in the last year. If you’re wondering, Where is the safest place to live in California? Temecula may not come up as an answer. The city’s property crime is too close to the state and national averages.
2,614 property crimes (2,011 thefts, 353 burglaries, 250 vehicle thefts), accompanied by 117 violent crimes (73 assaults, 38 robberies, 5 rapes, 1 murder), were reported in Temecula during 2018.
In addition to property crime, which can be justified by tourist activity, living in Temecula has another major drawback; the cost of living is 59.2% higher than average. This is not a city for those who dislike crowds and overspending.
(Property: 2,174; Violent: 181)
Known as one of the safest cities in LA County and considered one of the top 100 safest cities in California, Torrance is a city with 1.5 miles of Pacific Ocean-facing beaches, and it’s a Californian motor city, with Honda and Robinson Helicopter Company leading their US operations from here.
Torrance has a population of 148,475, a median income of $78,000, and a median age of 41.6 years. Those looking to buy a house here should be ready to pay around $820,000, real estate pricing averages show.
There’s plenty to do in Torrance: sunbathing, surfing, or visiting the botanical garden are just some common pastime activities for visitors and residents. With low violent crime numbers, this city answers the question Is California safe? better than most. As a bonus, the unemployment rate is just 3.6%, and that keeps the young people in Torrance.
Even though the crime numbers are nowhere near the numbers that the first 10 cities listed show, Torrance is still a safe city. During last year, the city had 3,206 property crimes (2,213 thefts, 557 burglaries, 436 vehicle thefts) and 267 violent crimes (115 assaults, 116 robberies, 36 rapes).
As much of a positive the Torrence, CA, crime rate represents, some will simply hate living in this city. It gets crowded due to tourist activity, and it costs 116.6% more to live here than in most of the US.
(Property: 2,414; Violent: 214)
The city of Tracy owes its existence mostly to the Central Pacific Railroad, which linked Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay Area. The city was born along the railroad, and it was officially incorporated in 1911. Tracy was one of the cheapest and safest places to live in California during the 1980s when everyone tried to escape from the ever-increasing prices of the big cities.
Today, Tracy has a population of 87,075. The median income is $75,000, and the median age is 33 years. The average price of a house is around $490,000.
If we’re being honest, there’s not much to do in Tracy, except go to a casino and some parks. However, its proximity to San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento is what makes this city one of the common choices for those who can’t afford the other three.
The Tracy, CA, crime rate is also one of the things that makes it a great alternative to San Francisco. Last year, the city had 2,179 property crimes (1,616 thefts, 201 burglaries, 362 vehicle thefts). 193 violent crimes (86 assaults, 77 robberies, 27 rapes, 3 murders) were reported as well.
To add to the boredom that comes with living in Tracy, the cost of living is 56.4% higher than the US average.
(Property: 2,701; Violent: 408)
Commonly referred to as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara might be the most beautiful city in California. Its economy also relies on technology, education, and agriculture as the city’s biggest employers. The city was incorporated in 1850, for those curious.
Santa Barbara has a population of 91,842, a median income of $66,000, and a median age of 36.4 years. An average home is valued at $1,142,000.
Tourists will find plenty to do here, and there are more than enough amenities to keep the residents occupied. The unemployment rate is 3.9%, while the Santa Barbara crime rate makes it one of the safest tourist destinations and one of the best places to live the single life in California.
Last year, the city had 2,499 property (1,968 thefts, 327 burglaries, 204 vehicle thefts) and 377 violent crimes (230 assaults, 80 robberies, 67 rapes).
Despite the slightly above-average property crime rate, Santa Barbara is considered a safe city, even though some might consider this a point against moving here. The cost of living, which is 154.1% higher than average, is what deters most.
(Property: 2,536; Violent: 761)
The safest neighbourhoods in Los Angeles include Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, and Sherman Oaks, but what about the rest of the city? First, let’s learn more about the city, itself; LA is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the US. It was incorporated in 1850.
3,971,880 people live in Los Angeles. The median income is $49,000, the median age is 34.6 years, and an average house costs $670,000.
Everyone knows what there is to do in LA. Seeing the Hollywood Sign, visiting Disneyland, and seeing the stars on the Walk of Fame are just some of the items in LA that are on millions of bucket lists. California crime statistics are significantly influenced by this city, as it’s fairly safe for its size, especially when compared to cities like San Francisco.
101,618 property crimes (65,757 thefts, 16,668 burglaries, 19,193 vehicle thefts) were reported last year, together with 30,507 violent crimes (16,957 assaults, 10,814 robberies, 2,455 rapes, 281 murders).
The cost of living in LA is 95.1% above the US average, which is a price many are willing to pay in order to try and make it in one of the most popular cities in the world. Los Angeles also has an unemployment rate of 5.7%, which is a bit discouraging.
(Property: 2,672; Violent: 658)
Long Beach, one of the slightly more dangerous cities in California compared to the ones listed previously, is a part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the seventh most populous city in California.
It has 474,140 inhabitants, a median income of $53,000, and a median age of 34 years. You can buy a house here for $580,000, according to average real estate prices.
In case you’re in the mood to stay in a hotel that used to be one of the most exclusive cruisers, the Queen Mary is the place for you. Beaches, an aquarium, and museums should also be a part of the itinerary for those visiting Long Beach.
Even though it doesn’t take one of the top spots on this list, Long Beach isn’t exactly a ghetto, and it can be considered a reasonably safe city: the Long Beach, CA, crime rate statistics show that the city had 12,598 property crimes (7,104 thefts, 2,765 burglaries, 2,729 vehicle thefts) last year, as well as 3,101 instances of violent crime (1,639 assaults, 1,237 robberies, 203 rapes, 22 murders).
It is slightly more difficult to find work in Long Beach than it is in most of the US, as the unemployment rate is 5.7%. Another negative side of living here is the cost of living, which is 79.1% above the national average.
(Property: 4,068; Violent: 479)
You’re about the learn more about Bakersfield, CA, and its crime rate, so get excited. Bakersfield is the ninth most populous city in California, and it was incorporated in 1873. The area has been popular for a while now, as it’s rich in natural resources like gold and oil.
Bakersfield has a population of 373,640, a median income of $56,842, and a median age of 30.2 years. The houses are affordable, compared to most of the cities on the list, with an average price of $233,000.
The number of amenities in Bakersfield could be described as sufficient. The city has museums, parks, and everything that makes life enjoyable, yet there’s nothing spectacular about it. It is, however, affordable to live in, with the lowest cost of living on the list at just 9.3% above the US average.
The Bakersfield crime rate is what starts to distort this town’s image; 15,507 property crimes (9,063 thefts, 3,667 burglaries, 2,777 vehicle thefts) and 1,827 violent crimes (941 assaults, 753 robberies, 92 rapes, 41 murders) were reported last year.
The city also has a high unemployment rate, which is the main point against moving to Bakersfield. According to statistics, 9.6% of work-capable residents are unemployed.
(Property: 6,168; Violent: 715)
The center of Northern California, San Francisco is the state’s fourth most populous city. The city was incorporated in 1850, and it is one of the answers to the question, What are the 10 most dangerous cities in California?
864,816 people live in San Francisco. Their median income is $78,000, the median age is 38.6 years, and an average house in the city costs $1,330,000.
Visiting San Fransisco can be one of the most exciting times of your life; the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the other sights that the city offers bring joy and happy memories for millions every year. Those who decide to move to the city permanently can expect one of the best cities for families, in some regards; the unemployment rate is low at 3.5%, so finding work in order to provide for your family won’t be difficult, and the public schools are well funded and highly ranked.
Since San Francisco also happens to be one of the most dangerous cities in California, this turns many away from it. Last year, the city had 54,356 property crimes (44,587 thefts, 4,935 burglaries, 4,834 vehicle thefts). There were also 6,301 violent crimes (2,658 assaults, 3,220 robberies, 367 rapes, 56 murders).
We are all familiar with San Francisco’s prices. The cost of living is 204.7% higher than the US average, and it’s rising continuously.
For those who decide to take a risk and move to California, we hope this list was helpful. For those who are here just to read about the safest cities in California, we hope you were entertained and that you learned something new.
Suburban mountain towns, busy city centers, and sunny beaches are all just miles away when you live in California. However, there aren’t many people daring enough to take their chance here.
This is a place of insane housing prices and high costs of living—it’s definitely not for everyone. Those brave enough to take a chance and move to the Golden State will either make it or break it. From the tech world of Silicon Valley to the lights of Hollywood, everyone can have their shot.