California’s Safest Cities of 2024

Rebecca Edwards
Apr 08, 2024
Icon Time To Read3 min read
SafeWise is pleased to release the 10th annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in California for 2024

See crime rates for the safest cities.

When it comes to safety, daily concern continues to be the California state of mind. From those we surveyed, 50% of Californians feel a high daily level of concern for their safety—but that's a 19% decline year over year. 

With crime rates that are higher than nationwide averages, it's not surprising that Californians are among the most concerned about property crime, package theft, and violent crime. Just 30% of Californians surveyed say they feel safe in their state, the seventh lowest safety confidence in the nation.

In this report

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NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2022.

2024 California crime rates

Image: SafeWise.

Last year we didn't have enough reliable data to calculate crime rates or rank cities for The Golden State, so we won't be able to share year over year comparisons on crime rates. 

California's property crime rate is 25.3 incidents per 1,000 people. That's 23% higher than the nationwide rate of 20.7. The violent crime rate is 4.2 incidents per 1,000 people, a smaller 6% higher than the nationwide rate of 4.0.

Per capita crime rates in the safest cities are significantly lower, coming in at 1.7 for violent crime and 12.8 for property crime.

Property crime in California: Fear vs. reality

Property crime rates in California have consistently been higher than nationwide rates, but self-reported experiences with property crime went down year over year.

  • Statewide, the property crime rate of 25.3 incidents per 1,000 people is 23% higher than the nationwide rate of 20.7.
  • 6 in 10 Californians (61%) are highly concerned about property crime on a regular basis (US 52%)
  • California reported the twelfth-lowest level of personal experience with property crime. 24% of survey respondents said it happened to them in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 27%).
  • California saw a higher proportion of burglaries than the rest of the US, with burglaries making up 16% of all property crimes versus 13% nationwide.
  • 7 in 10 respondents (70%) use some form of property protection—below the national average of 75%.
  • Security cameras are the most popular form of property security (43%), followed by security systems (29%).
  • 29% say they increased security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 35%).

Attitudes about package theft in California

  • 35% of participants reported experiencing package theft in the last 12 months—matching the US average.
  • Californians are the third-most concerned state when it comes to package theft, with 63% saying they worry about it daily (US 53%).
  • San Diego was the third-worst metro area for porch pirates in our 2023 report.
  • 26% of respondents don't do anything to protect their packages, but those that do rely on doorbell cameras (35%) and asking carriers to leave packages in a safe spot (31%).

What security measures do Californians use most?

Security measures used most in California: security cameras, security systems, firearms.

Image: SafeWise

How to stay safe in California

California is #7 in the US for its higher-than-average property crime rate.

Protect your property

California is #3 in the US for worry about having a package stolen.

Protect your packages

What crimes are California residents concerned about most?

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in California: Fear vs. reality

Californians are highly concerned about their safety and have the crime rates to back it up, yet only 29% use personal protection (US 36%). However, personal experiences with violent crime went down year over year.

  • 64% of Californians said they are highly concerned about violent crime happening to them—that’s the third highest concern in the US.
  • California's violent crime rate is 4.2 incidents per 1,000 people. That's higher than the national rate of 4.0, but lower than the the previous year's rate of 4.4.
  • 7% of survey respondents said they had a personal experience with violent crime in the 12 months prior to the survey—that's a 53% drop year over year and the third-lowest in the US.
  • Of those who carry personal protection, 72% rely on pepper spray, with pocket knives being the second-most used at 55%.
  • Just 3 in 10 respondents said they feel safe in California, a 17 point drop year over year and lower than the nationwide average of 45%.

Attitudes about gun violence in California

  • Concern about gun violence dipped 3 points year over year, from 57% last year to 54%.
  • Gun violence is the crime and safety concern with the lowest level of daily worry in The Golden State.
  • There were 51 mass shooting incidents in California in 2023. That's one more than in 2022.
  • 22% of Californians use firearms to protect their property compared to the national average of 28%.
  • 17% said they use a concealed firearm for personal protection, lower than 41% nationwide who do the same.

A closer look at the safest cities in California

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • 77 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita is the safest city in California, with a violent crime rate of 0.4 and property crime rate of 4.8 incidents per 1,000.
  • 2 cities reported zero murders and zero rapes: Rancho Santa Margarita and Yorba Linda.
  • All the safest cities reported fewer than 3 violent crimes per 1,000 people. 
  • 5 cities reported fewer than 10 violent crimes per 1,000 people: Rancho Santa Margarita, Aliso Viejo, Lincoln, Poway, and Santee
  • Irvine, Elk Grove, Murrieta, Fontana, Menifee, and Clovis all have more than 100,000 residents, making their low per capita crime rates even more impressive.

The 20 safest cities in California

Silhouette of California with pins where the safest cities are.

Image: SafeWise

Rancho Santa Margarita, California
#1
Rancho Santa Margarita
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    46,889
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.4, N/A, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    4.8, N/A, 5.9
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Aliso Viejo, CA
#2
Aliso Viejo
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    51,477
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.9, N/A, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    6.8, N/A, 7.6
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Yorba Linda, CA
#3
Yorba Linda
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    67,550
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.5, N/A, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    10.2, N/A, 8.4
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Laguna Niguel, CA
#4
Laguna Niguel
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    64,119
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.9, N/A, 0.6
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    10.5, N/A, 8.7
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Mission Viejo, CA
#5
Mission Viejo
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    91,382
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.8, N/A, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    11.4, N/A, 9.0
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Lake Forest, CA
#6
Lake Forest
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    85,480
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.2, N/A, 1.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    10.6, N/A, 9.8
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Lincoln, CA
#7
Lincoln
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    51,456
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.7, N/A, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    9.0, N/A, 11.4
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Poway, CA
#8
Poway
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    48,011
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.7, N/A, 1.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    9.8, N/A, 7.4
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Rocklin, CA
#9
Rocklin
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    74,168
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.1, N/A, 1.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    13.0, N/A, 16.2
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Irvine, CA
#10
Irvine
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    311,696
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.7, N/A, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    15.1, N/A, 15.0
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Santee, CA
#11
Santee
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    59,351
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.6, N/A, 2.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    9.1, N/A, 7.7
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of San Marcos, CA
#12
San Marcos
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    94,879
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.2, N/A, 2.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    10.8, N/A, 9.9
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of San Clemente, CA
#13
San Clemente
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    63,449
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.8, N/A, 1.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    12.3, N/A, 13.4
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Elk Grove, CA
#14
Elk Grove
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    180,372
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.0, N/A, 2.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    13.4, N/A, 13.4
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Encinitas, CA
#15
Encinitas
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    61,488
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.8, N/A, 2.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    15.3, N/A, 10.7
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Murrieta, CA
#16
Murrieta
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    114,655
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.7, N/A, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    12.7, N/A, 10.2
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Fontana, CA
#17
Fontana
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    212,730
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.8, N/A, 3.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    13.0, N/A, 11.6
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Menifee, California
#18
Menifee
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    109,673
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.8, N/A, 1.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    14.0, N/A, 17.1
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Cypress, CA
#19
Cypress
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    49,588
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.2, N/A, 1.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    19.9, N/A, 14.8
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Clovis, CA
#20
Clovis
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    125,348
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.8, N/A, 2.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    17.8, N/A, 20.0
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Over 6 in 10 Americans surveyed don't have a home security system, despite over 50% of all burglaries being residential. Unfortunately, a majority of people who have a security system added it after they had a break-in. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens—and get immediate help if a break-in is detected—is to add a monitored home security system.

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Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

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Best DIY home securityNo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full ADT disclaimer

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Endnotes and sources

Find all endnotes and sources in our full methodology.

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed March 18, 2024.

  • 2022 and 2021 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2022 NIBRS Estimation Tables

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed March 18, 2024.

Gun Violence Archive, "Mass Shootings." Accessed March 18, 2023.

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Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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