California’s 50 Safest Cities of 2018

Oct 4, 2018 |

Californians are lauded for out-of-the-box thinking, but not all unconventional ideas take root. Case in point: an initiative sponsored by venture capitalist Tim Draper seeking to split California into three states. The California Supreme Court recently removed “Cal-3” from the ballot, but it prompted us to wonder which region has the best crime record. After all, along with good jobs and schools, safety is a top consideration when it comes to choosing a city to settle down in.

So, which part of the state has the most cities on our list? We simplified things by just dividing Cali into North and South. According to the FBI crime report, thirty-one of the safest cities listed here are in Southern California, while the other nineteen are in Northern California.

Both Southern and Northern California regions have crime records to be proud of, but there’s a healthy intrastate rivalry over which region is safest—so we dug into the report further in hopes of settling the issue. We found Southern California cities reported a lower property crime rate on average than did Northern California cities, but Northern California cities reported a lower average violent crime rate.

We applaud thirteenth-ranked Rancho Santa Margarita (Southern CA) for having the lowest property crime rate of any city on our list and send equal kudos to Danville (Northern CA). Not only is Danville the safest city in California, it also has the lowest rate of violent crime, reporting a mere 0.20 crimes of this type for every 1,000 people. That’s nearly 96% lower than the national average.

All in all, there are plenty of safe cities in Southern and Northern California. Which region is right for you may come down to other factors, such as employment opportunities or whether you prefer the fine wines of Napa Valley or the great craft brews of SoCal. Either way, we encourage you to explore our California Safety Directory, where you’ll find numerous crime prevention and emergency preparedness resources.

Safest Cities By Region California

The 50 Safest Cities in California

1–25

1. Danville
Region: Northern California
Population: 44,897
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.20
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.13
Total crime: 2.47% violent, 97.53% property

2. Murrieta
Region: Southern California
Population: 111,043
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.44
Property crimes per 1,000: 14.44
Total crime: 3.06% violent, 96.94% property

3. San Ramon
Region: Northern California
Population: 76,901
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.51
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.70
Total crime: 4.74% violent, 95.26% property

4. Irvine
Region: Southern California
Population: 266,663
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.57
Property crimes per 1,000: 14.01
Total crime: 4.07% violent, 95.93% property

5. Aliso Viejo
Region: Southern California
Population: 50,604
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.57
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.12
Total crime: 7.06% violent, 92.94% property

6. Yorba Linda
Region: Southern California
Population: 68,702
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.60
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.55
Total crime: 5.66% violent, 94.34% property

7. Lincoln
Region: Northern California
Population: 47,206
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.61
Property crimes per 1,000: 11.46
Total crime: 5.36% violent, 94.64% property

8. Rancho Palos Verdes
Region: Southern California
Population: 42,947
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.63
Property crimes per 1,000: 9.71
Total crime: 6.47% violent, 93.53% property

9. Chino Hills
Region: Southern California
Population: 78,990
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.75
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.82
Total crime: 5.82% violent, 94.18% property

10. Mission Viejo
Region: Southern California
Population: 97,950
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.77
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.04
Total crime: 7.63% violent, 92.37% property

11. Menlo Park
Region: Northern California
Population: 33,726
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.89
Property crimes per 1,000: 18.47
Total crime: 4.82% violent, 95.18% property

12. Foster City
Region: Northern California
Population: 34,081
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.94
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.06
Total crime: 9.33% violent, 90.67% property

13. Rancho Santa Margarita
Region: Southern California
Population: 49,606
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.97
Property crimes per 1,000: 5.38
Total crime: 17.98% violent, 82.02% property

14. Laguna Niguel
Region: Southern California
Population: 66,352
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.98
Property crimes per 1,000: 11.32
Total crime: 8.66% violent, 91.34% property

15. Folsom
Region: Northern California
Population: 77,245
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.98
Property crimes per 1,000: 17.92
Total crime: 5.49% violent, 94.51% property

16. Moorpark
Region: Southern California
Population: 36,423
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.02
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.13
Total crime: 12.50% violent, 87.50% property

17. Sunnyvale
Region: Northern California
Population: 154,108
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.03
Property crimes per 1,000: 13.89
Total crime: 7.38% violent, 92.62% property

18. Rocklin
Region: Northern California
Population: 62,006
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.05
Property crimes per 1,000: 19.39
Total crime: 5.41% violent, 94.59% property

19. Central Marin
Region: Northern California
Population: 35,265
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.08
Property crimes per 1,000: 18.60
Total crime: 5.79% violent, 94.21% property

20. Palo Alto
Region: Northern California
Population: 67,317
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.08
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.33
Total crime: 5.08% violent, 94.92% property

21. Fountain Valley
Region: Southern California
Population: 57,291
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.10
Property crimes per 1,000: 25.19
Total crime: 4.37% violent, 95.63% property

22. Corona
Region: Southern California
Population: 166,534
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.11
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.18
Total crime: 5.01% violent, 94.99% property

23. Walnut Creek
Region: Northern California
Population: 69,860
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.12
Property crimes per 1,000: 30.35
Total crime: 3.68% violent, 96.32% property

24. Glendale
Region: Southern California
Population: 202,903
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.12
Property crimes per 1,000: 17.00
Total crime: 6.58% violent, 93.42% property

25. San Clemente
Region: Southern California
Population: 65,915
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.14
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.12
Total crime: 9.39% violent, 90.61% property

25–50

26. Diamond Bar
Region: Southern California
Population: 57,162
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.15
Property crimes per 1,000: 16.29
Total crime: 7.09% violent, 92.91% property

27. Cupertino
Region: Northern California
Population: 60,948
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.16
Property crimes per 1,000: 16.36
Total crime: 7.12% violent, 92.88% property

28. Eastvale
Region: Southern California
Population: 60,115
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.18
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.11
Total crime: 5.59% violent, 94.41% property

29. Milpitas
Region: Northern California
Population: 79,990
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.20
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.39
Total crime: 5.36% violent, 94.64% property

30. Pleasanton
Region: Northern California
Population: 81,464
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.23
Property crimes per 1,000: 19.69
Total crime: 6.23% violent, 93.77% property

31. Santa Clara
Region: Northern California
Population: 128,179
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.24
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.95
Total crime: 5.65% violent, 94.35% property

32. Cypress
Region: Southern California
Population: 49,557
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.25
Property crimes per 1,000: 15.78
Total crime: 7.93% violent, 92.07% property

33. Lake Forest
Region: Southern California
Population: 83,511
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.26
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.93
Total crime: 14.08% violent, 85.92% property

34. Newport Beach
Region: Southern California
Population: 87,482
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.26
Property crimes per 1,000: 25.62
Total crime: 4.91% violent, 95.09% property

35. Thousand Oaks
Region: Southern California
Population: 129,853
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.26
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.98
Total crime: 9.73% violent, 90.27% property

36. Temecula
Region: Southern California
Population: 114,381
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.27
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.62
Total crime: 5.60% violent, 94.40% property

37. Poway
Region: Southern California
Population: 50,606
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.28
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.99
Total crime: 14.29% violent, 85.71% property

38. Martinez
Region: Northern California
Population: 38,541
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.32
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.26
Total crime: 5.94% violent, 94.06% property

39. Glendora
Region: Southern California
Population: 52,380
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.34
Property crimes per 1,000: 25.98
Total crime: 5.14% violent, 94.86% property

40. Temple City
Region: Southern California
Population: 36,527
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.34
Property crimes per 1,000: 15.88
Total crime: 8.45% violent, 91.55% property

41. Wildomar
Region: Southern California
Population: 36,310
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.35
Property crimes per 1,000: 18.04
Total crime: 7.48% violent, 92.52% property

42. Oakley
Region: Northern California
Population: 40,695
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.35
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.30
Total crime: 13.13% violent, 86.87% property

43. Simi Valley
Region: Southern California
Population: 127,252
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.37
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.31
Total crime: 11.11% violent, 88.89% property

44. Arcadia
Region: Southern California
Population: 58,816
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.41
Property crimes per 1,000: 27.92
Total crime: 5.05% violent, 94.95% property

45. Novato
Region: Northern California
Population: 56,263
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.42
Property crimes per 1,000: 18.45
Total crime: 7.71% violent, 92.29% property

46. Dublin
Region: Northern California
Population: 60,430
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.44
Property crimes per 1,000: 18.15
Total crime: 7.93% violent, 92.07% property

47. Placentia
Region: Southern California
Population: 52,800
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.46
Property crimes per 1,000: 14.96
Total crime: 9.75% violent, 90.25% property

48. Palm Desert
Region: Southern California
Population: 52,528
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.47
Property crimes per 1,000: 40.82
Total crime: 3.59% violent, 96.41% property

49. Tustin
Region: Southern California
Population: 81,642
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.47
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.12
Total crime: 6.64% violent, 93.36% property

50. Manhattan Beach
Region: Southern California
Population: 35,955
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.47
Property crimes per 1,000: 28.65
Total crime: 5.15% violent, 94.85% property

How We Chose the Safest Cities in California

To identify the fifty safest cities in California, we reviewed the 2016 FBI crime report statistics and population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI were excluded from the ranking system.

Our evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.

Learn more about how we rank our Safest Cities reports.

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for  Best Home Security Systems of 2018.

If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email info@safewise.com.

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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  • PRIS

    Since we can’t all pickup and move to the safer cities, a good followup would be to find out how each of these safe cities deal with all the causes of crime. i.e. homelessness, drugs, people with mental problems, bicycle theft, package delivery theft. What can a city do to become safe?

  • Jonathon

    Thank you mostly to The Rocklin Police Department!