California is home to some fantastic cities, glorious landscapes and friendly people, but there are also a few places you might want to take extra precautions when it comes to safety.
California, a state located on the west coast of the USA, is well known for some top landmarks, bustling cities and a rugged and wild coastline.
While there are many safe places to visit in this region, it is always worth knowing which areas to avoid. California has quite a few cities deemed unsafe for various reasons, and our list will give you an insight into the main cities where you should be extra vigilant.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at the ten most dangerous cities in California.
The World Bucket List’s top tips for visiting the most dangerous in California
- Stay in the safer parts of these cities if you intend on visiting. Better still, stay closer to tourist attractions, where there is a greater chance of police presence and security measures.
- Keep aware and alert of your surroundings if you are out walking in the city.
- Keep all valuable and expensive items stored away and out of sight, and don’t take out unnecessarily large sums of money.
- If possible, travel together in groups as opposed to walking around alone.
- Lastly, seek advice from locals and authorities for safe places to go and where to avoid.
10. Santa Monica – not as safe as you think
Santa Monica may be famous for being a popular resort town and the end of the iconic Route 66, but this city experiences crime.
Gang-related crime is particularly prevalent in the Pico neighbourhood of Santa Monica, and while not every area here is dangerous, it is best to be vigilant.
Address: Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States
9. Eureka – a risky area in Northern California
The city of Eureka, whose city limits border the ocean, is one of the most dangerous cities in California, US. So much so that there is a one in 14 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.
Of course, not every area of Eureka has this reputation, but when living in this city, many locals take precautions to prevent burglary.
Address: Eureka, CA 95503, United States
8. San Bernadino – a high rate of violent crime
San Bernardino has a reputation for having some of the highest crime rates out of any average California city. While it’s not yet reached the number one position, this city deserves a place in our top ten since the violent crime rate here is almost five times higher than the national average.
Address: San Bernadino, CA 92410, United States
7. Compton – world-renowned for its reputation
Compton is notorious for its crime statistics, including gang-related crimes and riots, but while this city was once the most dangerous in the state, it has now fallen behind.
Yet, despite this slow change in crime rates over the years, Compton is still renowned for having an overall high murder rate.
Address: Compton, CA 90222, United States
6. Crescent City – one of the most unsafe places in California
According to FBI statistics, Crescent City is certainly not one of the safest cities in California. The crime rates of this northern California city are much higher than the national average. In terms of safety, the most common incidents are theft, property crime and violent crime.
Address: Crescent City, CA 95531, United States
5. Barstow – where locals take precautions
Barstow is well known for being one of the most dangerous cities in California, so much so that many locals will not walk alone at night there.
However, with over 200% higher than the national average crime rate, Barstow, just north of San Bernardino, is a place to take extra precautions.
Address: Barstow, CA 92311, United States
4. Red Bluff – a place to be vigilant
Red Bluff is considered well below average regarding safety compared to other Californian cities or cities in the United States.
For example, the general person has a 1 in 15 risk of becoming a victim of property theft or violent crime in Red Bluff, but there are also risks of motor vehicle theft in this city.
Address: Red Bluff, CA 96080, United States
3. Commerce – a city with a high rate of poverty
One of California’s most dangerous cities, consistently in the top ten, is Commerce, a city located in southeast Los Angeles County with a high crime volume.
The main factor for such high crime rates and public safety risks is the high poverty rates in the city, which are higher than the national average.
Address: Commerce, CA 90040, United States
2. Oakland – caution in the Bay Area
Oakland is well known for being one of the most dangerous cities in California and is a place where you need to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid being a victim of property crime and theft.
In addition, Oakland has a murder rate four times higher than the national average, putting this city on the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States and California.
Address: Oakland, CA 94607, United States
1. Emeryville – one of the most dangerous cities in California
Although Emeryville doesn’t have a vast population, it has a relatively high crime rate, with the major crimes being property-related crimes and vehicle theft. Not only is this city reputed as an unsafe place to visit or live within its state, but it is also one of the most unsafe cities in the country.
Address: Emeryville, CA 94608, United States
Signal Hill: Located close to the popular area of Long Beach, this city has a vibe which will make you feel unsafe just driving through, and this is something both locals and tourists agree on.
Stockton: This notorious city has a high assault rate due to poverty, and since it declared bankruptcy in the 2000s, police department services have taken a knock.
Vallejo: With one of the highest rates of crime in the country, Vallejo is a city that you should take extra precautions with when or if you are passing through.
West Hollywood: West Hollywood is known for having significant homelessness issues and drug problems, making this area one of the most unsafe to visit, especially at night.
Your questions answered about the most dangerous cities in California
Read our article and still have some queries you would like answered? We have you covered! In this section, we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions about the most dangerous cities in California both to us and from online to help.
What California city has the highest crime rate?
Emeryville has the highest crime rate and is the most dangerous city in California.
What are the deadliest cities in California?
Compton, Red Bluff and Emeryville are the most dangerous places in the state, with different types of crimes, such as aggravated assault, and levels of crime.
Which city in California has the lowest crime rate?
Danville has the lowest crime rate and will be the safest city in California in 2022. Therefore, it is not included on this dangerous list.
What are the most popular cities in California?
These include San Francisco and San Diego, which are some of the larger cities.
Alas, these are California’s ten most dangerous cities, which you should take great caution in, just as the locals do.