Top 7 Most Dangerous Cities in California (Updated)

Can the crime rate be reduced in any of these cities?

Living in cities with high crime rates seriously affects the quality of life for residents. Also, raising children and keeping them safe in a city where crimes happen daily can be challenging and exhausting. It’s very hard not to lose hope, knowing that significant improvements never took place.

Dangerous cities in California
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Would you live in one of these cities?

Some cities in California are facing some serious challenges in combating crime. The authorities do their best to ensure the safety of the residents, but it’s not easy at all. Emeryville, Oakland, and San Bernardino are some of the most popular cities in California, being known for their crime rates.

  • By far, Emeryville is situated at the top. It’s the most dangerous city, its crime rate is 2,356 per 100,000 residents, which is 520% higher than the U.S. average.
  • The second-most dangerous city is Oakland. In 2023, there were 126 homicides. The city is also known as the murder capital of California. It has a violent crime rate of 1,547 per 100,000.
  • The third-most dangerous city in California is San Bernardino. It has a crime rate of 1,310 per 100,000.

Below, you can find an updated list of the top 7 most dangerous cities in California.

1. Emeryville

According to its violent crime rate, Emeryville is the unsafest city in California. It has a low population density but a VERY high crime rate. Auto and property theft are some of the most reported crimes in the city that residents have to deal with.

Because of its small population, in Emeryville, there is around a 1 in 43 chance that any given resident may become a victim of violent crime.

Dangerous cities in California
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2. Oakland

Oakland is not only one of the most dangerous cities in California but also one of the most dangerous ones in the United States. The crime rate has decreased since the 1990s, but it’s still 392% higher than the national average.

Despite vehicle and property theft, drug-related offenses are also common in Oakland. The city is dealing with a meth epidemic, which also makes it one of the worst drug cities in the country.

3. San Bernardino

The city’s violent crime rate is 331% higher than the national average. The number of crimes, including murder and robbery, increased by up to 39% between 2017 and 2022. Even though there has been a drop in property crime since 2017, there has been a 145% increase in violent crimes, such as aggravated assaults, ranking San Bernardino among the worst places to live in California.

4. Stockton

Stockton is located in San Joaquin County and has a population of almost 321,000. The city’s crime rate is 319% higher than the national average.

Property crime is also significantly higher compared to other cities of its size. For example, in 2022, there were more than 9000 reported cases of property crime.

5. Compton

Compton has a population of almost 100,000, and it’s located in the South Los Angeles region of California. Even with its effective initiatives to lower crime rates, Compton is still considered very dangerous in 2024.

6. Vallejo

The city has a population of 124,886 and a violent crime rate of almost 1,000 per 100,000 people, which is 250% higher than the national average.

In Vallejo, robbery and aggravated assault rank highest among violent crime types.

It is still considered one of the most dangerous cities in California, even though significant improvements have been made.

7. Richmond

Richmond is located in the San Francisco Bay area. It is a more affordable option for tourists who want to visit San Francisco, but it is usually avoided because of safety reasons. In 2023, thousands of vehicle and property thefts were reported. In the same year, the violent crime rate was 921 per 100,000 people.

The city may be considered safer than Oakland, but it is still very risky to live there.

Dangerous cities in California
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The importance of mental health

Residents of these cities often deal with anxiety and fear, which can severely impact mental health. The need to constantly be cautious and take precautions leads to a disruption of social cohesion and community trust. People usually become more isolated, avoiding public spaces and drastically reducing their interactions with neighbors. This way, residents are trying to avoid the risk of victimization.

Mental health influences an individual’s emotional and overall well-being. Poor mental health can lead to serious health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which can impact one’s ability to normally function. On the other side, good mental health helps individuals deal with stress and work productively.

Don’t forget that mental health can deeply affect our physical health. Studies have shown that depression raises significantly the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while someone with uncontrolled anxiety issues may develop diabetes.

It is crucial to take care of ourselves, but it can be really hard to do so, while thousands of crimes happen every year around you. All you can do is try to keep your family as safe as possible and hope for a change. The best idea would be to leave because nothing matters more than health, but it can be impossible for many of the families living in these cities in California.

If you liked this article, make sure to check out another related one from Devastating Disasters. It is about 1o Most Dangerous Chicago Neighborhoods. 

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