Welcome to the Wyze Safest Cities Report of California!
Welcome to the Wyze Safest Cities Report for the state of California. After years of helping you create smarter, safer homes, we want to help you choose smarter, safer cities!
Moving is bad enough—and worse if you know nothing about the place you’re going. There are so many important questions!
“What’s the cost of living?”
“Do the potholes outnumber the potheads?”
“Do the potheads outnumber the potholes?”
“How far is the nearest bowl of ice cream?”
“Where am I least likely to be murdered?”
The questions probably run in that order.
We can’t answer all of them, but we can give you some basic safety info about crime rates and how the cities stack up. Granted there’s more to safety than a snapshot of local crime stats. And granted, too, that in a state with almost 1500 cities, it’s maybe shortsighted to single out fifty. And granted even further that it’s a little unfair to compare the crime rates of cities of 25,000 with cities of half a million. (Though, as we’ll see below, small size is no guarantee of a safer city.)
With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in and find that shining Californian city so crime-free that everyone leaves their doors unlocked and walks around with hundred-dollar bills hanging out of their pockets. (That city actually is on the list. Unfortunately, the median home price is three million dollars.)
Let’s get to know California!
Here’s some general information about the state:
- California has a population of 39.5 million people1.
- The average annual rent in the state is $18,3122.
- The median household income is a little over $75,000 a year3.
- The cost of living in California is, on average, about one-and-a-half times the average cost in the rest of the United States
- The average home cost is more than double the average home cost in the rest of the country4.
- The violent crime rate statewide is 3.3 per thousand people.
- The property crime rate statewide is 21.7 per thousand people.
- The total crime rate statewide is 28.3 per thousand people.
Known for its gorgeous coastline and sunny weather, as well as for being the home of cultural and economic powerhouses from Hollywood to the tech industry, California looms large: the third biggest state by landmass; the biggest by population; and far and away the top economy in the country. California ranks as the fifth biggest economy worldwide, surpassing countries like England and France.
Much of this massive economic activity is driven by California’s two big commercial hubs:
- San Francisco and its surrounding cities in Northern California
- Los Angeles and its surrounding cities in Southern California.
We’ll see that those two hubs account for nearly all of the cities on our lists.
California’s economy was also hit hard in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic. Because so much of California’s economy is reliant on in-person interaction and travel, it lost nearly 3 million jobs, which wiped out ten straight years of economic growth. Decades of high poverty, severe income polarization, educational and ethnic disparities, and astronomical housing costs also contribute to more dangerous crime rates in the state. Throughout California, the difference between the safest places to live and the most dangerous places to live is often only a few miles.7
The Top Ten Safest Cities in California
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the top ten safest places to live in the state:
- Rancho Santa Margarita
- Aliso Viejo
- Rancho Palos Verdes
- Yorba Linda
- Laguna Niguel
- Mission Viejo
As you can see, most of the top safest cities to live in are located in Southern California. At the same time, even though only three Northern California cities—Danville, Lafayette, and Saratoga—made our top ten list, they were three of the top four and Danville was number one. All of our top ten cities (in fact, nearly all of our top twenty-five) had violent crime rates of less than one person per thousand residents. Half reported zero murders.
Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities in California
And, before we get into the numbers, we might as well take a moment to also list the top ten most dangerous places to live in California:
- San Bernardino
- West Hollywood
- San Francisco
In contrast to our ten safest cities, seven of the most dangerous cities to live in California are located in Northern California. In fact, six of them are located in the San Francisco area alone, including San Francisco itself, which you might be surprised to learn is the ninth most dangerous place to live in the state. That is not to say that Southern California doesn’t also have its share of dangerous cities, with San Bernardino, Compton, and West Hollywood all making the list.
Maybe the most interesting city on the list is Eureka—the only unsafe city on the list that is not located in the vicinity of either San Francisco or Los Angeles. Despite its being a scenic little redwood town of less than 27,000 people, the crime rates in Eureka are over double the rest of the state and almost 2.5 times the national average. The chances of being the victim of a crime in Eureka are 1 in 17.
Violent Crime in California: Facts and Trends
Here are some trends for violent crime in California over the last five years:
- The biggest violent crime category in California in the vast majority of cities is aggravated assault, with just a few cities where robbery is more common.
- Though robberies and rapes decreased, the murder rate in the state of California rose by 30% during the coronavirus pandemic.8
- Before the pandemic, violent crime numbers in California had stayed roughly the same over the last five years, with a slight decrease from 2018 to 2019, just prior to the pandemic.8
- Violent crimes were at their lowest of the last twenty years in 2014, then rose steadily for three years. They have stayed at around those same higher levels since 2017.5
- Those numbers were largely driven by aggravated assault and sexual assault.5
- Before coronavirus, murder and non-negligent manslaughter had stayed between 1500 and 2000 statewide since 2010, but (still within that range) they had been in decline since 2016.5
- Looking at the bigger picture, despite the recent uptick, violent crime rates in California are still at historic lows, barely a third of what they were in the late 70s and early 80s.5
Property Crime in California: Facts and Trends
Now let’s look at some general trends in property crime in California over the last five years:
- The most common property crimes in California are either burglary or motor vehicle theft, depending on the city.
- California ranks 19th among all states for property crime.8
- Both motor vehicle theft and burglary have been in steady decline, across the state, for the last five years. (Burglary has been in decline for ten.)6
- Robbery numbers went up during the market crash of 2008, but had fallen by 2011 and have stayed more-or-less the same since.6
- Larcenies and residential burglaries declined during the pandemic, but motor vehicle theft and commercial burglaries increased by around 20%.8
The Top Twenty Safest Cities in California
With that general information, let’s get a little deeper into the numbers and see what we can learn about the safest cities in California.
It turns out that the town in California with the most harmless-sounding name (Who doesn’t love Dan?) is also the most harmless place. Ostensibly located in the San Francisco metro area, but nestled 40 miles inland, between the hills of Las Trampas, Diablos Hills, and Sycamore Valley Parks, Danville is incorporated as a town, not a city. That’s adorable! It’s known for its relaxed lifestyle, beautiful setting, and arts and culture scene. It’s also known for insanely expensive real estate and a sky-high cost of living—though not the highest on this list by any stretch. Danville has ranked as one of the safest, if not the safest, cities to live, on state and national lists going back for years.
- Population: 44,997
- Median Income: $152,794
- Median Home Price: $1,284,100
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.51 Property: 6.58
Learn more: Danville
Rancho Santa Margarita
Many California cities are named after ranches, and many are named after saints. Rancho Santa Margarita is named after a ranch named after a saint. Located in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area, Rancho Santa Margarita offers a slightly more affordable alternative to the number one spot, but with long, beautiful beaches. When master planner Richard Reese planned the modern city, he set out to give it the feel of a village, and today Rancho Santa Margarita has a reputation as a community with a slow pace and friendly atmosphere, in addition to being one of the safest places to live in California.
- Population: 49,078
- Median Income: $104,952
- Median Home Price: $659,100
- Median Age: 37
- Violent: 0.62 Property: 6.12
Learn more: Rancho Santa Margarita
First of all, what is this French name doing here? We appreciate that the man helped win the Revolutionary War, but the Spanish monopoly on non-English place names has served California very well, and there’s no reason to upset the carro de manzano. At the very least, they should have thrown a “Santo” on the front of this thing. Located just 22 miles from San Francisco, Lafayette is yet another beautiful, highly desirable California city in the Bay Area with a price tag to match. The cost of living in Lafayette is nearly twice the national average. Lafayette is a city with a year-round temperate climate, gorgeous vistas in every direction, and all within a short distance of world-famous cultural and leisure opportunities.
- Population: 25,792
- Median Income: $138,073
- Median Home Price: $1,576,600
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.15 Property: 13.32
Learn more: Lafayette
Not to be outdone by Lafayette, because it isn’t, Saratoga is the first Silicon Valley city on our list, and rolls in with a cost of living a whopping 337% the national average. Saratoga is known as “the unofficial wine country of Silicon Valley,” in part because of its wine and in part because the residents decided “Silicon Valley” by itself didn’t sound pretentious enough. Saratoga has a somewhat older population to go with its historic downtown district and outdoorsy parks and preserves. With an average home price pushing 3 million dollars, violent crime in this city last year was reportedly when the maid slapped the gardener for eating a sandwich in the house. If you are a person with the means and modes to move to Saratoga, what are you doing on a website like this? Don’t you have people who research this stuff for you?
- Population: 31,013
- Median Income: $167,917
- Median Home Price: $2,685,300
- Median Age: 49
- Violent: 0.52 Property: 7.83
Learn more: Saratoga
Returning to the land of the (somewhat more) ordinary, our fifth city takes us back down to sunny Southern California beach country. Its exotic-sounding name, when translated into English, turns out to mean the much more ordinary-sounding “Old Sycamore,” which is probably why they kept it in Spanish. Nevertheless, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, Aliso Viejo is known for (shocker!) its year-round beautiful climate and easy beach access. The city is only six square miles but has twenty-one parks, and every resident lives within three miles of the town center. Cost of living is only 57% above the national average. Not too shabby for a California beach town!
- Population: 50,691
- Median Income: $102,325
- Median Home Price: $636,600
- Median Age: 36
- Violent: 0.52 Property: 8.29
Learn more: Aliso Viejo
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Moorpark has fewer parks than a lot of other cities on our list, and that’s ironic. Furthermore, in addition to its temperate climate and gorgeous vistas, Moorpark is known for its outstanding schools and educational opportunities, which is perhaps unsurprising for a city founded, quite literally, by a man whose name was well-known nerd moniker, Pointdexter. (Look it up!) Just fifty miles northwest of Los Angeles and less than twenty miles from the beach, Moorpark offers all the usual Southern California amenities at a median price tag that has dipped, for the first time on our Safest Cities list, below a hundred thousand dollars a year. Finally a Southern Cal town not just for movie stars, investment bankers, and titans of industry, but for regular old doctors, lawyers, and architectural engineers like the rest of us!
- Population: 36,060
- Median Income: $99,353
- Median Home Price: $657,600
- Median Age: 38
- Violent: 0.71 Property: 6.19
Learn more: Moorpark
Rancho Palos Verdes
Sadly, with our next entry, Rancho Palos Verdes, we’re back in familiar, million-plus country. Rancho Palos Verdes means literally, “Ranch of Green Sticks.” The city’s rancher founders may not have known what exactly it was they were growing, but by cracky they knew what it looked like! With a median age of fifty, Rancho Palos Verdes is officially the oldest entry on our list. We’re not saying Rancho Palos Verdes doesn’t have its share of celebrities, just like any other Southern California town, we’re just saying those celebrities are Rod Stewart, Liza Minelli, George Takei, and Joe Montana, all of whom are less known for being hip than for replacing them.
- Population: 42,463
- Median Income: $120,697
- Median Home Price: $1,283,300
- Median Age: 50
- Violent: 0.69 Property: 7.46
Learn more: Rancho Palos Verdes
Yorba Linda is a city which has been described as “characterized by fairly cookie-cutter homes and notable for its dearth of public spaces” and which is and will always be most famous as the birthplace of Richard Nixon. Yet, somehow, the median age of Yorba Linda is still younger than Rancho Palos Verdes. We’re not saying Yorba Linda is boring; we’re just saying The Crazy Tourist lists the number one “best thing to do” there as, “Learn About Local History at the Yorba Linda Heritage Museum.” Richard Nixon was president for the opening of relations with China, the end of the Vietnam war, and the Watergate scandal—including Nixon’s own dramatic resignation—but apparently, for the “Crazy” Tourist, his presidential library ranks as the fourth most interesting thing in town, behind “go to the park” and “drink a beer.” That’s about as crazy as Yorba Linda gets. It definitely sounds safe.
- Population: 67,740
- Median Income: $115,994
- Median Home Price: $856,600
- Median Age: 43
- Violent: 0.62 Property: 9.19
Learn more: Yorba Linda
Known for its extensive park and trail system, Laguna Niguel is only one of the many California cities to have way more parks than Moorpark. It suffers from the same crowding and high cost of living as other towns on our list, but between the parks and its location right on the Southern California coast, Laguna Niguel is a recreation-lover’s delight.
- Population: 65,429
- Median Income: $98,957
- Median Home Price: $836,600
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.64 Property: 9.1
Learn more: Laguna Niguel
The first and most successful master-planned community in the United States, property in Mission Viejo has been in demand going back to its inception in the late 1970s. Known for its distinctive Spanish architecture, it’s another city on our list that is frequently cited as one of the safest, if not the safest, cities in the United States. Mission Viejo’s master-planned community has all the same things as your little master-planned community, right down to the clean streets and manmade lake, it’s just that theirs is a city of a hundred thousand people, located right in the heart of beautiful Orange County on the Southern California coast.
- Population: 96,535
- Median Income: $98,157
- Median Home Price: $731,300
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.68 Property: 9.07
Learn more: Mission Viejo
Lake Forest, the city with the geographically indecisive name, was originally called El Toro. Upon incorporating in 1991, the city, whose motto is “Remember the Past” decided to ditch that old thing and replace it with the oxymoronic moniker we have before us today. The “lake” part refers to two artificial lakes maintained by the city. The “forest” refers to the trees that line the main roadway. That’s right—there was never a lake or a forest. Whether or not that makes sense to you, you’ll still find Lake Forest one of the safest, most attractive Southern California places to live on our list, combining easy ocean access and big-city amenities.
- Population: 81,812
- Median Income: $92,781
- Median Home Price: $717,700
- Median Age: 39
- Violent: 0.76 Property: 7.89
Learn more: Lake Forest
You probably think Lincoln was named after Abe Lincoln. Nope. Built on the site of a major, and much more interestingly named, Native American village called Bu-Mu-Ma, Lincoln is named after railroad magnate Charles Lincoln Wilson, who apparently hated his last name. They went with his middle name for reasons that are lost to us. Word is, some residents from Lake Forest once suggested they just roll a rock and a tree into the middle of town and call the place “Rock Tree.” In any case, the city is north of Sacramento and a good two hours from the coast, but what’s most important here is that we have, finally, for the first time on our list, a legitimately affordable landing spot, and still a beautiful historic city—one of the safest, most family-friendly places to live in the state of California.
- Population: 46,404
- Median Income: $70,870
- Median Home Price: $470,400
- Median Age: 43
- Violent: 0.66 Property: 9.62
Learn more: Lincoln
And the affordability was fun while it lasted because with our next entry, we’re back to Silicon Valley. Los Altos is Spanish for “The Heights,” as in the heights of beauty, the heights of luxury, the heights of property costs. Just take everything we said about up above Saratoga and paste it down here, but with bigger lot sizes. Los Altos, unsurprisingly, is a safe place to live. Property crime in Los Altos primarily involves the stealing of casserole recipes. Ha! Just kidding. These people don’t make their own casseroles.
- Population: 30,527
- Median Income: $157,500
- Median Home Price: $3,189,700
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.68 Property: 10.09
Learn more: Los Altos
We’re staying in Silicon Valley now, but with the much more awesomely dubbed Los Gatos—the cats—named for the loud growling of the mountain lions at night in the Gold Rush era. Whether those are the types of cougars you hear growling there today is debatable. The median home price in Los Gatos is a humiliating 2 million dollars, compared to 3 million in Los Altos. Sad.
- Population: 30,709
- Median Income: $122,860
- Median Home Price: $1,918,300
- Median Age: 46
- Violent: 0.45 Property: 13.61
Learn more: Los Gatos
Known, as you may have guessed, for its thousands of oak trees, Thousand Oaks sounds like it was named by a fourteen-year-old who won a town-naming contest. And it was. It also prides itself on its open space, with 15,000 acres of natural, publicly-owned space and over 150 miles of trails for hiking or biking. Add to that the beaches and the climate and it’s easy to see why, today, Thousand Oaks is known as much for its bajillions of celebrities as for its thousands of oaks.
- Population: 128,909
- Median Income: $99,115
- Median Home Price: $738,400
- Median Age: 43
- Violent: 0.69 Property: 10.89
Learn more: Thousand Oaks
A waterfront, Bay Area town, historic Benicia is known for its small town charm and abundant leisure and recreational activities. According to tradition, the California Gold Rush started in Benicia, not because that’s where gold was found, but because that’s where some loose lipped rancher first leaked news of the finds. Benicia became a major gold rush town and, little known fact, was briefly the state capital. It lasted thirteen months before that weasel, Governor John Bigler, moved the capitol to his hometown of Sacramento. Curse you, John Bigler! We all know where the real capital still is.
- Population: 28,011
- Median Income: $89,094
- Median Home Price: $642,900
- Median Age: 45
- Violent: 0.56 Property: 13.24
Learn more: Benicia
Known as the home of UC Irvine and an economic powerhouse featuring the headquarters of a host of major companies, Irvine’s easy filming permits have also made it the backdrop of plenty of Hollywood movies. In addition to its diversity and exciting job market, Irvine features all the usual Southern California climate, recreational, and leisure benefits. It has been featured on the FBI’s Safest Cities list every year since 2005.
- Population: 256,877
- Median Income: $91,999
- Median Home Price: $864,400
- Median Age: 34
- Violent: 0.64 Property: 13.06
Learn more: Irvine
Joaquín Murrieta was a badass folk hero outlaw, who avenged the murder of his brother and the abuse of his wife against the ne’er-do-wells of the California Gold Rush, thus inspiring vigilante heroes from Zorro to Batman. Unfortunately, Murrieta is not named after him. Instead, our Murrieta is named after mild-mannered Juan Murrieta, who brought 7,000 sheep to graze in the valley in 1873 and never had to avenge anyone. Though not as exciting an origin story, the personality of the city today—known as a friendly, welcoming city and a great, safe city in which to raise a family— is very much in keeping with the second Murrieta. Only 100 miles outside of LA, and also known for its natural hot springs and amazing vineyards, it is surprisingly one of the most affordable, and also one of the youngest, cities on our list.
Median Income: $74,401
Median Home Price: $446,400
Median Age: 34
Violent: 0.66 Property: 12.99
Learn more: Murrieta
Camarillo, known locally for the inability of outsiders to pronounce its name (which apparently rhymes with pillow), was once named by National Geographic as one of only ten places with a “true Mediterranean climate.” Beyond its climate and beauty, residents love it for its friendliness and well-run city government, both of which contribute to its status as one of the safest places in Southern California to live. They say you get used to the earthquakes.
- Population: 67,166
- Median Income: $87,120
- Median Home Price: $621,700
- Median Age: 42
- Violent: 0.83 Property: 11.73
Learn more: Camarillo
Nestled just north of San Diego, the city of Poway is known as ‘the city in the country,” owing to its agrarian roots and not to the fact that it is located almost as far south as you can go in California and still be in the United States. Poway is a modern suburb whose farming origins are nevertheless still evident on its northern side. In addition to being one of the safest cities in which to live, Poway’s school district is widely considered the best in San Diego County.
- Population: 49,874
- Median Income: $96,315
- Median Home Price: $736,500
- Median Age: 40
- Violent: 1.02 Property: 9.81
Learn more: Poway
And with the last city making our list of the top twenty safest cities to live in California, we’re headed back up to Northern California and once again to the San Francisco Bay area. San Ramon, located in the San Ramon Valley, has, according to the city website, “long been considered one of the most desirable living areas in the Bay Area because of its scenic beauty, suburban charms, excellent school systems, and proximity to major employment centers.” This last city on our list is bordered on one side by Danville, the first city on our list, but with a younger population and slightly lower cost of living. San Ramon has been described as very windy and with heavy traffic, but with great schools and all the climate, recreation, and leisure benefits the San Francisco area provides.
- Population: 75,048
- Median Income: $129,062
- Median Home Price: $1,046,000
- Median Age: 38
- Violent: 0.76 Property: 14.39
Learn more: San Ramon
The Ten Most Dangerous Cities in California
Coming in as the number one most dangerous city in California is Oakland. Twelve out of every thousand people in Oakland experienced a violent crime in 2019, and 64 out of every thousand were victims of property theft. Those numbers are before the spike in the coronavirus pandemic. Oakland’s reputation as a dangerous city surpasses the borders of California, but there are those who note that violence in Oakland is still at historic lows and that the reputation may not be entirely fair. There are parts of Oakland that are dangerous, just as in most big cities, but Oakland remains one of the most active, vibrant, and youngest cities in the Bay area, and a major hub of commerce in Northern California.
- Population: 417,442
- Median Income: $52,962
- Median Home Price: $731,400
- Median Age: 36
- Violent: 12.72 Property: 64.21
Learn more: Oakland
A major California Gold Rush town and once the most heavily populated city in California, Stockton today is known to locals as the “Asparagus capital of the world,” complete with an annual festival. Unfortunately, Stockton, another of California’s heavily populated major cities, is also known as a dangerous place to live with an ongoing crime problem. In 2012, the city ranked as the tenth most dangerous in the United States. The years since then have actually seen a significant decrease in violent crime, but despite this progress, Stockton still remains a dangerous city with a high crime rate.
- Population: 304,358
- Median Income: $45,347
- Median Home Price: $297,300
- Median Age: 32.3
- Violent: 13.97 Property: 39.44
Learn more: Stockton
The home of Cal State University and the first McDonalds, San Bernardino is also famous for its association with Route 66 and for the annual car show they put on in its honor. San Bernardino is the gateway to the so-called “Inland Empire” portion of Southern California, but rapid population increases and the loss of some industry have contributed to the economic and crime problems the city faces today.
- Population: 215,252
- Median Income: $38,774
- Median Home Price: $296,200
- Median Age: 29.4
- Violent: 13.19 Property: 41.9
Learn more: San Bernadino
Though popularly known as the birthplace of gangsta rap and the only city in the world with a drive-through mortuary, Compton is actually locally known as the Hub City because of its location in nearly the exact center of Los Angeles. Compton is also strategically located along the Alameda Corridor, a passageway of 25 percent of all U.S. waterborne international trade. Compton is one of the oldest cities in the county and was founded by a hardscrabble group of settlers who braved harsh conditions in the early days to bring the city into being. The city continues to face challenges today, particularly its well-known crime rate, but Compton’s location uniquely positions it for the future and there are signs of increased investment and better quality of life.
- Population: 97,847
- Median Income: $43,230
- Median Home Price: $405,000
- Median Age: 30.5
- Violent: 11.42 Property: 24.28
Learn more: Compton
Perhaps best known for its role in World War II, churning out over seven hundred naval vessels from three shipyards and supporting 55 other wartime industries, today Richmond is an important oil refining and industrial city. It occupies a peninsula that sits on both the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Crime has been an ongoing concern in Richmond for years despite a variety of approaches by the police and community. Nevertheless, the city offers plenty to love, as well.
- Population: 108,853
- Median Income: $54,857
- Median Home Price: $525,600
- Median Age: 35.7
- Violent: 9.32 Property: 37.73
Learn more: Richmond
With one of the most colorful histories of any city in a state full of cities with colorful histories, West Hollywood has only officially been a city since 1984. But for decades before that, West Hollywood fell uniquely outside the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles police but had no police of its own. The area, which gave birth to the famous Hollywood Boulevard, was known for its nightlife and cast of colorful characters—from movie stars to famous mobsters. Though much has changed since then, much has stayed the same. The city still struggles with one of the highest crime rates in the state, but still also sports one of the most vibrant nightlife and artistic scenes anywhere.
- Population: 36,148
- Median Income: $56,025
- Median Home Price: $832,200
- Median Age: 39.6
- Violent: 7.91 Property: 51.06
Learn more: West Hollywood
The city of Vallejo has an interesting recent history. Historically a naval city going back to the 1800s, the city found itself unable to meet the challenge when its major shipyard was shuttered by the US Government in 1996, and by 2008 it was the largest city in California to declare bankruptcy. Over the following years it laid off a huge percentage of its police force, and crime soared. The city has since become solvent and there are signs of a turnaround, most notably, the booming housing market. Thanks to its prime Bay Area location, Vallejo real estate is an increasingly hot commodity and the city’s fortunes and livability are likely to follow suit.
- Population: 120,599
- Median Income: $58,472
- Median Home Price: $411,500
- Median Age: 37.8
- Violent: 8.45 Property: 40.28
Learn more: Vallejo
You’re not gonna believe this, but Eureka was an important gold rush town. Like many California towns, Eureka hangs onto its roots with downtown architecture and historical landmarks that hearken to that era. In actuality, Eureka’s prime location as a shipping port on the Humboldt Bay and ideal location for easy access to the so-called “Redwood Empire” of Northern California, situated the city for a history that would extend beyond the gold rush era. Eureka also has a much cooler “Northwest American” climate than the rest of California, including snow, which most Californians have only seen in picture books. Since the 1980s, Eureka has seen economic struggles from its logging industry to its fishing, which have contributed to the somewhat unsettled place in which it finds itself and the high crime rates that it suffers today.
- Population: 27,024
- Median Income: $38,007
- Median Home Price: $261,900
- Median Age: 37.5
- Violent: 7.23 Property: 50.05
Learn more: Eureka
What can you say about San Francisco, the city where the dogs outnumber the children and the techies outnumber everyone? One of the most historic, interesting cities in the United States with landmarks from Alcatraz to Chinatown to the Golden Gate Bridge and a varied, storied history from the travels of Mark Twain to the invention of denim through the Beatles last concert and on to Super Bowl championships and beyond. San Francisco has a world-renowned culinary industry from sourdough to coffee and everything in between. Unfortunately, it may surprise you to see here that San Francisco also has a very high crime rate, though it should be noted that a crime rate like this is not unusual for a city of San Francisco’s size, and that crime in the city is not widespread by any means and does tend to be limited to certain parts of town.
- Population: 864,263
- Median Income: $78,378
- Median Home Price: $1,378,300
- Median Age: 38.3
- Violent: 6.7 Property: 55.06
Learn more: San Francisco
Modesto, the birthplace of both George Lucas and Rockabilly music, is a California town with not only an agricultural past but an agricultural present—mostly of nuts and wine—based in the fertile land that surrounds the city. The small-town camaraderie of 1950s and 60s Modesto was immortalized by Lucas in the film American Graffiti, and the city honors that film with a festival every summer. Modesto has a number of these events and traditions that memorialize its roots. Unfortunately, Modesto also suffers today from a high level of gang activity in certain parts of town and at one time had one of the highest car theft rates in the nation.
- Population: 210,166
- Median Income: $47,607
- Median Home Price: $300,800
- Median Age: 35.3
- Violent: 8.12 Property: 33.17
Learn more: Modesto
All of the Top 100 Cities in California and Their Complete Crime Data
|Arson2||Property Crime per 1000 population||Violent Crime per 1000 population|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||48377||30||0||4||12||14||296||34||250||12||0||6.12||0.62|
|Rancho Palos Verdes||41961||29||2||3||2||22||313||102||199||12||1||7.46||0.69|
|San Juan Capistrano||36209||63||2||4||20||37||297||69||201||27||2||8.2||1.74|