California is home to some of the most iconic cities in the world, including Hollywood and Lombard Street. However, not all cities in the Golden State are safe havens. In this article, we will highlight the eight California cities with the highest crime rates in 2023. So, if you want to know which cities to avoid, keep reading.
8 Most Dangerous Cities in California
Emeryville, a city in California, is considered the most dangerous place to live in the state, with a violent crime rate of 6,284 per 100,000 residents. Despite a small population of 12,905, the city has a high crime rate, with property and vehicle theft being the most commonly reported offences. Reports show that in 2022, there were almost 12,500 reported incidents of theft and nearly 800 reported violent crime cases.
With its small population, Emeryville has a concerning statistic where every citizen has a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. This unsettling reality makes Emeryville rank high among the most violent cities in America.
Located in California, Oakland is a city with one of the highest crime rates in the state. It has been named one of the most dangerous cities in the entire United States. Even though the crime rate has decreased since the 1990s, it remains well above the national average. Shockingly, the violent crime rate in Oakland was recorded at a staggering 1,453 per 100,000 residents in 2021.
Oakland, situated in Alameda County, is a significant commercial centre in the East Bay Area. The city has a population of 440,646, making it the third-largest city in the Bay Area and the eighth-largest city in California, per the statistics.
According to reports, the city experiences a high crime rate, with vehicle theft, property theft, burglary, and assault being the most common types reported. Unfortunately, gun violence is also a significant issue in many neighbourhoods throughout Oakland. Gang activity is often the root cause of such violence, making it a serious concern for residents and law enforcement.
Located near California’s San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is known as one of the most challenging cities in the state. Despite a population of approximately 405,000, the city has an overall crime rate of 94% higher than the national average. This has earned Bakersfield the notorious reputation of being one of California’s most unsafe cities.
Bakersfield witnessed more than 15,000 instances of property crime in 2021, as reported by Bakersfield Now, a local news outlet. Nevertheless, the city experienced a substantial reduction of 30% in the number of homicides in 2022 compared to the previous year. Gang activity has been a long-standing concern in Bakersfield and significantly contributes to the city’s violence.
In San Joaquin County, Stockton is known for being one of the most dangerous cities in California’s Central Valley region. Despite a population of 320,804, the city has a crime rate well above the state and US average. Shockingly, in 2021, violent crime was reported to be 12.62 per 1,000 people, increasing the likelihood of becoming a victim to 1 in 79. Moreover, property crime is rampant in Stockton, with over 9,000 reported cases of property crime in 2021 alone.
5. San Bernardino
San Bernadino, located in California, is known for being one of the most violent cities in the state. With a population of 222,101, the city has a crime rate of 79% higher than the national average. Shockingly, violent crimes such as robbery and murder have increased by 39% from 2017 to 2022. While property crime has decreased since 2017, crimes like aggravated assault have risen by 145%. As a result, San Bernadino is considered one of the worst cities to live in California.
Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Richmond is known for being one of the most difficult cities in California. With a population of 110,567, the crime rate in Richmond is 82% higher than the national average, making it one of the least desirable places to reside in the Bay area.
Though a cost-effective alternative near San Francisco, Richmond has a notoriety for violent crime. Shockingly, the city’s violent crime rate in 2020 was 149% higher than the national average. Additionally, thousands of reported vehicle and property theft incidents occurred in the same year.
Although safer than Oakland, Richmond is still considered one of the most challenging locations in the Bay Area and California. Locals regard the northeastern part of the city as comparatively safer, while the central region, known as the “Iron Triangle,” remains a high-crime area.
Merced, situated in the Central Valley, is known for having one of the highest crime rates in California. With a population of 86,333, the city has a crime rate 599 per 1,000 people.
Crime rates in Merced have remained alarmingly high since the 1990s, making it one of the most violent metro areas in the country. Though property crime has seen a decline of up to 20% by 2020, violent crimes have been on the rise. The FBI statistics for the year 2020 reveal that murders in Merced almost doubled compared to the previous year, indicating a sharp increase in violent crimes.
Modesto, situated north of Merced, is one of California’s most complex cities. With a population of approximately 219,000, it has a crime rate of 32.24 per 1,000 individuals.
Modesto has a crime rate of 37% higher than the national average, with many property crimes and thefts. As per the FBI’s 2021 statistics, there were more than 5,000 reported incidents of property crime and over 1,600 incidents of violent crime in Modesto. Car theft is one of the most prevalent crimes in Modesto, with the city having one of the highest rates in California. In 2020 alone, there were 2,091 car thefts, which translates to 389 thefts per 1,000 people, surpassing the national average considerably.
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