California Crime Statistics

Policeman on radioCalifornia is the largest state in the U.S. in terms of overall population, so it makes sense that statistics would vary widely in regards to how dangerous its cities are when it comes to crime. With several cities that rank amongst the most dangerous in the nation, it behooves any visitor to familiarize themselves with the most basic California crime statistics. Therefore, here is a guide to the most dangerous California cities that will also explore other topics pertaining to California crime rates.

Crime Near Cities

As with most U.S. states, the most dangerous California cities are generally located near major metropolitan areas. According to the F.B.I., in terms of violent crime per 1,000 persons (a commonly used statistic to determine how dangerous an area is), three of the five most dangerous cities in California can be found in the Bay Area.

The Most Unsafe City

The most unsafe city in the state is Oakland. With a violent crime rate per 1,000 of 19.93, Oakland easily bests neighboring Emeryville (its nearest competitor) by almost three percentage points. The reasons behind Oakland’s exorbitant crime statistics are often hotly debated, but generally economic disparity is considered to be a prime culprit. Perhaps the best indicator of this disparity is the fact that nearly all Oakland homicides in the past decade have occurred within its more impoverished East and West sides. Alternately, the town of Piedmont (which is actually nestled in the middle of North Oakland) can be considered amongst the safest California cities.

Emeryville, located on the border between West Oakland and Berkeley, is an industrial hub of both cities that also houses Pixar studios. The reasons for its high crime rate are its proximity to one of Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods, as well as the steady influx of non-residents who come to Emeryville to work and/or shop.

However it is important to note that there are different ways to tabulate California crime rates. When looking at the total amount of violent crimes for the year 2012, Emeryville totalled 175 compared to Oakland’s 7,963. Since a large percentage of people in the city at any given time are not residents, the average rate of violent crimes per capita goes up accordingly. This is one example of how California crime statistics can be skewed.

Stockton, a city on the outskirts of the Bay Area in San Joaquin County, boasts an exorbitant violent crime rate of 15.48 per 1,000. The city was recently ranked the tenth most dangerous in America according to Yahoo Finance. As with Oakland, Stockton also borders some of the safest California cities; this indicates that income disparity may again play a part in the city’s higher than average crime rate.

Spending time in any dangerous area requires the visitor to be vigilant and watchful. Due to increased police presence in many of these places, one must also be aware that the potential exists for false arrest. Should such a case occur, help may come in the form of a bail bond. This bond can be used to cover the amount of bail set by the court in exchange for a fee based off a small percentage of the total.

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