There has been a lot of talk lately in the media about where the most dangerous cities in California are to live. When people are looking to move to California, either t live or for work, they would want to know where the best places are to go. By looking at the FBI’s uniform crime report and other data in regards to which city is the most dangerous, we were able to compile a list of cities where crime is the worst in California. When looking at the statistics we only took cities with over 100,000 people in their population, therefore our findings could be considered the most dangerous major cities in California. We did not believe that any smaller cities should be included, because they can have such a large fluctuation any given year due to their low population.

While some people who have done this calculation have factored in things like unemployment when looking to the most dangerous city, we do not see the correlation that it would provide. We are looking strictly into dangerous areas and to us that would be defined by crime. What we really cared about is violent crime and property crime, no other factors can even come close when determining which is the most dangerous city in California.

One thing to consider when looking at this list, is this is going off of the most reported crimes. In some areas of California, they do not always report serious crimes. There may be the mindset of “one who snitches gets stiches” or it could be gang on gang violence that is never reported. So when looking into these rankings that is one thing to always keep in mind. We are going off of reported crimes in the area. There would be no way to obtain the data for unreported crimes in that subject area.

Top 5 most dangerous cities in California

1) Oakland

Oakland is the most dangerous city in California. Oakland comes in at #1 just above the most notable Compton California and some other cities that are further north-east that will be discussed below. Why is Oakland so high up on the list? The reason is it so high up on the list is because of the violent crime rate. According to a recent FBI crime report, Oakland had over 7,000 violent crimes within a year with almost 80 of those being murders. Oakland has the highest murder rate per capita in California. Over 400 were rapes and the rest of them were split between assaults and robbery cases. In regards to property crimes, Oakland had around 25,000 property crimes, with the majority being from burglary. For a city with only 400,000, their combined crime rate puts them at the most dangerous city in California. Living in Oakland, the chances of being a victim of a violent crime is around 1 in 50 and the chances of being involved in a property crime is about one in 16. Think about that for a second. If you were sitting in a class of 50 students, someone in that class will be a victim of a violent crime. 4 or more of those people would be the victim of a property crime. To add to Oakland’s problems with safety, in June 2016 the Oakland Police Department has been hit with new allegations of a scandal involving a suicide, a homicide and prostitution. They were currently under investigation by the federal government for compliance, when an officer killed himself and a chain of events made an even larger investigation unravel. The new allegations are that a prostitute was having sex with multiple different officers on the force, one who even had sex with her when she was underage, instead of taking her to jail. In 2003 Oakland was involved in a  police corruption scandal and had to negotiate a settlement with over 100 plaintiffs in which they were accused of planting evidence and beating up suspects. Oakland’s police department seems like it has been consistently struggling to get back their reputation. These are the people that are supposed to protect the city and if they are involved in scandals themselves, it just adds to the reasons why it is the most dangerous city in California.

2) Compton

Our second city on the list is the well known Compton, California. Compton is well known in popular culture but in the last couple of years it has actually started to become a little more industrialized. One of the reasons why the statistics could be so high for Compton is because the police are patrolling certain areas very high and often bringing people in on violations that they should not have. The only reason the police bring some of these people in for an arrest is because of their race or geographical area. The population of Compton comes in right at the 100,000 mark. They had around 1,200 violent crimes with 25 murders. Most of the violent crimes were aggravated assaults, situations where someone did not die but were assaulted by another. There is a possibility that more murders had been committed but there was never an arrest on a suspect. In regards to property crimes, the majority were theft crimes with burglary and auto theft crimes coming very close behind. Overall regarding property crimes there were over 2,600 reported. Per capita with the amount of people compared from Compton to Oakland, Compton is actually a safer area. In regards to violent crimes, about 1 in 83 people have a chance of being hit with a violent crime in Compton. For property crimes in Compton around 1 in 26 people will become a victim of a property crime.

3) Stockton

Stockton is part of San Joaquin County and is a city in what would be considered Northern California. It has a population of around 300,000 people. In 2008 because of financial stresses, Stockton was the second largest city in the US to file for bankruptcy protections. The crime rate in Stockton has always been quite high and that combined with the poverty rates make it one of the most dangerous cities in California. Overall when the FBI analyzed Stockton they found that they had a little over 4000 violent crimes with 49 of those being murders. Their property crimes totaled over 13,000. In Stockton it is a little bit less of a chance compared to Oakland that you would be target for a property crime. It is around a 1 in 23 chance. Stockton’s murder rate is the second highest per capita out of any city in California. Los Angeles has 3,000,000 people total, with a murder rate of 260 per year. If Stockton had the same amount of people as Los Angeles, their murder rate would be almost double at around 490 per year.

4) San Bernardino

San Bernardino has been named the most dangerous city recently by other publications but we doubt those findings. San Bernardino, according to crime statistics is not the most dangerous city in California. San Bernardino has a population of around 215,000 people. Their violent crime rate comes in at around 2,100 with 43 murders. For property crimes San Bernardino has just over 9,000 property offenses per year with the majority being larceny or theft cases. That means for violent crimes their ratio of someone being affected would be around 1 in 100. The chances of someone being a victim of a property crime is around 1 in 23. We cannot agree with anyone who believes that San Bernardino is the most dangerous city in California and would say that here the numbers speak for themselves. In San Bernardino the chances are doubled that you will not be a victim of a violent crime, compared to Oakland, and that is why we have it at #4 on our list.

5) Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital of California. Although the natural assumption would be that the capital is Los Angeles, most people are surprised when they hear it is Sacramento. Sacramento has a population of close to 500,000 people and is the home to all of the government buildings that are essential to a capital city. The violent crime rate in Sacramento is 3,000 per year. Property crimes come in at around 15,000 in Sacramento. Someone in Sacramento has about a 1 in 166 chance of being a victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 33 chance of being a victim of a property crime.

Highest Property Crime Rates Per Capita

The highest property crime per capita of any city comes from Oakland as well as the highest murder rate per capita. With only 400,000 their rates are higher than everywhere else. Surprisingly, San Francisco, one that did not make our list is actually a close second. It was not on the list because of the lower number of violent crimes and murders that it has. San Francisco has a population of 850,000 with 45,000 property crimes per year. That puts it at about a 1 in 19 chance that you will be a victim of a property crime if living in San Francisco.

San Diego Crime Rates

As a criminal defense attorney in San Diego, we thought we would show the San Diego crime rates for our readers. It is also a good guide to compare another major city in California to the rest. The city of San Diego has around 1,370,000 people. Its violent crime rate is just over 5,000 with 32 murders. Its property crime rate is just over 26,000 per year. At those numbers, a person living in San Diego has about a 1 in 274 chance of being a victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 52 chance of being a victim of a property crime. In comparison from San Diego to Oakland, someone would be more than 5 times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime living in Oakland and more than 3 times more likely to be a victim of a property crime. San Diego did not come in as the overall safest city but per capita but for violent crimes it was seen as one of the lowest.

Crime Rate Calculations

The crime rate calculations in each city took into account a multitude of factors. First and foremost we looked at the population of each city and any red flags or abnormalities that the city was currently experiencing. Next we looked at the violent crime rate for each city, which was comprised of: Murder, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault. We then looked at the property crimes in the area, which looked at Burglary, Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson. Overall we calculated the numbers in each city to see which one had the most crime, per capita, in regards to their crime rates and their population. Factoring in other small factors, we were able to come up with a list of what we believe are the most dangerous cities in California that have over 100,000 people by population.