10+ Shocking California Crime Statistics: Safety Trends (2024)

Did you know that according to research, if California were an independent country, it would have the world’s fifth-largest economy, surpassing many nations? However, California’s crime rates present a contrasting aspect of the state.

Despite its economic strength and cultural vibrancy, California has faced crime-related challenges, with certain areas experiencing very high crime rates.

In this analysis, let’s talk about the latest California crime statistics, rates, and trends to provide a comprehensive overview of the safety landscape in the Golden State.

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Updated California Crime Data Statistics & Trends

  • As of 2024, Emeryville, California, has the highest crime rate in the state, with a property crime rate of 165.71 incidents per 1,000 residents and 2356 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
  • While they come 6th in health care, California ranks 23rd in crime and corrections.
  • California ranks 17th in national violent crime rates, with a 6.1% increase in reported violent crimes and a 6.2% increase in property crime from 2021 to 2024.
  • The most prevalent violent crimes in California are property-related offenses, including burglary and pickpocketing.
  • Commercial robberies/burglaries increased in nine of the fifteen largest California counties in 2023, with Los Angeles County having the highest rate.
  • Los Angeles saw an overall decrease in crime this year, with violent crime down by 10%, homicide rates down by 27%, and hate crimes down by 5.8%, though fatal traffic crashes increased by 6.7%.
  • Danville is recognized as the safest city in California, with low rates of both property and violent crimes.
  • California ranks third among states with the highest motor vehicle theft rates, with 14 out of every 1,000 registered vehicles being stolen.
  • Approximately 33% of women and 25% of men in California experienced domestic assault.
  • California’s firearm mortality rate is lower than the national average, with 8.5 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Gun violence in California costs the state approximately $18 billion annually, averaging nearly $500 per Californian.
Infographics of a Crime Scene

Top 12 Newest Data On California Crime Rates & Statistics

1. Emeryville ranks as California’s most dangerous city, with a property crime rate of 165.71 incidents per 1,000 residents and a violent crime rate of 6,284 crimes per 100,000 residents.

Emeryville, a city with a population of only 12,905, distinguishes itself as California’s most dangerous citywith a high violent crime rate. It records an alarming rate of 6,284 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

Given its compact size, this translates to roughly 1 in 15 residents facing the threat of falling victim to violent crimes.

Among the prevalent offenses of violent crimes are property theft and vehicle theft [1], leading to its high violent crime rate.

According to a report from SafeWise, Emeryville, California, with its high violent crime rate, remains the most dangerous small town. It has a major property crime problem – mostly larceny, making it dangerous.

Infographics about California's most Dangerous City

“A SafeWise report identifies Emeryville, California as the most dangerous small town due to its high violent and property crime rates, particularly larceny.”

– Safe & Sound Security

Residents have a one in five risk of being a victim of property crime. In 2019, Emeryville reported 211.9 property crimes per 1,000 incidents [2] and maintained its ranking in 2024.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in California

California CityPopulation (As of 2024)Violent Crime Rate(per 1,000 residents)
Emeryville12,989161.54
Oakland419,077127
Commerce11,518106.1
Signal Hill11,025104.2
Marysville74,099102.8
Vallejo121,14699.4
Stockton320,24398.7
Modesto26,31195.3
Richmond232,98186.6
Merced95,65985.5

2. According to reports, California currently ranks 17th in national violent crime rates, with a 6.1% increase from 2021 to 2022, though it remains below historical highs.

According to the California violent crime data/statistics, California’s violent crime rates increased by 6.1% since 2021, and property crime saw a 6.2% rise, with robberies spiking by 10.2%.

Although homicides decreased slightly, Attorney General Rob Bonta of the State of California Department of Justice acknowledged the ongoing devastating impact of violent crime rate on communities and the persistent threat of gun violence.

Public concern about violent crime has grown, as indicated by a poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, with nearly two-thirds of Californians viewing violent crime and street crime as problems, particularly among Black Californians, women, and Republicans.

“A Public Policy Institute of California poll shows nearly two-thirds of Californians, especially Black citizens, women, and Republicans, are concerned about violent and street crime.”

– Safe & Sound Security

Despite the debate on the causes of violent crime fluctuations and criminal justice reform, the attorney general’s influence on violent crime rates remains limited.

3. As predicted, California’s 2023 violent crime rate is lower than in 2019 when it exceeded the national violent crime rate average by 16.28% and the property crime rate average by 10.49%.

In the United States, California ranks 17th for its violent crime rate, which stands at 442 crimes per 100,000 residents.

In terms of the number of incidents of violent crimes, California holds the top spot in the nation, with a total of 174,026 cases of violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

The state’s elevated violent crime rate can be attributed to its substantial population and the prevalence of violent crimes like larceny, theft, murders, and burglary.

Based on the latest FBI report, the most dangerous cities in California exhibit the highest rates of violent crime.

By California’s legal framework, violent crimes encompass offenses such as aggravated assault, battery, larceny, theft, and homicide.

4. California’s annual crime report showed a 6.1% increase in violent crime rate, a 6.2% increase in property crime, a slight decrease in homicides, and a significant 10.2% rise in robberies.

Infographics on California's Annual Crime Report

California Attorney General Rob Bonta of the State of California Department of Justice reveals a consistent rise in violent crime over the past three years, with violent crime rates up by 6.1% and property crime rates up by 6.2% compared to 2021 figures.

Despite this National trend, the Attorney General’s office attempts to find older, lower crime statistics to present a more favorable narrative.

Homicides showed a slight decrease from the last two years, but the five-year trend indicates a 23.9% increase.

“The Attorney General’s office cites older, lower crime stats to paint a positive picture, despite a 23.9% increase in homicides over five years, with a slight drop in the last two years.”

– Safe & Sound Security

Behind these statistics are victims, though many crimes go unreported, leading to flawed statistics that suggest a concerning trend in California’s crime rates.

In facing these crime challenges, knowing safety measures is essential. Explore California’s security camera laws for insights on legal and effective protection for property and community.

5. According to recent reports, Danville holds the title of the safest city in California, boasting the lowest rates of both violent crimes and property crimes.

Danville has secured the title of California’s safest city for the fifth consecutive year, according to the security consulting website Safewise.

Safewise conducted this assessment using the latest FBI crime report statistics, where they examined reported incidents of violent crimes and property crimes, ultimately calculating the violent crime rate per 100,000 residents in each city.

In 2023, with a population of 44,800, Danville exhibited a low violent crime rate of 0.5 incidents per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 5,300 per 100,000 residents.

Notably, violent crime rates remain/left unchanged from the past year (2021), while the property crime rate decreased from 6.6 in 2021 to 5.3 in 2022. [3]

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6. Property-related offenses, notably burglary and pickpocketing, are the most prevalent crimes in California.

The majority of the violent crime rate is associated with property crimes such as burglary, vandalism, larceny, theft, and trespassing.

According to law enforcement 2023 reports, incidents of commercial robberies in 2022 increased in nine out of the fifteen largest counties compared to 2019.

Los Angeles County reported the highest rate of commercial robberies last year, with 60 incidents per 100,000 residents, followed by San Joaquin with 58, Sacramento with 56, and Kern with 52.

Conversely, the lowest rates of robbery occurred in Ventura (15), Orange (23), and San Francisco (25).

The largest increase in commercial robberies was observed in the following California cities: San Francisco (-27%), San Bernardino (-21%), San Joaquin (-20%), and Contra Costa (-18%), which saw declines of more than 10% in robbery cases.

If you’re interested in ensuring the security of your neighborhoods, check out these valuable neighborhood security tips tailored to California residents.

7. 2023 statistics report from the Los Angeles Police Department revealed a decrease in crime compared to 2022, with its violent crime rate down by 10%, homicides by 27%, victims shot by 17%, and property crime by 1%, while hate crimes decreased by 5.8%. Still, fatal traffic crashes increased by 6.7%.

infographics about 2023 Statistics Report from the Los Angeles Police Department

Los Angeles saw a reduction of over 10% in violent crime rate when comparing the first five months of 2022.

Homicides decreased by 27%, shootings were down by 17%, and crimes about hate decreased by nearly 6%.

These improvements align with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s intention to augment the LAPD with an additional 400 law enforcement officers in the upcoming months. [4]

8. California ranks third among states with the highest vehicle theft rates, with 14 out of every 1,000 registered vehicles being stolen

According to 2023 reports, California emerged as one of the top five states with the highest overall vehicle theft rates.

In 2022, in California cities, there were 14 vehicle robberies for every 1,000 registered cars, translating to roughly one out of every 71 stolen vehicles.

Note: California cities had the highest number of stolen vehicles, with 202,685 cases out of 14,268,528 registered vehicles.

The most recent “Hot Wheels” report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) unveils various popular vehicles that were most frequently stolen in California in 2021.

The leading candidates of car robberies include Chevrolet’s full-size pickup trucks, Honda Civic and Accord, Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Corolla, and Honda CR-V, encompassing a mix of sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks [5].

9. Motor vehicle robberies continued to rise at the end of 2023, showing a 33.5% increase in robberies’ crime rate compared to the same period in 2022, while drug offenses also saw a 1% uptick during this timeframe.

Infographics about Motor Vehicle Robberies

According to the Pleasanton Police (California) Department, there have been 89 motor vehicle robberies in the city of Pleasanton from January 1 to June 30 this year, nearly double the crime numbers reported during the same period in 2022, when there were 45 car robberies reported.

“The Pleasanton Police California Department report 89 motor vehicle robberies from January to June this year, almost double the 45 cases in the same period in 2022.”

– Safe & Sound Security

Sgt. Marty Billdt of the PPD explained that most individuals arrested for motor vehicle theft or possession of a stolen vehicle are not residents of Pleasanton.

These statistics reflect a broader national issue, with over one million vehicles reported stolen last year, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau reports.

California led the nation in this report, accounting for approximately 200,000 stolen cars.

10. In California, roughly 33% of women and 25% of men have experienced domestic violence.

Reports revealed that around 33% of women and 25% of men have encountered domestic abuse, at the end of 2023.

This indicates that California exhibits elevated levels of domestic violence [6] in comparison to the national average.

For instance, one source reported that approximately 30% of women in the United States and 10% of men had faced domestic aggravated assault to some extent, with California’s rates exceeding these figures.

Also, learn more about our updated Florida Crime Rates & Statistics

11. The Los Angeles Police Department reveals a decline in crime compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

Newly released crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department indicates a reduction in crime [7] compared to the same period last year.

The California department reports a moderate decline in criminal incidents, such as aggravated assault, even as they plan to hire more officers.

According to the last quarter of 2023 crime statistics, violent crime has decreased by 10%, homicides are down by 27%, victims of shootings have decreased by 17%, property crime shows a 1% decrease, hate crimes [8] are down by 5.8%, and fatal traffic crashes have increased by 6.7%.

Los Angeles is not the only city in California reporting a decreased crime rate. According to police statistics, San Francisco also saw an overall drop of nearly 7% in the year’s first five months.

“The 2023 crime stats show a 10% drop in violent crime, 27% in homicides, and 17% in shooting victims. Property and hate crimes decreased by 1% and 5.8% respectively, while fatal traffic crashes rose by 6.7%.”

– Safe & Sound Security

In West Hollywood, there’s a decline of 9% in serious crimes like rape, homicide, murder, grand theft [9], and vehicle burglary from October to April compared to the same period in 2021 and 2022, according to the sheriff’s department.

12. The average firearm mortality rate in the United States is 13.7 per 100,000 individuals, while California’s rate is notably lower at 8.5 per 100,000.

Infographics About The Average Firearm Mortality Rate

Every three hours in California, someone tragically loses their life to gun violence. Startlingly, if you live in a household with handguns, your risk of homicide/murder is more than twice as high.

This is a heavy financial burden, costing California around $18 billion (not millions) annually, which averages nearly $500 for every Californian. [5]

Homeowners and community members can play a pivotal role in creating safer environments, reducing the risk of gun violence, and safeguarding the well-being of residents.

For comprehensive insights on improving security and safety in your community, explore these effective HOA neighborhood security strategies tailored specifically for California neighborhoods.

Policy Implications in California

  • Community Policing Initiatives: Implementing community policing programs can foster trust and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and local communities. By engaging residents in crime prevention efforts and addressing community concerns, law enforcement can better target high-crime areas and build stronger relationships to deter criminal activity.
  • Investment in Education and Youth Programs: Many studies have shown a correlation between education levels and crime rates. Investing in education, particularly in underserved communities, can provide young people with opportunities for academic and personal growth, reducing the likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior.
  • Addressing Socio-economic Disparities: Economic inequality and poverty are often associated with higher crime rates. Policy measures aimed at reducing socio-economic disparities include affordable housing initiatives, job training programs, and access to healthcare and social services.
  • Targeted Enforcement Strategies: Using data-driven approaches, law enforcement agencies can identify crime hotspots and strategically deploy resources to combat criminal activity effectively.

FAQs

Is it safe to live in California?

Generally, yes, it’s safe to live in California. Safety in California varies by location and circumstances.

Research specific cities, consider personal priorities, population, and criminal justice reform, and take necessary precautions.

Checking local resources for crime rates such as murder, rape, aggravated assault [10], or any reported violent crimes and safety measures may affect your decision in choosing where to live in California.

You may also avoid living in California’s most dangerous cities like San Bernardino, with reported property crimes, murder, rape, juvenile justice, criminal justice process, and aggravated assaults.

You can checkout San Diego, San Bernardino, La Mesa, San Jose, or Santa Monica.

Where in San Francisco has the highest crime rate?

Based on the California Department, The Tenderloin District in Downtown San Francisco is renowned as the city’s most hazardous neighborhood with the highest crime rate.

With a population of 39,000 residents, it stands out with an alarmingly high violent crime rate, surpassing the national average by over 270%.

Within this district, incidents of reported violent crimes such as robberies/burglaries and aggravated assaults are notably more prevalent compared to other areas in San Francisco.

What’s the crime rate in Los Angeles?

Based on the California Department, in 2023, Los Angeles experienced an 11% uptick in its overall crime rate (note: largest increase in reported crime rates), registering 60 reported aggravated assault crimes per 1,000 residents for the year.

Key Takeaways

In summary, California faces a complex crime landscape, with Emeryville as the state’s highest crime city. The last quarter of 2023 reports reveal California ranks 17th nationally for violent crime, showing a 6.1% increase.

Reported property crimes also surged by 6.2%. While property-related offenses are widespread, commercial robberies/burglaries spiked, especially in Los Angeles County.

Danville consistently remains California’s safest city. The state grapples with vehicle theft, aggravated assaults, and domestic violence issues.

Though California’s firearm mortality rate is below the national average, gun violence costs $18 billion yearly.

These challenges necessitate continuous efforts and criminal justice reform to improve public safety across the state, especially in its most dangerous cities.

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References:

  1. https://original.newsbreak.com/@dr-allen-lycka-1731714/3130928596563-californias-most-dangerous-cities-is-your-city-on-the-list
  2. https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/americas-1-most-dangerous-small-town-is-in-the-bay-area-safewise-report/
  3. https://patch.com/california/danville/danville-ranked-safest-city-california-report
  4. https://abc7.com/lapd-crime-report-los-angeles-police-department/13333467/
  5. https://www.motortrend.com/features/what-is-a-pickup-truck/
  6. https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence
  7. https://www.britannica.com/topic/crime-law
  8. https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/learn-about-hate-crimes
  9. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/grand_theft
  10. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/aggravated-assault

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