10 Safest Cities in California 2016

Like living in a safe place? Who doesn’t right?

Want to see how your town stacks up to the rest of California?

Check out our list of the safest cities in California and explore the data for OVER 400 towns embedded in the map down below.

California – The Golden State

California was admitted into the union on September 9th, 1850 as the thirty-first state. The capital of the state is Sacramento, while the largest city in the state is Los Angeles, which is the second most populous city in the country. California itself is the most populous state in the United States. Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona, as well as the Pacific Ocean and a border with the Mexican state of Baja California border it.

The state bird of California is the California Valley Quail, and the state animal is the Grizzly Bear. The California Poppy is the state flower, and the state tree is the Redwood, which can both be seen in many of the state parks and forest areas throughout the state. The state fish is the Golden Trout, and the state reptile is the Desert Tortoise.

Do you know your state reptile?

I’ll wait till you go look it up . . . .

California has plenty of activities, such as beaches, surfing, golfing, hiking trails, skate parks, biking areas, swimming, fishing, museums, and plenty of nightlife. Art galleries, performing arts centers, symphonies, orchestras, live music, farmer’s markets, and yearly events are held in California. It is also home to the Golden Gate Bridge, located in San Francisco, and is one of the state’s most famous landmarks.

While there are many universities and colleges in California, some of the most popular ones include the University of California, California State University, and the California Community Colleges System.

California has more professional sports teams than any other state, and some of these include NFL teams the Los Angeles Rams, the Oakland Raiders, the San Diego Chargers, and the San Francisco 49ers. Major League Baseball Teams include Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

How we ranked the cities

To come up with the safest places in California, we:

  1. started with reported crime data collected and published by the FBI for 2014 (the latest year available)
  2. filtered out tiny towns
  3. looked at crime rates per 1,000 residents
  4. weighted violent crimes more than property crimes to establish a final, composite score
  5. ranked the towns based on that score

Of course, other factors go into the best places to live, but a low crime rate seems like a great place to start!

We were even surprised in a few places. Often, smaller towns are safer, as shown by our burglary risk calculator.  But, even Oakland made the list!

That brings up another point, there is a delay in the data for it to get compiled, normalized, and released by the FBI.  So, the 2014 data that we had available does lag reality by a bit.  And unfortunately, not all localities report this data, so some nice places may have been left out.

#1 Emeryville

Population: 10,080 (2010 census)

Emeryville is located in the western part of California, and was incorporated on December 8th, 1896. Emeryville is home to several businesses, including Pixar Animation Studios, Jamba Juice, and the Leapfrog software company.

Emeryville has an elementary school and a high school, as well as the private college Ex’pression College for Digital Arts.

Emeryville has plenty of recreational activities for its residents, including massage parlors, two movie theaters, health clubs, day spas, a pool hall, shopping malls and retail centers, bars and clubs, and a yoga studio. The city also puts up city-wide art outdoors, and walking tours of the art pieces are offered.

#2 Eureka

Picture from Wikipedia
Picture from Wikipedia

Population: 27,191 (2010 census)

Eureka, located in the northwestern part of California, was incorporated as a city in 1874. It is located along the shores of the Humboldt Bay, and is the biggest coastal city between the cities of San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. It is also the top center in the region for health care.

The area of Eureka has many Victorian style homes, among those the Carson Mansion. The city is also the home of the oldest zoo in California, which is called Sequoia Park Zoo. Eureka is a great example of one of California’s historic areas, with buildings dating back for many years.

Along with several elementary, middle, and high schools, Eureka is also home to the College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University. The city is very big on arts and culture, with several performing arts theaters in the area.

It's OK to brag . . . just don't overdo it!

#3 Commerce

Population: 12,823 (2010 census)

Located in the southern part of the state, Commerce frequently referred to as the “City of Commerce” in order to avoid confusion with the actual noun “commerce.” It is on the border of Los Angeles.

The city of Commerce is served by several school districts, with multiple elementary, middle, and high schools within each district.

Commerce is big on community involvement and activities, and provides plenty for its residents to do, including shopping centers, diners and restaurants, bars, summer camps for children, and sports programs for both children and adults. The city has several parks and playgrounds, and an aquatic center with a swimming pool and swimming lessons for all ages.

Don’t Stop Here!

Be sure to tinker with the map below to see all of the data on property and violent crimes for all the cities that we ranked to make our list.

#4 Santa Fe Springs

Population: 16,223 (2010 census)

Santa Fe Springs is a little city nestled into the southern part of the state, and its economy is light industry, as opposed to the heavier industrial areas surrounding it.

The city of Santa Fe Springs is home to the Hathaway Ranch Museum, which has a large collection of farming and ranch equipment from earlier times. Heritage Park, which is a park site that has been constructed from real estate from the 1800’s. The park offers tours to visitors. The Historical Railroad Exhibit is also a popular tourist location I the town.

Santa Fe Springs also has an activity center with basketball courts that are free for the residents to use, nineteen different parks and playgrounds with soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, and picnic areas, and an aquatic center with summer activities and lessons.

#5 Red Bluff

Population: 14,076 (2010 census)

Red Bluff is located in northern California, and was incorporated in 1876. The city has its own newspaper, called Red Bluff Daily News.

The city offers a senior center, as well as several youth and adult sports clubs. It also has several parks, as well as a skate park for all ages. A community pool is available, which has set hours of operation, but can also be rented for parties and activities.

Red Bluff offers an extensive community calendar full of plenty of interesting events for the residents in town, including Red Bluff’s annual Red Bluff Round-Up. The Round-Up is one of the largest rodeos in the western part of the country, and has been going on since 1921.

#6 Capitola

Picture from Wikipedia
Picture from Wikipedia

Population: 9,918 (2010 census)

Located in Western California right on the Monterey Bay, Capitola is a lovely little beach town, with a warm sunny beach and a fishing wharf. The city is relatively newer, as it was incorporated on January 11th, 1949. The city has heir own newspapers, a television station, and several radio stations.

For those who enjoy beaches, there is plenty to do in the city of Capitola. There are several beaches, some of them with cliffs and hiking trails located nearby. There are many shops located on the pier, and there is also the very colorful and popular Venetian Hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city is also the location of the Capitola Mall, which brings in many shoppers.

The city has several events going on throughout the year, from parades to sports, as well as the Capitola Jr. Lifeguards program, which is open to children from ages six to seventeen, and teaches water safety and is a great way to enjoy the summer and engage in games, beach fun, and activities with other youth from around the city.

How Safe are You? Use our calculator to asses your risk.

#7 Oroville

Population: 15,506 (2010 census)

Oroville is located in north central California, about an hour away from Sacramento. Incorporated in 1906, the city lies on the banks of the Feather River. The city was originally called Ophir City before being changed to Oroville.

Was that an improvement? Your call.

Oroville is the birthplace of the olive-canning industry, with the first olive-canning facility being opened here by Freda Ehmann.

Oroville has several interesting points to visit, including Oroville Dam, which is one of the twenty largest Dams in the world. The Mother Orange Tree is also located in the city, which is the oldest orange tree in Northern California. Bedrock Park is also here, which is a large fishing, swimming, and picnic area on the Feather River.

#8 Anderson

Population: 9,932 (2010 census)

Anderson was named after Elias Anderson, a ranch owner who allowed the Oregon and California Railroad to build a station on his land, which would bring more people to the area for business, trade, and relocation. The city is located in northern California.

While lumber was the city’s main industry for a great many years, the city is now becoming a retail center. Many new stores and shops are opening up, providing more employment opportunities and shopping all over the city.

Education is important in Anderson, and the city has five high schools, two middle schools, and six elementary schools.

Anderson is also known for its many parks, including Anderson River Park, North Volonte Park, and South Volente Park. Each park offers different activities, from basketball courts to an amphitheater.

#9 Oakland

Population: 390,724 (2010 census)

Oakland is a large city located in the western part of California. It is the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay area, and is known to be the trade center of the area. It is also known for its high rankings the large usage of electricity from renewable resources, its political activism, and the large amount of companies who have their headquarters here.

Some of the main points of interest in Oakland include the AXIS Dance Company, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Oakland Symphony, the Oakland Zoo, the Oakland Aviation Museum, and the Paramount Theater. The city has many family friendly activities and museums, as well as a bustling nightlife full of jazz clubs, bars, and late-night restaurants. Many parks are located around the city, with streams, beautiful waterfalls, and hiking trails.

Oakland is home to several colleges and universities, including the California College of the Arts, Lincoln University, Mills College, and Patten University.

#10 Palm Springs

Picture from Wikipedia

Population: 44,552 (2010 census)

Spanning across ninety-four square miles, Palm Springs is located in southern California, and is known for being a desert resort city, attracting a great deal of tourists and travelers.

There is plenty to do in Palm Springs, including biking, golfing, swimming, hiking, playing sports such as tennis, and horseback riding. There are many nightclubs, music clubs, and performing arts center throughout the city. Palm Springs has plenty of hotels and inns for those who have come to stay in the area. The area is also popular for spring break trips.

Along with several museums and attractions such as art galleries and displays, there are several events, as well.

Safest Places Map

That does it for this list. Know a town in California that deserves a mention? Let us know in the comments!

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Be sure to check out our articles for other states too!

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