Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities In California (2024)

California is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and vibrant culture. But it’s also home to some of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Some of the most dangerous cities in California include Stockton, Anahelm, Modesto, Santa Maria, Santa Ana, Oakland, Compton, Richmond, Modesto, Victorville, Huntington Park, Susanville, and Eureka.

Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities In California

1. Emeryville
2. Oakland
3. Commerce
4. Signal Hill
5. Marysville
6. Vallejo
7. Stockton
8. Modesto
9. Richmond
10. Merced
11. Fresno
12. Sacramento
13. Inglewood
14. Antioch
15. Eureka
16. Red Bluff
17. San Bernardino
18. Barstow
19. Bakersfield
20. Salinas
21. Pomona
22. Porterville
23. Rancho Cordova
24. Redding
25. Redlands
26. Rialto
27. Riverside
28. San Bernardino
29. San Diego
30. San Francisco
31. San Jose
32. San Leandro
33. San Rafael
34. Santa Ana
35. Santa Barbara
36. Santa Cruz
37. Santa Maria
38. Santa Monica
39. Tulare
40. Turlock
41. Union City
42. Ventura
43. Victorville
44. Visalia
45. Vista
46. Watsonville
47. West Sacramento
48. Westminster
49. Woodland
50. Yuba City

1.      Emeryville

Nestled between Berkeley and Oakland, Emeryville is a city with a rich history and a booming economy. However, despite its modern advancements, Emeryville struggles with a high crime rate of 165.8 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants. It is considered the most dangerous city in California by the FBI.

The proximity to larger cities, such as San Francisco, contributes to both the city’s economic growth and its crime rate. Emeryville’s industrial past, dating back to before World War I, serves as a reminder of its complex history. Its position as a regional employment center draws commuters, further impacting crime statistics.

2.      Oakland

Oakland is the most populated city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. It is also the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the third largest city overall.

However, with a population of 440,646, it faces a crime rate of 127.0 incidents per 1,000 residents.

The aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake led to an influx of residents from the neighboring city, causing Oakland’s population to surge. This growth, coupled has caused Oakland’s crime rates to increase.

3.      Commerce

Commerce is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, and it has a population of 12,568 at the 2000 census. However, Commerce grapples with a crime rate of 106.1 incidents per 1,000 residents.

As a city initially incorporated in 1960 to protect its industrial land from neighboring annexations, Commerce navigated the deindustrialization era, maintaining a strong manufacturing presence. This transformation, while preserving economic activity, also plays a role in the city’s crime challenges. Its strategic location near various freeways and rail services contributes to both its economic potential and its crime rate.

4.      Signal Hill

Signal Hill is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Located high on a hill, the city was incorporated on April 22, 1934, and has grown over the years to have a population of 11,563.

Signal Hill has a crime rate of 104.2 incidents per 1,000 residents. Historically, the hill’s elevation made it an ideal location for signal fires, yet today it faces security concerns. Also, the challenges of being an enclave and the historical significance of the location contribute to its crime rate.

5.      Marysville

Marysville is the county seat of Yuba County, California, located in the Gold Country region of Northern California. With a population of 12,072,  the city struggles with crime.

The crime rate in Marysville is 102.8 incidents per 1,000 residents, making it one of the most dangerous cities to live in California.

Marysville’s rapid growth, and its status as the second-largest city in Snohomish County, brings with it both opportunities and challenges. The increasing population over the years has also led to an increase in crime rates which is something to worry about.

6.      Vallejo

Vallejo, situated in Solano County, California, stands on the shores of San Pablo Bay. It has a population of 126,090 residents as of 2020, making it the second-largest city in the North Bay region. The crime rate in Vallejo is 99.4 per 1,000 residents.

The city’s name pays homage to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, a Californio general and statesman. Founded in 1851 on General Vallejo’s Rancho Suscol, Vallejo served as the capital city of California from 1852 to 1853, before the government moved to Benicia.

The city’s connection to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard has greatly influenced its economy, shaping its trajectory through history and into the 21st century.

7.      Stockton

Stockton, situated in San Joaquin County, Central Valley, California, is the county seat and the 11th largest city in the state. With a population of 320,804 in 2020, Stockton’s location on the San Joaquin River places it in a unique position. Stockton has a crime rate of 98.7 per 1,000 residents.

The city is surrounded by farmland and was founded during the California Gold Rush, evolving into a vital seaport for trade. Stockton is home to the University of the Pacific.

It experienced bankruptcy in 2012 due to financial mismanagement and the 2008 financial crisis, a challenge the city successfully overcame. However, this resulted in low security as the city couldn’t afford to pay a lot of security and police workers, resulting in high crime rates.

8.      Modesto

Modesto, the county seat of Stanislaus County, California, boasts a population of 218,464 as of the 2020 census. Located in the Central Valley, Modesto’s rich farmland is vital to its economy. The city has a crime rate of 95.3 per 1,000 residents.

The city’s commitment to the environment is demonstrated by its recognition as a Tree City USA. Despite facing challenges such as ranking lower in well-being indexes and dealing with the impacts of the foreclosure crisis, Modesto remains a central player in the farm-to-table movement.

9.      Richmond

Richmond, found in Contra Costa County, California, has a unique position on the shores of both San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay. Incorporated in 1905, the city shares borders with multiple communities, including San Pablo and Albany. The city has a crime rate of 86.6 per 1,000 residents.

Despite its scenic location, Richmond grapples with the threat of earthquakes and industrial incidents due to its volatile surroundings. Notably, the Chevron Richmond Refinery has been associated with chemical leaks.

10. Merced

Merced, situated in Merced County, California, serves as the gateway to Yosemite National Park and is known for its connection to the Merced River. With a population of 86,333 as of 2020, Merced is conveniently located near Yosemite National Park and Monterey Bay. The city is considered one of the most dangerous cities in California with a crime rate of 85.5 per 1,000 residents.

The establishment of the University of California, Merced in 2005 marked a significant milestone for the city, positioning it as a center for education and research. Despite challenges, such as economic fluctuations, Merced’s geographical advantages continue to make it a vital hub.

Others are:

  1. Fresno
  2. Sacramento
  3. Inglewood
  4. Antioch
  5. Eureka
  6. Red Bluff
  7. San Bernardino
  8. Barstow
  9. Bakersfield
  10. Salinas
  11. Pomona
  12. Porterville
  13. Rancho Cordova
  14. Redding
  15. Redlands
  16. Rialto
  17. Riverside
  18. San Bernardino
  19. San Diego
  20. San Francisco
  21. San Jose
  22. San Leandro
  23. San Rafael
  24. Santa Ana
  25. Santa Barbara
  26. Santa Cruz
  27. Santa Maria
  28. Santa Monica
  29. Tulare
  30. Turlock
  31. Union City
  32. Ventura
  33. Victorville
  34. Visalia
  35. Vista
  36. Watsonville
  37. West Sacramento
  38. Westminster
  39. Woodland
  40. Yuba City


Wrap Up

We have highlighted the most dangerous cities in California above. From Emeryville with the highest crime rate to Yuba City with a low crime rate, we covered all you need to know.

However, it is important to note that California remains a great place to live, but it’s important to be aware of the crime rates in different cities. If you’re thinking about moving to or visiting any of the cities in California highlighted above, be sure to take precautions to stay safe.

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