Top 15 Safest Cities In California For 2018

We used data and science to determine the places in California where everyone sleeps safe and sound.

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We all want the finer things in life. Love, comfort and safety are at the top of everyone's list.

For a lot of people who live in the fine state of California, safety isn't a problem, but we don't all get to live in the safest cities -- unless of course you live in Imperial.

The purpose of this post is to determine where the safest cities to live are in the Golden State. Those places where crime is usually something you hear about on Facebook, but not from your local paper.

In all, we analyzed 418 cities in California with a population of more than 5,000 using the latest FBI crime data.

Here's the list of the safest cities in California for 2018:

  1. Imperial (Photos | Homes)
  2. Palos Verdes Estates (Photos | Homes)
  3. Danville (Photos | Homes)
  4. Orinda (Photos | Homes)
  5. Tiburon (Photos | Homes)
  6. Ione (Photos | Homes)
  7. Aliso Viejo (Photos | Homes)
  8. Moraga (Photos | Homes)
  9. Los Altos Hills (Photos | Homes)
  10. Los Altos (Photos | Homes)
  11. San Ramon (Photos | Homes)
  12. Kensington (Homes)
  13. Rancho Palos Verdes (Photos | Homes)
  14. Rancho Santa Margarita (Photos | Homes)
  15. Yorba Linda (Photos | Homes)

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. Or for more reading on safe places to live and California, check out:

How we calculated the safest cities in California

Safest Cities in California Graph

While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn't want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI's most recent report of crime (Sept 2017) in California.

Specifically, we analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used two criteria:

  • Violent crimes per capita (murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies)
  • Property crimes per capita (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts)
10 Worst Places To Live In California

For example, there were a total of 80 crimes committed in Imperial which had a reported population of 17,582. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.0046 which translates into a 1 in 219 chance of being the victim of a crime.

We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people reported to the FBI in 2016. This left us with a total of 418 of the biggest cities in California to rank.

We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 418 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.

Next, we averaged each places two criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score "The Safest Place In California".

The safest city, based on our criteria, is Imperial. The most dangerous city in California? Emeryville, where residents had a 1 in 6 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city's population.

1. Imperial

Imperial, CA

Population: 17,582
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 39 (4th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 415 (1st safest)
More on Imperial: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Imperial is a city in Imperial County, California. Imperial is located 4 miles north of El Centro. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 14,758. It is part of the El Centro metropolitan area. Nearby recreation facilities transform the desert into a popular Valley tourist destination due to availability of activities. Three year-round golf courses are within minutes of Imperial. The sand dunes provide a place for campers and dune buggy enthusiasts. This region is well known for its abundance of bird species such as dove, quail, ducks, pheasant and geese.

2. Palos Verdes Estates

Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Population: 13,730
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 21)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 29 (2nd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 808 (7th safest)
More on Palos Verdes Estates: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Palos Verdes Estates is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, situated on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The city was master-planned by the noted American landscape architect and planner Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. The city is located along the Southern California coastline of the Pacific Ocean.

3. Danville

Danville, CA

Population: 44,897
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 20 (1st safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 812 (10th safest)
More on Danville: PhotosReal Estate | Data

The Town of Danville is located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County, California. It is one of the incorporated municipalities in California that uses "town" in its name instead of "city". The population was 42,039 in 2010.

4. Orinda

Orinda, CA

Population: 19,585
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 51 (11th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 796 (6th safest)
More on Orinda: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Orinda is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 17,643 at the 2010 census, and was estimated in 2012 to have increased to 18,342. Orinda was ranked the second most friendly town in America by Forbes. The city is located just east of the city of Berkeley and is home to many affluent suburban professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Its location provides for a more rustic landscape, and Orinda's many parks and trails make it a destination for many Bay Area hikers and naturalists.

5. Tiburon

Tiburon, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 9,263
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 19)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 43 (7th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 896 (15th safest)
More on Tiburon: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Tiburon is an incorporated town in Marin County, California. It is located on the Tiburon Peninsula, which reaches south into the San Francisco Bay. The smaller city of Belvedere occupies the south-west part of the peninsula and is contiguous with Tiburon. Tiburon is bordered by Corte Madera to the north and Mill Valley to the west, but is otherwise mostly surrounded by the Bay. Besides Belvedere and Tiburon, much of the peninsula is unincorporated, including portions of the north side and the communities of Strawberry and Paradise Cay.

6. Ione

Ione, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 6,860
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 23)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 58 (18th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 714 (4th safest)
More on Ione: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Ione is a city in Amador County, California, United States. The population was 7,918 at the 2010 census, up from 7,129 in 2000. Once known as "Bed-Bug" and "Freeze Out," Ione was an important supply center on the main road to the Mother Lode and Southern Mines during the California Gold Rush.

7. Aliso Viejo

Aliso Viejo, CA

Population: 50,604
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 57 (17th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 812 (8th safest)
More on Aliso Viejo: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Aliso Viejo is a city in the San Joaquin Hills of southern Orange County, California. It had a population of 47,823 as of the 2010 census, up from 40,166 as of the 2000 census. It became Orange County's 34th city on July 1, 2001, the only city in Orange County to be incorporated since 2000. It is bordered by the cities of Laguna Beach on the west and southwest, Laguna Hills on the east, Laguna Niguel on the southeast, and Laguna Woods on the north.

8. Moraga

Moraga, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 17,505
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 57 (16th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 816 (11th safest)
More on Moraga: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Moraga is a suburban incorporated town located in Contra Costa County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is named in honor of Joaquin Moraga, whose grandfather was Jos Joaquin Moraga, second in command to Juan Bautista de Anza. As of 2010, Moraga had a total population of 16,016people.

9. Los Altos Hills

Los Altos Hills, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 8,495
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 70 (28th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 741 (5th safest)
More on Los Altos Hills: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Los Altos Hills is an incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The Los Altos Hills ZIP code 94022 appeared on the 2017 Forbes list of America's most expensive ZIP codes; 94022 was ranked the 3rd most expensive in the United States, with a median home price of $7,755,000. Los Altos Hills has a ban on commercial zones, which was upheld by the California Court of Appeal in 1973. The town's two retail commercial operations are the book store on the campus of Foothill College and the gift shop on the grounds of the Immaculate Heart Monastery of the Poor Clare Colettines. The town does not have a post office or library, with mail delivery provided from nearby Los Altos.

10. Los Altos

Los Altos, CA

Population: 31,000
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 41 (6th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,106 (32nd safest)
More on Los Altos: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Los Altos is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.

11. San Ramon

San Ramon, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 76,901
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 50 (10th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,070 (30th safest)
More on San Ramon: PhotosReal Estate | Data

San Ramon is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located 34 miles east of San Francisco, and within the San Ramon Valley. San Ramon's population was estimated as 76,134 in mid-2015 by the US Census Bureau, making it the 4th largest city in Contra Costa County, behind Richmond, Concord and Antioch.

12. Kensington

Kensington, CA

Population: 5,364
Rank Last Year: 43 (Up 32)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 55 (13th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,043 (27th safest)
More on Kensington: Real Estate | Data

Kensington is an unincorporated community and census designated place located in the Berkeley Hills, in the East Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area, in Contra Costa County, California. The population was 5,077 at the 2010 census.

13. Rancho Palos Verdes

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Source: Public domain

Population: 42,947
Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 22)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 62 (23rd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 970 (19th safest)
More on Rancho Palos Verdes: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Rancho Palos Verdes is a city in Los Angeles County, California atop the Palos Verdes Hills and bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. An affluent suburb of Los Angeles, it is known for large tracts of open space and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Rancho Palos Verdes is translated as "Ranch of Green Sticks", probably referring to the willows in the northeastern part of Bixby Slough shown on earlier maps.

14. Rancho Santa Margarita

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Population: 49,606
Rank Last Year: 12 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 96 (41st safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 538 (2nd safest)
More on Rancho Santa Margarita: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Rancho Santa Margarita is a city in Orange County, California, United States. One of Orange County's youngest cities, Rancho Santa Margarita is a master planned community set upon rolling hills. The population was 47,853 at the 2010 census, up from 47,214 at the 2000 census. Although it is named for Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, which was in San Diego County, the city limits fall within the borders of Rancho Mission Viejo. At 20 characters long, it is the longest city name in California.

15. Yorba Linda

Yorba Linda, CA

Population: 68,702
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 59 (19th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,055 (29th safest)
More on Yorba Linda: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Yorba Linda is a suburban city in Orange County, California, approximately 37 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 64,234. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is located in Yorba Linda.

There You Have It - The Safest Cities In The Golden State

Looking at the data, you can tell that Imperial is as safe as they come, according to science and data.

But as most California residents would agree, almost every place here has its safe and not safe parts. So just make sure you're informed ahead of time.

Here's a look at the most dangerous cities in California according to the data:

  1. Emeryville
  2. Commerce
  3. Red Bluff
For more reading, check out:

List Of Safest Cities In California For 2018

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
1 Imperial, CA 17,582 39 415
2 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 13,730 29 808
3 Danville, CA 44,897 20 812
4 Orinda, CA 19,585 51 796
5 Tiburon, CA 9,263 43 896
6 Ione, CA 6,860 58 714
7 Aliso Viejo, CA 50,604 57 812
8 Moraga, CA 17,505 57 816
9 Los Altos Hills, CA 8,495 70 741
10 Los Altos, CA 31,000 41 1,106
11 San Ramon, CA 76,901 50 1,070
12 Kensington, CA 5,364 55 1,043
13 Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 42,947 62 970
14 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 49,606 96 538
15 Yorba Linda, CA 68,702 59 1,055
16 Clayton, CA 12,057 33 1,210
17 Mission Viejo, CA 97,950 76 1,003
18 Moorpark, CA 36,423 101 812
19 Laguna Woods, CA 16,473 72 1,025
20 Saratoga, CA 31,152 89 918
21 Lincoln, CA 47,206 61 1,146
22 Foster City, CA 34,081 93 1,006
23 Hillsborough, CA 11,575 77 1,045
24 Calabasas, CA 24,492 61 1,188
25 Guadalupe, CA 7,365 108 964
26 Agoura Hills, CA 21,032 71 1,202
27 Bear Valley, CA 5,464 91 1,116
28 Laguna Niguel, CA 66,352 97 1,131
29 Atherton, CA 7,218 41 1,440
30 Murrieta, CA 111,043 44 1,443
31 Chino Hills, CA 78,990 74 1,282
32 Irvine, CA 266,663 57 1,401
33 Lake Forest, CA 83,511 125 893
34 Villa Park, CA 5,991 66 1,368
35 Lafayette, CA 26,254 49 1,500
36 Ojai, CA 7,658 130 822
37 Poway, CA 50,606 128 899
38 La Canada Flintridge, CA 20,659 62 1,466
39 Williams, CA 5,208 115 1,171
40 Mill Valley, CA 14,491 62 1,538
41 San Clemente, CA 65,915 113 1,212
42 Oakley, CA 40,695 135 1,029
43 Sunnyvale, CA 154,108 102 1,388
44 Belmont, CA 27,492 112 1,371
45 Thousand Oaks, CA 129,853 126 1,298
46 Coronado, CA 24,974 104 1,521
47 Buellton, CA 5,133 97 1,578
48 Simi Valley, CA 127,252 136 1,230
49 Canyon Lake, CA 11,176 143 1,216
50 Truckee, CA 16,326 153 1,145
51 Walnut, CA 30,447 82 1,694
52 Goleta, CA 31,145 118 1,554
53 Laguna Hills, CA 32,045 106 1,672
54 Ripon, CA 15,318 78 1,743
55 Waterford, CA 8,897 134 1,404
56 Rolling Hills Estates, CA 8,297 132 1,518
57 Diamond Bar, CA 57,162 115 1,628
58 Firebaugh, CA 8,484 153 1,308
59 Healdsburg, CA 11,830 118 1,606
60 Cypress, CA 49,557 125 1,577
61 Pacifica, CA 39,650 163 1,240
62 Cupertino, CA 60,948 116 1,635
63 Santa Clarita, CA 219,611 150 1,368
64 Solana Beach, CA 13,561 117 1,651
65 Glendale, CA 202,903 111 1,700
66 Folsom, CA 77,245 98 1,791
67 Placentia, CA 52,800 145 1,496
68 Benicia, CA 28,400 66 1,901
69 Menlo Park, CA 33,726 88 1,847
70 Sierra Madre, CA 11,212 222 1,016
71 Holtville, CA 6,498 184 1,261
72 Temple City, CA 36,527 134 1,587
73 Winters, CA 7,120 168 1,376
74 Pacific Grove, CA 15,795 56 2,013
75 San Marcos, CA 94,840 207 1,207
76 Fillmore, CA 15,653 268 638
77 Central Marin, CA 35,265 107 1,860
78 Los Gatos, CA 30,947 67 1,990
79 Los Alamitos, CA 11,774 110 1,860
80 La Habra Heights, CA 5,480 72 1,989
81 Cloverdale, CA 8,848 203 1,367
82 Morgan Hill, CA 44,015 186 1,458
83 Rocklin, CA 62,006 104 1,938
84 Hughson, CA 7,539 106 1,936
85 San Juan Capistrano, CA 36,798 236 1,184
86 Solvang, CA 5,844 222 1,351
87 San Marino, CA 13,528 110 1,929
88 Calistoga, CA 5,364 205 1,416
89 Santa Paula, CA 30,784 259 1,114
90 Colusa, CA 5,926 151 1,687
91 Encinitas, CA 63,597 165 1,630
92 Wildomar, CA 36,310 134 1,803
93 Santee, CA 58,651 190 1,560
94 Soledad, CA 24,805 306 854
95 Dublin, CA 60,430 143 1,815
96 Hercules, CA 25,553 207 1,534
97 Dana Point, CA 34,349 186 1,627
98 Camarillo, CA 68,072 180 1,652
99 Novato, CA 56,263 142 1,844
100 Hollister, CA 37,953 305 1,043

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