10 Safest Cities In California

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

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Editor's Note: This article has been update for 2019. This is our fifth time rankings the safest places to live in California.
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We all know that behind the beautiful beaches, hip cities, and outrageous food there are certain parts of California that are safer than others.

But how exactly is one to tell where the safest places to live in the Golden State are?

Well, data of course.

And that's where we come in -- we've broken down the safest cities in California based on the most recent FBI data. And at this point we're quite the experts on ranking safe cities, it's the fifth time we've ranked the safest places in California.

Beaches, movie stars, and amazing cities aside, California has a lot to offer if you're looking for a safe place to put down roots with a family. It's just a matter of making sure to check on general trends before picking a place to live.

Because California is the most populous state in the U.S., narrowing down the safest cities in the Golden State was quite the job. So grab a kale, spinach, beet smoothie, find a sunny spot on the beach, and read on.

Here are the 10 safest places to live in California for 2019:

  1. Los Altos Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Ojai (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Moraga (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Laguna Woods (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Imperial (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Palos Verdes Estates (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Guadalupe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Orinda (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Danville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Rancho Santa Margarita (Photos | Homes For Sale)

What city is the safest to live in California for 2019? Well according to the most recent FBI data, Los Altos Hills is the safest place to live in California if you care about low rates of property crime, low rates of violent crime, and a high quality of life.

While not everyone can afford to live in California's safest city, Los Altos Hills, there are many other cities in the Golden State that are just as safe and and comfortable, but that won't break your bank.

So if you're looking to relocate to sunny California, read on to see how we calculated the safest cities in California for 2019.

For more reading on safe places to live in and around California, check out:

The 10 Safest Cities In California For 2019

Los Altos Hills, CA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 8,579
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 23 (3rd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 687 (7th safest)
More on Los Altos Hills: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | 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.

And now it can add its most prestigious award yet -- HomeSnacks's Safest City In California for 2019.

Can't beat that.

It ranks 3rd safest in the state for violent crime and 7th safest for property crime.

Ojai, CA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 7,603
Rank Last Year: 36 (Up 34)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 52 (15th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 591 (2nd safest)
More on Ojai: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

The 2nd safest city in California is Ojai -- located in the Ojai Valley, it is northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara.

The town is surrounded by hills and mountains, which probably protect it from property crime (2nd safest) as they know they'd never be able to escape in time.

Moraga, CA
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 17,653
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 33 (9th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 725 (8th safest)
More on Moraga: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

Moraga is the 3rd safest place in the Golden State and second city so far to hit a 10 on our SnackAbility Score -- an honor only 5% of over 6,000 cities in America achieve.

Moraga is a suburban incorporated town located in Contra Costa County, California. It's about as safe for property and violent crime.

Laguna Woods, CA
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 16,305
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 15)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 24 (4th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 778 (15th safest)
More on Laguna Woods: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

Well, based on that picture, I want to live here.

I guess it's hard to commit violent crimes when you hang out on the beach and stare into the general beauty around you.

But I have to wonder if it feels inferior to Laguna Beach seeing as it never had its own TV show.

Imperial, CA
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 17,629
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 62 (20th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 346 (1st safest)
More on Imperial: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

The single best place when it comes to property crime in California goes to Imperial.

Last year, Imperial was able to ride that to an overall #1 ranking, but not this year.

Instead, it's been vanquished to a 5th place finish.

Imperial is a city in Imperial County, California. Imperial is located 4 miles north of El Centro. This region is well known for its abundance of bird species such as dove, quail, ducks, pheasant and geese.

Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 13,611
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 22 (2nd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 918 (23rd safest)
More on Palos Verdes Estates: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

It seems like all these super safe places in California are on the beach and totally lack violent crime.

Palos Verdes Estates is a city in Los Angeles County, CA situated on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and ranks as the 6th safest this year.

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.

Guadalupe, CA
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 7,360
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 19)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 54 (16th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 747 (9th safest)
More on Guadalupe: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

Guadalupe is a small city located in Santa Barbara County, California -- the smallest on our list in fact.

It might be small, but it packs a safe(?) punch. It has the 9th fewest property crimes and the 16th fewest violent crimes per capita of any city in California.

Guadalupe is economically and socially tied to the city of Santa Maria, which is about ten miles to the east. It is located on Highway 1 immediately south of the Santa Maria River, and five miles east of the Pacific Ocean.

Orinda, CA
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 19,760
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 50 (13th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 774 (13th safest)
More on Orinda: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

Our next stop on the safe freeway around California is Orinda.

But don't just take our expert word on it -- 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.

Danville, CA
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 45,088
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 35 (10th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 782 (16th safest)
More on Danville: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

The Town of Danville is located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County and ranks as the ninth safest city for 2019 in CA.

A top ten ranking for violent crime per capita helped it earn this distinction.

And look at the mall in that picture -- doesn't it just ooze safety?

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 49,144
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 65 (22nd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 667 (6th safest)
More on Rancho Santa Margarita: PhotosSearch Homes For Sale | Data

Grab the tequila as we take our final stop in Rancho Santa Margarita -- the tenth safest city in California this year.

Besides being the city with the most letters in it, Rancho Santa Margarita has very few property crimes for a city of its size.

And in case you actually thought it was named for the drink, it is named for Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores.

How we calculated the safest cities in California for 2019

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 2018) 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)
These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California

For example, there were a total of 61 crimes committed in Los Altos Hills which had a reported population of 8,579. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.0071 which translates into a 1 in 140 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 2017. This left us with a total of 417 of the biggest cities in California to rank.

We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 417 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 Los Altos Hills. The most dangerous city in California? Emeryville, where residents had a 1 in 5 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.

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

Looking at the data, you can tell that Los Altos Hills 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. Oakland
  3. Red Bluff
For more reading, check out:

Where Are The 10 Safest Cities In California For 2019?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
1 Los Altos Hills, CA 8,579 23 687
2 Ojai, CA 7,603 52 591
3 Moraga, CA 17,653 33 725
4 Laguna Woods, CA 16,305 24 778
5 Imperial, CA 17,629 62 346
6 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 13,611 22 918
7 Guadalupe, CA 7,360 54 747
8 Orinda, CA 19,760 50 774
9 Danville, CA 45,088 35 782
10 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 49,144 65 667

Breaking Down Crime In The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities In California

Safest Cities in California Breakdown

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HomeSnacks is based in Durham, NC.

We aim to deliver bite-sized pieces of infotainment about where you live.

We use data, analytics, and a sense of humor to determine quality of life for places across the nation.

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