What Are the Safest and Most Dangerous Areas in Northern California?
August 12, 2022 | Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law
Northern California, with its majestic mountains, rich valleys, and miles of beaches and coastline, has much to offer tourists and California residents alike. Unfortunately, the area also boasts cities and neighborhoods that are among the most dangerous — in the state and the nation.
If you plan to visit Northern California for business or leisure, or if you are just not familiar with the region, knowing what areas to avoid is key to staying safe.
California Crime Statistics
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains statistics reflecting the violent crime rate throughout the United States. In 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available, the FBI reported that the national rate of homicides in the United States was 6.5 per 100,000 people per year.
This number is a marked increase over 2018 and 2019, in which the rate of homicides was 5.0 and slightly above 5.0, respectively. Overall, the national violent crime rate, which includes homicides, assaults, rapes, and robberies, was just under 400 crimes per 100,000 people in 2020.
In California, the statewide homicide rate in 2020 was just over 5.5 homicides per 100,000 people. This data means that Californians did not experience homicides at quite the same rate as the rest of the nation during 2020.
However, the overall violent crime rate in California was approximately 440 cases per 100,000 people, which is slightly above the national average.
These statistics serve as a baseline for evaluating the safety of various cities and neighborhoods in Northern California.
Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Northern California
While violent crime can happen anywhere, some areas of Northern California are, statistically speaking, more dangerous than others.
These include Sacramento: the capital of California is also one of the most dangerous areas of Northern California. In 2019, the city reported 3,223 instances of violent crime. Given Sacramento’s population of 513,934, the violent crime rate per 100,000 people was 627.1, well above the national average.
San Francisco is another dangerous spot in the Northern California landscape. The City by the Bay experienced 5,933 violent crimes in 2019, including 40 murders. The city’s violent crime rate per 100,000 people was 669.6.
One of the most dangerous cities, though, is Oakland. With a population of just 434,036, there were 78 murders in 2019 and 5,520 instances of violent crime. This gives Oakland a violent crime rate of 1,271.8 per 100,000 people: approximately three times the national average.
Safest Cities in Northern California
Statistics maintained by the FBI show Folsom to be one of the safest cities in Northern California. In 2019, there were only 82 instances of violent crime in Folsom, including no murders and 12 rapes. With a population of 79,927, the violent crime rate was only 102.6 per 100,000 people.
Also making the list of safest Northern California cities is Roseville. The FBI’s statistics show that, although the city reported 4 murders and 32 rapes in 2019, the city’s overall violent crime rate was just 182.7. This was significantly lower than the national average of nearly 400 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
A Note About Using Crime Statistics
Even within the most dangerous Northern California city, there will be safe and low-crime areas. Similarly, there can be neighborhoods in “safe” cities like Folsom and Roseville where more crime occurs.
Residents and visitors must remain aware of their surroundings, avoid dark and poorly lit areas, and exercise other safe practices. This is especially true when traveling through unfamiliar areas of Northern California.
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