The safest cities to live in California

Security in California comes with a high cost of living, as most cities are above the national and California averages. If you are looking for a high quality of life in one of the safest cities in California, be prepared to pay a high price to buy a home.

What determines safety in California are crime statistics, quality of life, and amenities. This comes from crime data from local and state sources and the latest FBI violent crime report for additional data.

The safe cities are Palo Alto, Danville, Rancho Santa, and Powaye. Natural disaster preparedness is another factor that determines the safest cities to live in in California.

Crime rates

Table Of Contents

When looking for a safe city, look at the crime statistics. Research online, checking out sites like and to get a better idea of your area. Crime rates indicate your city’s safety, although spotting crime is not always easy. However, there are crime-spotting tools that give you an idea of what’s going on in your area. 

Check the website for police-community engagement activities, such as courses on how to prevent crime. You can also contact your local police station for specific neighbourhood information. When moving to a new city, check out resources like America’s safest cities to see if your city made the list.

Your quality of life can depend on your neighbourhood. If your city is safe, you can keep it that way by participating in community programs or starting new initiatives that benefit your neighbourhood and town.

table of the top 10 safest cities in California according to crime rate:

RankCityCrime Rate per 100k
1Monte Sereno0.0
5Palos Verdes Estates29.9
6Los Altos Hills34.8

Note that the rankings may vary depending on the source and the year. However, it is clear that these cities consistently rank among the safest in California according to crime rate. [1], [4], [5]

Emergency response time

Where you live in California affects how long it takes an emergency response team to arrive on the scene when you need one. Cities that have been gap areas where emergency response times need to be improved are Home Avenue (City Heights), Paradise Hills, College area, Skyline, Encanto, and Stresemann/Governor Drive. The average response time in California is ten minutes.

In San Diego, ambulances respond to 120,000 medical calls a year, an average of more than 300 times. Even if the ambulances are not needed frequently, they must go anyway. Metro’s ambulances should respond to all 9-1-1 calls under their contract with the City. However, San Diego’s Fire-Rescue Department (Fire-Rescue) is not accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International because of significant gaps in its service and response times.

Community involvement

Communities play the primary role in preventing the criminal victimization of citizens. With Federal and State leadership and support, communities can change local conditions to help youth become law-abiding, productive citizens.

That involves all community members, including business leaders, media representatives, teachers, parents and grandparents, young people, policymakers, clergy, elected officials, and law enforcement. They are responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of citizens. All members of the community work together for common goals.

Natural disaster preparedness

The State of California encounters the dangers of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and other natural and unnatural events. These reinforce the importance of emergency preparedness and resiliency plans for your business and stay. For safety, multiple resources are available to assist with navigating each step. 

Disaster preparedness starts with acknowledging the hazards and disasters you might be subject to living in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) places California in the very high-risk category for earthquakes since it experiences the most frequent damaging earthquakes. 

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is fire prevention, and it includes both enforcement and education programs. LAFD inspectors work with homeowners and business executives to ensure the LAFD Fire Code is followed. These programs have proven to reduce the losses from fire.

Unpredictable wind conditions are in Los Angeles. These can cause dense brush and dry hillsides and canyons. These areas are prone to flames and have higher chances of starting deadly wildfires like brush fires. These fires can move at incredible speeds, and their heat can quickly rise to thousands of degrees.

Here are some of the safest cities in California in terms of natural disaster preparedness:

2Thousand Oaks
3Yorba Linda
5San Ramon

According to [6], Moorpark is one of the safest areas in California from natural disasters. It is followed by Thousand Oaks, Yorba Linda, Danville, and San Ramon, which are also listed as some of the safest cities in California.

Note that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has calculated the risk for every county in America for 18 types of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and volcanoes. Los Angeles County has the highest ranking in the National Risk Index [4]. However, it is important to note that natural disasters can occur anywhere and it is important to be prepared no matter where you live.

Traffic Safety

Liljegren Law Group’s study ranked all California cities with populations over 100,000 based on nine metrics across two dimensions: motor vehicle collisions and contributory factors. The nine metrics used in the study were:

  1. Overall Collision Rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
  2. Fatality Rate per 100 million VMT
  3. Injury Rate per 100 million VMT
  4. DUI Arrests per 100,000 residents
  5. Reckless Driving Citations per 100,000 residents
  6. Failure to Obey Citations per 100,000 residents
  7. Speeding Citations per 100,000 residents
  8. Red Light Running Citations per 100,000 residents
  9. Seat Belt Citations per 100,000 residents

Based on these metrics, the following table ranks the top 10 safest cities in California for driving:

RankCityOverall Score
2Huntington Beach97.27
4Garden Grove96.18
5Elk Grove95.71
9Santa Clarita94.13
10San Diego93.97

It’s important to note that this table is based solely on Liljegren Law Group’s study and should be interpreted cautiously. Other sources may use different metrics or rankings to assess the safety of California cities for driving.

Air Quality

1Redding-Red Bluff, California
2Chico, California
3Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California
4Bakersfield, California
5San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
6Los Angeles-Long Beach, California
7Riverside-San Bernardino, CA
8Sacramento-Roseville, California
9San Diego-Carlsbad, California
10Modesto-Merced, California

Top safest cities in California

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a town in California with a population of 92,828. Santa Monica is in Los Angeles County and is one of California’s best places to live. Living in Santa Monica gives you an urban feel. There are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Residents who tend to be liberal in Santa Monica are highly rated.

Crime rates and statistics

In Santa Monica, the chances of becoming a victim of a property crime are one in 22, which is a rate of 45 per one thousand population. Santa Monica is ranked 224th out of 230 eligible cities in the state. Santa Monica is a quieter area and more gentrified than most of the city, making it safer for solo travellers.

Emergency response time

Follow the steps in the tabs below when calling 9-1-1 to report an emergency in Santa Monica. There are five fire stations in Santa Monica. They provide full-time fire and paramedic services, fire prevention, urban search and rescue, hazardous material response, and airport firefighting capabilities.

Community involvement and resources

Community safety is achieved when working together in Santa Monica. Crime Survivors work in the community to make victims’ rights a top.

Natural disaster preparedness and response

The mission statement of the Santa Monica fire department says it all. It strives to help people by preserving and improving their safety, health, and well-being. It provides collaborative and innovative fire protection, emergency medical care, and life safety services.

Additional information and resources

You can walk around at night in the neighbourhoods, but avoid walking down alleys or dark streets. That is something you would do in any city. Stay on lighted paths near people. 

Other notable safe cities in California


The safest city in California is Danville. It is located in the San Ramon Valley and has a population of 43,582. The crime rate is low. That is 78% lower than the California average. Danville offers suburban living in the bay area. According to the 2016 FBI crime report statistics, it has 0.20 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 8.13 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Crime rates and statistics

Danville has a crime rate that is lower than the average. If you live in Danville, your chance of becoming a victim of crime in the community is 1 in 138.

Emergency response time

There is an after hour emergency call line in case of a problem. An online facility allows the use of the Online Citizen Reporting System. It allows you to submit a report immediately and print a copy for free.

Community involvement and resources

The Community Services/Crime Prevention Unit promotes and provides crime prevention services and expertise to support the safety and well-being of the public. Its mission is to build partnerships and improve public safety through education.

The unit consistently works to meet and exceed residents’ expectations by coordinating and participating in community events to engage and educate everyone about preventing crime and enhancing public safety.

Natural disaster preparedness and response

A temporary disaster recovery center in Danville has been set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Contra Costa County for those who suffered storm damage early this year ( 

The California Office of Emergency Services announced that property owners in 13 countries, including Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz can now start applying for FEMA disaster assistance.

Additional information and resources

Danville has been ranked the safest city in California. The whole community is responsible for public safety. Danville’s community policing philosophy promotes community unity. 


In summary, there are several safe cities in California. Although some parts are dangerous, cities like Danville, Poway, Alison Viejo, and Santa Monica are safe places. Safety is not an individual issue, and it is a community issue. If you want to know better, check out the fire departments and the emergency operations center. Get more details on the latest crime and natural disaster statistics.

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