As a Real Estate Agents, it seems that the two most frequent question I receive are about the quality of the school system and the safety of area. This blog is about safety.
Discussing safety is a difficult task. When asked "which area is the safest" it’s easy to list up Irvine, Palos Verdes, Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo Beach, and Torrance as safe area to live. When asked which are the more dangerous areas the answer is "Compton and South Central LA" and if you want to buy in that area, please go find another agent as I value my life and don’t want it on my conscience that I sold a property in areas where I myself consider dangerous.
When the "safe areas" listed above are too expensive and the buyer cannot get in those area, then it becomes a murky area of which area is safe enough.
As one indicator, the table below is an excerpt of the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics for 2009. It is the collection of data from US cities with over 100,000 population. There are 272 cities listed on this statistics so any city better than 135th can be considered "safer than average?" The table below is only for California cities. Cities in greater Los Angeles and Orange Counties are listed in green. The table shows the Violent Crime Safety Rating (crimes against persons), Property Crimes (crimes against objects), and the Total Crime. Total Crime ranking is skewed with the Property Crimes as there are easily over 10 times Property Crimes than Violent Crimes.
Looking at the City of Berkeley which ranks 242th nationwide, I didn’t feel that the city was dangerous when I attended collage there (yes, that was decades ago…). In comparison, Oakland felt more dangerous but ranks 230th which is better than Berkeley. But you need to look at the Violent Crime column where Oakland is 267th which will qualify it as the 5th most dangerous city in the US versus 152nd for Berkeley which makes a bit worse than average. There are nice areas in Oakland in the hills and it doesn’t mean Oakland is uniformly dangerous. The same goes to City of Los Angeles which also includes areas such as Bel Aire, Westwood, and Brentwood.
So, looking at this table, Irvine is unquestionably safe ranking 1st in Safety for Violent and Property crimes. Then follows Thousand Oaks, City of Orange, Torrance, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, Pasadena, Fullerton, and Costa Mesa. I skipped Santa Ana, Norwalk, and Los Angeles as they ranked pretty low on the Violent Crime ranking.