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6 Most Dangerous Cities in the Bay Area (2024 Updated)

An area about midway down the coast of California is referred to as the Bay Area.

You wouldn’t be wrong to associate it with San Francisco, as it is derived from the San Francisco Bay.

In addition to being one of the most expensive cities to live in, the Bay Area includes Oakland, San Jose, and all the surrounding cities.

In total, the Bay Area encompasses nine counties and three bays.

Today, there are eight million people who call the Bay Area home.

With that many people flocking to this part of California, it surely must be on the safer side, right?

Not exactly.

In a place that’s well known for being expensive, it’s not surprising that crime has found its way here.

But before you cancel that trip, take a moment to learn more about the dangerous areas within the Bay Area and what you can do to stay safe when visiting.

6 Most Dangerous Cities in the Bay Area


1. Emeryville

With a violent crime rate that is double the state of California, Emeryville is not the sort of place you want to hang out.

If you think that’s bad enough, property crimes are almost six times higher than the state’s average.

The total crime rate here is 132 per 1,000 residents.

You have a 1 in 125 chance of being the victim of a crime each year in Emeryville.


2. Oakland

Oakland is the second most dangerous city in the Bay Area, but it still has more violent crimes than Emeryville.

In fact, it has three times the violent crimes by percentage than all of California.

Property crime is significantly less here in comparison to the top city.

The crime rate for Oakland is 70 for every 1,000 inhabitants.

The chances of becoming a victim are 1 in 80.


3. Stockton

Stockton, like Oakland, has three times the violent crimes than the California average.

The overall crime rate for 1,000 residents is 47.

To put into perspective, per square mile, there are 230 crimes in Stockton and only 83 in California.

Blue Lake
Blue Lake

4. Blue Lake

On average, there is a crime being committed every four days in Blue Lake.

Out of all the criminal activity, drug crimes are overwhelmingly taking place, in comparison.

Other common crimes are vandalism, burglary, and assault.


5. Sonora

Sonora is relatively small, compared to other cities in the Bay Area, but that hasn’t helped its safety rating.

The crime rate in Sonora is 65 for every 1,000 residents.

Being in the city gives you a 1 in 125 chance of becoming a victim.


6. Richmond

Richmond has more than double the violent crimes than all of California.

You have a 1 in 109 chance of being a victim of a violent crime here.

On the other hand, your chances of becoming a property crime victim is 1 in 28.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to the Bay Area

1. Take Extra Precautions on Public Transportation

When it comes to public transportation, the Bay Area is a great place to not have a ride.

Jumping on the system is easy and actually pretty budget-friendly.

Does that make it exceptionally safe, though?

Not really.

Its convenience doesn’t make up for the petty crime that pops up.

This includes pickpocketing and the more serious assault.

When possible, stay near big groups and bring as little on board as you can.

The fewer items you have dangling from your arm or hand, the fewer opportunities criminals have to take advantage.

2. Travel Mostly During the Day

Daylight hours are when crimes are least likely to occur.

There are plenty of things open and going on during this time frame that make this seem like a reasonable request.

However, it’s also understandable that if you’re traveling here, the nightlife may be calling your name.

If that sounds like you, don’t despair.

You can still drop by hot spots but do so with strategy.

Look go avoid the cities listed here as places to hone in on happening clubs after dark.

Instead, look for neighborhoods that top the safe list.

Staying in groups is also a big help.

3. Keep Bags on in Restaurants

Going out to eat is a big perk of traveling.

What’s the first thing you do when you sit down?

Take off your bags and sit them down next to you or on the chair.

Criminals know this and have definitely been caught stalking must-see restaurants in the Bay Area.

Very inconspicuously, they can come in and slyly grab what’s sitting on the chair in a moment of movement around your table.

In a flash, your possessions are gone.

Avoid this by taking purchases back to a hotel room or putting a bag such as a purse in your lap.

As with the last example, avoid as many dangling items as you can.

4. Leave Expensive Items at Home

While you may be tempted to flash your favorite jewelry on vacation, you should just leave it at home.

Scammers, pickpockets, and thieves are always on the lookout for things such as big rocks and expensive watches.

If you’re just visiting, there’s no reason to be in possession of those items.

Don’t give people with this mindset a reason to target you.

5. Stay Close to Your Bags

It’s a message anyone who has been to the airport is familiar with.

The last thing you want when on a vacation is to have your bags tampered with or, worse, stolen.

Get around the hassle of needing to file a report by not losing sight of your bags.

That can mean at the airport, bus station, taxi, or even the hotel lobby.

You never know when someone might be watching.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Bay Area safe for the LGBTQ community?

San Francisco, the most well-known and namesake of the Bay Area, is actually known for being gay-friendly.

Not only is it known as the original gay-friendly city, there’s a lot of history in relation to the community here.

The city on the bay was the original when it comes to championing gay rights and being visible as opening and welcoming.

For decades before same-sex marriage was legal across the US, both those under the gay umbrella and allies would regularly fight for the right.

Even vocal spokesperson Harvey Milk was a local legend for gay rights who unfortunately lost his life during the fight for the cause.

So, to say that San Francisco and the Bay Area at large are safe for the LGBTQ community is an understatement.

If you identify as someone who is LGBTQ, it may even be wise to check the city calendar of events before coming out, there might be something exciting to join in on upon arrival.

When is the best time to visit the Bay Area?

Hoping you won’t need to travel in the summer to make the most of a trip to the Bay Area?


The best time to hit up this region is actually all of autumn.

It just so happens that this happens to be the best temperatures of the year, but it’s also when locals want to get out in the open.

Activities of every sort go from September through November, which typically have people coming from all over California and the surrounding states to check out.

To be fair, it would be appropriate to mention that the cheapest time of year to travel would be in the spring.

Similar to autumn, spring produces excellent weather and events bringing people out on the town after a winter of being frequently shut in.

Since tourism is lower in the spring than the rest of the year, prices typically drop in March and April.

What that boils down to is come in the spring if you’d like to save a buck or come in autumn if you’re looking to catch up on the events.

What are the safest neighborhoods in the Bay Area?

In addition to safety, the following cities were chosen also for their quality of life and local feedback.

Ranked as the top spot for best neighborhoods is Noe Valley.

The crime rate is 15 per 1,000 people, the lowest on the list.

That’s good to know, considering the plethora of activities going on at the town square throughout the year.

Activities also include sports, both by children and adult teams.

Parents don’t have to fear for their child playing games nearby.

Keeping busy is the name of the game.

The busier you are, the less likely you are the commit a crime.

Other high-ranking neighborhoods include Haight-Ashbury and Castro.

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