Danville named California's safest city; numerous Bay Area cities make top 50, report says

Southern California is safer than Northern California, in terms of crime, according to a Safewise report that ranked California’s 50 safest cities and named Bay Area town of Danville the state’s safest. 

The report says 31 of the safest cities are in Southern California, while the other 19 are up north. Sixteen of those 19 are Bay Area cities and seven of those are recognized in the top 20. Two East Bay cities, Danville and San Ramon, made the top five with Menlo Park and Foster City just outside the top 10. 

"I've raised four of my kids there and I've experienced exactly what [the report] said," said San Ramon resident Monique Camarillo. "It's a pretty safe area and good neighbors."

Following venture capitalist Tim Draper’s desire to split California into three states, Safewise, a review and comparison website, fostered an idea to see which of the two current regions had the most crime. A research team based their evaluation and ranking system on 2016 FBI reports that showed the number of reported violent crimes – aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery – unless there was a tie, in which case they’d factor in property crimes, too. 

Danville, population 44,897, earned the top spot by posting a violent crime rate 96 percent lower than the national average, reporting a measly .20 crimes of the specified type for every 1,000 people. "For the most part, that's why I live in the area, because I feel like it's very safe here," said Cheryl Maxie, a Pleasant Hill resident who spoke to KTVU in Walnut Creek, the 23rd safest city in California.

Anniston, Alabama, the nation’s most dangerous city according to 2016 FBI reports, logged 33.10 violent crimes per 1,000 people. A third of the Anniston's 22,000 residents live in poverty, whereas in Lewisboro, New York – the country’s safest city – the median household income is just shy of $160,000. 

And while Danville is recognized as safe in its own state, it didn’t make the cut for the company's 100 safest cities in all of America. On the flip side, Safewise published their ranking system for the 50 most dangerous cities in America and not a single California city made the list. They calculated crimes per 1,000 people and based their system on the latest FBI reports – just like gathering data for the safest California cities – to calculate danger. 

Basically, in terms of these findings, one could infer that California as whole is relatively neutral on the national scale of danger and safety within a city.

Safewise says calculating the crimes per 1,000 people helped to level the playing field by making it easier to compare the likelihood of crimes happening in cities with significantly different populations. Cities that fell short of the identified population threshold, or ones that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI, were excluded from the ranking system that included a Sacramento and two Placer County cities.

Ultimately, this information is unique to the reader. The findings may provide no influence for where you decide to anchor or visit. Comparing quality of life from Manhattan Beach – California’s 50th safest city – to Danville depends on a variety of factors ranging from your family to the weather. Regardless, no matter which Golden State city you decide to explore on this list, it’s going to, on average, cost you more to live in than any state on the dangerous list, according to a cost of living index for 2018’s first quarter.