These SoCal cities are among California's least safe: report

Santa Monica recently ranked among the least safe cities in California, according to a report by Safewise. 

Safewise analyzed FBI crime statistics to make its list, along with reports from other states using data from the numbers of violent and property crimes reported by cities and towns to the FBI. 

That was then computed with the rates of crime per 1000 residents in each municipal area. 

According to the report, Santa Monica's rate is 6 violent crimes and 42.6 property crimes per 1,000 residents. 

That ranks the city #224 out of #230, just below San Francisco. In 2021, Santa Monica ranked 222nd.

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The Santa Monica Police Department has since responded to the report, saying they don't put a lot of faith into this new list of supposed "safe cities" in California.

The City of Santa Monica also says the crime data for Santa Monica is not true, claiming Safewise did not take into consideration daily commuter and tourism numbers, which do impact the bottom line. They also say Santa Monica is experiencing a reduction in violent and reportable crime statistics.

The only other California cities that have a higher rate are Compton (#225), Richmond (#225), Stockton (#227), San Bernardino (#229), and Oakland (#230). 

Other SoCal cities placed on the lower end of the list due to property crimes. These include Beverly Hills (#204), Culver City (#220), West Hollywood (#212), and Los Angeles (#200).

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The safest city in the state is Danville, an unincorporated area in Contra Costa County in Northern California. According to the report, Danville, which has a population of 47,000, has an average of 0.5 violent crimes and 5.3 property crimes per 1,000 people.

"For the purposes of city ranking reports, the terms ‘dangerous’ and ‘safest’ refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data — no other characterization of any community is implied or intended." and that "The ‘safest’ cities rankings are intended to highlight cities with low crime rates and ignite conversation and action around how to make all cities and communities safer," according to Safewise.

The report considers violent crimes to be aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery and property crimes as burglaries, larceny-theft and vehicle theft. 

"Both violent and property crime numbers were weighted equally. That means that a city with no violent crimes reported could end up lower on the list due to a higher property crime rate, and vice versa," Safewise said.

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The average population of the top 50 of this list’s safest cities in California is 77,162, however, nine of the safest cities have populations in excess of 100,000 residents and three have populations of over 200,000. One of those cities is Santa Clarita which ranks #13 on the list.

Almost half of those 50 safest cities had no reports of murder and the report states that "there were fewer reports of each major property crime this reporting year — except motor vehicle thefts, echoing rising national car thefts during the pandemic."

The City of Santa Monica has released the following statement to FOX 11 in response to the Safewise report:

Santa Monica is more than a community of approximately 93,000 residents and there are significant factors that make our City unique. Swelling with an average daily population of 250,000 visitors throughout the day and during peak seasons, Santa Monica serves as a jobs center and a hub for state, national and international tourism which  attracts millions of visitors each year.To provide an accurate depiction of crime in the City, it is necessary to look at of its average daily population of  250,000, not 95,000, as that provides a more accurate depiction of crime in the city.  The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) did reach out to SafeWise to determine the source of their metrics.  In their discussions, Safewise indicated that they do not take into consideration the daily commuter and tourism metrics and agree it does impact the overall impressions to crime. They do provide a disclaimer sharing that in their study as they understand there are a variety of factors and such metrics are not clear.In February of 2022, the Santa Monica Police Department did a five-year analysis of Part I crimes.  In their findings, there is a decrease in Part 1 crimes (Burglary, Arson, Murder, Rape et al) from 2021 to 2022 and in February of 2021 there were 740 Part 1 crimes.  In February of 2022, there were 655 Part 1 crimes.  In 2020 there were 598 Part 1 crimes, in 2019, 722 and in 2018, 804.  Crime has fluctuated throughout the last five year but as we stand today, we are experiencing a reduction in our violent, reportable crime statistics.While the SMPD is pleased that the overall numbers of reported crimes are down, the City and police department remain vigilant and are working hard day-in and day-out to address the crime that occurs in our community. SMPD’s Community Affairs team continues to attend neighborhood and business district meetings, host events like coffee with a cop, and working to educate our community members about crime that is occurring in Santa Monica. Our focus and attention to issues of crime and community safety is unwavering.Also, here is a link to our City’s crime statistics.   Once on the webpage you can also click on summary link to get a five year history.

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