30 Safest Affordable Towns in California 2020

As parents, friends, hard workers, and good community members, we want to live in safe places. Unfortunately for most of us, the safest places in the United States are often the most expensive. However, even in an expensive state like California, there are affordable places to live with overall crime rates that fall well under the national average.  Living in these desirable places allows us more time to enjoy our friends and family, utilize our community’s amenities, and live life to its fullest. That’s why we went on the hunt for the 30 safest affordable towns in California for 2020.

Methodology:
To come up with our list of the 30 safest affordable towns in California, we consulted Sperling’s Best Places to figure out which California locales had the lowest amount of crime. Unfortunately, the safest places are typically the most expensive. For example, California’s safest city, Belvedere, has a median income of $166,250 and a median home price of $3.5 million — not so affordable for most. Therefore, we limited our own list to only those towns with a median home price under $600,000 (it is California, after all). We considered both violent crime (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, and forcible rape) and petty crime (burglary, theft, vehicle theft, and property crime).

1. Imperial

85% lower than the national average; 86% lower than the California average
Located in the desert in the El Centro metropolitan area, the city of Imperial has been growing rapidly. Indeed, it’s been one of the top five fastest growing cities in California every year since 2016. Despite such change, Imperial remains California’s safest small town. According to the most recent records, crime in Imperial is a whopping 85% lower than the national average, and 86% lower than the state average. Citizens have a mere 1 in 245 chance of falling victim to any crime, which is statistically limited to just 408 per 100,000 people. This is good news for those who live in and visit the town, which is quite the hotspot for year-round golf, and sandsurfing and ATVing the sand dunes.

2. Rancho Santa Margarita

73% lower than the national average; 75% lower than the state average
The master-planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita has only existed since the year 2000. Despite its young age, the city of approximately 50,000 has established itself as an affordable, safe, and family-friendly place to live. Speaking of safety, crime in Rancho Santa Margarita is approximately 75% lower than the California average. Residents have a mere 1 in 137 chance of becoming victim to a crime. Of the 2.01 crimes per 100,000 people that occur daily in Rancho Santa Margarita, the vast majority are considered petty theft.

3. (tie) Laguna Woods

71% lower than the national average; 73% lower than the California average
Like Rancho Santa Margarita, the city of Laguna Woods is located in Orange County in Southern California. In the last year, a grand total of four violent crimes were reported here, three of which were cases of assault. Alternatively, there were 127 reported property crimes, theft being the most common. Still, residents of Laguna Woods have a mere 1 in 125 chance of becoming the victim of a crime, making the city far safer than the rest of the state and country. Of course, much of Laguna Woods’s low, low crime rate has to do with the fact that 90% of the town is made up of Laguna Woods Village, a private gated retirement community.

3. (tie) Guadalupe

71% lower than the national average; 73% lower than the California average
Guadalupe, California is a small town of about 7,100 full-time residents. Though it isn’t the most glamorous address in Santa Barbara County, it is the safest. Plus, it’s located a mere five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Those living in Guadalupe have a 1 in 125 change of falling victim to any crime, and the number of crimes reported here daily average a minuscule 2.2. Most of these reported crimes are instances of property crime, with the majority of those being petty theft. Four assaults and one rape were also reported in Guadalupe within the last year.

5. Aliso Viejo

69% lower than the national average; 71% lower than the California average
Like two other towns in the top five safest affordable towns in California, Aliso Viejo is located in Orange County in Southern California. Though crime has increased in Aliso Viejo by 8% in the last year, there is still only an average of 2.31 crimes per 100,000 people reported daily. This gives Aliso Viejo residents a mere 1 in 119 change of becoming victim to any crime at any given time. Of the 394 reported property crimes last year, 299 were instances of petty theft. Of the 44 reported violent crimes, 32 were instances of assault.

6. Ione

66% lower than the national average; 69% lower than the California average
Located in Amador County in central California, Ione has quite the colorful history. Once the home of the indigenous Sierra Miwok people, the town of Ione was officially founded during the Gold Rush, during which time it became known as “Bedbug,” “Freeze Out,” and “Hardscrabble.” Today, Ione is a town of about 8,000 people (though the official bed bug count is still out). Approximately 2.5 crimes per 100,000 people occur in Ione daily, giving residents a 1 in 109 chance of becoming the victim of a crime. Ione, then, is considered safer than a whopping 86% of the United States.

7. Moorpark

62% lower than the national average; 65% lower than the California average
Though it’s one of the fastest growing cities in Ventura County, Moorpark has retained its reputation as one of the safest affordable towns in California. The town’s overall crime rate is 62% lower than the national average, which makes it safer than 74% of U.S. cities. Specifically, there are 2.83 daily crimes per 100,000 people in Moorpark, and residents have a slim 1 in 97 chance of falling victim to any crime. The most common crimes in Moorpark are burglary (55 reported in the last year) and petty theft (257 reported in the last year).

8. Truckee

59% lower than the national average; 62% than the California average
Located near Lake Tahoe in Nevada County, the small town of Truckee makes up part of a popular vacation region. For the approximately 17,000 people who call Truckee home year round, the town is as safe as it is beautiful. Violent crime is practically non-existent here, as only 19 violent crimes were reported in the last year (all but four of which were cases of assault). Residents have a 1 in 90 chance of falling victim to a crime, and current rates estimate 3.07 daily crimes per 100,000 people.

9. Canyon Lake

57% lower than the national average; 60% lower than the California average
Though officially a city of approximately 11,000 residents, Canyon Lake is a master-planned, gated community in Southern California. Though such a community is inherently safe, Canyon Lake manages to rank as the ninth safest affordable town in California. Residents of Canyon Lake have a 1 in 86 chance of falling victim to a crime. In the last year, only 16 violent crimes were reported, all of which were cases of assault. Of the 115 reported property crimes, there were 22 burglaries, 65 thefts, and 28 vehicle thefts.

10. Oakley

53% lower than the national average; 56% lower than the California average
Incorporated as recently as 1999, the northern California town of Oakley has long been a family-friendly, affordable, and safe place to live. In fact, Oakley is considered safer than 71% of cities in the United States.  The number of total year-over-year crimes in Oakley has decreased by 21%. In the past year, 52 violent crimes were reported in this city of 40,000 people, the vast majority of which were assault cases. Of the 489 reported property crimes, 302 were instances of theft.

11. (tie) Lincoln

50% lower than the national average; 54% lower than the California average
Located in Placer County and part of the greater Sacramento area, Lincoln grew a whopping 282.1% in population between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city over 10,000 people in the entire country. Since then, Lincoln’s population has continued to grow, and is currently approximately 46,000. While such rapid growth often leads to increased crime rates, Lincoln remains a safe and affordable place to live. Lincoln’s crime rate currently averages 3.72 per 100,000 people, meaning Lincoln residents have a 1 in 74 chance of falling victim to a crime at any given time.

11. (tie) Hughson

50% lower than the national average; 54% lower than the California average
The small town of Hughson, population 7,200, is a farming community located near Modesto in California’s central valley. Of the 103 reported incidents of the last year, only two were violent crimes — one robbery and one assault. Hughson residents have a 1 in 74 chance of falling victim to a crime. Also worth noting that the number of total year-over-year crimes in Hughson has decreased by 40% — great news for residents!

13. Murrieta

46% lower than the national average; 50% lower than the California average
Located in Riverside County near towns like Temecula, San Diego, and Wildomar, the city of Murrieta boasts a population of nearly 109,000. Murrieta’s overall crime rate comes in at an impressive 46% lower than the national average, and averages 4.03 daily crimes per 100,000 people. Residents have a 1 in 69 chance of falling victim to a crime, though Murrieta’s crime rate has decreased by 9% in recent years and is expected to continue falling.

14. (tie) Simi Valley

42% lower than the national average; 46% lower than the California average
Pretty Simi Valley, a city of approximately 126,000, is located in Ventura County. It is a commuter bedroom community. Many of its residents commute to nearby Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, and the San Fernando Valley. A recent study conducted by University of Vermont found that Simi Valley is the fifth happiest city in the country — quite possibly due in part to the fact that Simi Valley residents know they live in a safe community! Indeed, Simi Valley’s overall crime rate comes out to 1,586 crimes per 100,000 people, a rate which is 42% lower than the national average.

14. (tie) Hercules

42% lower than the national average; 46% lower than the California average
Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the town of Hercules is home to an estimated 26,000 people. It was once known as the home of the California Powder Works and for the production of dynamite. Hercules is today known as a heavily redeveloped suburban bedroom community with an ethnically diverse population. It’s also known for its impressively low crime rate. Residents of Hercules have a slim 1 in 63 chance of falling victim to a crim. Of the 408 total incidents reported last year, only 30 were violent crimes (12 robberies, 12 assaults, and 6 rapes).

16. Cypress

41% lower than the national average; 45% lower than the California average
Home to approximately 50,000 people, Cypress is located in the northernmost section of Orange County in Southern California. There are 4.44 daily crimes that occur in Cyprus per 100,000. In other words, Cypress residents have a 1 in 62 chance of becoming the victim of a crime. Fortunately for residents, the number of total year-over-year crimes in the city has decreased by 15%, and is expected to continue to fall.

17. Folsom

40% lower than the national average; 44% lower than the California average
Despite being home to one of the country’s most famous prisons — or perhaps, because of — the Sacramento suburb of Folsom is one of California’s safest cities. Folsom’s overall crime rate is lower than 40% of the United States. It currently boasts a rate of 4.53 daily crimes per 100,000 people. This means that Folsom residents have a 1 in 61 chance of falling victim to a crime. Of the 1,293 crimes reported last year, all but 64 were cases of property crime (the most common being petty theft).

18. Martinez

37% lower than the national average; 41% lower than the California average
The East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area is hardly known as an affordable place to live. But one exception is Martinez. Home to just under 40,000 people, Martinez boasts a median home value of $462,300, and a crime rate 37% lower than the national average. 4.77 daily crimes occur per 100,000 people in Martinez, and residents have a 1 in 58 chance of falling victim to a crime. In the past year, 54 violent crimes have been reported, nearly all of which have been robberies and assaults. Petty theft is the most common crime in Martinez, with 318 incidents having been reported.

19. (tie) Chino Hills

34% lower than the national average; 38% lower than the California average
Chino Hills is located in San Bernardino County, and is bordered by Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Riverside County. In the past year, 1,432 total crimes were reported, the vast majority of them being instances of petty theft. Violent crimes are far rarer here, with only 70 occurring in the past year. According to statistics, Chino Hills residents have a 1 in 56 chance of falling victim to any crime.

19. (tie) Placentia

34% lower than the national average; 38% lower than the California average
Known for its quiet neighborhoods and history as a major producer of fruit, especially oranges, the town of Placentia is an “All America City.” Besides having great amenities, good weather, and an affordable cost of living, it is also safe. In the past year, 953 total crimes were reported. Of these, 89 were violent crimes, including one murder, one rape, 25 robberies, and 62 assaults. The other 864 reported crimes were non-violent property crimes. Still, Placentia is safer than 59% of the cities in the U.S., and residents have a 1 in 56 chance of falling victim to any crime.

21. Rocklin

31% lower than the national average; 36% lower than the California average
Located about 22 miles from Sacramento in Placer County, the fast-growing city of Rocklin is home to approximately 58,000 people. Area Vibes gives Rocklin A grades for amenities, schools, weather, and crime. In fact, the city’s crime rate is 31% lower than the national average, as only 5.16 daily crimes per 100,000 people are reported. This means Rocklin residents have a 1 in 54 chance of becoming the victim of any crime, the most common of which is petty theft.

22. Diamond Bar

30% lower than the national average; 34% lower than the California average
Situated in the easternmost part of Los Angeles County, the city of Diamond Bar is home to approximately 56,000 people. Diamond Bar, which is mostly residential with some shopping centers, boasts an overall crime rate that is 30% lower than the national average. Residents have a 1 in 52 chance of becoming the victim of a crime, the most common of which is petty theft. Five hundred ninety-two thefts were reported last year, along with 381 burglaries, 70 vehicle thefts, and 57 cases of violent crime.

23. Orange

28% lower than the national average; 33% lower than the California average
Nearly 140,000 people call Orange home, though the city does manage to retain a certain small-town feeling and charm. This almost certainly contributes to Orange’s safe crime rate, which happens to be 28% lower than the national average. There are 5.44 daily crimes per 100,000 people in Orange, which means residents have only a 1 in 51 change of falling victim to any crime. The most common crimes reported in Orange include petty theft, burglary, and vehicle theft — all non-violent crimes.

24. Corona

24% lower than the national average; 29% lower than the California average
Corona is a city of approximately 173,000 people — the largest so far on our list of safe and affordable places in California. Located about 48 miles from Los Angeles in Riverside County, Corona was once a major agricultural center. Now it’s home to the headquarters of companies like Monster Beverage, Lucas Oil Products, LuLaRoe, and Saleen. Corona is also one of California’s safest cities. Residents in Corona have a 1 in 49 chance of falling victim to any crime, 1 in 52 chance of falling victim to a property crime, and a slim 1 in 759 chance of falling victim to a violent crime.

25. Eastvale

20% lower than the national average; 25% lower than the California average
Despite being located 46 miles from Los Angeles, Eastvale was a rural farming town up until the late 1990s. In the past 20 years, Eastvale has been developed and suburbanized, and its population has boomed. Of course, so has its crime rate, though it still remains safer than 77% of the cities in California, and 60% of the cities in the United States. Based on the number of reported crimes in the last year, Eastville residents have a 1 in 46 chance of falling victim to any crime. They have a 1 in 48 chance of experiencing a property crime, but a 1 in 1,135 chance of experiencing a violent crime.

26. Menifee

16% lower than the national average; 21% lower than the California average
Yet another Riverside County city to make our list of the safest affordable places to live in California is Menifee. Home to approximately 93,000 people, Menifee was officially incorporated as a town in 2008. Though the Menifee area has spent much of its history as a major mining and farming community, today it is a master-planned community with a crime rate that is 16% lower than the national average. This makes Menifee safer than 54% of cities in the United States, and 77% of cities in California. Though crime has risen slightly in recent years — growing pains, to be sure — residents here still have a mere 1 in 44 chance of falling victim to any crime, and an even slimmer 1 in 735 chance of falling victim to a violent crime.

27. (tie) Riverbank

11% lower than the national average; 17% lower than the California average
Established as a mere river crossing point, Riverbank is today a city of approximately 25,000 people located in Stanislaus County, near Modesto. Riverbank’s current crime rate is 11% lower than the national average, which makes it safer than half of the cities in the U.S. (and 70% of cities in California). The most common property crime is petty theft, and Riverside residents have a 1 in 44 chance of falling victim. Meanwhile, the most common violent crime is robbery, though Riverside residents have only a 1 in 617 chance of falling victim.

27. (tie) Monrovia

11% lower than the national average; 17% lower than the California average
Monrovia is a town of 37,000 people located in the beautiful foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The town is often used as a location for film and television, and so not surprisingly, it is given an A+ by Area Vibes for its amenities and weather. In terms of crime, Monrovia is safer than 68% of cities in California, and 49% of cities in the country. Residents’ chance of falling victim to a violent crime in Monrovia is 1 in 564, the most common violent crimes being assault and robbery.

29. Davis

9% lower than the national average; 15% lower than the California average
Davis, a college town located near Sacramento, has long been considered one of California’s most affordable, safest, and most family friendly places to live. The overall crime rate in Davis is 9% lower than the national average. This makes the town safer than 51% of cities in the United States and 71% of cities in California. Davis residents have a 1 in 41 chance of falling victim to any crime, a 1 in 43 chance of falling victim to a property crime, and a 1 in 730 chance of falling victim to a violent crime. In the last year, 1,619 property crimes were reported, the most common being petty theft. In the same time period, 94 violent crimes were reported, half of which were cases of assault.

30. Rancho Cucamonga

8% lower than the national average; 14% lower than the California average
About 177,000 people live in Rancho Cucamonga, a city located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and a stone’s throw from Angeles National Forest. Though the city is home to several large corporations (including Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, and Mercury Insurance Group), Rancho Cucamonga is best known for its vineyards and wineries. What makes Rancho Cucamonga even more appealing is its low crime rate, which is 8% lower than the national average. This means Rancho Cucamonga residents have a 1 in 40 chance of falling victim to any crime, a 1 in 43 chance of falling victim to a property crime, and a 1 in 542 chance of falling victim to a violent crime.