Crime Rates for Cities in San Diego County

Fallbrook is one of the safest areas in San Diego County, with crime rates about half that of the San Diego County Average. Other cities with roughly the same crime rate are Ramona, Santee, Poway, Alpine and "other" unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Only Valley Center has a significantly lower crime rate, at 38% of the county average.

The crime rates come from a report by the Criminal Justice Research Division of SANDAG, as published in the SDUT 4/10/98, B3. Crime rates are divided into two categories:

Total Crime is the sum of these two categories, and is essentially the same as Property Crime, since fortunately 85% of total crime is property crime.

The crime rates reported below are in units of crime per 1,000 residents. Note that because 1/3 of all the cities have a population less than 30,000, their reported crime rates can vary a fair amount from year to year simply due to the small actual numbers of crimes. "Other Unincorporated" is the unincorporated San Diego County minus Alpine, Fallbrook, Ramona and Valley Center, which are given separately below even though they are not cities.

Relative Crime Rates

In order to get a more accurate assessment of the relative safety between cities, I have averaged the 1993 and 1997 crime rates and normalized them by the San Diego County average. The plots below show the results given in the following table. Two plots were needed to identify the cities on the plot - the leftmost (rightmost) plot below gives the cities with the lower (higher) crime rates. The key for the abbreviations for each city in the plots are given in the table.

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)

Typical error bars for property and total crimes are 0.01-0.02 except for Ramona and Del Mar, with error bars of 0.03 and 0.05 respectively. Error bars for violent crimes are higher due to the smaller numbers of such crimes, typically 0.02-0.05, and are 0.06, 0.08 and 0.08 for Alpine, Ramona and Del Mar.

The following table gives the relative crime rates and ranks the individual cities with the safest cities given the lowest numbers. Cities with the same crime rate to within their error bars are given the same ranking. Thus six cities are tied for the second safest city in the county and are all given the rank "2", with the next city then ranked "8", since there are seven safer cities above it.

Relative Crime Rates (Average of 1993 and 1997)

Rank (Safest At Top)AreaAbbreviation On Plot% Of County-Wide Average
Overall CrimeViolent CrimeProperty Crime
1Valley Centervc0.380.510.36
2other unincorporatedun0.500.590.48
9Solana Beachsb0.640.400.69
11San Marcossm0.790.730.80
12Lemon Grovelg0.871.080.83
14La Mesalm0.950.571.01
14Imperial Beachib0.951.100.93
-countywide averageco1.001.001.00
18San Diegosd1.161.281.14
19Chula Vistach1.210.941.25
21El Cajonec1.341.161.36
22Del Mardm1.420.531.55
23National Citync1.451.611.41

1997 Crime Rates

Cities are again listed in the order of relative safety given in the table above. The actual 1997 crime rates in number per 1,000 residents are given.

1997 Crime Rates

AreaOverall CrimeViolent CrimeProperty Crime
Valley Center16.64.811.9
other unincorporated24.34.220.1
Solana Beach21.72.719.0
San Marcos34.84.730.2
Lemon Grove41.77.134.5
La Mesa46.04.042.0
Imperial Beach42.68.134.5
countywide average43.86.637.2
San Diego49.38.241.1
Chula Vista57.77.050.7
El Cajon58.78.650.1
Del Mar48.03.144.9
National City60.39.750.6

The actual number of crimes is the crime rate per 1,000 people times the total population divided by 1,000. Hence in 1997 there were 868 total crimes in Fallbrook, with 141 violent crimes and 728 property crimes, using a 1997 population estimate of 41,253.

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Copyright © 1998-1999 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 11 April 1998; typo corrected 26 March 1999.