By Haddon Libby

The FBI reports that a violent crime happens in the United States every 25 seconds.  Property crimes happen every 4 seconds with a burglary every 23 seconds and a car stolen every 41 seconds.  A rape happens every 4 minutes with a murder every 30 minutes.

According to, a crime occurs every 10 seconds in California.  Force ranked against other states, California is in the 14th percentile in terms of safety.  This means that 86% of the country is safer than the Golden State.  This means that 78 of every 1,000 Californians will experience some form of crime in a year.

The most common crime in California is theft with 28 out of every 1,000 people experiencing one each year. Four in 1,000 have a car stolen while 5 in 1,000 have their homes broken into.  Violent crimes equal 7.5 per 1,000 people with assault and robbery being the bulk of violent crimes.  Roughly 1 in 2,000 Californias are raped, 1 in 3,000 are kidnapped and 1 in 20,000 murdered.


Of cities with at least 300,000 residents, Honolulu is the safest city.  Some of the other safe cities include Virginia Beach, Henderson NV, El Paso, New York City, San Diego, Mesa, Charlotte, San Jose and Boston.  Santa Ana ranked 13th.

If we look at cities with populations under 100,000, the safest is Naperville, Illinois.  Sunnyvale, West Covina, Carmen IN, Glendale AZ, Meridian ID, Provo UT, Joliet IL, Jurupa Valley CA and Sugar Land TX round out the ten safest.  El Monte, Rancho Cucamonga and Glendale in California all made the top 15.

The most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis Missouri.  On average, crime costs $8,457 per year per person in that city.  Some of the other unsafe cities are Birmingham, Baltimore, Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Little Rock and Oakland, California.

While Honolulu may be the safest city, the cost of crime is lowest in Thousand Oaks at just $241 per person.  Rounding out the top 5 are Fishers IN ($296), Pembroke Pines FL ($322), Pearland TX ($328) and Gilbert AZ ($356).  Irvine is 6th at $364 with Simi Valley in 9th with $404, Elk Grove at $427 and Temecula at $461.

Looking at larger cities, Irvine is the safest in the US with a crime cost of $364 followed by Henderson NV ($673), Virginia Beach ($773), Honolulu ($832), El Paso ($983) and San Diego ($1,206).

When we look at the cost of crime, Birmingham, Alabama has the highest cost at $11,392 per person in that city.  New Orleans and St. Louis are close at $11,094 and $11,055, respectively.  In California, Oakland has the highest cost of crime at $5,710 followed closely by San Bernardino at $5,691.

Oakland also holds the distinction of being the worst city to drive in.  Car insurance averages $3,680/year due to rampant theft rates.  The city has one of the highest average gas prices in the nation along with the slowest commute times.  In the downtown area, average speeds are 12 mph.

Looking at a safe place like Thousand Oaks, the cost of crime equals $30 million annually.  Crime in Irvine costs $113 million with Simi Valley at $51 million, Elk Grove at $77 million and Temecula at $51.5 million.

Criminal activity is far too high in this country.  While our police departments do their best to maintain law and order, many are hamstrung by District Attorney offices that are understaffed for the sheer number of crimes going on.  As a result, many criminal cases are dismissed.

Crime is a hidden tax on all of us that must be addressed.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Drake Investment Management, a local RIA firm.  For more information on our services, please visit