San Bernardino, Oakland, Los Angeles rank ‘most dangerous’ cities in state

”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best viewed as artful interpretation of data.

Buzz: San Bernardino, Oakland and Los Angeles have been graded as California’s “most dangerous cities” while Fremont, Irvine and Chula Vista were scored as the ‘safest” places to live.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet’s California-centric analysis of Wallethub’s curious national rankings of the risks of living in 182 big U.S. cities. The financial website’s study looked at 42 metrics of everyday hazards that concentrated on community safety (from crime to traffic accidents to coronavirus vaccinations), natural disasters (from earthquake to wildfires to flooding) and financial missteps (from fraud to job loss to housing burdens).

Topline

The numbers suggest these weren’t just bad grades for three cities on a California scale. San Bernardino, Oakland and Los Angeles were among Wallethub’s 11 worst-ranked places nationally.

Conversely, the safest California city, Fremont, was only 17th best on the U.S. scorecard.

Details

Let’s look at the statewide rankings, from riskiest to safest, for the 29 cities. Their scores were calibrated to show their standing among California cities by overall rank; grades for community safety, natural disaster risks and financial security; ranking on the national scorecard …

No. 1 San Bernardino: Worst for crime in the state, No. 9 for disaster risk, and third-worst for financial security. U.S. rank? Third-worst. Only St. Louis and Fort Lauderdale placed lower.

No. 2 Oakland: No. 2 for safety, No. 13 disaster, No. 23 financial. U.S. rank? No. 8 of 182.

No. 3 Los Angeles: No. 3 for safety, No. 19 disaster, No. 1 financial. U.S. rank? 11.

No. 4 Stockton: No. 5 for safety, No. 23 disaster, No. 14 financial. U.S. rank? 34.

No. 5 Bakersfield: No. 6 for safety, No. 21 disaster, No. 8 financial. U.S. rank? 39.

No. 6 Long Beach: No. 9 for safety, No. 16 disaster, No. 4 financial. U.S. rank? 44.

No. 7 San Francisco: No. 4 for safety, No. 27 disaster, No. 29 financial. U.S. rank? 47.

No. 8 Riverside: No. 10 for safety, No. 7 disaster, No. 10 financial. U.S. rank? 57.

No. 9 Modesto: No. 7 for safety, No. 24 disaster, No. 25 financial. U.S. rank? 65.

No. 10 Fresno: No. 8 for safety, No. 29 disaster, No. 15 financial. U.S. rank? 70.

No. 11 Anaheim: No. 13 for safety, No. 14 disaster, No. 9 financial. U.S. rank? 89.

No. 12 Santa Ana: No. 15 for safety, No. 5 disaster, No. 7 financial. U.S. rank? 91.

No. 13 Sacramento: No. 11 for safety, No. 28 disaster, No. 21 financial. U.S. rank? 95.

No. 14 Moreno Valley: No. 17 for safety, No. 6 disaster, No. 6 financial. U.S. rank? 100.

No. 15 Fontana: No. 16 for safety, No. 8 disaster, No. 13 financial. U.S. rank? 103.

No. 16 Ontario: No. 14 for safety, No. 12 disaster, No. 16 financial. U.S. rank? 105.

No. 17 Garden Grove: No. 18 for safety, No. 1 disaster, No. 12 financial. U.S. rank? 107.

No. 18 San Jose: No. 12 for safety, No. 3 disaster, No. 27 financial. U.S. rank? 110.

No. 19 Huntington Beach: No. 22 for safety, No. 2 disaster, No. 18 financial. U.S. rank? 115.

No. 20 Oceanside: No. 19 for safety, No. 22 disaster, No. 20 financial. U.S. rank? 117.

No. 21 Rancho Cucamonga: No. 21 for safety, No. 10 disaster, No. 22 financial. U.S. rank? 119.

No. 22 Oxnard: No. 23 for safety, No. 20 disaster, No. 11 financial. U.S. rank? 120.

No. 23 Santa Clarita: No. 28 for safety, No. 4 disaster, No. 2 financial. U.S. rank? 129.

No. 24 San Diego: No. 20 for safety, No. 26 disaster, No. 24 financial. U.S. rank? 135.

No. 25 Glendale: No. 27 for safety, No. 17 disaster, No. 5 financial. U.S. rank? 143.

No. 26 Santa Rosa: No. 24 for safety, No. 15 disaster, No. 26 financial. U.S. rank? 144.

No. 27 Chula Vista: No. 25 for safety, No. 25 disaster, No. 17 financial. U.S. rank? 145.

No. 28 Irvine: No. 29 for safety, No. 18 disaster, No. 19 financial. U.S. rank? 157.

No. 29 Fremont: No. 26 for safety, No. 11 disaster, No. 28 financial. U.S. rank? 166.

Bottom line

This New York City native knows big cities are risky. And Wallethub ranked the Big Apple the 56th most-dangerous to live in the nation.

And if size matters, I’ll note the three safest U.S. cities by this math have relatively tiny populations among the big-city world: Columbia, Md., Nashua, N.H. and Laredo, Tex.

Consider how the states with the most big cities fared in this study. California’s 29 averaged a mid-range 91st place rank.

Arizona, with nine cities tracked, had a well-above average rank of 50th place.

Florida, with 11 cities, averaged a No. 95 rank.

And Texas’s 16 cities averaged 96th place.

Quotable

“No one can avoid all danger, however, and we take on a certain level of risk based on where we choose to live. Some cities are simply better at protecting their residents from harm,” the report stated.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com