By Michael McKneely.
California is a large and diverse state. The landscape, social climate, and opportunities in one city may be entirely different than in another. Significant differences also exist in violent crime rates. Certain cities are more dangerous than others due to a variety of factors, such as economic opportunity, education, alcohol and drug use, availability of social and family services, gang activity, and much more.
In the most dangerous cities, you are more likely to become a victim of a violent crime. You also may be more likely to face accusations of committing an offense.
According to the FBI, since 2016, out of the 461 individual municipalities in California, four cities in Contra Costa County made the list of the 100 most dangerous cities within the state with a population of at least 50,000 residents. Richmond ranks 6th overall and 5th for murders at 18.9 per 100,000 residents; Antioch ranks 20th and 21st for murders; Pittsburg ranks 59th overall and 13th for murders; and Concord ranks 82nd overall and 87th for murders.
Richmond, a city of only 110,868 people, had a violent crime volume of 919.1 per 100,000 people. This number is made up of 18.9 homicides, 64.9 rapes, 328.2 robberies, and 506.9 aggravated assaults per 100,000 individuals.
Antioch had a violent crime volume of 678 per 100,000 people, as a result of eight homicides, 49.1 rapes, 261.4 robberies, and 359.5 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents.
Pittsburg had 9.9 homicides per 100,000 people in 2016 – a higher rate than many other cities of a similar size. The city had 59.4 rapes, 164.2 robberies, and 159.9 aggravated assaults per 100,000 individuals. The overall violent crime volume was 393.4 per 100,000 residents.
Concord reported 0.8 homicides, 23.9 rapes, 122.4 robberies, and 197.1 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people. This amounted to a violent crime volume of 344.1 offenses per 100,000 individuals.
Crime Statistics: Volume vs. Rate
One of the ways the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports on crime around the country is to provide the crime volume for certain locations. This is neither the specific number of offenses that occurred in a specific period of time nor the crime rate. Instead, crime volume is a simplified indicator of how frequently a crime occurs.
In regard to murder and non-negligent manslaughter (homicide), robbery, rape, and aggravated assault, the crime volume indicates the number of known victims. For example, Los Angeles had a volume of 58.5 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants. This means there were 58.5 known victims of rape for every 100,000 people.
The crime rate would be the number of reported crimes standardized by population. To determine the crime rate, you divide a city’s population by 100,000 to obtain X. You then divide the number of offenses by X. This gives you the city’s crime rate per 100,000 residents for a specific offense. For example, Los Angeles had a population of 4,007,905. Divide the population by 100,000, and X equals 40.079. Divide the volume of homicides in Los Angeles, 293, by 40.079, and the homicide rate is 7.31 per 100,000 residents.
It is also notable that if a city has less than 100,000 residents, the numbers still reflect a rate of incidents per 100,000 individuals. This has been calculated to maintain consistency and allow for comparison of overall crime rates. All of the cities on this list have at least 50,000 residents. This allows for more uniform comparison of crime rates.
Most Dangerous Cities in California and Contra Costa County
The following California cities considered in this study are the most dangerous when comparing total crime rate per 100,000 residents:
- Oakland, 2. Stockton; 3. San Bernardino, 4. Compton, 5. Modesto, 6. Richmond, 7. Vallejo, 8. Santa Cruz, 9. Redding, 10. Madera, 11. Huntington Park, 12. Inglewood, 13. Hawthorne, 14. Hemet, 15. Los Angeles, 16. Sacramento, 17. San Francisco, 18. South Gate, 19. Lancaster, 20. Antioch, 59. Pittsburg, 82. Concord.
To view the crime map in Richmond, visit https://www.crimemapping.com/map/agency/310. To see crime maps, statistics and calls for service for Antioch, visit http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/Police/crime-maps/. Details on Pittsburg crime statistics can be seen here, http://www.ci.pittsburg.ca.us/index.aspx?page=746. To visit the Concord Police Department webpage click here, http://www.cityofconcord.org/page.asp?pid=1026. To see more details for each city on the list, visit www.fresnocriminalattorney.com/most-dangerous-cities-california.
McKneely is a criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, California.