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Santa Monica Among State's Least Safe Cities, Report Finds

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By Jorge Casuso

March 24, 2022 -- Santa Monica ranked as one of the least safe cities in California -- just above Compton -- based on FBI crime statistics gathered by Safewise, a safety consulting website.

The website's 2022 report, which was released March 8, gathers the number of violent crimes and property crimes municipalities report to the FBI and calculates the rate per 1,000 residents.

Santa Monica -- which had 6 violent crimes and 42.6 property crimes per 1,000 residents -- ranked 224 for safety among the 230 cities that met Safewise's population threshold based on the state’s median population.

Only Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco, all in the Bay Area, had higher property crime rates than Santa Monica.

Santa Monica wasn't the only Westside city to rank poorly due to a high incidence of reported property crimes, which are given the same weight as violent crimes.

Beverly Hills ranked 204, West Hollywood ranked 212 and Culver City ranked 220 on this year's safety list. Los Angeles ranked 200, with 7.2 violent crimes and 21.5 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

Danville, an unincorporated town of 47,000 in Contra Costa County, was ranked as the safest city in the state, with 0.5 violent crimes and 5.3 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

Oakland, a city of 437,923 residents, ranked last, with 12.9 violent crimes and 51.65 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

In addition to Compton and Oakland, the other cities that were ranked less safe than Santa Monica were Richmond, Vallejo, Stockton and San Bernardino.

According to the report, "The 'safest' cities rankings are intended to highlight cities with low crime rates and ignite conversation and action around how to make all cities and communities safer.

"For the purposes of city ranking reports, the terms 'dangerous' and 'safest' refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data -- no other characterization of any community is implied or intended," Safewise said.

The report looked at the number of violent crimes -- aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery -- and property crimes -- burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.

"Both violent and property crime numbers were weighted equally," according to the site's methodology. "That means that a city with no violent crimes reported could end up lower on the list due to a higher property crime rate, and vice versa."

While the average population among California’s 50 safest cities is 77,162, nine have populations of more than 100,000 and three of more than 200,000, including Santa Clarita, which was ranked the 13th safest city.

Nearly half of the safest cities reported no incidents of murder, according to the report.

Among the safest cities, "there were fewer reports of each major property crime this reporting year -- except motor vehicle thefts, echoing rising national car thefts during the pandemic," the report found.

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