POWAY, Calif. — Poway is the safest city in San Diego County and among the 10 safest in all of California, according to new research from Safewise.
The North County suburb, which became its own incorporated city in 1980, placed seventh on the security review and research company’s statewide rankings. It reported both violent and property crime rates below state, regional and U.S. average.
About 50,000 people live in Poway and earn a median income of $107,902, according to Safewise’s data. It was the only city in the county to break the top 10.
Other local cities in the top 50 for California included:
- San Marcos, 23rd
- Santee, 27th
- Encinitas, 28th
Nearby San Clemente ranked 34th.
As always, it’s worth considering the factors that went into the rankings, because determining what is “safest” can vary quite a bit depending on your point of view. Safewise said it wants to “highlight cities with low crime rates and ignite conversation,” not provide the be-all and end-all conclusion.
Analysts based the rankings on 2020 FBI crime data, the most recent complete report available. That data is compiled from voluntary, self-reported information that cities and jurisdictions submit to the federal government.
Within those reports, Safewise ranked cities based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery) and the number of reported property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft).
For population concerns, the company calculated crime rates per 1,000 people rather than looking at cumulative totals, which would weigh against larger areas. And there’s a reason why your idyllic small town isn’t listed: Cities that fell below the state median for population weren’t counted. The smallest communities listed had upwards of 30,000 residents.
“The FBI data is just one way that cities report crime statistics, and we know that it may differ from other reports a city or police department submits,” Safewise explained. The company also acknowledged that factors like large commuter populations, college campuses and other quirks of city life can skew outcomes.
The top spot in the company’s rankings went to Danville, located east of Oakland with a population of just under 45,000 residents. That’s the third year in a row that it took the top spot.
Here is the company’s complete Top 10:
- Rancho Santa Margarita
- Aliso Viejo
- Yorba Linda
- Laguna Niguel
- Mission Viejo
- Rancho Palos Verdes
- Thousand Oaks
Among other topics examined in the report, Safewise discussed “Fear vs. Reality” in regards to violent crime in California. The company’s polling found 70% of Californians believe that crime has increased in the state, despite drops in both violent and property crime.
Recent analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California echoed that finding: While crime bounced back from pandemic-lows in 2021, policy experts said overall rates are similar to pre-pandemic levels and far lower than the heights of the 1990s.
You can view a list of the state’s 50 safest cities, per the company, on the Safewise website.
FOX 5’s Hope Sloop contributed to this report.