Top 10 Most Ghetto Cities In California (2023)

When looking at the most ghetto cities in California, please endeavor to remember that the deterioration of a neighborhood is caused by several factors. Several other cities across the country also exhibit signs that all is not well, and unless something is done to correct the anomalies they too will become notorious for crime, and for having dysfunctional societies.

As a matter of fact, California does not even rank among the worst places to live in the USA, meaning that with some effort by the government, and by concerned citizens, these cities can have their fortunes turned around, and more people will get to enjoy California for the excellent year round weather, and the beautiful scenery, and friendly people.

Nevertheless, for the sake of awareness, and the promotion of personal safety, it pays to know one’s way around. These are the cities to avoid, or to stay sharp if one must venture in.

Top 10 Most Ghetto Cities In California 2022

1. Oakland

Oakland is the largest city in Alameda County, and well known as the roughest part of the state of California. The statistics show that crime is one of the biggest problems facing Oakland, and if that can be curbed, the city would be rapidly transformed.

For example; the unemployment rate is only at 3.40%, and the economy is thriving. There is a growing automotive industry in the city providing jobs, and retail is also booming. In fact, the people of Oakland are quite happy to spend money; from utility to transportation costs, everything is priced higher in Oakland than the national average.

Oakland would therefore be a good place to set up shop as a young professional, and put down roots especially as a small business owner or a person engaged in the services.

The only problem to worry about is the crime rate; Violent Crime is recorded at 12.96 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 52.10 per 1000 residents.

2. Stockton

Stockton is located in the part of the state, and it is without any doubt one of the most ghetto cities in California right now. Stockton is a top spot for artistic sorts of people; there are plenty of meeting places for young and talented people who want to work their way into the entertainment industry, perhaps in music or movies.

That means Stockton has a very young population; many of them still within their 20’s and 30’s. While that certainly has some potential for the economy, it also brings a few problems. For example; it doesn’t always work out well for the young people looking forward to careers in the movies, and so many of them end up doing drugs. Drugs and crime go hand in hand; which is why it is no surprise that Violent Crime is recorded at 12.62 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 30.82 per 1000 residents.

3. Susanville

Susanville is located in Lassen County, in the northern part of California. There is quite some history about this town; this used to be a logging and mining town. Now, however, Susanville is a prison town. The small city plays host to three prisons; the California Correctional Center, (which is a minimum-medium security prison), and the High Desert State Prison, California. The third one is not actually in the city, but it is very close, it is the Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong.

This affects the city in multiple ways; around half of the adult population of Susanville works at these prisons; so jobs are available. Crime is also available because many of the young people are simply not afraid of going to jail, while many who have served their time simply choose to remain in this town.

4. San Bernardino

San Bernadino is located in the southern part of California; and is the economic, cultural, and political capital of the San Bernardino Valley and the Inland Empire. The city is also important on the international level; it houses consulates of the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.

However, any visitors to San Bernadino had better stay sharp; the chances of being a victim of violent crime in this city are 1 in 86. The city records Violent Crime at 14.93 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 28.16 per 1000 residents.

Despite the blanket labeling of San Bernadino as a dangerous place; the facts actually suggest a disparity between the good part of town, and the actual ghettos. There are upscale neighborhoods in San Bernadino; such as Arrowhead Springs, Patton, and Victoria. There are tech and health start ups scattered around town; this is a very interesting place to be.

5. Signal Hill

Signal Hill, a small city in southern California, is an enclave, located up on a hill. This city has a pleasant weather, and the location is very beautiful. Signal Hill attracts many artistic types of people; many of the residents work in the media, and they also work in academics because there are several top educational institutions in the area.

However, many artistic wannabes also flock into the city; and while many of them actually do have the talent, they just do not manage to break into the media. Many therefore turn to crime and drugs to make some money and to abate the frustration.

Violent Crime is recorded at 7.93 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 62.63 per 1000 residents. For such a small town, break ins and robberies are certainly many, and anyone looking to stay at Signal Hill had better invest in some serious security installations.

6. Compton

Compton used to rank as the most dangerous part of California; with steep completion between rival gangs which led to innocent people being caught in the cross fire, and actual day light robberies and shootings. While much of that has reduced; Compton is still a rather rough part of town.

There is just not enough economic activity to keep the people engaged and out of crime. Compton has an ethically diverse population, most of whom are poor.

Violent Crime is recorded at 11.78 per 1000 residents, and Property Crime is recorded at 23.79 per 1000 residents.

7. Crescent City

Crescent City is located due north of California. It is quite a flourishing city; the harbor is full of fishing vessels, and there is also the Pelican Bay State Prison, as well as the Redwood National Park, and many industrial complexes also within the city.

Despite these economic stimulants the city is riddled with crime. Violent Crime is recorded at 11.99 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 44.36 per 1000 residents. Some of the criminal activities in the city include theft, larceny, and burglary; as well as rape, assault, and murder.

8. Richmond

Richmond is located in Contra Costa County. It is somewhat in the center of the California; Richmond is located just close to the San Francisco Bay, which makes it an aquatic community despite having a diverse topography and vegetation.

Richmond has a population that is very diverse in terms of ethnicity; the bigger part of the population White, African American, Native American, Asian, and Filipino.

The black spot in Richmond is the high crime figures; Violent Crime is recorded at 9.26 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 32.31 per 1000 residents.

9. Marysville

Marysville is located in Northern California. The city is quite affordable to live, which is what makes it attractive to young professionals. However, it is also attractive to criminal sorts because the city’s beauty is tainted with crime; the chance of becoming a victim is one in 19.

Violent Crime is recorded at 10.98 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 41.50 per 1000 residents.

10. Barstow

Barstow is a city situated in San Bernardino County, which is in the Southern part of California. Barstow is quite a historic city; it actually started as a small settlement during the late 1840’s. At that time, people and animal herds moved in after the rains to take advantage of the water holes and grass.

Today, Barstow is quite a beautiful city with a diverse population. The problem is that it is not the safest place to stay. Violent Crime is recorded at 10.82 per 1000 residents, while Property Crime is recorded at 36.63 per 1000 residents. Much of the crime has been blamed on drug use.



The most ghetto cities in California represent the side of American society that nobody wants to talk about. Since nothing has been achieved by uneasy silence, perhaps highlighting these cities and the challenges they face will jolt the authorities into action to do something to correct these anomalies.