Total crime NAT. AVG.
Violent crime NAT. AVG.
Property crime NAT. AVG.
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Date & Last Updated: This data reflects the 2022 calendar year and was released from the FBI in September, 2023; this is the most current data available.
StatisticReportedincidents/100k peopleSanta Cruz/100k peopleCalifornia/100k peopleNational/100k people
Total crime2,673n/a (estimate)4,3362,8432,324
Violent crime447n/a (estimate)725500370
Vehicle theft191n/a309.8471.9282.7
Property crime2,226n/a (estimate)3,6112,3431,954

An Overview of Crime Rates in Santa Cruz, CA

Crime can be categorized into two primary types: violent and property crimes. Violent crimes encompass offenses such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault, whereas property crimes involve acts like burglary, theft, and vehicle theft. The overall crime rate in Santa Cruz is 86.6% higher than the national average. Specifically, there were 447 violent crimes reported in Santa Cruz, equivalent to 725 per 100,000 residents, which is higher than the national average by 96.1%. Additionally, Santa Cruz recorded 2226 property crimes, amounting to 3611 per 100,000 people, higher than the national average by 84.8%.

Having a crime rate of 4336 per 100,000 residents, Santa Cruz experiences a crime rate that is 86.55% higher when compared to the national average, leading to one of the highest overall crime rates in the nation. It's important to clarify that this doesn't imply the entire city is unsafe. Like any area, Santa Cruz contains neighborhoods with varying safety levels and you can find areas that are notably safer than others, emphasizing the need for targeted crime prevention efforts and community engagement initiatives.

Santa Cruz is one of the most dangerous cities in America with a violent crime rate of 725 per 100,000 people - this ranks in the bottom 10% of all U.S. cities that reported crime. Your chance of being a victim of violent crime in Santa Cruz is 1 in 138.

Every year, one in 28 people fall victim to a property crime in Santa Cruz - which is high compared to the national average. With a property crime rate of 3611 per 100,000 people, Santa Cruz has one of the highest property crime rates in the country. In fact, the city ranks among the worst 10% of all cities that reported crime last year.

What Do the Locals Say About Crime in Santa Cruz?

What is the prevailing sentiment among Santa Cruz residents regarding the state of crime? A comprehensive survey conducted by AreaVibes, involving 113 respondents, sheds light on this matter. The results were as follows: 27% of Santa Cruz residents expressed a notable sense of security, asserting that crime was virtually non-existent in their community, and they felt at ease strolling the streets after dark. While, 73% of those surveyed held a contrasting viewpoint, perceiving a higher incidence of crime, leading them to feel apprehensive about walking alone at night.

Is Santa Cruz a Safe Place to Live?

Determining whether Santa Cruz is a place to live may not always yield a simple answer, given the city's varying safety levels across different areas. Nonetheless, comprehending the city's overall crime rate can be a valuable asset. In broad terms, Santa Cruz has an overall crime rate that is 87% higher than the national average. When we take a look at crime on a daily basis, this translates into 7.32 daily occurrences, comprising 1.22 violent crimes and 6.1 property crimes. Scrutinizing these statistics provides a foundation for a more informed assessment of the suitability of Santa Cruz as a potential place to establish residency.

Has Crime in Santa Cruz Increased Since Last Year?

Year-over-year crime rates in Santa Cruz has increased by 5% in the last reported crime report. Comparing crime rates from one year to another offers some insight into whether or not Santa Cruz is becoming a safer or more dangerous place to live. Crime rates are categorized by violent and property crime. Year-over-year violent crime has increased by 44.7%, while property crime has increased by 0.5%. This analysis equips individuals with crucial information for making informed decisions about living in Santa Cruz.

Potential Causes for Crime in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has a population density of 5102.9 people per square mile, while with the national average is 90.6 people per square mile. Cities characterized by high population density are frequently larger urban centers offering diverse economic prospects. Within these areas, income inequality may be accentuated, resulting in the coexistence of poverty and affluence. Such economic disparities can contribute to elevated property crimes and on occasion, violent crimes. Conversely, areas with low population density generally record lower Santa Cruz crime rates.

The educational level within a community can have an influence on crime rates. Typically, higher levels of education are associated with reduced crime rates, as they offer individuals improved employment prospects and alternatives to engaging in criminal activities. Conversely, lower educational attainment tends to correspond with higher crime rates. In Santa Cruz, 91.9% of residents have achieved at least a high school diploma, which differs from the national average of 83%.

In Santa Cruz, the ratio of police officers and civilians stands at 1.81 per 1,000 residents, contrasting with the national average of 3.25. This discrepancy highlights the potential impact of law enforcement and community policing on crime rates. The strength of their collaboration can serve as a deterrent to criminal behavior, fostering a safer environment. Effective law enforcement leans heavily on community policing strategies that prioritize the cultivation of trust and cooperation between police and residents. It's essential to recognize that the effectiveness of these efforts isn't solely tied to the quantity of officers but also hinges on the quality of their engagement with the community.

Santa Cruz crime map

The Santa Cruz crime map provides a detailed overview of all crimes in Santa Cruz as reported by the local law enforcement agencies. Based on the color coded legend above, the crime map outlines the areas with lower crime compared to the areas with higher crime. The Santa Cruz crime heat map offers insight into the total crimes on a block group level. Please note that the red areas on the Santa Cruz crime map does not always indicate that it is a dangerous area for its residents. Areas on the heat map could be inflated if they are located in high traffic areas like airports, sports centers or large parks. Other areas on the heat map could see increased crime rates if they are located in major tourist areas like the downtown core.
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Crime Quick Facts

  • Santa Cruz crime rates are 87% higher than the national average
  • Violent crimes in Santa Cruz are 96% higher than the national average
  • In Santa Cruz you have a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a victim of crime
  • Santa Cruz is safer than 7% of the cities in the United States
  • Year over year crime in Santa Cruz has increased by 11%

Santa Cruz, CA Crime Quiz


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        Daily Crime In Santa Cruz (per 100,000 people)

        The graph above looks at the comparison of crimes committed in Santa Cruz on a daily basis (per 100,000 people) to crimes committed throughout the state of California and the USA. According to the latest crime statistics, daily crimes in Santa Cruz (which include property crimes as well as violent crimes), when compared to California, are 1.53 times more than the state average and 1.87 times more than than national average. Violent crimes committed in Santa Cruz on a daily basis are 1.45 times more than than California average and 1.96 times more than the average nationwide. Daily property crime rates in Santa Cruz are 1.54 times more than the daily state average and 1.85 times more than the daily national numbers.

        How Safe is Santa Cruz (higher is better)

        What are the odds that you'll be safer in Santa Cruz, California compared to other areas of California, as well as the rest of America? When it comes down to it, is Santa Cruz safe? In the graphs above, it shows that Santa Cruz is safer than 10% of California cities, and 7% compared to all other cities across America. These statistics are calculated by taking a closer look at each city's crime rate in California, as well as the rest of the US. It is then determined which cities see less crime than Santa Cruz. At this time, Santa Cruz sees a above average rate of crime in comparison to other United States cities.

        Chance of Being A Victim of Crime in Santa Cruz

        The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Santa Cruz is 1 in 138
        The chance of being a victim of property crime in Santa Cruz is 1 in 28
        The chance of being a victim of crime in Santa Cruz is 1 in 24
        Interested in knowing the odds that you will be a crime victim in Santa Cruz? In Santa Cruz, you have a 1 in 138 chance of falling victim to a violent crime, such as rape, robbery, assault, or even murder. In terms of property crime, your chances of being a victim are 1 in 28. These crimes include theft, vehicle theft, and burglary. Your overall chance of being a victim of crime in Santa Cruz, CA is 1 in 24.

        Year Over Year Crime In Santa Cruz (per 100,000 people)

        The year over year crime rate per 100,000 people for Santa Cruz is an accurate tool for tracking the rise and fall of crime, and in determining if living in Santa Cruz has become safer or more dangerous. The year over year data displayed in the graph shows that violent crimes have increased by 53% in Santa Cruz, while property crimes in Santa Cruz have increased by 5%. Total crime has increased by 11% year over year.

        Santa Cruz police department

        Item Santa Cruz California National
        Law enforcement employees (officers & civilians)11051,506558,732
        Police officers & civilians /1000 residents1.83.63.3
        There are a total of 110 Santa Cruz police officers. This results in 1.8 police officers per 1,000 residents which is 50% less than the California average and 44.5% less than the National average.

        Sex offenders in California

        State Total offenders California /100K National /100K
        There are a total of 79,891 sex offenders in California. This yields a total of 232 sex offenders in California per 100,000 residents which is 13% less than the national average.

        Nearby Cities With Low Crime Rates

        City Population Violent crime/100k people Property crime/100k people Total crime/100k people
        Pasatiempo, CA1,22670329399
        Lexington Hills, CA2,65678368446
        La Selva Beach, CA2,54478368446
        Corralitos, CA2,26078368446
        Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley, CA1,39786404490
        Bonny Doon, CA2,96295446542
        Day Valley, CA3,41495446542
        Santa Cruz, CA65,0117253,6114,336

        Cities with similar population

        City Population Violent crime/100k people Property crime/100k people Total crime/100k people
        Harlingen, TX65,0283232,8233,147
        Wellington, FL64,9901299881,117
        Blaine, MN65,0481081,9152,023
        Laguna Niguel, CA65,048951,0451,140
        Bethesda, MD65,092183752935
        Santa Cruz, CA65,0117253,6114,336
        Source: The Santa Cruz, CA crime data displayed above is derived from the FBI's uniform crime reports for the year of 2022. The crime report encompasses more than 18,000 city and state law enforcement agencies reporting data on property and violent crimes. The uniform crime reports program represents approximately 309 million American residents, which results in 98% coverage of metropolitan statistical areas.