Is San Jose Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling


is san jose safe

San Jose is smack dab right in the middle of Silicon Valley and home to some of the largest tech companies in the world. It is also the 10th largest city in the US and although it is often overshadowed by its flashy northern neighbor, San Francisco, there is no shortage of things to do, eat and see in San Jose.

If you are thinking about visiting San Jose and have qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the safe the city really is.

San Jose Crime Stats

If you only look at the statistics, San Jose is a safe place to visit. According to crime statistics released by the FBI, San Jose had the 74th highest Violent Crime rate in the country in 2019, 403.65 incidents per 100,000 residents. It came one place above Austin, which ranked 73rd place for violent crime. It also ranked 78th for Property Crime rate in the country, 2,440.70 per 100,000 residents.

The average violent crime rate for the United States is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the average property crime rate for the United States is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents.

San Jose’s violent crime rate and property crime rate is just a little bit more than the national average.

San Jose has one of the the lowest violent crime rate of any city in the US with a population of over 500k.

In 2020 San Jose reported 40 homicides, which was a 17.65% increase from 2019, where 34 homicides were reported.

As of September 2021, there have been 28 homicides reported in San Jose.

Motor vehicle theft saw the second biggest increase at 15.33% and aggravated assaults and burglary have slightly increased 2.66% and 1.68% respectively. Rape, robbery, and larceny decreased.

Total violent crime in San Jose decreased by 4.08% and total property crime in San Jose decreased by 5.23% in 2020

*Crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared with 2019:

  2019 2020 Percentage Change
Homicide 34 40 +17.65%
Rape 671 566 -15.65%
Robbery 1,339 1,185 -11.50%
Aggravated Assault 2,517 2,584 +2.66%
Burglary 4,114 4,045 +1.68%
Larceny/Theft 14,924 12,737 -14.65%
Motor Vehicle Theft 6,126 7,065 +15.33%

**All data is from the 2020 San Jose Police Crime Report**

San Jose vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States

Here’s a list of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rate. It can give you some perspective on San Jose’s violent crime rate, which is 403.65

San Jose’s violent crime rate is 6 times less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list and almost 4 times less than Springfield, the 10th most dangerous city in the US.

City Population Number of violent crimes in 2020 Rate per 100,000 people
Memphis 633,104 15,310 2,418.24
Detroit 639,111 14,370 2,248.44
St. Louis 301,578 6,017 1,995.17
Little Rock 202,591 3,657 1,805.11
South Bend 103,453 1,765 1,706.09
Cleveland 372,624 6,281 1,685.61
Milwaukee 577,222 9,407 1,629.70
Kansas City 508,090 7,919 1,558.58
Lansing 112,644 1,699 1,508.29
Springfield 169,176 2,545 1,504.35

*All data is from the 2019 FBI Crime Stats Report**

The worst neighborhoods in San Jose

Income and crime are inversely correlated. This maps gives you a really great starting point on which parts of San Jose are safest.

san jose worst neighborhoods

There’s not a lot of bad areas in San Jose and even the ‘bad areas’ or relatively mild compared to cities like St. Louis or Milwaukee.

Some residents mention east San Jose and south of the University as the bad area. Downtown around thirteenth street, parts of alum Rock and Seven Trees are also sketchy areas.

Is Downtown San Jose safe?

Downtown San Jose is a generally safe area to visit and many residents only complain about the homeless as being the biggest problem to downtown.

While visiting downtown you might encounter pushy panhandlers and homeless people, but if you don’t acknowledge them and keeping moving forward, you shouldn’t have any problems.

There is also an abundance of cops driving around 24/7 in the downtown area, which should help put you at ease.

Here are what some residents of Downtown say about the area:

  • I’ve lived in downtown near Japan town for 7 years and I’ve personally never had any trouble except getting a bike stolen. There are some sketchy looking people but they keep to themselves for the most part.
  • Downtown San Jose is fairly safe, but I would star clear of the housing near or along Monterrey leading into downtown.
  • Downtown has REALLY improved in the last five years and is now totally decent.

Driving tour of Downtown San Jose:

Is the public transportation of San Jose safe?

What do residents of San Jose say about its safety

  1. "San Jose is a pretty safe place. It has it’s share of ghetto, poor, and sketchy people but it is pretty safe as long as you mind your own business, especially on the east side."
  2. "Many people will tell you the eastside is the worst area of town, but just mind your own business and stay in public. I hang out with friends on the eastside all the time and haven’t had any crazy experience."
  3. "There is a large homeless population downtown, so do be prepared for that."
  4. In my personal experience, Downtown and some parts of east San Jose are the worst parts of town, but compared to other big cities it is relatively ‘safe’.
  5. "San Jose is the safest big city in the country. People here are just really rich and spoiled. People act like these eastside is a war zone. It’s just a low income, working class neighborhood."
  6. The northside is super safe. The northern and western Downtown neighborhoods are safe. Generally everywhere in San Jose is safe, except for the East Side. Although the eastside compared to Oakland and southeast SF is a cakewalk.
  7. "San Jose isn’t scary really anywhere and compared to Detroit or Baltimore we all have it really nice down here."
  8. "Downtown has REALLY improved in the last five years and is now totally decent.
  9. "If you’re used to any city with actual bad neighborhoods, there’s nothing in SJ that compares."
  10. San Jose is pretty damn safe. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Anyone that says it is dangerous has never left their tiny bubble of suburbia and only listens to sensationalized headlines."

Is San Jose safe at night?

San Jose is generally safe at night. However we recommend that you be cautious when visiting certain parts of the city at night, namely east San Jose and south San Jose below the university. We also recommend that you use Uber or hail a taxi at night. You don’t want to wander around lost in a city that you are unfamiliar with.

Is it safe to visit alone?

San Jose is a very safe city and you should have no qualms about visiting alone. However, you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind. Always be cautious of your surroundings. Crime can happen anywhere.

Tips to stay safe in San Jose

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Even though San Jose is pretty safe, you should never let your guard down.
  • Don’t leave your valuables in your car or in plain sight in your car. Stash them in the trunk.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night.
  • Don’t walk around deserted areas, especially at night. Stay in well lit and populated areas.
  • Don’t be a walking advertisement. Don’t show off your new expensive watch or flashy jewelry.
  • Avoid confrontations with the homeless. Don’t acknowledge and keep moving forward.

Is San Jose Safe To Visit?

If you look at the crime stats and read the opinions of the residents, San Jose is a very safe place to visit. The crime stats are low and many residents also agree that even the worst areas of San Jose are mild compared to other big cities like Detroit, Oakland, and Houston.

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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