Is San Francisco Safe? (2021 Crime Rates And Crime Stats)


If you are thinking about visiting San Francisco and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

Lets deep dive into the some crime stats and crime rates and see how safe or dangerous San Francisco really is.

Is San Francisco safe?

Statistically speaking, San Francisco is a moderately safe city. It’s crime rate of 601.81 per 100,000 residents is a bit higher than the national average, but it doesn’t enter the ‘unsafe’ territory. It’s crime rate rank 37th highest in the nation and is less than Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Oklahoma City.

San Francisco does suffer from one of the highest property crime rate for a city of its size, so you should always be mindful of your belongings when you are in the city.

What is San Francisco’s Crime Rate?

In 2021 San Francisco reported 4,906 violent crimes and had a crime rate of 601.81 per 100,000 residents. San Francisco’s crime rate is 1.5x times greater than the national average.

Population

Violent Crime

San Francisco’s Crime Rate

2017

879,166

6,452

733.88

2018

883,305

6,364

720.48

2019

881,549

6,095

691.40

2020

873,965

4,870

557.23

2021

815,201

4,906

601.81

Does San Francisco have a high crime rate?

San Francisco does not have a high violent crime rate. It’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average, but well below the crime rate of an unsafe city.

Here’s a scale to give you some perspective on San Francisco‚Äôs violent crime rate:

san francisco crime rate

San Francisco does suffer from a high property crime rate. It’s property crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. It’s property crime rate is Portland, Oakland and St. Louis.

San Francisco’s Crime Rate Breakdown

Violent Crime Rate

In 2021, San Francisco reported 4,906 violent crime: 56 homicides, 211 rapes, 2,251 robberies and 2,388 aggravated assaults.

You have a 1 in 166 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in San Francisco.

Here’s a map showing you how violent crime has trended in San Francisco over a 12 year period. Violent crime peaked in 2013 and has been steadily decreasing.

violent crimes in San Francisco graph

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults.

Murder Rate

In 2021, San Francisco reported 56 murders and had a murder rate of 6.87 per 100,000 residents.

San Francisco’s murder rate is 1.5% less than the national average.

San Francisco has a similar homicide rate to cities like Colorado Springs, Corpus Christi and Seattle.

You have a 1 in 15627 chance of becoming a victim of murder in San Francisco.

Here’s a map showing you how murders have trended over the last 12 years in San Francisco

san francisco murder rate

Property Crime Rate

In 2021 San Francisco reported 45,312 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 5,558.38 per 100,000 residents. San Francisco’s property crime rate is nearly 3 times greater the national average.

You have a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim of property crime in San Francisco.

Here’s a map showing you how property crime has trended in San Francisco over a 12 year period.

san francisco property crime rate

*Property crimes include; burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson

San Francisco’s crime rate vs other cities in California (2020)

Here’s how San Francisco’s violent crime rate compared to other cities in California. San Francisco had the highest crime rate of all the most populous cities in California.

 

Population

Violent Crimes (2020)

Violent Crime Rate (2020)

Oakland

440,646

5,937

1,347.34

Stockton

320,804

4023

1,254.04

Los Angeles

3,898,747

28,882

740.80

Sacramento

524,943

3547

675.69

Fresno

542,107

3560

656.70

San Francisco

873,965

4,870

557.23

Long Beach

466,742

2343

501.99

Bakersfield

403,455

2007

497.45

San Jose

1,013,240

4375

431.78

San Diego

1,386,932

5303

382.35

Anaheim

346,824

1241

357.82

San Francisco Crime Rate Comparison

Here’s a list of the top 20 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by crime rates. San Francisco’s crime rate is nearly 5 times less than Monroe, the most dangerous city in the U.S.

san francisco crime rate vs most dangerous cities us

How are San Francisco’s crime rates calculated?

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

For example, in 2021 there were 56 murders in San Francisco and the population was 815,201. This equals a murder rate of 6.87 per 100,000 residents.

San Francisco’s Crime Statistics

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 and 2021

Crime

2020

2021

% Change

HOMICIDE

48

56

16.7%

RAPE

227

211

-7.0%

ROBBERY

2,406

2,251

-6.4%

ASSAULT

2,186

2,388

9.2%

BURGLARY

7,574

7,290

-3.7%

MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT

6,085

6,060

-0.4%

ARSON

319

316

-0.9%

LARCENY THEFT

25,693

31,646

23.2%

TOTAL

44,562

50,250

12.8%

**All data is from the San Francisco Police Department**

How much has crime increased in San Francisco?

In 2021, San Francisco reported 50,250 total crimes, which is a 12.8% increase over 2020.

In 2021, San Francisco reported 4,906 violent crimes, which is a 1% increase over 2020.

In 2021, San Francisco reported 56 murders, which is a 16.7% increase over 2020.

In 2021, San Francisco reported 45,312 property crimes, which is a 12% increase over 2020.

How bad is crime in San Francisco?

Statistically speaking, violent crime and murder in San Francisco is not bad relative to a city of its size, however property crime is nearly 3 times greater than then national average and is an area of concern for resdients and visitors of the city.

Neighborhoods to avoid in San Francisco

tenderloin san francisco

  1. The Tenderloin
  2. SOMA and (around 5th and mission)
  3. Mission (between 14th and 24th)
  4. Cvic Center
  5. Hunter Point
  6. Bayview

Is Downtown San Francisco Safe?

is downtown san francisco safe

Downtown San Francisco is generally a safe area during the day time. There’s a few areas that are a bit sketchy; 6th and Howard and going west on market past 6th.

Is the public transportation in San Francisco safe?

The public transportation system in San Francisco is handled by BART, Caltrain and Muni and it offers many routes that interweave throughout the entire city.

The public transit in San Francisco are generally safe options to use during normal commuting hours (7am – 8pm), however we recommend that you use a taxi or ride sharing service outside of those hours. At night there are less people using the metro or buses and it can get sketchy.

You might encounter some weird and erratic passengers, but if you just ignore them and keep your distance, then you should be fine.

If you are concerned about your safety, sit in the first car with the conductor. That’s considered the safest car to be in.

Download the BART app, it tracks the trains to let you know when it’s coming and if its late.

Is San Francisco safe at night?

San Francisco is generally safe at night as long as you stay out of the problem areas listed above. Be aware that streets and squares that are perfectly safe to visit in the daytime can be questionable and sketchy at night. Stay in well lit and populated places at night and avoid walking through desolate areas.

What do residents of San Francisco say about it’s safety?

  1. "The media loves to bash on San Francisco and make it out to be some dystopia. But our violent crime rate is low compared to other major metropolitan cities. Thefts and property crime is high though."
  2. "San Francisco is generally safe, some parts safer than others. You will see lots of the homeless and druggies in the Tenderloin, in parts of the Civic Center, and on Market Street between 5th and 6th."
  3. "SF is definitely does suffer when it comes to petty crime and random run-ins with crazy people on the streets."
  4. "Contrary to what certain news organizations may say, it’s pretty safe. Shit does happens but as long as you’re not oblivious to your surroundings, you should be fine."
  5. "Property crimes is as bad as they say – breaking into cars and thefts are very common."
  6. "The thefts and car breakins are a real thing. The rest of it is way overblown. "
  7. "It’s not as bad as people who don’t live here make it out to be."
  8. "Stay out of the Tenderloin and you’ll be fine. Soma or the Mission is a mixed bag. If you go to those neighborhoods don’t wander around aimlessly, I would have specific things to see."
  9. "If you ever been to Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, you will be fine. If you never left the confines of a suburb in Ohio, there might be some culture shock and some getting used to."
  10. "There are only a few sections of the city that are sketch. However there is a lot of anti-California propaganda on the internet that makes people believe this city is Fury Road."
  11. "Don’t leave anything in your car that has even the most minute value – a hoodie, a charging cable, a Hydroflask, or even some spare change – your window will get smashed."
  12. "Avoid Tenderloin, SoMa and Market St and anywhere near these areas."
  13. "In terms of violent crime, SF is pretty safe. Just hold on to your belongings, property crime is rampant."
  14. Avoid the Tenderloin and parts of Soma and you should be ok.

Tips to stay safe while visiting San Francisco

  • Do not get a rental car with out of state plates. This will inform thieves that you’re a tourist from out of town and will make you a target for a car break in.
  • Use public transportation or ride sharing to get to touristy places. Parked cars in tourist areas are targets for smash and grabs.
  • Park in a parking garages. It’s pricey but worth it. Don’t leave valuables in the car. Even when you park in parking garages.
  • Bags hanging off your shoulders, backpacks, and e phones being loosely waved around can result in theft.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your head on a swivel in sketchy areas.
  • Don’t ever park with anything visible in your car. No change in your cup holders. No backpacks, no sweatshirts, NOTHING. If possible leave your car at home and take mass transit.
  • Walk with confidence and purpose. Criminals like to target individuals who look lost or unsure of themselves.
  • Never wear headphones or earbuds and don’t bury yourself in your phone. You want to be able to see/hear what’s going on around you.
  • When sitting by the door on BART, put away your phone when the doors are open. Thieves like to snatch your phone and run when the doors are open.
  • Don’t stand too close to the edge of the platforms while waiting for trains.
  • Keep a tight grip on your items, especially when in stations or riding on trains.

Facts about San Francisco, CA

  • The population of San Francisco in 2021 is 875,101 and is the 17th most populous city in the United States.
  • The city covers a land area of 46.87 square miles.
  • The median age of the city is 38 years old.
  • The median income for a household in the city was $112,449. The per capita income for the city was $68,883.
  • 10.3% of the population live below the poverty line.
  • 88.5% of residents 25 and older is a high school graduate. 58.1% of residents 25 and older has a bachelors degree or higher.
  • The median home price in San Francisco is $1,545,059 in 2022.
  • In 2022, the average rent for a San Francisco 2-bedroom apartment is $4,493.

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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