Chip Martin
Chip Martin

Is Orange County Safe? [2024] 🏡👮 | 10 Safest Cities in Orange County [Crime Stats & Map]

Looking for a safe place to live in Southern California? While California overall has a higher crime rate than the national average, Orange County is one of the safest places to live in the country. In fact, of the 34 cities in Orange County, 22 have less crime than the national average, and it’s home to America’s safest large city and the safest cities in California.

Ready to explore the safest cities in Orange County? Here are the top 10 best places to live in Orange County if you’re looking for low crime plus all OC cities by crime rate. All crime rates are based on crime data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for 2020, the most recent year with data for all cities.

Safest Cities in Orange County

#1. Rancho Santa Margarita

  • Population: 47,949
  • Total Crime Rate: 628 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 40 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 588 per 100,000

Rancho Santa Margarita is the safest city in Orange County, with just 628 crimes per 100,000 compared to the national average of 2,357 and the California average of 2,581 per 100,000. There were just 19 violent crimes reported in 2020, including 15 aggravated assaults and 3 robberies. The violent crime rate is 90% below the national average!

Rancho Santa Margarita isn’t just the safest city in Southern California and Orange County – it’s the safest city in California according to the 2023 Top 10 Safest Cities in California With Best Quality of Life study.

The city has more to offer than a low crime rate: RSM is a great place to live with gorgeous scenery, great hiking, and fantastic amenities for families. You can learn more about what it’s like living in Rancho Santa Margarita with our complete guide!

#2. Aliso Viejo

  • Population: 52,176
  • Total Crime Rate: 795 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 54 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 742 per 100,000

Ranked the 6th safest city in California, Aliso Viejo has a crime rate 66% lower than the national average, with a violent crime rate 88% below average for California. There were just 28 violent crimes reported in 2020, 23 of which were aggravated assaults.

Aliso Viejo is nestled in the San Joaquin Hills and surrounded by Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, and Laguna Woods and right next to Crystal Cove State Park. The city is popular with families thanks to great parks and excellent schools, but it’s most known for the Aliso Viejo Country Club.

Explore what living in Aliso Viejo is like with our in-depth guide.

#3. Yorba Linda

  • Population: 68,336
  • Total Crime Rate: 885 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 47 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 839 per 100,000

Yorba Linda is yet another Orange County city to make the list of safest cities in California. Ranked the #7 safest city in California, Yorba Linda boasts an award-winning school district, an equestrian center, and two highly rated golf courses: Black Gold Golf Club and Yorba Linda Country Club. The city lives up to its motto of Land of Gracious Living with a great quality of life and very low crime that’s 62% below the national average.

Want to know more? Check out our guide to living in Yorba Linda!

#4. Villa Park

  • Population: 5,843
  • Total Crime Rate: 890 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 0 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 890 per 100,000

Villa Park is the smallest city in the OC, with fewer than 6,000 people, and it’s one of the safest cities in Orange County. In 2020, no violent crimes were reported. The Villa Park crime rate is 62% below the national average.

Villa Park is overwhelmingly residential, with 99% of the land developed with single-family homes on lots that are ½ acre on average. There’s a single shopping center in the city, plus an Orange County Public Library branch. Still, you don’t need to go far for amenities. The city is just 4 miles northeast of Orange and only 15 minutes to Disneyland in Anaheim! It’s also minutes from Chapman University, a private research university with eleven colleges and schools.


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#5. Laguna Woods

  • Population: 17,644
  • Total Crime Rate: 935 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 74 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 862 per 100,000

Laguna Woods was part of Laguna Hills until 1999, when it became the 32nd city in Orange County. Around 90% of the city is comprised of Laguna Woods Village, a gated retirement community, and the rest is mostly businesses with some homes.

Laguna Woods is one of the best places to retire in Southern California. Residents enjoy easy access to I-5 and shopping in Laguna Hills, golfing at the Laguna Woods Golf Club, and great access to the outdoors with Crystal Cove State Park and beaches in Laguna Beach just minutes away. It also boasts one of the lowest crime rates in California, with crime that’s 60% below the national average.

#6. Laguna Niguel

  • Population: 64,355
  • Total Crime Rate: 963 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 64 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 900 per 100,000

Laguna Niguel ranks #16 by population among OC cities, but it’s the 6th safest city in Orange County with a crime rate 59% below the national average and 84% less violent crime. Laguna Niguel is known for its beautiful parks, public trails, and scenery with the Niguel Botanical Preserve, Laguna Niguel Regional Park surrounding a fishing lake, and Badlands Park, which offers sweeping ocean views from a ridge backing Laguna Beach.

Laguna Niguel is a popular bedroom community for families working in central and northern Orange County. It was one of the first master-planned communities in California with dozens of charming neighborhoods in four areas: Summit (LNSMT), Salt Creek (LNSLT), Sea Country (LNSEA), and the Lake Area (LNLAK). Families appreciate the great public and private schools in Laguna Niguel, like the Orange County Academy of Sciences and Arts and Laguna Niguel Junior Academy.

#7. Mission Viejo

  • Population: 93,653
  • Total Crime Rate: 987 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 76 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 911 per 100,000

Mission Viejo is one of America’s largest master-planned communities and one of the safest cities in Orange County. This thriving commuter city offers a quiet suburban lifestyle, yet it’s close to the amenities of the big city. Mission Viejo is just 73 miles from San Diego, 49 miles from Los Angeles, and 13 miles southeast of Irvine.

You’ll find charming Spanish mission-style architecture in Mission Viejo, with most homes built in the 1970s and 1980s. The city is served by two central shopping and entertainment areas – the Kaleidoscope Center and The Shops at Mission Viejo – with Lake Mission Viejo at the center of the community. Residents enjoy the private lake with swimming beaches, paddle boarding, fishing, and community events.

Learn more about living in Mission Viejo with our complete guide!

#8. San Juan Capistrano

  • Population: 35,196
  • Total Crime Rate: 1,040 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 179 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 861 per 100,000

The small, coastal city of San Juan Capistrano is famous for the Return of the Swallows every year and the Mission San Juan Capistrano, which receives over 300,000 visitors every year. The city isn’t actually on the coast: it’s separated from the ocean by Doheny State Beach, which is part of the city of Dana Point.

San Juan Capistrano is a safe place to live, with a crime rate that’s 56% below the national average. The city has 55% less violent crime than the national average. It was ranked the #9 safest city in California!

#9. Lake Forest

  • Population: 85,858
  • Total Crime Rate: 1,101 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 111 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 990 per 100,000

It may be fairly low on the list, but Lake Forest is an incredibly safe place to live, with a crime rate 53% lower than the national average and with 72% less violent crime. The city is just 11 miles east of Irvine at the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains and home to two lakes surrounded by custom homes and condos and a forest of Eucalyptus trees.

Lake Forest is home to many desirable neighborhoods like Portola Hills and Foothill Ranch, two master-planned communities in the northeast, and the two private communities that manage the lakes. Lake Forest II operates the Sun & Sail Club, and the Lake Forest Community Association operates the Lake Forest Beach & Tennis Club, both offering upscale amenities like a swim lagoon, indoor jacuzzi, lakeview lounge, and more. Lake Forest II alone has more than 3,400 homes!

Check out what living in Lake Forest is really like!

#10. Dana Point

  • Population: 33,107
  • Total Crime Rate: 1,456 per 100,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 97 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,359 per 100,000

Dana Point is famous as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World. This oceanfront city may be best known for Dana Point Harbor, with its fun boutiques and marinas, but it also boasts great surfing with one of the only harbors on the Orange County coast. There’s a long surfing history here, with many of the first companies producing surfing products founded in Dana Point. The city offers some of the best Orange County beaches, like Doheny State Beach with its fantastic waves and Capistrano Beach Park, with a chapel on the bluff overlooking the ocean.

Dana Point is one of the most charming, safe cities in Orange County for surfers and nature lovers alike. The Dana Point crime rate is 38% lower than the national average, with just 32 violent crimes reported in 2020.

Map of Safe Cities in Orange County

Is Orange County Safe? – Orange County Crime Rates

Want more information about the safest cities in Orange County CA? Here’s a breakdown of the Orange County crime rate by city and how it compares to the national and California crime rate.

Orange County Crime by City

City Population Total Crime (per 100,000) Violent Crime (per 100,000) Property Crime (per 100,000)
Rancho Santa Margarita 47,949 628 40 588
Aliso Viejo 52,176 794 54 742
Yorba Linda 68,336 885 47 839
Villa Park 5,843 890 0 890
Laguna Woods 17,644 935 74 962
Laguna Niguel 64,355 963 64 900
Mission Viejo 93,653 987 76 911
San Juan Capistrano 35,196 1,040 179 861
Lake Forest 85,858 1,101 111 990
Dana Point 33,107 1,456 97 1,359
San Clemente 64,293 1,490 143 1,347
Irvine 307,670 1,496 49 1,447
Laguna Hills 31,374 1,517 182 1,336
Cypress 50,151 1,569 120 1,450
Orange 139,911 1,841 129 1,713
Los Alamitos 11,780 1,978 76 1,902
La Habra 63,097 2,001 247 1,754
La Palma 15,581 2,047 161 1,887
Laguna Beach 23,032 2,167 386 1,780
Huntington Beach 198,711 2,225 248 1,877
Newport Beach 85,239 2,260 165 2,094
Seal Beach 25,242 2,326 103 2,223
National Average 2,357 399 1,958
Stanton 37,962 2,455 337 2,118
Fountain Valley 57,047 2,463 117 2,345
Placentia 51,824 2,505 448 2,057
California Average 2,581 442 2,139
Garden Grove 171,949 2,588 298 2,290
Fullerton 143,617 2,619 294 2,326
Brea 47,325 2,622 133 2,489
Santa Ana 310,227 2,693 461 2,233
Buena Park 84,034 2,770 215 2,555
Tustin 80,276 2,839 184 2,655
Anaheim 346,824 2,914 358 2,556
Westminster 90,911 3,089 285 2,804
Costa Mesa 111,918 3,636 436 3,200


Safest Cities in Orange County FAQs

Is Irvine California safe?

Irvine has been ranked America’s safest city of its size every year since 2005. The Irvine crime rate is just 1,496 crimes per 100,000 compared to the national average of 2,357 crimes per 100,000. In 2020, the violent crime rate was 49 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 399 violent crimes per 100,000.

Is Santa Ana safe?

The Santa Ana crime rate is higher than the national average and California average. There are 2,683 crimes per 100,000 compared to the national crime rate of 2,357 crimes per 100,000. Still, Santa Ana is safe for a large city with violent crime close to the California average.

What is the safest city in Orange County?

The safest city in Orange County is Rancho Santa Margarita. The crime rate is 628 crimes per 100,000 people with 40 violent crimes and 588 property crimes per 100,000. The California crime rate is 2,581 and the national crime rate is 2,357 per 100,000 people.

What are the most dangerous cities in Orange County?

Orange County is a very safe place to live and few places are considered dangerous. The Orange County cities with the highest crime rates include Costa Mesa, Westminster, Anaheim, Tustin, Buena Park, Santa Ana, Brea, Fullerton, and Garden Grove, all of which have crime rates at least slightly higher than the California crime rate.

Does living in Orange County sound perfect for you? If one of these safe Orange County cities is calling to you, Daly Movers Inc. is here to help. Give our Orange County movers a call today for a free, personalized moving estimate and the highest level of customer service.

Chip Martin
Chip Martin
BA in philosophy, Long Beach State 1974, various trades after college including cabinet maker and boat refinisher, then became a local moving driver in 1976, bought Daly Movers in 1979, managed company, and drove local and long distance until 1995 when I transitioned into sales/office full time. Almost fifty years later Daly Movers and I have sold, worked, and familiarized ourselves with virtually every type of household and O&I relocation.

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