Santa Maria is a beautiful historic city in California’s Central Coast Region. The city of Santa Maria is known for its many wineries, historic buildings and museums, and low cost of living. Before moving to Santa Maria, you may want to learn about the crime rate in the city.
While the Santa Maria crime rate is slightly above the state and national average, there are many great places to live in the area, and it is widely considered a safe place to live. Let’s dive into the Santa Maria CA crime rate as well as the safest and most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.
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Understanding the Santa Maria Crime Rate – How Crime Rates Are Calculated
Is Santa Maria safe? Before we can answer this question, it is essential to understand how crime rates are calculated as well as what they are (and are not) telling you. Crime rates are reported by the FBI and are based on data collected from local law enforcement agencies. The FBI takes the total number of crimes in an area and divides it by the total population of that area. They then multiply the number by 100,000 and report the crime rate as “X number of crimes per 100,000.”
While crime rates can give a useful general overview of crime in a given area, it is important to note that the FBI actually discourages using crime rates to compare different cities, metro areas, and states, according to Denver 7. Crime rates are based on city-wide data and do not differentiate between different areas or neighborhoods in a city. Oftentimes, different neighborhoods, or even different streets, can have varying levels of crime, but this is not shown when looking at overall crime rates. Violent crime, in particular, is often concentrated in just a few small areas. In fact, in many cities, less than 10% of the city’s total area can account for half of all violent crime.
Crime rates also do not differentiate between motivations behind crimes. Certain types of crimes are likely to be very targeted, with the victim and assailant already knowing each other. For example, domestic violence counts for a large share of assault and aggravated assault, but the crime rates do not differentiate. So, even if assault numbers are higher in a given area, that does not necessarily mean you have a high risk of randomly being a victim of this type of crime.
Crime rates can be a great starting point for comparing cities, but it is not the only thing you should rely on. Crime rates can also be useful in many ways for law enforcement agencies. They provide law enforcement with data that they can use for budget formulation, planning, and assessment of police operations.
What Is the Santa Maria Crime Rate?
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Now that you know how crime rates are calculated, let’s take a look at the Santa Maria crime statistics. The best way to analyze the crime rate in Santa Maria CA is to compare it to the state and national averages.
National crime rate:
- 2,346 crimes per 100,000 people
- 388 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 1,958 property crimes per 100,000 people
- 1 in 43 chance of being a victim of a crime
California crime rate:
- 2,581 crimes per 100,000 people
- 442 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 2,139 property crimes per 100,000 people
- 1 in 39 chance of being a victim of crime
As you can tell from the data above, the crime rate in California is slightly higher than the national crime rate in all categories. This is how the Santa Maria crime rate stacks up.
Santa Maria crime rate:
- 3,057 crimes per 100,000 people
- 771 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 2,286 crimes per 100,000 people
- 1 in 33 chance of becoming a victim of crime
The crime rate in Santa Maria CA is 18.4% higher than the state average and 30.3% higher than the national average. Although these numbers are higher than the state and national averages, the Santa Maria crime rate is starting to decrease. According to the Santa Maria Times, there was a 12% decrease in “Part 1” crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) from 2021 to 2022.
Santa Maria Crime Map & Crime Reports
One of the best ways to analyze crime in Santa Maria CA, is to take a look at a crime map for the city. The Santa Maria crime map below shows the levels of crime in the city. The darker areas represent a higher concentration of crime, while the lighter areas represent a lower concentration of crime.
As you can see, most of the crime in Santa Maria is concentrated in the northwestern area of the city. This is where downtown Santa Maria is located, so the crime rate is naturally a bit higher due to a higher population and increased nightlife activity.
You can also check out the live city crime map on the City Protect website. This map shows information from Santa Maria police reports as they happen in real-time.
Violent Crime in Santa Maria
Here is a look at the Santa Maria violent crime statistics.
- Santa Maria murders: 2 per 100,000 people
- Santa Maria violent crime rate: 771 crimes per 100,000 people
- Chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Santa Maria: 1 in 130
The violent crime rate in Santa Maria is 74.4% higher than the state average and 98.8% higher than the national average. According to a report from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, violent crime in the county is on a downward trend. From 2021 to 2022, homicide, rape, and robbery all decreased, while the numbers for aggravated assault increased.
Property Crime in Santa Maria CA
Property crime includes offenses such as burglary, theft, larceny, arson, motor vehicle theft, and shoplifting.
Property crime rate in Santa Maria:
- Santa Maria property crime rate: 2,286 crimes per 100,000 people
- Total property crimes in Santa Maria: 2,472
- Chance of becoming a victim of property crime in Santa Maria: 1 in 44
The Santa Maria property crime rate is 6.9% higher than the state average and 16.7% higher than the national average. According to the 2022 Santa Maria Police Annual Report, burglaries went down from 884 in 2021 to 397 in 2022. The department’s property crime unit has expanded over the past year and is set to add a detective to the team this year.
Areas to Avoid in Santa Maria CA
Are you curious about areas to avoid in Santa Maria? Generally speaking, the northern part of the city has higher concentrations of crime and is, therefore, more dangerous. The area around South Miller Street is one of the most high crime areas of Santa Maria. This street sees a high level of gang activity and gun violence, especially after dark.
Mid City Acres is also one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Santa Maria. This neighborhood is just north of South Miller Street, and some of the crime from that area tends to bleed into this neighborhood.
Downtown Santa Maria is also considered to be one of the bad areas in Santa Maria. However, crime in this area can be avoided if you know where to go and where to stay away from. The city center is generally safe, especially during the daytime. However, streets such as East Boone Street and East Main Street are less crowded and have higher crime rates than the rest of the area. A lot of the crime in this area is categorized as property crime due to a high amount of vehicle traffic.
Safest Neighborhoods in Santa Maria
There are many safe Santa Maria neighborhoods for you to consider checking out. One of the safest places to live in Santa Maria is Rancho Verde. This neighborhood is located just north of the downtown area, making it the perfect place to live for those who want access to downtown without living in the center of all of the action.
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Another one of the safest Santa Maria neighborhoods is Vista Del Sol. This cozy neighborhood is just north of Rancho Verde and consists of single-family homes, many of which overlook Lake Rancho Verde. You will also find some of the city’s top-rated schools in this neighborhood, including Tommie Kunst Junior High and Oakley Elementary School.
Santa Maria Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Santa Maria
To keep the Santa Maria CA crime statistics on a downward trend, it is important to consider these tips.
- Lock your doors and windows, especially at night and when not home.
- Make sure your vehicle is secure, and don’t leave any valuable belongings in plain sight.
- Avoid high-crime streets in the downtown area, such as East Boone Street and South Miller Street.
- Consider installing a security system in your home.
- If you are traveling at night on foot, consider walking with a group or downloading an app such as WalkSafe.
- Consider carrying pepper spray.
- Trust your instincts, and don’t go anywhere you feel unsafe.
- Stick to well-lit streets when traveling after dark.
- Add the information for the local police department to your phone.
Santa Maria Police Department
The Santa Maria Police Department serves the city with 133 sworn officers on the force. This evens out to 1 officer per 1,000 citizens. The department is led by Police Chief Marc Schneider. The department has many activities and programs in place to serve the citizens of Santa Maria, including National Night Out, Community Academy Program, and Police Explorer Program.
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Santa Maria, CA police reports are public information, and you can request them at any time.
Santa Maria Police Department, 1111 Betteravia Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93458, 805-928-3781
Santa Maria CA Crime Rate FAQ
Is Santa Maria Safe?
Yes, Santa Maria is a safe place to live.
What Is the Santa Maria Murder Rate?
In 2020, there were two murders in Santa Maria CA. The murder rate is 2 per 100,000 people, which is 64.3% lower than the state average and 69.4% lower than the national average.
What Is the Crime Rate in Santa Maria?
The Santa Maria crime rate is 3,057 crimes per 100,000 people.
Is Santa Maria safe? Although the Santa Maria crime rate is on the higher end, crime is decreasing in the area, and there are many safe neighborhoods for you to settle down in. When you are ready to make your move, give the best Santa Maria movers a call. Contact Martian Movers today at 805-779-3844 to discuss your move and receive a free quote!