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San Francisco Bay Area Violent and Property Crimes

With the lovely climate, sweeping coastal vistas, proximity to wine country, and availability of high paying tech jobs, there are many benefits to living in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, there are some downsides too. According to the FBI, five of the ten most violent cities in California are located in the Bay Area and eight out of ten are located in Northern California. What can Bay Area residents do to protect themselves and their property? First, we’ll examine the different crimes and the crime rate by city to gain a better understanding of the scope and scale of violent crimes and property crimes in the Bay Area. Then, we’ll offer some real world solutions to minimize risks.

Check out our Bay Area Violent and Property Crimes Infographic

What are violent crimes and property crimes?

Property crime involves the taking of money or property without force or threat of force against a victim. Typical property crimes include burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Violent crimes involve force or threat of force against a victim. According to the FBI, violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

What is the difference between robbery and burglary? Robbery is classified as a violent crime because it involves force or threat of force against whomever is being robbed. Burglary fits the property crime definition because it is typically theft from an unoccupied home or other unoccupied building where there is no interaction with a victim.

Crime is on the rise in the Bay Area

According FBI data, overall crime in the Bay Area crime rose by over 27% in from 2011-2012. (Calculated by total crimes per 1,000 resident using the 22 cities with the greatest populations.) The FBI collects data from local law enforcement and breaks down crime rate by city. This gives a better idea of where crimes are occurring.
The Bay Area cities with the most crimes per 1,000 residents are:

  1. Oakland
  2. Richmond
  3. Vallejo
  4. Antioch
  5. San Francisco
  6. Berkeley
  7. San Leandro
  8. Hayward
  9. Concord
  10. San Jose
  11. Milpitas

While violent crime rates have risen in some Bay Area Cities, they have fallen or remained the same in others. For example, using data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2012 and 2011, we can look at the change in violent crime per 1,000 residents from 2011-2012 for five main Bay Area cities:

  • San Jose: 8.44%
  • Oakland: 18.45%
  • San Francisco: 7.04%
  • Palo Alto: -18.27%
  • Hayward: 4.76%

Due to recent history, some might not be surprised with the Oakland crime rate. Palo Alto’s violent crime fell by over 18%; does it mean that Palo Alto residents don’t have to be concerned about crime at all? Are city residents equally at risk for all crimes? Crime is a big category and must be examined more carefully to yield meaningful data.

For the Bay Area, violent crime only rose by 10.4% overall from 2011-2012. But total property crimes rose by 18.5%. What is going on?

Which crimes are rising?

Breaking down the statistics gives us a better look at exactly what crimes are occurring and allows us to examine patterns. According to the chart below, (obtained from FBI data), violent crime statistics are troubling in some cities and getting better in others.

2012 Bay Area Violent and Property Crime, sorted by violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents - All Guard Alarm

Unfortunately, examining the property crime statistics tells us that property crime is up across almost all cities. In fact, property crimes are increasing at alarming rates with many cities increasing by more then 20% from 2011 to 2012. Using our example of Palo Alto above, from 2011-2012 violent crime in Palo Alto fell by 18.27%, but property crime rose by 11.43%.

For the 22 cities listed above on the chart there were a total of 155,798 property crimes committed in 2012. That’s more then one property crime committed every 4 minutes in the bay area, and that doesn’t even include the smaller cities. With the average property loss from a burglary being over $2,000, this is a huge problem for Bay Area residents.

For more stats check out our Bay Area Violent and Property Crimes Infographic

What can you do to protect your home from property crime?

  1. Get a security system. Homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into then homes with security systems. Thieves will go after the easy targets and will avoid homes with security systems. If a thief does break into your home, they are more likely to leave quickly if an alarm goes off. This also minimizes the risk of being assaulted by a burglar.
  2. Use the security system. This might seem simple, but many people choose not to arm their systems. They leave their alarm systems off when they are home or just running out “for a minute.” A good alarm system will also alert you to unlocked doors and windows. Roughly one third of brake-ins occur as a result of an unlocked door or window. Always lock your doors and windows, especially in the warm summer months when thieves are targeting homes with open doors and windows.
  3. Be aware of landscaping and lighting. Thieves want to be able to break into your home without being seen from the street. Abundant trees and shrubs near doors and windows provide cover for a thief breaking into your home. Solid fences are also a bad idea; they provide privacy for a thief. Outdoor lighting can deter would-be house breakers by making them more visible.
  4. Prepare for vacation. When on vacation, do not let your home advertise that you are away. Have a neighbor park in your driveway. Make sure your mail doesn’t pile up and ask someone to put your garbage cans out on trash day while you are away. Consider getting timed lights so your home appears occupied.
  5. Don’t tempt a thief. Do not position valuables such as computers and flat screen televisions in front of exterior windows. Keep garage doors closed so thieves cannot see tools, bikes, and appliances stored inside.

Knowledge is power. By being aware of current crime trends and following the advice above, you can make informed decisions to protect your home and minimize the risk of burglary.

All-Guard Alarm Systems is happy to help you come up with an alarm protection plan to suit your home or business. Call us at (800) 255-4273 to discuss a free in-home estimate. We serve the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Rosa Residents and Businesses.

Check out our Bay Area Violent and Property Crimes Infographic


1306 Stealth Street
Livermore, CA 94551
(800) 255-4273
*Calls to and from All-Guard may be recorded or monitored without further notice to you, for record-keeping, and quality-assurance purposes.
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All Guard Alarm Systems, Inc., Security Systems Consultants, Hayward, CA
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