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Safest Neighborhoods in San Diego | 🔐 What Are the Safest Areas in San Diego to Live?

Is safety a top priority as you consider which San Diego neighborhood to call home? While San Diego’s crime rate isn’t as high as some major metropolitan areas, there’s definitely a big difference from one neighborhood to the next. The following are the San Diego neighborhoods with the lowest crime rates where you can feel safe day and night.

Crime Stats in San Diego

The San Diego crime rate is 10% below the national average with 2,244 crimes per 100,000 people. San Diego is often ranked as one of the safest major cities in the United States, although the city is a major port of entry for illegal drugs from Mexico.

In 2019, the San Diego crime rate dropped 1.3% and reached the lowest among the 10 largest cities in the United States. The San Diego property crime rate reached levels similar to the 1950s while the violent crime rate in San Diego fell to rates experienced in the 1970s.

One way to assess the safest neighborhoods in San Diego is to use the San Diego crime map from the San Diego Police Department.

Rancho Bernardo – Safest San Diego Neighborhood for Families

Rancho Bernardo is a master-planned community in northern San Diego in the San Pasqual Valley. Known for its safety and family-friendly amenities, Rancho Bernardo also boasts excellent parks, golf courses, and amazing canyon views. Rancho Bernardo or RB feels like a city all its own as it’s 20 miles from downtown San Diego. Unlike some safe San Diego neighborhoods that are mostly residential, Rancho Bernardo is a place where you can work, live, and play. There’s a 685-acre commercial park in the neighborhood with over 50,000 employees.

Safe places to live in San Diego
Rancho Bernardo is one of San Diego’s safest neighborhoods and one of the largest.

RB is a huge community with tons of neighborhoods across 6,500 acres. You’ll find that each neighborhood, however, has its own parks and clubs to enjoy so you never need to worry about missing out. One of the safest neighborhoods in Rancho Bernardo for families is the Knolls neighborhood with large yards and parks. The Oaks North Golf Course Community is another popular option. It’s a 55+ community notable for its luxury condos and award-winning golf course.

Top attractions in Rancho Bernardo:

Carmel Valley – San Diego’s Most Affluent Neighborhood

Carmel Valley isn’t just one of the safest San Diego neighborhoods, it’s also one of the newest. Carmel Valley is located near La Jolla and Del Mar. This master-planned community, which was first developed in the 1980s, is one of the most affluent communities in San Diego with a median household income of $150,000.

Carmel Valley is a great place to raise kids with a violent crime rate 78% lower than the national average and excellent schools within the Carmel Unified School District and the San Dieguito Union High School District. Depending on where you settle, you can fall under the Torrey Pines district which is one of the top three best high schools in California.

Top attractions in Carmel Valley:

Torrey Pines/UTC – Safe San Diego Neighborhood Home to UC San Diego

  • Crime rate: Almost no violent crime
  • Population: 6,700
  • Median home price: $722,000

The Torrey Pines/University Towne Center area may be small, but it’s definitely something special. This neighborhood is located on the coast in northern San Diego along I-5. The academic, entertainment, and retail facilities at University City, Torrey Pines, and Carmel Valley together are referred to as the North City edge city as it’s a major source of employment outside downtown.

Torrey Pines is located around UC San Diego. This affluent community, with a median household income of $176,000, is notable for its green space. Only 24% of Torrey Pines is residential while 42% is open green space and parks.

While the crime rate in Torrey Pines is a bit higher than the San Diego average, it’s almost exclusively property crime, particularly larceny theft, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Top attractions in Torrey Pines:

  • University of California San Diego
  • Black’s Beach
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Black Mountain Ranch – Safe & Upscale San Diego Neighborhood

  • Crime rate: Virtually no violent crime
  • Population: 6,700
  • Median home price: $1.52 million

The suburban neighborhood of Black Mountain Ranch in northern San Diego covers over 5,100 acres. Located near Torrey Highlands, Rancho Peñasquitos, 4S Ranch, and Rancho Santa Fe, Black Mountain Ranch was developed over 17 years. This family-friendly neighborhood has two main housing developments: Del Sur in the north and Santaluz in the north.

Black Mountain Ranch is still being developed but it already offers a great quality of life with low crime. 67% of its area is also designated for parks and open spaces. You’ll find a huge range of homes in Black Mountain Ranch, but living in this upscale community isn’t cheap. Most homes are priced at $1 to $5 million. You’ll enjoy the latest luxury amenities including private in-home elevators and balconies to enjoy magnificent views of preserved nature.

Top attractions in Black Mountain Ranch:

La Jolla – Safe & Affluent Seaside Neighborhood in San Diego

Looking for oceanfront living in San Diego? While some neighborhoods closer downtown have higher crime rates and more tourists, La Jolla offers a more idyllic environment. La Jolla is the perfect San Diego neighborhood for surfing, hiking, and shopping at your fingertips.

Safest San Diego Neighborhoods
Beautiful seaside La Jolla is one of San Diego’s safest neighborhoods.

The crime rate in La Jolla isn’t as low as most San Diego neighborhoods on this list, but almost all of the crime in La Jolla is property crime. Still, it’s one of the safest oceanfront communities in San Diego. One of the most prestigious San Diego communities is La Jolla Shores, a neighborhood of upscale homes and condos right on the beach.

Top attractions in La Jolla:

Scripps Ranch – Safe San Diego Neighborhood with Short Downtown Commutes

Looking for a beautiful neighborhood in San Diego with a low crime rate and opportunities to have fun? Scripps Ranch is calling your name. This large community in northeast San Diego is just 20 minutes from downtown San Diego for an easy commute. The neighborhood itself is mostly residential with plenty of beautiful outdoor attractions to love.


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There are a few places in Scripps Ranch to consider, including Scripps Ranch Villages which is mostly home to retirees and Central Scripps Ranch, a popular neighborhood for families. While living in Scripps Ranch, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and more at your fingertips.

Top attractions in Scripps Ranch:

  • Lake View Park
  • Lake Miramar

Rancho Peñasquitos – Great San Diego Neighborhood for Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • Crime rate: 63% lower than the San Diego average
  • Population: 42,700
  • Median home price: $845,000

Located in northeast San Diego, the name for this suburban neighborhood in San Diego comes from the Spanish word for “little cliffs” and it was the first Mexican land grant in San Diego County. The community, usually abbreviated to PQ, is next to the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve to the south, Rancho Bernardo and Black Mountain Ranch to the north, Carmel Mountain Ranch to the east, and Torrey Highlands and Del Mar Mesa to the west.

PQ has a very suburban feel with very little commercial activity. It’s grown rapidly thanks to its beautiful parks, great schools, and community events. It’s also one of the safest neighborhoods in San Diego with a very low violent crime rate. While living in PQ, you’ll be served by the highly rated Poway Unified School District.


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The beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation are two of the biggest draws of Rancho Peñaquitos. The Los Peñaquitos Canyon Preserve covers 7 square miles with canyon views, a waterfall, a freshwater marsh, and hiking trails to explore.

Top attractions in Rancho Peñaquitos:

Safest Neighborhoods in San Diego Map

You’ll notice that most of the safest neighborhoods in San Diego are located in the northern part of the city. Most of these neighborhoods are newer and established in the 1980s and later which means you’ll enjoy newer homes, new amenities, and carefully planned communities designed to deliver a great quality of life. The best part? You can enjoy living in a safe community without giving up convenient access to downtown San Diego just down I-5 or I-15.

If you’re ready to relocate within San Diego or you’re moving to the city, trust the friendly San Diego movers at Republic Moving & Storage for the hassle-free relocation you deserve! Call us today to request your free moving estimate.


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