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High Crime Areas in San Diego

High Crime Areas in San Diego

December 20, 2023

San Diego, along California’s coast, gives pictures of sunny beaches, different cultures, and a busy economy.

Sadly, some areas around San Diego are prone to crime, including Marina, East Village, Columbia, Cortez Hills, College Area, the City Height, Logan Height, and others.

San Diego is working hard to support these neighborhoods. There are plans involving both the residents and the police to improve safety and the quality of life in these high-crime areas.

At The Bail Boys, our team of experts with over 20 years of experience has served over 10,000 Californians and we are here to help you secure the freedom of your loved one. If you or your loved one gets into trouble or gets arrested within these high crime areas, you can rely on our vast experience to help you secure your freedom as fast as possible. Feel free to contact us anytime and we’ll be right there to assist you.

In this article, we will talk about San Diego’s crime rate, areas most prone to crime, the impact of crime on the economy, and the role of the public in preventing and fighting crime.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Diego

Top 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Diego

Certain neighborhoods in San Diego are identified as having higher crime rates, particularly in terms of violent crimes. The worst neighborhoods, according to a ranking based on the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people, are as follows:

1. East Village

With 856% higher crime rate than the San Diego average, East Village is a vibrant neighborhood with cultural attractions but struggles with challenges related to homelessness and drug-related issues. It is one of the worst neighborhoods in San Diego The area is often associated with property crimes like theft and burglary, alongside cases of violent crime including assaults and robberies.

2. Marina

Marina, having 527% more crime than the city average, is part of downtown San Diego and also one of the worst neighborhoods in San Diego in terms of crime. It’s a mix of residential and commercial properties, including upscale condos and hotels. Marina experiences crimes typical of urban centers, including theft, vandalism, and occasional violent incidents, especially during nightlife hours.

3. Horton Plaza

With a crime rate 544% higher than the city average, Horton Plaza is in the heart of downtown San Diego. It was previously known for its shopping center but has been undergoing significant redevelopment. The area has seen a range of crimes from shoplifting and other petty thefts to more serious incidents like assaults.

4. Little Italy

With a crime rate 288% above the city average, Little Italy is a popular and bustling area known for its restaurants, shops, and cultural festivals. This vibrant neighborhood faces issues like pickpocketing and petty theft, especially in crowded areas and during festivals.

5. College Area

The College Area in San Diego, home to the San Diego State University (SDSU) has most of its residents as college students. The violent crime rate is 72% higher than the national average, and is approximately 39% higher than the average crime rate in San Diego. Common crimes include assaults, theft, burglary, and vehicle theft.

6. Columbia

Columbia, experiencing 236% more crime than San Diego’s average, is a downtown district known for its commercial buildings, including several law firms and courthouses. Columbia’s common crimes include theft, burglary in office buildings, and occasional street crimes.

7. Kearny Mesa

Also with a crime rate 288% above the city average, Kearny Mesa’s crimes often relate to its business and retail settings, including shoplifting, burglary, and white-collar crimes.

8. Cortez Hills

Experiencing 283% more crime than San Diego’s average, Cortez Hill is a residential neighborhood near downtown San Diego. Common crimes include break-ins, theft from vehicles, and occasional muggings.

9. Midtown District

This area, with a crime rate 246% higher than the city average, is a residential and commercial neighborhood. Here, the violent crime rate is 246% higher than the city average, making it one of the worst neighborhoods in San Diego. There’s a mix of property crimes like vehicle break-ins and burglaries, along with some reports of street-level crimes such as theft and vandalism.

10. Memorial

With a crime rate 180% above the San Diego average, Memorial is a residential neighborhood. It’s more low-key compared to other high-crime areas but faces challenges with issues related to gang activity, including drug trafficking and gang-related violence.

Crime Statistics in San Diego

Crime Statistics in San Diego

Crime rates in San Diego have been changing lately. According to mid-year 2023 October statistics by San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), crimes against persons, property, and society decreased by 6%, 9%, and 5% respectively, as compared to 2022.

Cases of simple assault, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, vandalism/destruction of property, fraud, and stolen property, have dropped. However, offenses related to aggravated assault, intimidation, drug equipment violations, and prostitution increased. 

When we compare San Diego’s crime figures with those of the national statistics, the rates tend to be lower than the average across the United States. Over the years, San Diego has recorded less crime rate when compared to other major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Types of Common Crimes in San Diego

In San Diego, crimes fall into 3 main categories – crime against persons, crime against property, and crimes against society. All these fall under Group A offenses. Here are some of the common crimes under each category:

  • Crime Against Persons: Murder, negligent manslaughter, rape, sexual assault with object, fondling, simple assault, intimidation, kidnapping/abduction, statutory rape, human trafficking, involuntary servitude
  • Crime Against Property: Burglary, motor vehicle theft, robbery, arson, destruction of property, fraud, counterfeiting/forgery, embezzlement, extortion/ blackmail, bribery, stolen property.
  • Crime Against Society: Drug/narcotic violations, drug equipment violations, pornography/obscene material, gambling offenses, weapons law violation, prostitution, animal cruelty.

What Causes Crimes in Cities like San Diego?

What Causes Crimes in Cities like San Diego?

There are several reasons why crime prevails in San Diego, some of  the contributing factors include;

1. Poverty

Communities with limited resources experience increased criminal activities due to increased stress and desperation. This financial strain creates an environment where unlawful actions including violent crimes become more prevalent.

2. Unemployment

Unemployment worsens these difficulties in dangerous neighborhoods by pushing individuals toward unlawful means of sustaining themselves. With limited jobs, the struggle intensifies, creating an environment where resorting to criminal behavior may seem like the only option.

3. Inadequate Education

Low education levels in most dangerous neighborhoods significantly increase crime rates by limiting opportunities for people in these areas. Limited access to good education makes it hard for residents to find high-paying jobs, leading to a situation where turning to crime becomes the easiest means of survival.

4. Income Inequality

Areas with high income inequality may experience more crimes, as individuals facing economic hardships might resort to criminal activities.

5. Population Density

High population density in urban areas can support more opportunities for certain types of crimes, especially property crimes like theft and burglary. The proximity of people in densely populated areas also make it easier for criminals to find targets.

6. Drug Trade

The most obvious impact of drug trade on crime rates is increase in drug-related crimes. This includes not only the sale and distribution of illegal drugs but also crimes like manufacturing and drug trafficking.

7. Gang Activity

Some neighborhoods in San Diego have gang presence, leading to higher rates of violence and other criminal activities associated with gang involvement. Disputes between competing drug dealers or gangs can escalate into shootings, assaults, and homicides.

Real-Life Examples of Reported Crime Incidents in San Diego

Real-Life Examples of Reported Crime Incidents in San Diego

On July 18, 2023, CBS8 reported a disturbing incident where a man was brutally attacked with a hammer at Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights. The attack occurred late at night when the victim was sleeping inside a tent. 

According to San Diego police, two men returned to the victim’s tent with a hammer after an argument to carry out the assault. The police later arrested two suspects and charged them with assault and conspiracy.

This incident followed a similar violent crime within the same area, just a week before. According to reports, a woman was attacked with a sword by a suspect within the park and sustained severe injuries.

The Impact of Crime on Communities

  • Physical harm: including injuries with long-term health consequences.
  • Economic costs: such as property loss, higher insurance premiums, and reduced property values.
  • Degradation of quality of life: resulting in eroded community cohesion and lowered living standards.
  • Altered behaviors and fear: leading to changes in daily routines and outdoor activity limitations.
  • Negative impact on the youth: affecting children’s development and educational outcomes.
  • Overstretched public services: including healthcare, law enforcement, and social services.
  • Worsened social inequality: disproportionately affecting marginalized and disadvantaged communities.
  • Business and economic challenges: hindering local businesses and economic growth.
  • Strained judicial system: resulting in legal delays and resource challenges.
  • Community reputation damage: leading to stigma and negative perceptions of high-crime areas.

The Role of the Public in Crime Prevention

The Role of the Public in Crime Prevention

The collective effort of residents is crucial in the fight against crime and that goes for San Diegans as well. The San Diego community plays an important role in reducing crime rates through vigilance, proactive measures, and the utilization of available resources.

Community Vigilance

Residents can act as the eyes and ears of their neighborhoods, staying alert to suspicious activities and reporting them to law enforcement.

Neighborhood Watch Programs

Participating in or forming neighborhood watch groups helps to deter crime through organized community efforts and surveillance.

Education and Awareness

To help individuals protect themselves and their neighbors, residents of San Diego should stay informed about crime trends, prevention strategies, and potential risks.

Youth Engagement

When a community involves young people in community activities and mentorship programs, it can steer them away from criminal activities and boost positive development.

Supporting Victim Assistance Programs

Engaging in or supporting initiatives that help crime victims can reduce the long-term impact of crime and aid in community healing.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement

Communities who cooperate with local police, such as attending community meetings or participating in joint initiatives, typically enhance crime prevention efforts.

Social Intervention

Addressing underlying social issues such as poverty, education, and inequality can help reduce the root causes of crime.

Encouraging Reporting and Whistleblowing

Cultivating an environment where reporting crime and suspicious activities is encouraged and normalized can significantly help in crime detection and prevention.


From the decrease in the crime statistics of the previous year, it’s clear that collaborative efforts can reduce the impact of crime in the communities of San Diego. Efforts to combat crime in high-crime areas include targeted law enforcement strategies, community-driven initiatives, and supportive policies. 

If you desire to contribute your quota to the general safety in San Diego, be sure to report suspicious activities, join community programs, and take proactive measures for the safety of your neighborhood.

If you need to bail your loved one out of jail for any crime within California, book a free consultation with our experts at The Bail Boys Bail Bonds for a successful bail process and expert guidance.


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