There is no denying that San Francisco is the most well-known city in the Bay Area. However, with all that visibility comes a major drawback: ‘Frisco also ranks among the most expensive cities in the USA.
If you want to experience the diverse culture and great food finds that the Bay Area is known for while still avoiding San Francisco’s pricey rental rates, then you should consider moving to Oakland instead. Oakland’s proximity to San Francisco gives it the status of “sister city” where you can enjoy all the perks of living in the Bay Area while being budget-friendly.
Of course, aside from finding an affordable apartment, you’ll also want to live somewhere safe and secure. So, here are our picks for the five safest neighborhoods in Oakland, and what you can expect in these neighborhoods.
How to Determine If a Neighborhood is Safe
If you’re renting in Oakland for the first time, it’s understandable that you might not be familiar with the different neighborhoods in the city. Don’t worry; we’re here to help! It’s important to know how to determine a neighborhood’s safety rating for your peace of mind. After all, you won’t be able to enjoy all the amazing things that Oakland has to offer if you’re worried about your safety.
Here are four ways to determine if a potential neighborhood in Oakland is safe:
Online Crime Mapping Services
If you’re familiar with sites such as SpotCrime and NeighborhoodScout, then you know how awesome they are! If these two sites are new to you, they offer crime mapping services. Crime mapping services are basically online collations of police and crime reports in a certain area so that you can check crime incidence easily.
Once you have an Oakland neighborhood in mind, simply enter the name of the neighborhood in the database. You’ll receive a detailed report of all crime and police reports in the area, including the date and time of the incidents. These crime reports will give you a better idea of a neighborhood’s general safety and security status.
Check available listings in a neighborhood
Did you know that using apartment rental listings can give you an idea of whether a neighborhood is safe? When the residents in a neighborhood feel secure, they are more likely to stay longer. Thus, you’ll find fewer listings and vacancies compared to surrounding neighborhoods.
Additionally, you can also check the average length of time that residents stay in a neighborhood. If they feel safe, they are also more likely to have long-term leases.
Nothing beats a personal visit
While crime rate reports and virtual tours give you a lot of information about a neighborhood, the best information will always be firsthand. A personal visit to a neighborhood will give you a glimpse into what it is like to live there.
Check the overall state of the neighborhood in terms of cleanliness and maintenance. Are the streets clean and well-lit? Are the apartments maintained? While one or two unkempt apartments in a neighborhood are common, a large number should raise a red flag.
Chat with the residents
When you visit an Oakland neighborhood, take the time to talk with the tenants. Even a quick chat can get you valuable information about living in an area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the crime rates in the area and if they feel safe living there. There’s nothing wrong with asking these questions if you admit that you’re looking to move in!
You can also use Facebook groups to get information in case you won’t be able to pay a personal visit. Rentalpaca’s social housing groups on Facebook are a treasure trove of in-depth information from residents in various Oakland neighborhoods.
5 Safest Neighborhoods in Oakland
- Panoramic Hill
- Chabot Park
- Shepherd Canyon
In this list, we compiled the five safest neighborhoods in Oakland based on the overall crime rate, specifically non-violent crimes.
Sharing land with nearby Berkeley and nestled at the foot of Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, Panoramic Hill is a small, quiet neighborhood on the eastern side of Oakland. Its low crime rate and proximity to the main University of California campus make it hugely popular with students and singles.
One of the smallest neighborhoods in Oakland, Panoramic Hill is perfect for those who love to walk or bike. In fact, Panoramic Hill seems like it was made for leisurely walks since it was named “Most Romantic Neighborhood” by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. The Stonewall-Panoramic Trail is also perfect for weekend hikers.
Forestland is aptly named since it is situated between the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve. You’ll feel like you’re living in a storybook forest when you rent an apartment here since nature will literally be right outside your doorstep. This idyllic and tranquil neighborhood is one of the safest in California, with an overall crime rate that is 21% lower than the national average.
Given this neighborhood’s closeness to nature and quiet lifestyle, the majority of the residents here are families with young children and retirees. If you’re looking to lay down roots (pun intended) in Oakland, this is the perfect neighborhood for you. However, if you want to experience a bit of nightlife, you’ll need to travel to Montclair via Thornhill Drive.
Chabot Park is a relatively large neighborhood that is sandwiched between several well-known greenspaces in Oakland, namely Oakland Zoo, Anthony Chabot Regional Park, and the Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park. Considering its location, Chabot Park has a similar vibe to Forestland; you’ll never feel closer to nature than living in this neighborhood. Not only will you feel calm and peaceful, but you’ll also feel safe, as Chabot Park has a total crime rate that is 21% lower than the national average.
The neighborhood has a roomy and sprawling layout, with wide streets and large housing lots. You’ll notice that many of the residents are families with children, given the ample space, parks, and child-friendly activities available in this neighborhood.
One of the most amazing things about Shepherd Canyon is that there is literally an outdoor trail that runs in the heart of the neighborhood: Shepherd Canyon Trail. This neighborhood is perfect for outdoorsy types; if you love going on hikes or camping, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Shepherd Canyon. You can also explore other nearby outdoor recreation areas, such as Shepherd Canyon Park and the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve.
The crime rates in Shepherd Canyon are 1% lower than the national average, and it is safer than 74% of cities in California. This neighborhood is popular with families and retirees, owing to the abundant green spaces, high walkability scores, and great school system. However, there are few shopping and entertainment options, and if you’re looking for great bars or clubs, you’ll need to head on over to Montclair.
A small and tightly-knit neighborhood next to the Diamond District, Woodminster is your quintessential friendly and warm community. With a crime rate that is 7% lower than the national average, Woodminster is safer than 77% of cities in the USA.
It seems that everything in Woodminster is perfect for those looking to settle down and raise a family. There are several universities in the neighborhood as well as green spaces where families can get together and spend a lazy weekend. There are also local festivals and events that residents enjoy, such as the Greek festival!
Least Safe Neighborhoods in Oakland
We have also compiled a list of the least safe neighborhoods in Oakland based on crime statistics and reviews. Please note that we are not discouraging renters from finding apartments in these areas, we are simply advising them to exercise a little bit of extra caution.
The information was gathered from USA Electronic System for Travel Authorization Online, as well as Housely.com.
This small neighborhood in Oakland has not seen the same level of gentrification and business as others, so there is a significantly higher rate of crime. The violent crime rate is 59% higher than the national average, and you have a 1 in 53 chance of being a victim of crime.
In Fitchburg, the unemployment rate is much higher compared to other areas in Oakland, with the average income just a little over a third of the national average. The low employment rate can be one of the factors that influence the high crime rate in Fitchburg; it has a crime rate that is 340% higher than the national average.
Choosing Your Neighborhood in Oakland
Finding the safest neighborhood for you in Oakland might seem hard, but with a little bit of research and some precautions, there is no reason for you not to find an apartment where you will be safe. Overall, Oakland is a great city with so much to offer, from easy access to the Bay Area to amazing outdoor trails not five minutes away from your doorstep!