Is Chula Vista Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On January 11, 2022
Chula Vista, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Chula Vista is a coastal city in San Diego County, California.

The city has about 230,000 residents. Chula Vista is located 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of the U.S.-Mexico border and 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of downtown San Diego, California.

The area is geographically surrounded by water on three sides.

This makes it much more vulnerable to flooding, especially in poor conditions.

Chula Vista was incorporated on January 10, 1911.

The Mexican government used the area for cattle grazing in the mid-1800s during its war with the United States.

However, there were no battles fought there because it is south of San Diego Bay.

Tourists can spend their time visiting the city’s museums and art galleries, shopping, participating in outdoor adventures such as kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), or they can simply relax by the ocean and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Warnings & Dangers in Chula Vista

Overall Risk


The city has a much lower crime rate when compared to other cities in the county. It is considered one of the safest places to live in all of San Diego County. The most often committed crimes here include property crimes, drug violations, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), and domestic violence. It is safer than 36% of all U.S. cities, making it a great place for tourists to visit with a relatively low risk of becoming the victim of a crime. The city is considered safe for tourists because there are very few threats to personal safety. The most likely threats are robbery or property crimes, which can easily be avoided by being smart when in public places.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Since most of Chula Vista is made up of suburbs, there is a lack of public transportation. The city has a limited bus system that only runs during the weekdays. Most people who live within the city limits use their vehicles to get around the city or walk. The city itself is not walkable or bike-friendly. Unfortunately, Chula Vista isn't very well connected when it comes to taxis either. There are only a few companies in the area that severely limit transportation choices for visitors. There is no city taxi service and the only privately owned cab company has a very limited fleet. You will most likely have to rent a car.

Pickpockets Risk


The risk of pickpockets in Chula Vista is low.

Natural Disasters Risk


The first thing visitors should know is that there are many fault lines under the city. This means it has a moderate to high risk of earthquakes. The two most active faults in this area are the Sweetwater and San Miguel Faults. The last earthquake in this area was on October 23, 2010, which measured a magnitude of 7.1 and caused significant property damage and injuries. The city is prepared for these types of disasters and conducts yearly safety drills to make sure that everyone knows what to do in case an earthquake or any other type of natural disaster hits. The city also has a warning system that notifies locals about earthquakes and other problems in the area using television, radio, text message, phone calls, internet alerts, etc. The only problem is that this system does not work when cell towers are down because people won't have access to their phones. The risk of flooding in Chula Vista is moderate to high because it is known as a low-lying area and the San Diego River borders the city on three sides. There are usually between four and ten days each year when the entire city floods, which means residents must evacuate their homes temporarily.

Mugging Risk


The risk of being mugged is low in Chula Vista.

Terrorism Risk


Terrorism can happen anywhere but this city is not known as a high terror risk. There are likely more border patrol agents here than most other cities in America, which does not make it an easy place for terrorists to get in.

Scams Risk


The most common scams in Chula Vista are fake street vendors and fake shop owners. Most people visiting the city have been approached by a man or woman who claims to be updating a map, giving directions, or selling watches and jewelry.

Women Travelers Risk


The overall risk for women travelers in Chula Vista is low. Women should just be careful when traveling alone and should avoid taking other unplanned tours without a friend.

Tap Water Risk


The tap water is fine to drink in Chula Vista.

Safest Places to Visit in Chula Vista

When you visit Chula Vista, you can access several attractions in and near the area.

There are beaches, outdoor parks, indoor malls, and other shops in the area.

San Diego hosts many major attractions, which means Chula Vista is a great place to stay if you want to explore the city and attend an event downtown.

Strawberry Fields Forever – a permanent Beatles memorial in a city park that features a mosaic made of thousands of small stones stretching across the grass and center stage.

It showcases various places in Chula Vista that the Beatles referred to in their songs, including Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.

The Chula Vista Nature Center is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and personal with the national bird – the bald eagle.

Over 370 different species of birds migrate through the region’s wildlife refuge.

The aviary has several raptors and shorebirds on display.

The Skateboard Park of South County is a community-built skate plaza that was created to provide safe skating for the youth in the area.

It features ramps, bowls, rails, and stairs for skaters to use anywhere they like at any time.

Waterfront Park and Marina is an outdoor recreational area on the shore of San Diego Bay popular with families and fishermen.

There are four piers located here, one of which has a playground for children.

Visitors can also enjoy watching boats on the water or kayaking or canoeing.

San Diego Bay offers visitors access to more than 1,400 acres of saltwater tidelands in Chula Vista and Imperial Beach.

There are several important islands located here such as North Island, South Island, Coronado Island.

Places to Avoid in Chula Vista

The Criminal Threat in Chula Vista as a whole is low but travelers should be aware of some dangerous areas around the city.

Neighborhoods to Avoid:

  • Southwestern College Area
  • College Area
  • South Bay Terraces
  • Otay Mesa
  • San Ysidro
  • Eastlake
  • West Chula Vista

Streets to Avoid:

  • Plaza Bonita Rd.
  • E St.
  • Sweetwater Rd.
  • College Blvd.
  • Joe Walker Dr.

Places to be Careful in Chula Vista:

Vista View Park, Sweetwater Reservoir, and the Tijuana Estuary/Border Lagoon area near the border.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Chula Vista

  1. Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and who is around you.
  2. Fake vendors and pickpockets. Fake vendors and pickpockets will sometimes pose as people giving maps, fixing watches, or selling jewelry. Be aware of who is around you at all times!
  3. Use a registered taxi company. Use a licensed taxi service like Uber or Lyft when traveling alone. If you’re traveling with family or friends, opt for a car service instead.
  4. Don’t leave valuables in your car. Be sure to always remove all valuables from your car when parked. This includes phones, laptops, bags, etc.
  5. Make sure your house is locked at all times. Make sure that you’re always locking the doors to the outside of your home and windows when you’re inside.
  6. Stay in well-lit areas when walking at night. If you have to walk alone at night, try to find well-lit areas with plenty of people.
  7. Don’t flash money. Don’t show off your wealth or carry large amounts of cash or credit cards on your person unless necessary.
  8. Watch your drink. If someone offers to buy you a drink at the bar, watch yours closely and don’t leave it unattended because some people may try to spike them with date-rape drugs to rob you while you’re incapacitated.
  9. Drive safe. If you are driving late at night, remember that drunk drivers are more likely to be out on the roads so take extra caution when driving yourself home after leaving the bars/clubs in town if you’ve been drinking alcohol all night long too.
  10. Swimming. When swimming in public places, only swim in designated areas where lifeguards are most often located.

The Chula Vista Police Department offers free self-defense classes to women and children of all ages who feel they could benefit from learning how to protect themselves when they need to the most.

For more information call (619) 691-5151.

So... How Safe Is Chula Vista Really?

Chula Vista has a low crime rate and overall, is a safe place to visit.

Like any location, there are precautions that must be taken when traveling here, though.

Travelers should watch out for dangerous areas around the city and avoid certain streets late at night when driving to their destination.

Southwestern College Area, College Area, South Bay Terraces, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, Eastlake, West Chula Vista, and Plaza Bonita Rd., E St., Sweetwater Rd., College Blvd., Joe Walker Dr. all have a higher crime rate and should be avoided by tourists if possible.

Vista View Park, Sweetwater Reservoir, and the Tijuana Estuary/Border Lagoon area near the border is another location that travelers should avoid as it is considered to be dangerous for those who do not live in Chula Vista or know their way around here well enough to avoid areas with higher criminal activity.

The city center is considered to be safe provided that the traveler sticks to busy streets during daylight hours and isn’t out all night long.

How Does Chula Vista Compare?

CitySafety Index
Chula Vista81
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
New Orleans57
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information



When visiting the United States, you will need a tourist visa. If you are trying to enter the country on a work visa, then you will need some other documentation. Visit the U.S Consulate in your home country.



When visiting Chula Vista, you will need U.S dollars. Exchange currency at the bank, airport, or get money from ATMs.



The weather in Chula Vista is warm and mostly sunny. From May to October, the highs are in the 90s, but during December-April it can be colder at night.



The nearest airport is in San Diego. The name of the airport is San Diego International Airport. It is about a 15-minute drive from Chula Vista.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for tourists is advisable. It will cover medical expenses and the cost of canceling a trip. In case of property theft or loss, it can also cover the cost of replacing items.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Chula Vista Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 14° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 15° C
Apr 16° C
May 17° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 21° C
Aug 22° C
Sep 22° C
Oct 19° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

California - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Chino Hills82
Chula Vista81
Costa Mesa83
Daly City76
El Cajon86
El Monte76
Garden Grove78
Huntington Beach78
Lake Forest83
Long Beach63
Los Angeles56
Mission Viejo85
Moreno Valley82
Mountain View87
Newport Beach84
Palm Springs65
Rancho Cucamonga91
Redondo Beach88
Redwood City85
San Bernardino63
San Diego67
San Francisco61
San Jose58
San Leandro78
San Luis Obispo88
San Mateo84
Santa Ana71
Santa Barbara72
Santa Clara82
Santa Clarita76
Santa Cruz94
Santa Monica64
Santa Rosa91
Simi Valley84
South Gate63
Thousand Oaks86
Union City88
West Covina88

Where to Next?

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