California : Safety by City
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Fullerton, California, is an inland city of Orange County, California.
The city offers a diverse mix of people and a lively environment thanks, in part, to Cal State Fullerton.
The music scene is big here, with live music performances religiously in the downtown area.
Gwen Stefani first played her music to Fullerton audiences before becoming globally popular.
The city’s location is ideal, being surrounded by major freeways at all corners.
You can get to downtown LA, one of many Orange County Beaches, and the mountains in about 30 minutes.
The city has tons of outdoor space, including 50 city parks.
There’s even still land left to be developed in the northwest neighborhood of Coyote Hills.
Warnings & Dangers in Fullerton
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk. Most crime rates are below average and this is a family-friendly community with a splash of college town vibe.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You have options to get into Los Angeles County or throughout Orange County with the Metro bus system and Orange County Transportation Authority busses. Rideshares and taxis are available, but any road travel comes with a great deal of traffic. These are all low-risk options.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were 11 pickpockets in 2020 out of the 2400 thefts. The theft rate is the only crime stat that goes above the national average. That's due, in part, to cars being left unlocked or with the windows rolled down. There's a low pickpocket risk, and thieves only got away with an average of $125 when they pickpocketed or purse snatched in 2020. A great reminder to not carry around a lot of cash.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There are risks of wildfires, earthquakes, flooding, and extreme heat here. The city has a detailed plan for how to handle all emergencies. It's good to learn about earthquakes and wildfires if you haven't experienced them where you live.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a one in 1186 chance of being a robbery victim. The risk is low here, but it's also not extremely low. With the crime rate on par with national averages, that still means there are robbers out there. It's just not an overwhelming crime in Fullerton.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Due to Fullerton being part of the L.A. Metro area, it's automatically going to be a medium risk. Homeland Security makes protecting this region a high priority, and the best thing you can do is report anything suspicious to local law enforcement.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Overall, there's a low risk of getting scammed, but one from the list of city scams grabbed my attention. This is especially important if you are going to be renting a home in Fullerton. They're called "Knock Knock Bandits." They knock on a door to see if someone is home. If there is no answer, they break in through the back and steal valuable items from the home. If someone does answer the door, they make up a story about looking for someone and this "must be the wrong address." It's a good idea to ask your rental homeowner if they have a Ring camera so you can check surveillance videos.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of anything happening specifically to a woman here. The most important thing is to not carry a big purse with a lot of stuff inside, or set it down and out of sight when eating. Yeah, it is Orange County, so people want to show off name-brand bags, but it could be a lure for a thief.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The City of Fullerton has posted the 2021 water report and it states, "The City of Fullerton vigilantly safeguards its water supply and, as in years past, the water delivered to your home meets the standards required by the state and federal regulatory agencies." That's a low risk and feel free to use tap water as necessary. Just don't waste it. California is in a drought emergency and water conservation is very important.
Safest Places to Visit in Fullerton
It’s safe to walk around Cal State Fullerton and see the popular university.
While you’re there, you should visit the Arboretum.
Here you can learn about plants, wildlife, and sustainability.
The Fullerton Museum Center hosts the Leo Fender Gallery with incredible artwork.
The museum hosts events like haunted ghost tours throughout the year as well.
Downtown Fullerton is a mix of restaurants, bars, shops, and historic locations.
Some of the best nightlife opportunities in Orange County are in this downtown corridor.
SOCO is giving downtown a run for its money with eateries and shopping near the Fullerton Transportation Center.
It’s just another great gathering place for people looking for fun day or night.
Ralph B. Clark Regional Park is a 100+ acre playground for adults and children.
There’s an interpretive center to visit with prehistoric artifacts and pathways through native plants with sandstone cliffs as a backdrop.
Placess to Avoid in Fullerton
Fullerton is somewhat of a box shape, and according to crime maps, the east side and south sides of town have the most crime.
If you drew a backward “L” and placed it over the city, you’d get the higher crime zones covered.
The south side runs along the Riverside Freeway, and it’s quite normal for places near freeways to have more crime.
That said, this isn’t a city where you can’t feel comfortable driving around.
There’s not that “bad part” of town to avoid at all costs.
While you should stay on the main roads and only go places where you know you’ll be welcome, there’s not a risk in driving through neighborhoods here.
If you can, avoid driving the interstates between 7 am – 10 am and 4 pm – 7 pm to avoid the worst of the traffic.
You’re always going to have traffic here, but those times are especially busy.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fullerton
- Download the OC Alert app. This will get you instant notifications about severe weather events, crime incidents, and civil emergencies. The messages will come as a text message or phone call, depending on your preference.
- Earlier I mentioned the Coyote Hills neighborhood, which begs the question, “Are there coyotes in Fullerton?” Yes, and the coyotes are growing in population and becoming more brazen when interacting with people. If there is a coyote emergency, call 911, but if you just want to report a coyote in a populated area, you won’t call the police. You’ll contact Orange County Animal Services at (919)942-7387
- You should get the MyShake alert for visiting any part of the Los Angeles area. This app will alert you as soon as an earthquake is detected. Sometimes the alerts get to people before an earthquake does. While most earthquakes here are small and don’t do a lot of damage, it’s important to be educated about earthquakes before a visit.
- Fullerton has a 24-hour Graffiti Hotline where you can report any new graffiti you see in a neighborhood or business area. That number is (714) 738-3108. After hours you can leave a message, and be as detailed as you can about the location and content of the graffiti. Since graffiti signals gang activity, the communities try to clean it up within 48 hours of being reported.
- Fullerton does have its own newspaper if you’d like to subscribe ahead of your visit. It’s called the Fullerton Observer.
- The headline of the Observer today brings me to my next point. Get some bug spray while you’re spending time in this beautiful outdoor community. Mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus have been found in the area. Be sure to spray often when spending extended periods of time outdoors.
- You’ll want to keep up with CalTrans if you are driving on the freeways in and out of Fullerton. The website is incredibly detailed with live traffic data, construction information, and live cameras across the entire metro area.
- Another bookmark you should make is for InciWeb. This is the system that provides information about wildfires in the area. You’ll see maps of the fire areas, air quality warnings, and the latest updates right from the fire lines. It’s a valuable resource, especially during fire season, which is from late summer through winter.
- There are several sections of town where on-street parking isn’t allowed unless you have a residential permit. This is generally close to the university and colleges in Fullerton. It helps to make sure students have a place to safely park their cars, but it can also lead to confusion from tourists who would understandably think it’s okay to park on a street. The city has a map of where permit-only parking is located.
- There are murals all over Fullerton and there’s more beauty behind it than you see at face value. The murals are part of “Project Safe”, where young people can come to learn about and make art while keeping them away from the gang and drug activity.
So... How Safe Is Fullerton Really?
It’s as safe as an average city, and being that it’s also in Orange County, you won’t find enough crime to scare you away from a visit here.
Here’s how the risk of being a crime victim breaks down:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 340
- Robbery: 1 in 1186
- Theft: 1 in 59
Cal State Fullerton does have its police force and works in tandem with local police to keep the university and surrounding area safe.
There’s a nice mix of people in Fullerton, from the potentially more rowdy college crowds, to first to homeowners with a family, to retirees settling down in Orange County for their golden years.
I have a couple of middle-aged female friends who live here and they love it.
The cost of housing isn’t as high as some of the more prestigious parts of Orange County, the people are down to earth, and there are a lot of cultures.
How Does Fullerton Compare?
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- Visas - You're good with the Visa you presented at the airport or port of entry and don't need additional processing in Fullerton.
- Currency - The only currency accepted is the U.S. Dollar. For best money, anti-fraud, and safety practices, use one credit card for purchases and don't carry other credit cards with you. Keep cash to a minimum, just in case someone snatches a purse or wallet.
- Weather - Since Fullerton isn't on the ocean, it's going to get a little warmer without that coastal breeze. Winters will be in the 60s for highs and 40s for lows. Spring brings temperatures in the 70s during the day and 50s at night. During summer, highs can get into the upper-80s and lows settle around the mid-60s. Those summer temperatures last through October. In November, the temperatures are in the 70s during the day and 50s at night. It's always a good idea to bring layers of clothing when visiting SoCal, as there is a wide swing between day and night temps.
- Airports - The John Wayne Airport of Orange County is 20 miles south. Long Beach's airport is 23 miles west. LAX is 33 miles west. If you choose John Wayne Airport, research the noise ordinance in the area. It means the planes have a short runway and have to get in the air quickly to not make too much noise in the nearby residential areas. It can feel like you're on a rocket taking off and have landed the airport on a "Scariest Takeoffs" list.
- Travel Insurance - Too many weathers and wildfire variables can happen in the Los Angeles area, so it makes good sense to get travel insurance for a trip to Fullerton, California.
Fullerton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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