California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
- Chula Vista
- Costa Mesa
- Daly City
- El Cajon
- El Monte
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- Lake Forest
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Mission Viejo
- Moreno Valley
- Mountain View
- Newport Beach
- Palm Springs
- Rancho Cucamonga
- Redondo Beach
- Redwood City
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Leandro
- San Luis Obispo
- San Mateo
- Santa Ana
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
- Santa Clarita
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Monica
- Santa Rosa
- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
Garden Grove, California, isn’t what you’d normally think of an Orange County city, but it does have a vibe all its town.
This ethnically-diverse community is a stone’s throw away from the popular Disneyland Resort and Harbor Boulevard is packed with hotels.
The city is split into two sections — Garden Grove and West Garden Grove, though they are both the same city boundaries with the same community leadership.
Garden Grove’s central location makes it popular, and not just because of how close it is to Disneyland.
You’re 11 miles to Huntington Beach, a 40-minute drive to downtown Los Angeles, and less than an hour to the mountains.
In town, you’ve got a historic Main Street to see, several museums, and several unique community parks where the kids can burn off some energy.
A special heads up about Memorial Day weekend in Garden Grove as one of the largest festivals on this side of the Mississippi is held.
The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival brings about a quarter of a million people to this suburb.
Warnings & Dangers in Garden Grove
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a mixed bag of crime rates in Garden Grove, but none that come as a surprise. You have a low risk when staying here, but you'll need to be vigilant about basic safety precautions.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
There are taxis and rideshares readily available in this busy tourism corridor. There is also the option of the OC Streetcar between Santa Ana and Garden Grove. You'll need to get to Santa Ana or Anaheim to ride the popular MetroLink. Having a car here would be ideal. All options come with low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There were nine pickpockets reported in 2020 with a total steal of $1,258. This is a great reminder, even when going to Disneyland, to not carry valuables around in your purse or wallet and keep them secure. The risk is low that it will happen, as those nine thefts were just part of the 2,603 total thefts.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The city emergency plan covers the possibilities of earthquakes, blackouts, wildfires, heatwaves, and floods. There's a medium risk just because so many disasters can happen, but that rating is more about severity than frequency. You'll have nice weather on an average day.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
More than half of the robberies reported were in public places that could include tourists. One mugging went viral when surveillance video caught criminals trying to grab the purse of a woman, and she was dragged then eventually run over by the suspect's car. There is also a string of robberies against elderly Asian women. Because of the recent rash of robberies, we're giving this a medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Disneyland might be one of the biggest targets for terrorists, so there's a medium risk here. In 1999, a terror plot against Disneyland was foiled by United States investigators.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk. I reviewed about a dozen popular local scams, and they all either target businesses or local individuals. The only one worth mentioning to travelers is a scam involving donations. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau before you donate to any charity.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The crime rate for sexual assault is lower than the national average and there's a low risk for women here. However, that comes with the caveat of keeping aware of your surroundings and don't ever take a drink you didn't see opened or poured. If you are meeting someone you met on social media, make sure the meeting is in a public place, ideally with surveillance cameras around.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Due to an abundance of PFAS in the water, the city had to shut down some wells and get water from Northern California in 2020. The utility states on its website, "In collaboration with the City, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) designed and deployed treatment systems which filter PFAS from the groundwater. Garden Grove remains steadfast in our mission to provide a sustainable water supply and exceed all state and federal drinking water standards and regulations."
Safest Places to Visit in Garden Grove
Historic Main Street is a great place to start.
Walk the tree-lined streets with the smell of citrus in the air while shopping and dining.
You’ll love the unique architecture of the buildings and the friendliness of the merchants.
The Atlantis Play Center is a community park designed like an underwater world of fantasy.
The park is only open to adults with kids.
Adults can come here alone and children can’t come without adults.
Visit the Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village for a walk back in time when orange groves filled the city and Walt Disney was still planning his theme park.
There are 16 historical buildings here, including an 1890s schoolhouse and Walt Disney’s former garage.
The Crystal Cathedral is a popular place to snap a few photos of the church with 10,000 windows.
Places to Avoid in Garden Grove
Looking at the crime maps, you’ll see a lot of hit or miss in the more crime-ridden areas.
Along the Garden Grove Freeway, there are some hot spots.
I wouldn’t say any of these areas should be avoided, but just know it’s a mixed bag of crime and the closer you get to the 5 interstate the more crime gets reported (and that’s also closer to the hotel corridor for Disneyland, so that’s not surprising).
West Garden Grove is a fine place to visit, but there’s not much to do there.
There’s more housing and basic neighborhood amenities.
Thefts are four times the national average here and 65% of those involved things being stolen from vehicles.
Lock your car doors.
Roll up the windows.
Leave nothing inside that has any value.
Hiding under the seat or in the trunk still isn’t a good enough theft prevention step.
If you can, rent a car with wheel locks and get an anti-theft device for the steering wheel.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Garden Grove
- The Garden Grove Police Department has an updated crime map on its website. You can search the area where you’ll be staying, select a time range, and then the type of crime. Even running a few reports as I write this, crime is just so widespread in this community. That’s not to say there’s a lot of crime, it’s just that it’s not restricted to one area.
- If you are visiting around Memorial Day, it’s going to be jam-packed and hotel prices are going to skyrocket. That’s because of the popular Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. While the city does provide entertainment throughout the year, this particular weekend it’s really crowded with more than 250,000 people coming to town.
- There are a lot of homeless people in Garden Grove, especially along Beach Boulevard and Garden Grove Boulevard. The city, police, and homeless organizations are working to get those people help, but you’re likely going to be approached by someone asking for money. Just give a firm “No” and walk away.
- The biennial report from the Garden Grove Police shows there have been complaints of gang members gathering in certain sections of the east part of town. Don’t mess with gang members, no matter how vocal and tough you feel you are. There is a gang suppression unit of the police force here, so you can report any gang activity you see to the local police.
- Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of police around the resort corridor. There is a special unit of the police force and its sole job is to patrol hotels, restaurants, and attractions in that east part of town.
- There are cameras at busy intersections that can catch red-light runners. You won’t even know you’ve been caught until a ticket arrives in the mail.
- If you see graffiti being made while you’re in Garden Grove, you could get a reward for reporting it. The Graffiti Reward Program promises that anyone giving information that leads to the arrest of a tagger could get anywhere from $50 – $500. To report graffiti, call the hotline at (714)741-5704.
- In Orange County, you can text 911 if there’s a situation where you can’t call. The preferred method is to call, but sometimes in situations, like a hold-up in a store, you can’t talk and texting can help alert police to the situation. All you have to do is enter 911 into the “To” field and then give your exact location and as much information as you can.
- You can sign up for OC Alerts and you’ll get emergency alerts anywhere in Orange County. This could be a road closure, weather warning, or civil emergency. It’s a great tool to have.
- Follow Inciweb during your visit. This is a website that tracks wildfire risks and fires currently burning. You’ll get real-time information from the fire lines and be better prepared to know if a blackout or evacuation is coming.
So... How Safe Is Garden Grove Really?
The violent crime rate in Garden Grove is about 25% less than the national average.
It’s also lower than the state average.
The city averages less than six homicides a year, and in 2012 had no homicides.
There’s less of a chance a person will be a victim of a violent crime here.
Property crimes are about 10% higher than the state and national averages, including thefts.
There is a one in 66 chance of being a victim of a theft, which you can lower by locking up the car and keeping personal valuables at the hotel.
Carry as little as you need with you.
This is mostly a neighborhood community that happens to be right next door to one of the busiest tourism corridors in the country.
There are going to be more crimes of opportunity than in other communities.
Since it is such a large tourist area, police are extraordinarily vigilant about keeping crime down and they not only fight crime but put together plans to reduce crime in the future.
How Does Garden Grove Compare?
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
You're good with the Visa you presented when you arrived in the country at the airport, port of entry, or border crossing.
The U.S. Dollar is used here and no other currency is accepted. Since it's a busy, popular tourist area, you don't want to carry around a lot of cash or use an ATM in a crowded area. If you can set up a smart device for payments, that's ideal. Make sure your bank knows you'll be traveling and have them alert you to any suspicious charges.
The weather is somewhat consistent throughout the year. The coldest weather is still going to be highs in the 70s and lows in the upper-40s. At the warmest time of year, you'll have the mid-80s for highs and 60s for lows. Bring good walking shoes as there's a lot to see and do, especially if you're walking around Disneyland.
John Wayne Airport in Orange County is the closest option and is just 20 minutes away. Los Angeles International Airport is about 45 minutes west, but plan extra time for traffic. Ontario International Airport is about 40 minutes north.
You'll want travel insurance for a trip to Garden Grove in case of any weather or wildfire delays.
Garden Grove Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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