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
Irvine, California, is a city in Orange County that isn’t along the beach but is just minutes from the top beaches in the state.
This master-planned community is filled with cookie-cutter neighborhoods, busy streets, and a taste of the good life.
Irvine is also home to the John Wayne Airport, so travelers need to know about the flight pattern in this area.
When a plane takes off, it has to be above a certain level in a certain amount of time to avoid too much residential noise.
This can make taking off feel like you are on a rocket ship.
The city has a large Asian population (43% of all residents) which leads to some of the best Asian dinings in the Southern California region.
Shopping is a way of life here, too, with three major shopping destinations in and around Irvine, all bringing their own unique vibe.
You’ll get a taste of the agriculture in the region by visiting Tanaka Farms, where you can pick fruits and veggies throughout the year, and it really springs to life in the fall for pumpkin season.
Outdoor enthusiasts can head for the beach at Crystal Cove State Park or the mountains at Limestone Canyon Regional Park, both flanking the sides of the city.
Warnings & Dangers in Irvine
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a very low risk here as Irvine is consistently rated the safest community in the country. Violent crimes are very low, and most thefts are reduced to petty crimes of opportunity.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
There is a public transportation system here, but it's so rarely used the city has canceled some routes. This is definitely a city where people love their cars, so consider a rental car to save money on expensive taxis and rideshares.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk, but 16 pickpockets and purse snatchings were reported in 2020, with an average take between $600 and $1800. Keep an eye on your stuff when you sit down to eat or while shopping. Don't fill up the trunk of the car and head back into the mall because thieves could be watching the parking lot, looking for a score.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Wildfires are the biggest risk here, and the city has even upgraded the safety and evacuation plan as each year brings more destructive and dangerous fires. Flash flooding is also an issue because when it rains here it can rain a lot in a short amount of time. There's a medium risk, mostly due to fires.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This is another low risk averaging 80% lower than the national average. On top of that, robberies in public places were at 16%. This doesn't give you an excuse to let your guard down, but it also means you can feel confident and safe walking down the street.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Since it's part of the greater Los Angeles area and one of the largest population centers in the nation, there's a medium risk here. There are some tech companies that might make targets, but the city of Los Angeles would be a more likely target.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There aren't any reported tourist scams here, but the typical residential scams happen - like people posing as police officers or the IRS. Keep your guard up, but know that you're not a moving target. You might get panhandled by homeless people, but just keep walking, and you'll be fine.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women will love the low risk of visiting a safe place like Irvine with all the great shopping and restaurant options.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Wouldn't it be a bummer if a city this safe had terrible drinking water? Well, it doesn't. The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance along with water conservation tips to help during the drought.
Safest Places to Visit in Irvine
The Great Park lives up to its name and is a massive sports complex.
Don’t let that deter you, because once you’re parked you’ll see an awesome carousel open for rides and the Great Balloon Park, where you can ride up to 400 feet in the air for a 360 view.
The rides are free, but follow the sign-up rules because you could have to wait a while for your turn.
The phone number for more information is (949)724-6247.
There’s another carousel to ride at Irvine Spectrum Center, which is a shopping mall with more than 120 stores and some of the most upscale fashion brands.
You can also ride “The Wheel,” which is a Ferris Wheel with LED lighting.
Whether you take a ride using a fast pass or just watch the light show from the ground, The Wheel is a popular place to be.
Tanaka Farms is a place where you can harvest a good time with fresh fruit, beautiful wildflowers, and barnyard animals.
You can pick your own produce and learn about the art of farming with hydroponics.
This is a fun family attraction, but be sure to get a parking pass in advance.
One of the most fun things in Irvine is going to the Diamond Jamboree and arguing with friends and family about which restaurant to try.
Seriously though, this is a mall made up of the most exquisite and unique restaurants you can imagine.
You can eat your way through Asia here, but should definitely save room for the Milky Bun, which is a doughnut stuffed with ice cream.
I’m kicking myself for not thinking of that dessert first.
Boomer Canyon is a great way to get into the wilderness and go through the historical lands while enjoying the wonderful Southern California weather.
Check the schedule for night hiking, yoga, and mountain bike group rides.
Quail Hill is another hiking spot that gives amazing skyline views of the city and beyond, with an easy three-mile walk.
SECRET SPOTS: The Irvine Marriott has two speakeasies on the property, but we’re not giving away any more than that.
Ask the hotel concierge for help with that one.
Those shouldn’t be confused with the rooftop restaurant Hive & Honey at the top of Marriott Irvine Spectrum.
The two hotels are about eight miles apart.
Places to Avoid in Irvine
There aren’t dangerous parts of Irvine or places to avoid, but you’re going to run into a lot of gated communities if you try to look at houses for fun.
(Am I the only one who does that??)
Never sneak through a gate to get into a community, and don’t lie to the gatekeeper in a vain attempt to enter.
Your license plate will be recorded on video.
Irvine comes with a lot of traffic, and even outside of rush hour, you should double the length of time you think it will take to get you somewhere.
I once sat at a traffic light for 10 cycles before going through an intersection trying to get out of John Wayne Airport.
As tempting as it is with the shopping in Orange County, set a budget and stick to it.
If you have issues with impulse shopping as I do, it’s smart to bring just one credit card and have a friend with you who can help reign you in.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Irvine
- The Access Irvine mobile app covers just about everything a visitor needs in the city. You can search for local events, report crimes, and ask questions. You’ll also get links to all the city’s social media accounts.
- Irvine Police have a community crime map on their website, which allows you to search for crime information interactively. You can select the date range, type of crime, and specific information, and you’ll get the most updated results. This is a great tool to see crime trends that might be happening closer to your visit.
- While it’s very rare, when Irvine does get rain it can cause flooding. Even a little bit of rain makes the drivers here even worse, so use extra caution. (Hey, give them a break. They aren’t used to ongoing slick roads with rain being so rare.)
- Sign up for AlertOC notifications to find out when rain is in the forecast or to track wildlife dangers that could impact air quality or cause evacuation in the city. You can get notifications through text messages, emails, or voice messages.
- On the City of Irvine website, there is a new map of evacuation zones for wildfires. You can watch videos about the new Hi/Lo Warning system in several languages on that same web page. You’ll be able to hear the difference between a regular police siren and the new siren that specifically tells people to get out.
- Coyotes are spotted in Irvine from time to time, and you shouldn’t panic if you see one. The animals usually want nothing to do with you and will avoid any contact. Keep small pets inside at all times unless you are there to supervise. You can report a coyote sighting by emailing email@example.com. You can also call (949)724-7092.
- Irvine uses automatic license plate readers, so there’s a record of every vehicle that comes through the city. If you have no intention of committing a crime here, you don’t need to worry about it. In fact, if your car were to get stolen, you’ll love that the police could quickly track down its latest sighting in the city.
- If you have been the victim of a non-urgent crime, like a car break-in, the Irvine Police Department allows you to schedule a virtual meeting with an officer at your convenience. This saves a lot of time going to the police station and waiting in line.
- Irvine has banned short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo. If you find a listing for a rental in the city, it’s not legal, and you should not try to skirt the system. There’s a good chance anyone renting short-term is a scammer or flagrant violator of the law.
- Crystal Cove State Park is just 10 minutes from Irvine and has a great beachfront with tide pools galore. Those tidepools, like most things on the OC, come with strict rules. You cannot pick up any tidepool animals, much less take them with you. Don’t even turn over rocks, as that can disrupt the animals. To report violations of the tidepool laws, call 1-888-334-CALTIP (888-334-2258).
So... How Safe Is Irvine Really?
Irvine is in its 16th year (and counting) of being rated the Safest Community in America.
Keep in mind – that’s the violent crime rate.
The property crime rate is also low, but the common thefts that worry a tourist still happen.
There is an average of four car break-ins each day.
While pickpocket and purse snatching numbers are low, the average pickpocket loss was $1800.
That’s one reason we say (ad nauseam) to leave valuables at home and don’t carry a lot of cash with you.
The best part is reducing your risk of theft is easy, with simply locking car doors and keeping your wallet/purse secured and hard to steal.
Don’t rest a purse on the back of your chair at restaurants.
Keep it on your lap or wrap the strap around an empty chair in your line of sight.
To give some context of how safe the city is, we compared two other cities of similar size to Irvine.
Keep in mind, the average city in the United States has 399 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
- Irvine: 49 violent crimes per 100,000
- Stockton, California: 1,231 per 100,000
- Henderson, Nevada (next to Las Vegas): 207 violent crimes per 100,000
Some people will call Irvine “boring” because of its lack of nightlife, but with the best beaches of Orange County minutes away and the great city layout with mountains nearby, can you really go wrong here?
How Does Irvine Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
You need a U.S. Travel or Work Visa whether you're crossing the border from Mexico or flying internationally. Check to see if your country has a Visa Waiver eligibility first. You'll need a passport too. Visa approvals can take several months, so start planning early.
The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency accepted here. While there's little need for cash, you can find plenty of banks to exchange currency throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Even the toll roads don't take cash any longer.
Southern California gets great weather throughout the year, and it rarely rains, so bring clothing for warm weather with a few pairs of sweats just in case of a cold morning or night. While this is a very fashionable area, you still want to wear comfortable walking shoes since you'll be on your feet a lot seeing all the great sights.
John Wayne Airport (SNA) is actually in Irvine, so it's the best option for those visiting Orange County. If you're heading to LAX instead, plan for at least an hour on the road and plan for a lot of that infamous L.A. traffic.
Travel insurance is a smart idea to protect the trip investment and your belongings as you travel. You'll want to have some kind of health protection, too, as hospitals and urgent facilities charge for any service used, and paying out of pocket can get expensive quickly.
Irvine Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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