California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
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- Los Angeles
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- Mountain View
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- San Bernardino
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- 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
Katy Perry once sang, “Nothing comes close to the Golden Coast,” and she was referring to the area in and around Oxnard, California.
This Ventura County beachfront community is vibrant with sunny days, fun nights, and a booming economy.
Here you eat tacos for the main course and strawberries for dinner – and you won’t find better samples of either one in California.
This is as much a military town as it is an agricultural hub, with a shipping port being the biggest stop between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Oxnard has a large Hispanic/Latino community, with 75% of the community identifying as one or the other, and Spanish is spoken as a primary language in more than 67% of homes.
Knowing conversational Spanish will go a long way here.
While you can enjoy the beach and golden dunes here, you also have immediate access to the Santa Clara River.
You are also just 15 minutes from rocky ledges above the beach at Point Mugu State Park and Beach in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The community of Ojai is just 30 minutes away with its pink sunsets and a community focused on health and wellness.
Ventura County is a great escape from the busy city life of Los Angeles while still being close enough when the mood beckons.
Warnings & Dangers in Oxnard
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk in Oxnard with average or below-average crime levels and plenty of things to do. Places to stay and things to do cater to all budgets, from upscale to bargains.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Gold Coast Transit gets you around the city and Ventura County. You can take the train to Los Angeles. Taxis and rideshares are available and rental cars are plentiful if you want to ride the famous Pacific Coast Highway on your own. Ventura Intercity Transit can also take you along the PCH and stops at each city along the way. You'll likely find bicycle rentals at your hotel too.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here in general, but be careful when you bring your stuff to the beach and go into the water. Don't create a crime of opportunity.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The biggest risk here is one you can't plan for - earthquakes. Oxnard is close to several fault lines, including the massive San Andreas fault. You can review earthquake safety on the Ventura County Emergency Management website. Tsunamis could also be an issue if there's an offshore quake. That is one disaster you can avoid if you are signed up for emergency alerts. When a wildfire is burning, it can also lead to evacuations at worst and air quality concerns at a minimum.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery rate here is one category higher than the national average - 15% higher. While the police department doesn't give a breakdown of robbery details, it appears, looking through news articles over the past year, that many robberies are at businesses or in homes. There are also a good number of robberies among people who know each other. While this should lessen the concern, it doesn't mean letting your guard down. There are gangs in Oxnard, and you don't want to cross paths with them.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
While places like San Francisco and Los Angeles would be higher priority targets, a deep port in Oxnard supplements the economy, and a Navy base and port would also draw interest from a determined terror group. Being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious would be the best way to handle any threats from a tourist's perspective. Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Customs, and local law enforcement work around the clock to keep the area safe.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
While there aren't any major scams widely reported against tourists in Oxnard, you shouldn't let your guard down. Here's why - Oxnard is one of the wealthiest cities in the country, and criminals will look for any way to get some of that money. When renting a home or boat, verify permits and paperwork. If anything seems suspicious, report it to the police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Oxnard is a great girlfriend's getaway location, and even a solo female traveler on business won't find too many risks. Even though this is a quaint and quiet space compared to Southern California standards, the same rules apply for personal safety. Don't walk around at night alone, don't meet someone new in a private place, and if you need help, ask a professional in a business or hotel, not a stranger.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Oxnardwater.org provides all the information and updates on water quality. As of the 2021 Water Quality Report, the utility was fully compliant. If you've never read a water quality report, it's actually quite interesting. You see where your water comes from, how it's treated, and what is being done to further the process of making tap water safer.
Safest Places to Visit in Oxnard
Visitoxnard.com is the official tourism website for the city.
You can get all the information from booking your trip to getting around to the best attractions.
Download a visitor’s guide or a map of the area if you’d like.
Chances are, you’re in Oxnard for beaches, so let’s go through them:
- Silver Strand Beach: One of the least crowded places where surfers ride the waves and kayakers take leisurely rides. A shipwreck is just offshore, and it’s the skeleton of a luxury ship from half a century ago. Fishing and beachcombing are popular here, and it’s just a short walk to Quincy Street with restaurants and shopping.
- Hollywood Beach: This beach gets its name from the celebrities that used to seek respite here from the paparazzi and fans of Los Angeles. Water vehicle rentals are available here, and the expansive beach means there’s always room for you.
- Mandalay Beach: This is a great location for families to enjoy the sun and rent watercraft. Oxnard Beach Park is here with a pirate-themed playground for the kids. You’ll also get stunning views of the Channel Island National Park offshore.
Channel Islands National Park is a not-so-hidden secret of visiting Ventura County.
This park is a series of islands, and you can learn about its history by watching a 25-minute movie produced by the park service on the NPS website.
Download the NPS app to get more information on transportation and restrictions.
Access to the park is free, but you’ll have to pay for a ride there (or take your own boat or kayak).
Island Packers provides plenty of trips to the islands and also offers whale-watching tours.
Islands in the park include:
- Anacapa Island
- Santa Cruz Island
- Santa Rosa Island
- San Miguel Island
- Santa Barbara Island
Camping is offered on some beaches and a few of the islands, but do plenty of research so you can be prepared for fees, amenities, and safety concerns.
The Collection at River Park is inland near the river and is an upscale open-air shopping center with spas and restaurants to enjoy.
Check for local events during your visit.
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum is a tribute to the Naval Construction Force and includes artifacts, education, and innovation in the naval building business.
It is closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
Places to Avoid in Oxnard
There are neighborhoods in the central part of the city that are best avoided.
This is around Five Points, Hobson Park, and La Colonia.
These areas aren’t near major hotels or attractions.
In fact, the hotels that aren’t at the beach are found right along Highway 101.
The beach communities are among the safest in the area.
Avoiding seeing sunny skies and a warm day and just jumping right into the ocean.
The water here can be quite cold and might require a wetsuit, especially in the winter.
There are wet suit rentals available throughout the city.
If you’re kayaking, it won’t be as important, but for those surfing, swimming, or snorkeling, you don’t want to get in the water most of the year without one.
The warmest the water gets is 64°(F)/18°(C).
Safety Tips for Traveling to Oxnard
- The Oxnard Police Department has an interactive crime map on its website, which is more updated and thorough than the data provided for 2021. You should check for car break-ins, thefts, robberies, and violent crimes around your hotel for the prior week or month before your visit to get a better idea of crime trends.
- Sign up for VC Alerts (Ventura County Alerts) through the readyventuracounty.org website to get information about emergency situations happening during your visit, including all weather-related events. You need to keep close track of any wildfire information because the winds can change quickly and spread fires in different directions while also impacting air quality.
- Before you visit the Channel Islands National Park, check the app or website to see what advisories or warnings are in place. You need to know about any closure or natural hazards. For example, one of the advisories, as I write this, is about an excess of yellowjackets on Santa Cruz Island and how to avoid getting stung.
- There are no resources on the islands, so bring everything you need, including water, sunscreen, snacks, and towels. That said, you can’t bring a bag or cooler that weighs more than 45 pounds.
- The Oxnard Taco Trail is a website dedicated to the amazing taco options around the city. If you check in to 15 locations, you get an “I conquered the Oxnard taco trail” shirt. Be sure to try a Vampire Taco, and don’t skip the food trucks. Be sure to ask about the spicy levels of each item, because this isn’t watered-down Tex-Mex. This is the authentic version which could come with more “kick” than you’re used to.
- You’ll need a fishing license from California Fish and Wildlife if you are over 16. There are certain permits needed for things like California Spiny Lobsters. You can purchase the license online, but some of the fishing charter services sell them as well.
- You’ll find so many places to buy strawberries here, but be sure to use the best safety practices to keep them safe. Refrigerate when you bring them home if you won’t eat them right away. Always wash them in cool water to get rid of any bacteria or insects.
- Stargazing is a popular activity here. There are plenty of places in the mountains or on the Channel Islands to get a great view with no light pollution. Going during a full moon is ideal, and bring a flashlight with a red filter so you can see the area around you without interrupting other stargazers. Bring a jacket and blanket, as it can get cool at night.
- If you aren’t a skilled surfer, take a lesson before you try your luck on the waves. There are certain surfing etiquette rules you’ll need to know, and the local surfers have little patience for tourists who get in their way.
- While Oxnard has great beach weather, it rarely gets hot here. That can give a false sense of safety against the sun’s rays. Always wear sunscreen and re-apply often.
So... How Safe Is Oxnard Really?
In 2022, Oxnard is at a 10-year low for crime across the board.
In 2021, crime was down 18% from 2020, which goes against the grain of many cities that saw more crime in 2021 when the pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Car break-ins account for 60% of all thefts in Oxnard, and it’s largely due to the number of people who leave a car unlocked with personal items inside.
I see this trend across America in my research.
At best, a city has 30% of thefts related to car break-ins.
Crime could exponentially go down if people just locked doors and rolled up windows when they parked.
It’s that simple.
Think of all the other crimes police could focus on if they weren’t dealing with a parking lot full of unlocked vehicles that got hit.
A good chunk of the crime here is related to a certain group of people or those affiliated with gangs and drugs that habitually commit crimes.
Police are focused on getting more officers out of the office and on the streets to prevent crimes and hold those who do commit crimes accountable.
Oxnard is a place to come for relaxation and fun, but don’t let that dampen your common sense and situational awareness.
The average tourist won’t even realize the crime issues here if they follow basic personal safety steps.
How Does Oxnard Compare?
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- Visas - Whether you cross the border, arrive by ship, or fly into an airport, you'll have to go through Customs and will need a U.S. Visa and your passport. The visa process can take several months, so start planning early. You might qualify for a Visa Waiver but check with the U.S. State Department website for that information.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. Exchange currency inside a bank and try to avoid using a public ATM. Many places will take credit cards, but you might find a few businesses that are cash-only, so keep cash concealed and don't carry a large wad of it with you.
- Weather - Winter brings more rain than any other time of year, so bring a raincoat. From April through October, you won't need rain gear. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, but the sea breeze can be chilly. Bring a mix of warm-weather clothing with some jackets or hoodies for cooler mornings and nights.
- Airports - Oxnard's airport doesn't have commercial flights, so you'll need to head to Los Angeles for the closest options. Hollywood-Burbank is about an hour away, and LAX is 90 minutes away. Always check traffic maps for delays, because that could double your drive time.
- Travel Insurance - You should consider travel insurance to protect your flight, car rental, and health. Ask what kind of protection there is for earthquake damage - just in case.
Oxnard Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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