California : Safety by City
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Pomona, California, is a diverse city in the Pomona Valley and is named after the Roman goddess of fruit.
While agriculture still has a strong presence in Pomona, the expanse of tourist attractions is a whole different kind of fruit-bearing opportunity for visitors.
The first thing you’ll notice when you Google information on Pomona are the pages and pages of college information.
That’s because California State Polytechnic University – Pomona is located here.
(Generally referred to as CalPoly Pomona).
There are 20,000 students who attend this school, and while it’s a college town, there’s more to it than CalPoly Pomona.
Pomona (pronounced: puh-MOAN-uh) is popular for many reasons, including it being the site of the annual L.A. County Fair in May.
It’s also a hot rod lovers’ dream with car shows throughout the year and an NHRA Raceway.
The location of Pomona is fantastic as you are just 30 minutes from the highest mountain peak in Los Angeles and less than an hour from the beaches of Santa Monica.
Is it as safe as it is scenic?
Warnings & Dangers in Pomona
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Pomona. All crime rates are above the national and California averages. While it's common for cities around Los Angeles to have a certain amount of crime, gang activity, and drug problems, Pomona just rises a little higher on the safety concern rating than some other nearby cities.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There are many low-risk options in Pomona, as public transportation is popular throughout the county. You can take the bus via Foothill Transit Silver Streak, or ride the MetroLink train. There are taxis and rideshares available as well. For those with a car, Pomona has incredible access to nearby freeways, including the busy I-10. That low risk comes with you practicing proper safety measures and keeping your belongings secured and being aware of your surroundings at bus or rail stops.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a one in 50 chance of being a theft victim here, but that includes the entire category of thefts. Drilling down those numbers, I found there were just 13 reports of pickpockets or purse snatchings. That's a low risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
It was eye-opening when I found all the disasters the Pomona Emergency management prepares for each year. These include earthquakes, flooding, mudslides, wildfires, and extreme winds or heat. All that potential disaster adds up to medium risk. You can feel confident knowing the city has a plan should any of those events occur and you can read it on their website.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium chance of a mugging here. The robbery rate is twice the national average. The robberies that took place in areas where you would find visitors accounted for 38% of all robberies. It's not unsafe to be in Pomona, but there's just enough concern to keep you more on guard.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The 488 emergency operations guide for Pomona states, "The entire Los Angeles Basin is considered a possible risk area for a nuclear event or act of terrorism."
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being scammed. While Pomona does have scams, they are generally aimed at people who live there, like a utility scam or someone claiming to be a police officer with a warrant unless they get cash.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as there is for everyone. Don't walk around after dark alone, or even in a small group. Stay safely in a car when traveling and keep the doors locked. There are gangs on all sides of this town.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The drinking water is a low risk here, despite challenges of contamination in the late 2000s. The city recently won a $48 million verdict for the water pollution that resulted after using fertilizer on the crops, which then leaked a toxic chemical into the water supply.
Safest Places to Visit in Pomona
Pomona has several museums that cater to all kinds of tastes, hobbies, and history:
- The African American Museum of Beginnings
- American Museum of Ceramic Art
- Rail Giants Train Museum
- NHRA Motorsports Museum
Downtown Pomona is an urban core of shopping, dining, arts, performances, fitness, and salons.
There is a lot of housing directly in or above the businesses of the downtown area.
The second Saturday of every month is the Art Walk and Market Night, allowing people to enjoy the outdoors while shopping for novelties.
The Pomona Historical Society has several buildings dating back to the 1800s open for tours.
You can see designs from the first adobe structure built to a Victorian-era home once at risk of demolition but saved in the nick of time.
Mt. Baldy is just north of Pomona and is the tallest peak in the LA basin.
Its official name is Mt. San Antonio, but everyone calls it Mt. Baldy for the lack of trees near the top of the peak.
The California Botanic Garden is just north of Pomona, providing a look at the native plants of Southern California.
Places to Avoid in Pomona
You will want to avoid the neighborhoods in Pomona unless you are visiting friends and relatives.
The neighborhoods are just so hit-or-miss about their safety.
Many online posters say the south side is very dangerous, while others say to avoid going north of I-10 and it’s a historically gang-ridden neighborhood.
Stay on main roads and avoid driving or walking around at night.
While many crimes here might be domestic or gang violence, you also don’t want to get caught up in a bad situation accidentally.
All crime rates are higher than the national and California average here.
There are prostitutes in town, and especially close to the Swap Meet area of town.
The museums are safe attractions and provide plenty of entertainment, but you’ll need to secure your car if you’re driving.
Lock the doors, roll up the windows, use an anti-theft safety device if you have one, and leave no belongings in plain sight.
Even the GPS holder can be a target for thieves.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Pomona
- You’ll want to follow Nixle.com for constant updates on crime in Pomona. Also, follow the police department’s social media channels so you can stay on top of developing crimes in the community during your visit.
- Downtown Pomona has two designated police officers and a private security team. To reach police during a non-emergency, call (909)622-1241. If you want to reach Allied Security, call (888) 720-0007.
- Due to the potentially dangerous nature of this community, there is an FBI presence in town, as well as a task force for auto theft, and a dedicated district attorney to hold criminals accountable. You can feel comfortable knowing a lot is being done to keep the streets safer.
- Use caution when riding or walking, always cross the street at crosswalks, and wear a helmet when riding. 40 accidents in 2020 involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Always give pedestrians the right of way when you are in the car.
- Drive with windows rolled up and doors locked. You might be approached by a homeless person or a prostitute in Pomona. Avoid contact with them by keeping as many barriers between them and you.
- The Santa Ana winds in the latter part of the year can range from annoying to downright dangerous. These strong gusts funneled down from the mountains and through the valleys before hitting the ocean, can knock down trees and power lines.
- If you spot graffiti around town, call the Graffiti Hotline at (909)620-2265. Graffiti is used by gangs to mark their territory and police want to get the markings removed as quickly as possible.
- You can search for crime in any hyper-local part of Pomona using the police department’s crime map. You can select a crime, date range, and location to see what’s happening closer to your time of visit.
- Visiting Mt. Baldy is a great adventure, but if you’re not used to elevation changes, give yourself plenty of extra time. At nearly 10,000 feet, the oxygen is much thinner near the peak and it can lead to breathing and cognitive thinking impairment.
So... How Safe Is Pomona Really?
It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still not safe.
Here’s how the crimes break down:
- Violent Crime: 780 cases
- Robbery: 271 cases
- Theft: 3015 cases
- Rape: 95 cases
There’s been a steady decline in crime trends over the past 10 years, showing the efforts to clean up the city are paying off, but there’s still a long way to go.
Here’s what some locals say about Pomona in social forums:
- “I am sure there are good parts of Pomona. I am not sure where they are, but am sure they are really close to the bad areas which are most of Pomona.”
- “I’ve lived near the Pomona area all my life, and all I can say is KEEP YOUR DOORS LOCKED. Most of the area is HIGH in crime…what a shame since there are so many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes in that area, but since the late 1960s, low-income housing brought in a lot of thugs and gangs…and I don’t expect them to leave anytime soon!”
- “I love the downtown area we have. It’s really nice and beautiful at night. The only things I don’t like are all the gangs and homeless people.”
- “There are some aspects of Pomona that are enjoyable, like its beautiful parks and friendly neighbors. However, I think there is still a lot that can be improved, much like the high number of cars that are stolen and homeless in the area. You can definitely see that the city is making efforts to help as well as law enforcement, so I would say it is getting a lot better!”
You need to be very vigilant and extra cautious in Pomona.
There are a lot of interesting things to see and do here, but there’s a rough side of this city that isn’t meant for tourists.
If you get weirded out by uneasy safety feelings, you might want to look for a nearby city to visit with lower crime rates.
How Does Pomona Compare?
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- Visas - Once you've gotten your Visa cleared through the airport or port of entry, you're all good in Pomona. You won't need to present any other identification to be here.
- Currency - The U.S Dollar is the currency of Pomona and the surrounding area. Please don't carry cash around here, and if you do, keep it hidden. Using an easy payment form like a credit card or Apple Pay can really cut down on the perception that you might have something a robber wants.
- Weather - Winter weather barely makes it into the 60s for highs but gets into the 40s for lows, and you need to watch for those Santa Ana winds. Spring and fall are in the 70s for highs and 50s for lows. The hottest part of the summer you can expect the 90s for highs and 60s for lows. You'll want to bring layers because of the temperature changes, and bring good walking shoes for tours around all the museums or wandering the County Fair.
- Airports - One of the benefits of visiting Pomona is you have a lot of airport options. The closest is Ontario (ONT) International Airport just 15 minutes east. San Bernardino's airport (SBD) is just 35 minutes east. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is about 45 minutes west. Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) is 40 minutes northwest. John Wayne Airport in Orange County (SNA) is 35 minutes south.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for a trip to Pomona. Wildfires can get dangerously close to Pomona and also impact air quality and flight patterns.
Pomona Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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