California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
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- 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
San Leandro, California, sits in a premier position in the East Bay area of the San Francisco metropolitan area with the bay to the west, mountains to the east, Oakland to the north, and a variety of unique communities to the south.
It’s a sleeping bedroom community in San Leandro (pronounced: lee-AN-dro) with little nightlife but a lot of daytime activities.
You can boat on the bay, golf bayside, go for a hike, or enjoy one of the many local parks in the mild climate.
You’re also just three miles from the Oakland Zoo.
In San Leandro, you have Lake Chabot (pronounced: shah-BOW) as your backyard, with endless ways to take a deep breath of fresh air in the hills or on the water.
I mentioned the premier position of San Leandro in my opening sentence, but it’s important to know it also sits on what some call the potentially most destructive fault line in America — the Hayward Fault.
Warnings & Dangers in San Leandro
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk in San Leandro, especially in comparison to some neighboring cities. Also, there are some crime notes we'll go through that would be closer to medium risk.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The Bay Area is known for its strong reliance on public transportation because who wants to sit in all that traffic? Your best ferry option to San Francisco is in Alameda. Locally, you can ride Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), AC Transit, or get a taxi. Rideshares are available as well, and commuters have a great system worked out where they share cars if you're in town for business. All options are low risk with certain cautions given when waiting at a BART station.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
The overall theft rate is nearly twice the national average, but when you whittle down to pickpocket or purse snatching reports, there were 25 reported. There's a medium risk due to the potential and the influence of higher crime rates in neighboring Oakland.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Just east of 580 is the Hayward Fault Line. This runs a long span along the east side of the whole region. A "big one" hasn't hit since 1868, so that's either comforting it was so long ago or concerning because it means it's due to rattling again. The San Andres Fault Line gets the most attention in the Bay Area, but the Hayward Fault could do catastrophic damage as well. This isn't meant to scare you, but to encourage you to study up earthquake safety and the city provides plenty of resources to do so. Wildfires, tsunamis, and flooding are also a risk here, so overall there's a medium risk that's more about potential damage than frequency.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is almost four times the national average. Of the 260 robberies that happened, 34 of those were highway robberies, which means "A robbery committed on or near a public highway, usually against travelers." I'd say it's worth being cognizant of the issue and walking confidently and focused on your surroundings, but nothing that would force me to give it anything more than a low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in such a large population area that holds the heart of the technology world and several military installations.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The scams reported in San Leandro are mostly ones that involve phone calls, so you shouldn't have an issue there. It's a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's one in 4136 chance of being a victim of sexual assault. Nothing else in the crime numbers gives me pause for women to travel here. It's a low risk.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water utility proudly boasts, "Our drinking water consistently meets or surpasses state and federal drinking water standards" and has an annual report with statistics to back up that claim. There's a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in San Leandro
I would never say “there’s not much to do here” in any review, but you have to accept that this isn’t San Francisco or Oakland.
It’s a smaller town of 91,000 people and is so residential there’s only one hotel in town.
What you do have are a lot of options that aren’t going to be loaded with tourists and lines.
Start at the San Leandro Marina and nearby park.
You can rent a boat, work out on the hiking trail with fitness equipment, or sit and enjoy the view.
Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline is another great place to get some beach time.
On the east side of the city lies Chabot Park.
This is a great area for hiking and water sports in freshwater.
The Bayfair Mall is the shopping and dining focal point in San Leandro, with a few dining options as well.
There are more shops and restaurants in downtown San Leandro, along with a history museum and library.
Places to Avoid in San Leandro
I won’t go as far as to say “avoid” these areas, but, the space between interstates 880 and 580 has the highest crime rates.
Known as “the flats”, there are just more common crimes here than on the other sides of the interstates.
Many residents complain about the noise that comes from East Oakland in the Broadmoor area, and it’s not uncommon to see police helicopters overhead or hear gunfire.
If that sounds scary to you, know that it’s just how life is in such a large area.
If you’re from a big city, you’ll understand that and won’t have to be worried.
It’s not a war zone, it’s just a big metropolitan area with crime and Oakland has very high crime rates.
Safety Tips for Traveling to San Leandro
- Stay on top of safety and hazards by signing for police notifications at nixle.com. You’ll get real-time information right on your mobile device.
- If you see a non-emergency crime happen like graffiti or drug activity, you can text the San Leandro Police to anonymously report it. Just text TipSLPolice to 888777. You can even do a live chat with an officer.
- There’s a crime map on the San Leandro Police Department’s website that will show you a daily activity dashboard of crimes. This is a great tool to review when you’re making a travel decision as the most recent official numbers come from 2020 through the FBI database.
- You might be approached for money, but a firm “No” should suffice. There are about 400 homeless people in San Leandro. There are community efforts to work with the homeless, but it’s never an easy fix. It’s better to donate to a homeless organization than to give a homeless person money, so you’ll know that money is going to good use.
- If you go to Lake Chabot (see how I rhymed there? It will help you remember too!) you can fish, but you’ll need a license from the California Department of Wildlife.
- Don’t approach the animals and if one is blocking your path, move slowly and make a little noise to get them going on their way. In any of the East Bay Regional Parks, you’re likely to see grazing animals like cows, sheep, or goats. These animals are helping the park system by eating the grass, which means better management of the grassland.
- For traveling outside of San Leandro, be sure to use 511.org. It’s the all-knowing traffic guide to the Bay Area and traffic here is insanely busy. It’s one of the biggest complaints of residents, but tools like this will help navigate any detours or traffic trouble.
- There’s just one hotel in San Leandro and it’s right by the marina. There are some home rental options on sites like Airbnb, so there’s another option. Just be sure the landlord has the license to rent and you should not have to send money via wire ahead of time. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
- The Oakland airport is right by San Leandro, so you’ll need to accept some airport noise. The city took steps to make it more insulated from loud noises with things like sound-insulated windows and doors. The FAA has recently moved some air patterns to lessen the noise, but you’re not going to be able to escape some noise.
- Some of the parking in downtown San Leandro is on the streets and there’s a metered time limit. If you still want to stay downtown, not only do you need to move your car, but you’ll need to move to a different zone that’s at least 1/10th of a mile away. Maybe just park in a garage to avoid that inconvenience.
So... How Safe Is San Leandro Really?
I’ve read at least 100 reviews of the city from residents and it’s interesting they feel pretty safe in their city considering the crime statistics have some issues.
Most complaints are about the city not being very clean and well kept, which is being addressed by the city council.
As for crime statistics, here’s how it breaks down in risks of being a victim in certain crime categories:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 196
- Theft: 1 in 45
- Robbery: 1 in 350
- Rape: 1 in 4136
If you’re from a big city or a suburb of a big city, nothing about San Leandro will surprise you.
It has crime, it has homeless people, and it has some less desirable parts of town.
It also has a lot of amenities that make people leave the busy vibe of San Francisco and seek some solace on the other side of the bay.
I highly recommend you read the reports on some of the neighboring cities, like Oakland, so you can get a bigger picture of the crime trends in this Easy Bay region.
How Does San Leandro Compare?
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- Visas - You're all good with Visa once you get through the airport or port of entry. No additional process is needed to be in San Leandro, though don't forget that fishing license if that's on your itinerary.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here and in every part of the region. Credit cards are going to take care of most purchases and there's little need to carry around cash. It's safer that way too.
- Weather - There's not a whole lot of variety in the weather here. Winters are a little cooler, with highs near 60°(F). Lows get into the 40s. The hottest you'll get here, on average, is 77°(F) in September and lows will get back down to the 50s, so a good jacket is going to be useful throughout the year.
- Airports - Oakland's airport is right next door, so it's a close, convenient option. San Francisco's airport is 30 miles west over a bridge (if that matters to you). San Jose's airport is 40 miles south.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for your visit to San Leandro. There are a lot of weather variables in this area that could delay or cancel flights.
San Leandro Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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