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
Smack dab in the center of Silicon Valley is Santa Clara, California.
Intel and Nvidia call this place home, and during your visit, you might want to do so as well.
This is a place with great neighborhoods and a lot to do before you even cross over into San Jose to the west.
Football fans know this city well, as it’s home to the San Francisco 49ers, who play at Levi’s Stadium.
Whether you want to take in a game, explore the wild, shop at a major center, or enjoy an amusement park, it’s all here in Santa Clara.
This is a diverse community with Asians making up 43% of the population.
That culture is great for foodies who want to explore the Korean Cuisine in its special neighborhood.
There’s just about any kind of international cuisine you can imagine throughout Santa Clara.
Santa Clara is known as The Mission City and as we go through the safety advice, we’ll explain why.
Warnings & Dangers in Santa Clara
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. This is a safe community with a lot of safe options.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You've got the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) for bus service and light rail that runs through all of Silicon Valley. The Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) is not connected to Santa Clara as of early 2022. There are plans for expansion down the road. Taxis and rideshares are safely available too.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
With just 10 reports of pickpockets and purse snatching, that's a low risk. The biggest thefts were from cars, so keep it locked up and empty, with all valuables being inside your hotel room or with you, if needed.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Santa Clara is in a highly active earthquake zone. You might feel a few rumbles, but to people in this area, it's as common as a severe thunderstorm in the Midwest. There is a chance for a major earthquake at all times, but it's just a commonly accepted risk here. That's a medium risk just due to the potential for a big quake, and it means you should study earthquake safety before you go.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were just a handful of highway robberies in Santa Clara in 2020, so that's a low risk. Cars are more likely to get "mugged" than people.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
This is a critical area for the IT security and national safety of the United States, so that's going to come with medium risk. Homeland Security does focus extra attention on these bigger target areas, so you don't need to do anything additional except stay vigilant and if you see something suspicious, report it.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are a handful of scams in this area, but they focus on locals. One to be wary of is a person claiming to be the mayor and saying you've won a lottery or jackpot. Don't fall for it. There's a low risk this will happen to you, but never believe something that seems too good to be true.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
No part of the crime numbers shows this city is any more dangerous for women than men. There's a low risk.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The Bay area is known for having some of the best tap water in the country and Santa Clara falls in line with that. All water meets or exceeds standards and is tested several times daily. There's a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Santa Clara
Great America Park is a wonderful way to spend the day.
There’s a lot of something for everyone in the family, from death-defying rollercoasters to water rides to carnival games.
If you have the time, can you try one of the French Quarter Funnel Cakes for me?
Get into the sporting mood by taking in a game or event at Levi’s Stadium.
This is the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
Even on non-game days, you can check out the on-site museum with the history of the football team.
Techies will love the Intel Museum.
It’s closed on Sundays, but open free to the public every other day, except holidays.
Here you can see the history of Intel technology throughout the years.
Santa Clara has many unique communities to visit. Santana Row offers classic San Francisco-style charm on a tree-lined street loaded with shopping and dining choices.
The Rivermark neighborhood is great to drive around and see the different styles of homes and condos while having unique restaurants.
Franklin Square offers a farmer’s market on Saturdays with some fresh-picked fruit from the fields of Northern California in a laid-back setting.
If you need to get in some shopping, The Great Mall is one of the biggest and best choices.
This is an interior outlet mall with more than 200 stores.
Santa Clara Town Centre has more of the familiar brands with national food chains tucked in.
No matter what religion you are, seeing the missions of California is just so invigorating.
The Mission Santa Clara de Asis is located on the grounds of Santa Clara University, one of the oldest higher education options in the state.
This mission has been destroyed and rebuilt no less than five times of its lifespan, and is why the city is known as The Mission City.
Places to Avoid in Santa Clara
Crime maps show the area just to the west of the San Jose airport has the highest number of crimes.
There’s a stretch along Highway 101 which has crime, but it’s pretty common for areas along freeways to have crime.
Neighbors describe the area as having “pockets” of less desirable areas, but not “bad neighborhoods.”
As far as where you stay and where you should avoid, one big complaint I saw online is the train and/or rail line noise.
You should ask when you are considering booking if there is:
- Freeway noise
- Train noise
- Lightrail noise
- Airport noise
Santa Clara is right next to the larger city of San Jose, so you might get some spillover of criminals from there.
It’s not the gang-infested city some places in Northern California can be, but it does have a little more edge to it than nearby Sunnyvale.
The biggest complaints I hear from neighbors there are the petty thefts like car break-ins, vandalism, and a few home burglaries.
This is a city that hasn’t had more than three homicides in any year all the way back to 2010.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Santa Clara
- Text BADWEATHER to 888777. This will get you weather alerts right to your mobile device from the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations team.
- The power might go off during thunderstorms, but it’s not what you think. The utility pre-emptively turns off the power in what’s called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). This is to prevent the winds or lightning from knocking down power poles or transformers that will then start a wildfire. Many of the big first in California are started by power line equipment. It’s inconvenient, yes, but the people of Northern California are used to it. Keep your devices charged as much as you can here in case you are affected by a PSPS.
- You’ll want to keep the 511 app and CalTrans information handy if you are leaving Santa Clara to visit the greater Bay area. Traffic here is insane. Any help you can get will be very appreciated and CalTrans does a great job of updating incidents as they happen.
- The police department updates crime statistics monthly and posts them online, being very transparent with the crime landscape. This is a great place to check before your trip to see if there’s a crime wave happening before your visit.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket instead of your back pocket. It seems this advice from several police stations in my recent research. Wear pants that have a button, so you can button in that wallet pocket.
- If you do find yourself the victim of a non-violent crime, you can report it online without having to call a police officer and fill out a report. This is helpful, so you can continue with your trip and not get delayed.
- You can also report crimes you see happening through an online portal. This is for things like graffiti, lost property, or fraud.
- The Santa Clara Police use Nixle to send out alerts to the community. Once you sign up, you can see incidents like missing people, standoffs, accidents that shutdown roads, etc. This is a great tool for getting to know the dangers of any community quickly.
- If you get a rental car, ask if you can get one with an alarm. Car break-ins are one of the most likely crimes in Santa Clara, according to the police department. It’s important to break the habit of stashing things in the trunk throughout the day and then leaving the vehicle unattended. All valuables should be taken back to the residence or hotel for safe keeping.
- It might be worth taking some time to learn basic Korean words before you go. Koreatown is a very popular part of Santa Clara. I was going to give you a few of those words here, but, the phonetics are tricky, so a YouTube video or a training service might be a better option.
So... How Safe Is Santa Clara Really?
I’ve done a lot of research on safety in cities in my career, and I can say generally I see crimes rates that look like this:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 200 chance
- Theft Crime: 1 in 50 chance
Here’s how Santa Clara compares:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 619
- Theft Crime: 1 in 55
This isn’t a place where crazy violent crimes happen often.
It’s an upscale community with an average income of $126,000 and people live in a home that costs, again on average, $1 million.
It’s definitely a busy side of Silicon Valley, with as much for tourists to do as there is for locals.
You’re also nestled up to San Jose, and right by the airport.
That could bring more crime.
Even the people who discuss their beloved city on social media say the worst crimes they see are car break-ins and vandalism, and it doesn’t seem to bother them too much.
How Does Santa Clara Compare?
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- Visas - Visa requirements are handled at the airport. No other identification is needed to get into Santa Clara.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. There's little need for carrying around cash, and it's safer if you just use a credit card for purchases. Notify your bank before you go so you can set a purchase limit notification.
- Weather - Just gorgeous weather is slated throughout the year. In winter, you'll get highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, so bring a coat or jacket, depending on how "cold" you think that is. Summers warm up to the 80s for highs but drop back down to the 50s for lows. If you don't have the space for it, it's okay not to bring any rain gear. The city doesn't get much on average.
- Airports - The San Jose airport is really close, just 4 miles away. San Francisco's airport is going to be a further drive, around 40 minutes, but plan for an hour to include traffic. You don't drive over any bridges to get there (if you happen to be scared of bridges, like me.) Oakland's airport is about 45 minutes away. You have a choice of driving over one of two bridges if you like them, or you can stay on land the whole time.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for your trip, as fog can easily disrupt traffic in this area and cancel or delay flights.
Santa Clara Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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