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
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- 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
Sunnyvale, California, is a geographical jewel in the crown of Silicon Valley.
Yahoo!, Google and LinkedIn are three of the big companies headquartered here, with Google being the top employer and Apple, Inc. coming in second.
This is a high-tech world in a high-end community with not a whole lot for tourists to do.
This is a bedroom community, only the bedroom comes attached to a 1.2 million dollar (on average) home.
As I searched for hotels in early 2022, I can say the hotel rates didn’t reflect the higher cost of living the community has, which is a bonus for travelers.
The downside is you are going to have to leave Sunnyvale if you want to find a bunch of fun things to do.
With San Jose to the east and Big Basin Redwood Park to the west, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Would you be surprised if I told you Sunnyvale doesn’t have a police department or fire department?
We’ll dive into that one a little bit later in this article.
Warnings & Dangers in Sunnyvale
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk in Sunnyvale. One crime concern stands out above all others, but the majority of crime categories are low by California and national comparisons.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There are plenty of travel options with low risk. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) does NOT make it to Silicon Valley as of early 2022, but a plan is in the works. For now, it only goes to north San Jose. For now, there's the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) that goes between Palo Alto, through Sunnyvale, and around San Jose. You can safely get a taxi or rideshare here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Only three pickpockets were reported in 2020, a very low number. The part of theft numbers that should be an eye-opener is the number of car break-ins. More than half of the thefts reported were from cars or car accessories. So, while you might not get pickpocketed, your car might.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Good news! You won't see any tornadoes here. Bad News. There's a 67% chance Sunnyvale and surrounding areas will get a 6.7 magnitude earthquake by 2037, according to the city's disaster plan. Sunnyvale is also located in or near a flood plain, depending on where you are, so heavy rains could cause flooding. While neither of these things is impacting the city day-to-day, there's still a chance and we're going to have to call it a medium risk and encourage you to read the safety plan.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a one in 2554 chance of being a robbery victim. That's a low risk. This is a very residential area with not a lot of the blight you might see in other parts of the Bay area.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. Terrorists could take out a large section of the technology base in this country, and some military installations nearby. Then there's the risk of a high population that could be impacted. As concerning as it might be, Homeland Security works around the clock to keep the community safe from terrorists.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of the common scams you might think of when being a tourist in a new area. Most of the scams here focus on the residents, and in the spirit of Silicon Valley, some pretty high-end, technical scams have been pulled off.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women traveling here. Nothing about women's safety stands out in the crime numbers. Be sure you check the neighboring cities, however, if you're leaving Sunnyvale for a night out on the town.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water is safe to drink and has a low risk. The San Francisco area takes great steps to make exceptionally clean water. For those worried about PFAS, as can be found in some cities, Sunnyvale's water has none.
Safest Places to Visit in Sunnyvale
Ask anyone in Sunnyvale where to go and they’ll insist you check out Baylands Park.
This 175-acre space has trails for hiking or biking and connects to a wetlands area.
You can also join the San Francisco Bay Trail to connect to the 300-mile-long path along the shore.
Historic Murphy Avenue is a perfect spot for strolling through shops and cafes or bringing your favorite book to just relax.
The city is expanding this area as I write this, so there might be more to do by the time you get there.
You can visit the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum for a walk-through about how Moffett influenced the Northern California region.
NASA now owns the former airfield and set up the Ames Research Center here.
Oh, I probably should mention this now that we’re talking about it, but in the city’s emergency plan there’s a *small chance there could be an air disaster from this airfield.
You can read more about it in that emergency plan.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
This is where you can see the Statue of Liberty of trees towering overhead with trunks so big your whole family can’t wrap around them.
This park also offers backroads trails, so you can get deep into the woods or hike to the shoreline if you’re physically fit.
Places to Avoid in Sunnyvale
Most visitors to this area will be driving by the headquarters of the big companies, and there’s no shame in doing that.
You can walk around the Google campus, but you cannot go inside.
Don’t even try.
Avoid going anywhere without double-checking that the car is locked with no valuables left inside.
Car break-ins are the one crime stat, backed up by Reddit residents of Sunnyvale, that should make you extra cautious.
We talked earlier about accessing the San Francisco Bay Trail from the park, and several residents say that area has a stench to it because the water treatment plant is nearby.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Sunnyvale
- Let’s get you ahead of the curve for your trip. Sign up for AlertSCC (Alert Santa Clara County). Sign up using your hotel address and you’ll be ready for notification about the weather, fire, earthquakes, crimes, and any civil emergencies.
- The 511 website and app in the Bay area will be your best tool for navigating the incredible traffic around the San Francisco Bay area. If you don’t live in a high-traffic area, just mentally prepare yourself for gridlock.
- When booking a hotel, ask if there is a parking fee. While just about every hotel in San Francisco and San Jose will have a high price for parking daily, some of the hotels in Sunnyvale offer free parking, which can save you about $100 per trip in parking fees.
- Your license plate is going to be read as you drive around Sunnyvale. The Automated License Plate Readers help police solve crimes. All cars get pictures taken, but it’s not until after a crime occurs that law enforcement will go through those images.
- If you’re heading to the Redwoods, bring bug spray. Ticks are common in the park and you should do a full-body check after you leave to be sure none are attached to you while hiking. There is also Poison Oak in the park. You need to be able to identify it so you can avoid it. Also, never feed the wildlife.
- California is in a drought emergency and needs to conserve all the water it can. Take extra steps to avoid wasting tap water. Shorten your shower and flush the toilet only when needed. Every little bit of conservation helps.
- Baylands Park is a popular spot to visit, but it’s generally pretty windy there. Keep that in mind if you are setting up a picnic or planning a photoshoot. The winds are more annoying than destructive, but it’s still something to prepare for before you go.
- Sunnyvale gives you a great sense of safety. Social circles even comment on how some people regularly go for runs at night. That doesn’t mean it’s always guaranteed to be safe, so don’t let your guard down.
- There are homeless people here, and while they might ask for money, they aren’t known to be aggressive like the homeless in Santa Cruz. A firm “No” should be good enough to get them to focus on someone else.
- You will see some spectacular homes in Sunnyvale, but don’t sneak through the gate of a community to give yourself a tour. This can set off alarms with neighborhoods and you might get stopped by law enforcement.
So... How Safe Is Sunnyvale Really?
Sunnyvale is one of the only cities in the country without separate fire and police departments.
The city has a Public Safety Department and all employees are trained to handle police, fire, and EMT situations.
The crime rate here is low.
The violent crime rate is 1/3 of the California average.
There’s a one in 663 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.
That’s one of the lowest you can find in the nation.
Even property crimes fall below the national average.
We’re not hiding a seedy underbelly here or getting any kind of compensation from the city of Sunnyvale to give you this information.
From crime numbers to local feedback, there’s just a great sense of safety in this part of the San Francisco Bay area.
How Does Sunnyvale Compare?
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- Visas - The Visas are handled at the airport and you won't need any other ID to get into Sunnyvale.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here and, being in Silicon Valley, there are some cryptocurrency places you can visit. You really won't need cash here, unless you prefer to tip a taxi driver that way. One credit card should be good enough and it offers a lot of protection in the event of an unauthorized charge.
- Weather - You're going to need to bring a jacket any time of year here. Winters are in the 50's for highs and 40s for lows. That warms up to the summer months, which are pretty mild itself, with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the 50s. The rainfall is far below the national average at just 15 inches a year.
- Airports - The San Jose Airport is the closest option. It's just 15 minutes east. Oakland's airport is a 45-minute drive, but plan for traffic. San Francisco's airport is 40 minutes northwest and you don't have to cross the water to get to it.
- Travel Insurance - You'll definitely want travel insurance for this trip as fog can quickly change the travel plans of the millions of people who use the Bay area airports throughout the year.
Sunnyvale Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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