California : Safety by City
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Temecula, California lines the southwest side of the Inland Empire.
It’s part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area and provides easy access to both LA and San Diego.
This is a place made for tourists, with mountain backdrops, wineries, and festivals throughout the year.
Never pass up a farmer’s market in Temecula because you’ll have some of the best fruit and veggies of your life.
Temecula (pronounced: tuh-MECK-u-lah) has an old town historic district made for meandering on a warm day while dining al fresco.
If you want more action, head to the Pechanga Resort Casino.
Hot air balloon rides dot the landscape during nice days, and you can plan a trip of your own in a balloon or stay on the ground and choose a horse-drawn carriage ride through wine country.
There’s just so much to do here, and Temecula has also ranked as one of the safest cities in California over the past decade.
Warnings & Dangers in Temecula
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here. This is a city of possibilities and lower crime rates. That's not to say there are no dangers, but it's less risky than some other nearby cities.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The city of Temecula doesn't want you to drive a car unless it's necessary. There are many options to get around. You can rent a bike, call rideshare, sign up for a commuter list, or take the free trolley. Riverside Transit Authority provides the bus service throughout Riverside County. So many options and they all come with low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of being pickpocketed. This city of 110,003 people had just 14 pickpockets in 2020. Don't let your guard down, but you don't need a death grip on your purse either.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You've got wildfires, flooding, and earthquakes to worry about here. It's a medium risk because these disaster situations can go from bad to worse quickly. Riverside County has an extensive emergency management plan that's good to review before you arrive.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The robbery rate is one crime section that is much higher than the national average. However, the way crime statistics are reported is only based on the crimes versus the population. It doesn't take into account the more than 3 million visitors in the area each year. With just the basic crime math, there's a one in 298 chance of being a robbery victim. Add in the tourists and there's a one in 8,831 chance. That's a low risk, but I wanted to explain how I got to that rating.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. As part of a large metro area and tourist attractions, that's always going to be of keen interest to terrorists. Emergency management does have plans for before and after a terror attack as well.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
The scam to worry about is a vacation rental one. This is where someone lists a home for rent and asks for a certain amount of money wired upfront. The traveler finds out when they arrive that the home doesn't exist or is owned by someone else. Never wire money ahead of time and report anyone who asks you to do so to the police. There's a medium risk if you aren't careful in your search for the perfect place to stay.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk. Women love traveling here either alone or with girlfriends to visit wineries, take a spa weekend, or just shop 'til they drop.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in tap water and it meets all requirements of the state and EPA.
Safest Places to Visit in Temecula
A wooden walkway leads the path through Old Town Temecula.
Here’s where you can get a little history, art, antiques, entertainment, and farm-to-table food.
This charming area is going to take a couple of hours to visit, so plan accordingly.
We’d be here all day if I listed all of the wineries available to you in Temecula Valley.
There are nearly 50 options.
There’s a handy winery map that lays out the landscape for you.
You can take a wine tour or go in luxury with a limo ride.
There are also shuttles to take you to a winery and back, so you can enjoy the samples without driving after drinking alcohol.
I’d love to tell you more about the Vail Lake Resort that the tourism commission recommends, but the website is under construction as of this writing.
I did find some campground information and in 2022 the resort added “Glamping” to the menu of things to do there.
The Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.
You’ll see dozens of bird varieties, and maybe a bobcat or badger.
You can also see the two oldest standing buildings in Riverside County here if you are up for the hike to get there.
I’m a sucker for a petting zoo, so check out the Sugar Plum Zoo, where you can feed mini-horses, donkeys, llamas, tortoises, and more!
Stop by the chocolate shop and cafe while you’re there to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The closest beach is Oceanside, which is about an hour away.
Places to Avoid in Temecula
There aren’t really bad neighborhoods in Temecula.
There are newer and older areas, but none that are inherently crime-ridden.
This city has doubled in size in the past 20 years and just keeps growing.
Knowing that — a bad neighborhood could quickly become good and vice versa.
The average income in Temecula is $96,000.
The poverty rate is 7%. It’s just one of the safe options in the Inland Empire.
Avoiding getting into a political argument in Temecula.
This is a very conservative town and people will spout their beliefs whether you want to hear them or not.
Avoid heated discussions and just take a sip of wine.
One local had this comment about what living in Temecula is like, “It’s like Orange County was before it got overwhelmed.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Temecula
- This isn’t the desert. You’re an hour from the beach but less than 25 miles as the crow flies, so you’re going to get that ocean breeze. Throughout the latter part of fall and throughout winter, it’s subject to the Santa Ana winds (or “Santa Ana’s” as the locals call them). These winds can be quite intense and are known for fueling wildfires.
- Take the shuttle to a winery if you can. This will avoid drinking and driving or waiting for rideshare to get there.
- There are three police stations in Temecula, and one is dedicated to the busy Old Town area. You should feel safe knowing the police are scattered around town to keep visitors and residents safe.
- Like most towns, there is a homeless population here. The city has a homeless outreach team to help get people back on their feet, but there’s a good chance you’ll get asked for money. Don’t give directly to a person if you want to help. It’s better to donate to a homeless shelter.
- You’re going to need to be patient in Temecula traffic. It’s not that big of a city and remembers more than three million people visit each year. Just plan extra time ahead of your travels so you’ll get there on time and won’t be full of road rage when you do.
- CalTrans is the best way to track traffic in and around Southern California. There are real-time updates and live cameras to help you choose your route.
- Register your name and hotel address with Temecula ALERT to get hyper-local emergency notifications throughout your stay. You can also call (951) 506-5111 for updated emergency information.
- If you plan to fish while you visit, you’ll need a license from the California Department of Wildlife. Choose from a fresh or saltwater fishing license (or both). You can do much of the legwork online before you arrive.
- If you’re worried about emergency safety, backpacks can be purchased at city hall. They contain all the basic items you’ll need and it’s not the kind of stuff a tourist would necessarily bring with them (unless you carry around a flashlight and 4-in-1 valve shutoff tool).
- Don’t panic if you feel a little rumbling underneath you. Minor earthquakes happen quite often here. It’s the “big one” you will need to worry about. It’s important to know if you are outside during an earthquake, don’t run inside. Stay outside and look for an area that isn’t near falling objects.
So... How Safe Is Temecula Really?
It’s a very safe town for tourist activities.
The violent crime rate is lower than California and the national average.
Here’s how it breaks down to give an example:
- Violent Crime Rate Nationwide: 4 per 1,000 risk
- Violent Crime Rate in California: 4.4 per 1,000 risk
- Violent Crime Rate in Temecula: 1.35 per 1,000 risk
Even the theft rates are at the national average, which isn’t something to brag about necessarily, but in a tourist destination, you’d expect more thefts that were just easy crimes of opportunity.
The real high number is robberies at 368.
Just 32 of those happened during the daytime and not in a residence.
The highest robbery rates outside of a residence happened at night.
You’ve got a great place to visit in Temecula with a lot of nearby options.
There’s nothing that should make you cautious about staying here.
How Does Temecula Compare?
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Once you've gotten the Visa approved at the airport or port of entry, you're all set. Keep a Visa or passport close if you plan on crossing the border to Mexico while you're here. Tijuana is less than three hours away.
The U.S. Dollar is the currency here and throughout California. You should be able to take this vacation without needing any hard cash, which improves your safety risks as well. You might need a few dollars for tipping if you go on carriage rides or things like that.
It's just picture-perfect all year long. Winter highs are in the 60s and 70s and build up to highs of the upper 80s in the summer and start to go back down in September. Evenings are generally in the 50s or 60s, so bring a jacket or some layers.
You have plenty of options here. The San Diego airport is about an hour away. San Bernardino's airport is under 90 minutes from Temecula. John Wayne Airport in Orange County is a little over an hour away (but watch out for those takeoffs, they are intense!) and Los Angeles International is under two hours, including traffic.
You'll want to get travel insurance for a trip to Temecula. Wildfires and other weather delays could take precious time away from this inland eutopia of fun.
Temecula Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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