California : Safety by City
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- Union City
- West Covina
Union City, California, is one of the city legs of the Tri-State Area that includes Fremont and Newark in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Metropolitan Area.
This former railroad town still has trains running daily and is a feeder market for commuters into Silicon Valley as it’s just right across the bay with two major bridges to get people to the peninsula.
Union Landing is a shopping and dining destination built on 100 acres in the heart of Union City.
Meanwhile, a massive project is underway on the east side of Union City, creating the Union City Station District downtown.
Not only will this plan bring more office space, housing, and retail to Union City, it’s poised to be the “mega-hub” for connecting from Stockton to Silicon Valley.
Warnings & Dangers in Union City
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Union City. The violent crime rate is lower than the national and California average. This is a very busy city, with certain risks that come with that, but overall, it's one of the best choices in Easy Bay.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
One bonus of Union City is, in addition to regional transportation services like Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and AC Transit, you have an inter-city option of UC Transit. Taxis and rideshares? Yep. All low risks, but don't let your guard down. It's easy to pop in earbuds and disconnect. That could make you a crime of opportunity. Stay alert.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There were just 16 reports of pickpockets or purse snatching in 2020, so while the theft risk is higher than the national average, there's a low risk of being pickpocketed. One tip police give is to put wallets in a buttoned front pocket, not the traditional back pocket, to make it harder to take without you noticing.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Union City is on the Hayward Fault Line, which hasn't had a big earthquake in more than 150 years. However, it historically has had one, on average, every 150 years. The city, county, and state have immense plans for earthquake preparedness, so it's more a topic to study before you go, not a deterrent. There are smaller risks of floods and fires. So overall, there's a medium risk, because bad can be REALLY bad here, but on an average day, you're going to have some of the best weather of your life.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Just 65 robberies were reported in Union City in 2020, and not one was a highway robbery. However, that's still a little above the national average when you do the crime math. There's a low risk.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Any major mega metropolitan area like San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland area is going to be a medium risk. There are tech giants located here and several military operations in addition to a large population.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There is a scam that started in 2022 where scammers approach people, usually people, and tries to sell them costume jewelry. As they are putting on fake jewelry, they steal the jewelry from the people. The other scams are mostly targeting locals. It's a low risk, but just be aware of that new scam happening. If you are the victim of a scam, call 510-548-4040 ext. 388 to connect with the Consumer Justice Center.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should be safe to travel here as long as they are practicing basic safety measures. It's a low risk. Be especially cognizant when waiting at public transportation spots or when being out after night. Try to travel in groups and keep doors locked when driving.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Tap water has a low risk. All tests exceed or meet the government requirements. The city has a detailed list of what you should do if you encounter a water problem, as some issues are beyond the utility's control and are impacted by pipes in the home or hotel.
Safest Places to Visit in Union City
Union Landing is the retail, transportation, and gathering core of Union City.
It’s also where the bulk of the hotels are, so it works out well for visitors.
While you’re there, visit the 9/11 Memorial for Flight 93, the first one of its kind for the flight that crashed into a Shanksville, Pennsylvania, field that horrific day.
It was en route to San Francisco.
The memorial is at Sugar Mill Landing Park, just across Dyer Street from Union Landing.
If you want to get outdoors, take a walk along the Alameda Creek Trail.
The trail spans 12 miles of bayfront land and also connects with Coyote Hills Regional Park.
On the other side of the valley, you have Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park with more than 20 miles of trails through hills, valleys, grassland, and water features.
Places to Avoid in Union City
Crime maps show the areas along Alvarado-Niles Road have the most crime incidents.
Here’s the shocker, at least to a crime numbers geek like me.
I was looking at the crime map overall, and the WIDE expanse of Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park was listed as one of the highest crime areas.
It wasn’t the highest, but it was in the top 3 most dangerous areas. Could that be right?
Now I can’t get the number just for that park, but I can get the East Bay Regional Park Police numbers.
Here’s how that breaks down:
- 235 thefts, 200 of which were from cars
- 12 robberies
- 43 violent crimes
I would think the biggest risk in those parks would be a rattlesnake bite.
Car theft makes sense since people leave windows rolled down or doors unlocked too often, but violent crime in a park?
It’s good to know you need to amp up your safety while visiting the wilderness, too!
Safety Tips for Traveling to Union City
- Always plan extra time when traveling. Union City has a lot of train tracks running through it, and it’s just a way of life to get stopped by trains at busy intersections.
- The city has updated crime maps where you can search hyper-locally for what’s happening closer to the time of your visit.
- If you’re going to be traveling outside of Union City while you’re here, get familiar with 511.org. The website provides a slew of information on traffic, delays, construction, and accidents.
- If you have an appointment time to be somewhere, plan 15-30 extra minutes just because of traffic. On that note, Union City has a lot of traffic all the time. The railroad delays don’t help.
- Learn the rules of cycling in this area. Do you need a helmet? Can you ride through a crosswalk or do you have to walk? Contact the Bike Easy Bay Coalition to help with some common questions and get you ready for the road, and maybe a bike across the bay to the peninsula! This is a city of people who don’t just ride bikes for exercise, they use them in lieu of cars to avoid the above-said traffic.
- If, at any time during your visit, you have questions about parking, call the city’s Parking Helpline at (510)477-1780.
- Sign up for AC Alert while you’re visiting so any civil, weather, or criminal emergencies can get right to you via email or a mobile device.
- Stay aware of your surroundings and don’t go off the designated paths. If you’re going into the wilderness areas around Union City, you’re going to see a lot of wildlife. It might be cattle. It might be a rattlesnake. Never feed wildlife. It’s a good idea to study what poison oak looks like, and there’s a lot of it in this part of California.
- If you see hazards on trails when you are adventuring, don’t try to fix whatever it is yourself. Call the Non-Emergency Trail Safety Hazards Hotline at (510)733-6991.
- You should study trail etiquette before you go. The trails on the bay or in the mountains are very busy with walkers, bicyclists, and equestrians. As a pedestrian, you should always stay to the right as someone approaches and you must yield to horses on the path. If you are riding a bicycle, it must include a bell so you can alert people you are approaching.
- Before swimming or getting near any water in the wilderness, check the park website for algae warnings. There are sometimes natural conditions that cause the water to be hazardous to humans, but the park is very vocal when this happens.
So... How Safe Is Union City Really?
The worst thing I’ve seen residents say about Union City is that it’s boring.
Of course, those are probably people who want nightlife and city life.
This is a suburban community, more middle than upper class, at least by Bay Area standards.
There’s a new stream of people from Silicon Valley coming to live here for lower housing costs and easy access with two bridges that go to the Peninsula.
Here’s how the crime statistics break down from the 2020 annual report:
- Violent crime risk: 1 in 315
- Robbery risk: 1 in 1079
- Theft risk: 1 in 57
There isn’t a city in the Bay Area that doesn’t have a certain amount of crime.
Most of the residents are attuned to the risks and do their due diligence to stay safe.
You should too.
The more you study how the BART and AC Transit systems work, review the traffic patterns, and research the area, the safer you’re going to feel going into this busy suburb.
How Does Union City Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
The Visas are only needed at the airport or port of entry. You don't need any additional processes to be in Union City.
You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. Some parks might require cash only for payment to enter, so check ahead of time. Otherwise, everything else can be paid for by credit card.
There's a mild winter here, with highs in the upper-50s and lows into the 40s. You'll need layers that include a warm jacket. Summers get up to near 80°(F) for highs and 50s for lows, so layer up in the summer too. The closer you are to the bay, the breezier and cooler it will feel. More inland, it's going to be hotter.
Oakland's airport is 13 miles north, about a 20-30 minute drive. San Jose's airport is 34 miles south, about a 45-minute drive. San Francisco's airport is across the bay and a 25-mile drive, which takes around 30 minutes.
You'll want travel insurance because weather, wildfires, and technical issues can cause all kinds of delays or cancellations.
Union City Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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