How Safe Is Ventura for Travel?

Ventura, United States
Safety Index:
76

Ventura, California, is a jewel along the Central California coastline right along the Pacific Coast Highway.

It’s a beach getaway all its own, with an island getaway about an hour offshore.

There’s so much to do here on water, land, surfboards, skates, and bar stools.

You have the choice to step back in time or boat into the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Ventura’s official name is San Buenaventura if you’re searching for official information from the Census Bureau, but everyone just calls it Ventura.

The city is home to a surf rodeo and the Ventura County Fair.

This quintessential beach town offers a little bit of something for everyone.

There’s even a strong nightlife here so you don’t have to leave town to find fun after the sun goes down.

Warnings & Dangers in Ventura

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

There's a low overall risk here. A few crime categories pop up above averages, but most are below. It's a great getaway and comes without the dangers of other California cities.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Gold Coast Transit can get you throughout Ventura, and to Ojai, Oxnard, and Port Hueneme. The Ventura County Transportation Commission has buses with routes to Santa Barbara and Warmer Center closer to Los Angeles. The popular MetroLink is another option. You also have taxis and rideshares. These are all low-risk options.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Of all the California cities I've researched, Ventura has the highest number of pickpockets and purse snatching at 30 incidents. The average value of that theft crime was $30, so while the numbers are higher, the take isn't that great. There's still low risk in a city of 111,000 people and 2.7 million average visitors.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Earthquakes, flooding, planned power outages, wildfires, and extreme heat all add up to a medium risk here. While the average day is going to be insanely perfect, there are risks above, below, and alongside you in Ventura.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

The robbery rates are six times the national average. 40% of all robberies reported were in public places. There were 94 robberies in 2020. There's a medium risk here, but the rates have been on a steady decline over the past 4 years.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

There's a low risk of terrorism here. It's far enough away from the Los Angeles Metro Area and really not near anything of value to terrorists.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

The city has a detailed list of scams on its website, and some of them are very unique. One is a kidnapping ransom scam asking for $500 to return the family member who isn't really kidnapped. The information the scammers use is from what they gathered about you on social media. You should also avoid calls from unknown people asking "Can you hear me now?", as they record your voice and use the verbal "Yes" to make unauthorized charges on your credit card. Also, beware of rental scams. The first indication is that someone is asking you to write money for a deposit. There's a medium risk just because there are so many scams of a wide variety reported.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Women shouldn't feel unsafe here, as long as they practice good personal safety. There is plenty of nightlife here and you should never drink so much that you can't make good decisions and never accept a drink you didn't see poured or opened by a bartender.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

There is a low risk for tap water in Ventura. Some people think it tastes funny or is "too hard," so they use a water softener or filter. The water meets all requirements of the state and federal governments.

Safest Places to Visit in Ventura

Let’s start about an hour offshore at the Channel Islands National Park, because you certainly don’t want to miss this.

This is a trip that needs to be planned, as you have five islands to choose from, and hitting them all in one day is going to be challenging, especially if you don’t have your own boat.

You can also camp on the islands if you choose.

There is no entrance fee to the islands.

A day at the beach is a great way to spend a day in Ventura and parking is another free amenity.

For a calmer beach experience, head to Harbor Cove Beach, and if you want to surf, you have many options including:

  • Mondo’s: Great for first-time surfers
  • Ventura Point: Moderate/Advanced surfers only
  • Emma Wood State beach: Moderate/Advanced surfers only
  • Rincon: One of the best surfing spots in America

Don’t miss a good walk down Main Street for a five-block walk down a pedestrian-only street and sample snacks and get in some shopping.

While you’re here, check out the Mission Basilica San Buenaventura.

Harbor Village is a dining and shopping destination right on the beach.

You can also rent paddleboards, paddleboards, and kayaks here.

There’s a good chance you’ll see some live entertainment here too.

The Ventura Pier is an icon of the community and has been around since 1872.

Places to Avoid in Ventura

There are parts of Ventura Avenue, aka “The Ave”, that are more dangerous than even the beachfront area.

Crime maps show the beachfront areas west of the 101 are some of the safest parts of the city.

This is a bustling city day and night, with a healthy amount of nightlife.

It’s the nightlife destination for Ventura County unless people want to go all the way to Los Angeles.

There are also a lot of homeless people on Main Street and near the beach.

While locals aren’t too shaken up by the crime here, it can seem like there are blemishes on the community with the homeless population, but that’s going to happen in any city.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Ventura

  1. Check out the community crime map on the police department’s website right before you go, so you can see the latest crime trends.
  2. Ventura has red light cameras at intersections, and if you run a red light you’ll be issued a ticket down the road (yes, even in a rental car). They’ll send you the photographic and video proof of the incident and then ask you to pay for the ticket online.
  3. Ventura Police have an alcohol enforcement unit and they’re pretty sneaky with their accountability. Don’t try to drink underage and certainly don’t drink and drive as the police are patrolling for people driving under the influence.
  4. If you see graffiti in Ventura, call the Graffiti Hotline to report it at 805-654-7805. If you see graffiti being spray-painted, call 911. Don’t try to stop criminals for your safety.
  5. You can also report any narcotics activity you see or conversations you hear. The Narcotics Hotline in Ventura is 805-339-4331.
  6. From time to time, to avoid wildfires during storms or high wind events, the utility company might shut off all the power to a certain area. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). The outages can last from hours to days, so plan ahead for this possibility.
  7. If you are in Ventura while a wildfire is burning nearby, get out of town. The winds can quickly move the direction of the fire, and air quality can be dangerous. Don’t hope for the best, just move to another location safely away from wildfire impacts.
  8. Check the bacteria levels of the ocean water at each beach in Ventura County through the Resource Management Agency. The water is generally clean, but after a storm or if there is a sewage spill, the quality can quickly become unsanitary.
  9. There is a lot of free parking in Ventura, but it’s not all free. Be sure to check parking maps before you head out to see where the free places are. No need to pay for parking where there’s a free spot nearby, right?
  10. If you’re going to try out surfing for the first time, spend the money on a surf lesson and a wet suit rental. It’s worth it for safety and comfort. A wetsuit that is too big or small will ruin your experience. Also, during the lesson, ask about surfing etiquette. Experienced surfers are a salty bunch and they’ll resort to violence or profanity if you get in their way.

So... How Safe Is Ventura Really?

There’s a mixed bag of safety here in Ventura, but it’s safer than some surrounding communities and less safe than others.

Here are the major crime numbers from 2020.

Keep in mind, it’s a city of 111,000 people with 2.7 million visitors a year:

  • Violent Crime: 328 incidents, lower than the national average.
  • Theft: 2354 incidents, 40% higher than the national average.
  • Robbery: 94 incidents, 6 times the national average.
  • Rape: 31 incidents, 20% lower than the national average.
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: 523 incidents, almost twice the national average.

I spoke to several locals about their experience in Ventura, and nobody said they felt it wasn’t a safe community.

Some even said they were for runs at night.

They admitted to inherent risks, like rowdy bars and homeless panhandling.

The best advice in Ventura is to stay in the tourist areas.

Don’t wander around at night.

Lock up your car if you have one and don’t leave anything inside the car while you are away.

An anti-theft device on the steering wheel and wheel locks are helpful too.

The benefits of visiting this beautiful area far outweigh any potential risks.

How Does Ventura Compare?

CitySafety Index
Ventura76
New York City67
Detroit56
San Diego67
Miami55
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80

Useful Information

  • Visas - If you got through customs with your Visa, you're all set to be in Ventura. No additional identification or processing is needed.
  • Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. Don't carry around a large amount of cash. If you rent a paddleboat or go surfing, make sure the rental location has an area where you can lock your belongings. Using one credit card for all transactions is the safest way to track spending and identify potential fraud.
  • Weather - It's probably not as warm as you'd think it would be. The temperature range from the mid-60s to mid-70s for highs throughout the year, and lows do get down into the 40s during winter. Summers will still have lows in the 60s. Bring layers, as throughout the day you might go from a hoodie and jeans to a t-shirt and jeans to a swimsuit only to search for that hoodie again as the sun goes down.
  • Airports - The Santa Barbara Airport is the closest option, but it's still a good 40 miles away. You've got a 70-mile drive to Los Angeles International Airport. Hollywood-Burbank Airport is about 70 miles away as well, but it isn't through traffic that is as bad as going to Los Angeles.
  • Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for a trip to Ventura with all the potential weather delays that can happen.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Ventura Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 14° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 15° C
May 16° C
Jun 18° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 18° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 13° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
191818192021232323232118
Low
°C
891011121416161513108
High
°F
666464666870737373737064
Low
°F
464850525457616159555046

Where to Next?

Share Your Experience