California : Safety by City
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- Santa Barbara
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- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
Set along the historic Route 66 highway in the high desert of Southern California sits Victorville, California.
It’s a city where locals come to escape the high housing prices of Los Angeles, and tourists choose because of the proximity to a little bit of everything — the mountains, the beach, Las Vegas, and national parks are all just a few hours away.
You might recognize the landscape from some of your favorite movies, as this desert destination is also a prime filming location.
Grand Theft Auto, The Hills Have Eyes, The Hitcher, Kill Bill: Volume 2, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, all had filming locations in Victorville.
The town itself at first glance doesn’t have much to do, but we’re digging deeper into some of the fascinating points you shouldn’t overlook in this high desert town and certain risks that come with staying in such a unique area.
Warnings & Dangers in Victorville
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Victorville. The violent crime rate is very high. Yet on the flip side, the theft average is half the national average. There's a high Latino population here, so knowing conversational Spanish will help.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You can get around the city and the region through the Victor Valley Transit Authority. The FlixBus will also take you to bigger cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Taxis and rideshares are also available and they all come with low risks.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were just 5 reports of pickpocketing or purse snatching in 2020 and theft reports have been on a steady downward trend since 2015. There's a low risk here.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
On an average day, it's going to be sunny and warm or hot in Victorville. The reality is, this high desert city is at risk of earthquakes, wildfires, dust storms, and extreme heat warnings. Because of all that, there's a medium risk, but the emergency management department has plenty of resources to learn how to handle a worst-case scenario.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery rate is double that of the national average, yet just 19 of the reported robberies were in public spaces. Regardless, with such a violent crime rate here, we want you to be prepared so it's medium risk. Practice personal security everywhere you go here and don't fight with your life if someone tries to rob you.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Being on the outskirts of Los Angeles there's a lesser risk of a terrorist impact in Victorville. However, due to the flood of people that would seek respite in Victorville, and since there are only a few escape routes out of town from that danger, we'll call it a medium risk.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The main scams reported are targeted at locals, so you'll have a low risk of being scammed. However, 20% of this town lives in poverty, so never doubt someone might be looking for a quick buck. Never give money to someone who promises a greater return on investment.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women here, as nothing about the crime numbers suggests a woman would be more at risk. The real litmus test of your safety is how you handle yourself. Walk with confidence, don't get distracted by your mobile device, and avoid invitations to house parties from people you don't know.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
There's a low risk and all the water meets or exceeds standards. There have been complaints about the water looking cloudy or milky. This is due to pressured water coming from the plant and through the pipes. Without going too deep into the science, that cloudy appearance is just air bubbles. If you let the glass sit for a few minutes, you'll see it quickly become clear.
Safest Places to Visit in Victorville
Get your kicks at the Route 66 Museum.
The 4500 square foot museum has memorabilia from the height of travel along this famous trans-country route and Instagram-worthy backgrounds are set up all over this area.
Check the hours of operation because, as of this writing in early 2022, the museum is only open Friday – Sunday.
It is a free museum.
Stroll through Old Town Victorville for farmer’s markets, craft shows, historic buildings, and cafes.
This is a work in progress as part of a city plan to make the crime-ridden area safer for residents and visitors.
Mojave Narrows Regional Park is a great outdoor escape for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.
There’s a splash pad to cool off on a hot summer day and campsites are available as well.
11 miles up the road is the Roy Rogers Ranch, where it hosts music festivals, star-gazing opportunities, and a slice of old Western life.
Families will love the Scandia Family Fun Center with mini-golf, bumper boats, some high adrenaline rides, and a video arcade.
Places to Avoid in Victorville
This was a tough one to research.
Redditors would comment on places of town to avoid, but then compared to crime maps, that area wouldn’t match up.
Then the “good” parts of town from Redditors had higher crime rates.
In Victorville, I think it’s wise to approach any area with a note of caution.
There were 1084 violent crimes in 2020, which equals one per every 124 residents.
That’s twice the national and California average.
Places right off the 395 and I-15 close to the center of town can be littered with homeless people or panhandlers.
Unless you are visiting family or working here temporarily, you only stay in Victorville for one of two reasons: to save money or for its proximity to other things.
I had to get creative to tell you places to visit and while there are some good options, those are one-hit wonders.
You want to avoid Cajon Pass during rush hour if you can because it’s a mess of traffic.
I’ve driven the Cajon Pass several times in my life and I always seemed to time it terribly.
The good news is it’s a fantastic view, even when bumper to bumper.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Victorville
- When people in Victorville say “go down the hill”, they mean down the I-15 through the Cajon (Cuh-hone) Pass. Going down the hill is going to take some time, it’s not just down the street.
- The city puts out a Victorville Connect publication online twice a month. This shows upcoming events in the city and other novelties that could make your trip a little more exciting.
- Gas up before you leave Victorville. You’ve got a long commute or drive ahead of you if you are visiting other areas in the high desert, or even driving to Vegas. Once you get past Barstow on the way to Vegas, you don’t have a lot of gas options. Always keep the gas tank full.
- The high desert is known for being windy a lot. I don’t mean a gentle breeze to cool you off, I mean sustained winds of 20 mph or higher. It can get dust in your eyes and nose and embed in your clothing. Those COVID masks aren’t a bad idea to bring along to keep the dust out of your respiratory tract.
- The high desert is also very dry. Don’t be surprised if you get nose bleeds or cracked skin after a few days of being there. It’s important to keep hydrated and use good hydrating lotion. Some Vaseline in the nostrils can help keep them from drying out too. I lived in the desert for many years and I can’t tell you how many new people didn’t listen to my advice and then ended up with nose bleeds.
- The Victorville Police Department uses the WeTip platform as a way for people to report crimes anonymously. If there’s an emergency, of course, call 911. If you see break-ins or signs of a crime or even see a drug deal going down, take pictures or video and report it to the police anonymously through this app.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through the San Bernardino County TENS system. You’ll need to enter a local address to get notifications, so use your hotel or rental home as that address. This will get you crime, civil, and weather emergency notifications right on your mobile device.
- The city has a real-time crime mapping program, so you can see the crime trends that are happening closer to your visit. The numbers I can give you now are the annual reports to the FBI, and as of early 2022, only 2020 numbers are available. Searching the crime map before you book a hotel or rental home can give you a better feel of what crimes are happening during your stay.
- If you’re planning to go fishing while you are here, you’ll need a license from the California Department of Wildlife. There are separate licenses for saltwater and freshwater fishing, so double-check that you are getting the right license for where you plan to fish.
- If you’re at a local park and you see the sprinklers turn on, don’t run through that water or get it anywhere near your face. That’s reclaimed water right from the wastewater treatment plant. It’s clean enough to be used for irrigation and helps with water conservation while the state is in a drought crisis, but it’s certainly not meant for human contact.
So... How Safe Is Victorville Really?
Victorville has a lot of crime contradictions, so it’s hard to get a good foothold on the crime and safety advice.
This is a city that had nearly 1100 violent crimes in 2020, but since 2010 it hasn’t had a year with more than 14 homicides, aside from 2020 when there were 19.
Yet the theft rate is undeniably low, at half the national average.
Going just by the numbers, you’re twice as likely to get robbed by force than be the victim of a non-forceful theft.
You are just as likely to be the victim of theft as you are a victim of a violent crime.
This is a city where nearly 27,000 people live at or below the poverty level.
There are a lot of low-income housing options around town, yet pristine new developments for homeowners escaping Los Angeles housing prices are popping up on the outskirts of town.
I’ve seen several warnings about shopping at big box stores in town and the people who hang out in the parking lot or behind the stores.
If you’re making a quick run to Walmart and don’t feel safe after scanning the perimeter, go to another store.
It’s not an inherently dangerous city, but there is a risk of a car break-in if you leave a window rolled down or the car unlocked.
If you’re carrying around a large name-brand purse, you might be a more likely target.
You should proceed with caution but, moreover, you should avoid carelessness.
How Does Victorville Compare?
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- Visas - All Visa information is checked and verified at the airport or port of entry, so you don't need anything else to get into or stay in Victorville.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar as currency here. Try to put as much as you can on a credit card to avoid pulling cash out in public, and verify your charges every few days to make sure there isn't anything unauthorized.
- Weather - You're rarely going to find a winter day lower than 60°(F). The lows can dip near freezing in the coldest part of winter, but as spring and summer heat up. One thing about the high desert is it can be scorching hot in the afternoon, and by dinnertime, you'll need a hoodie. Take the July average high and low, for example. The high is 97°(F) while the low is 62°(F). Pack in layers and don't worry about rain gear as it rarely rains here.
- Airports - You have plenty of options, but none of them is close. San Bernardino's airport is the closest and it is about an hour away. LAX is two hours away. Harry Reid International Airport (formerly McCarran Airport) in Las Vegas is just under three hours away.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for a trip to Victorville. There are just too many weather elements that can impact flights, and wildfires in the area can cut off road access to the city.
Victorville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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