The 8 Safest Neighborhoods in Oakland, California

Mary Newman
by Mary Newman

Despite the fact that the state of California is having a bit of an exodus at the moment, the population of Oakland continues to rise. Oakland has the ideal location, just across the bay from San Francisco, and sees thousands of tourists a year. That doesn’t even begin to cover the 425,000 residents who call Oakland home each year.

Oakland, however, isn’t known as the safest area in the United States. With a crime index of 1, with the safest being 100, Oakland can be downright dangerous. But just like with anywhere, there are good and bad areas of the city. If you’re considering making the move and looking to stay safe, we can help.

The cost of living index in Oakland is 174.4, which means that is noticeably higher than the national average to live and work there. This is no surprise given the perfect location with plenty of things to do no matter what your interests are. With a median household income of $76,469, well over the national average, residents often do well for themselves. ob or plan!

This data is based on FBI Crime Statistics released every year and has been updated for 2021. This takes into account things like violent crime, property crime, and more. No place is 100% safe, 100% of the time, but knowing ahead of time the risks and concerns can save you a lot of headaches, and help avoid a bad situation before it happens!

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The 8 Safest Neighborhoods In Oakland California

1. Panoramic Hill

  • Population: 1,751
  • Median income: $177,417
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,119
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8%

Arguably one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Oakland and sharing land with Berkeley, Panoramic Hill is a neighborhood located towards the eastern edge of the city, at the foot of the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. It’s also located close to the main University of California campus, a big draw for residents. This is a very small area, if you can’t tell by the population – it is just over 0.25 square miles.

Panoramic Hill is great for anyone who would prefer to walk and take in the natural beauty California has to offer. Despite being so close to major cities, Panoramic Hill is highly walkable. It’s most well-known not only for the views, but for the series of stairs and paths throughout the neighborhood, all individually named.

The walking paths bring many visitors every year and are often included in local walking historic or architectural tours. Famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, William Wurster, John Hudson Thomas, and Julia Morgan have all designed homes in Panoramic Hill.

The Berkeley section of Panoramic Hill was named Berkeley’s Most Romantic Neighborhood by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District in 2005.

2. Forestland

  • Population: 1,954
  • Median Income: $137,947
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,778
  • Unemployment Rate: N/A

Forestland is a neighborhood located along the edges of the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, as well as the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. In short, Forestland is a beautiful neighborhood with lots of nature to explore just outside of your front door. This is an area known for its retirees and tends to lean liberal. There are above-average schools for families looking to make the move.

While Forestland ranks as 95% more expensive than the average US city, the average median income is also higher, at $137,947. The vast majority of Forestland is suburban homes and residential areas, so if you’re looking for a safe neighborhood with lots of nightlife, Forestland isn’t for you.

3. Caballo Hills

  • Population: 2,543
  • Median Income: $111,303
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,616
  • Unemployment Rate: 3%

Caballo Hills is home to many young professionals and is widely considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Oakland. The median household income in Caballo Hills is $111,303, 101% higher than the national average. The low unemployment rate for those living in Caballo is a huge draw for many considering the neighborhood.

This relatively small neighborhood has a very suburban feel, with cute, sidewalk-lined streets and many single-family homes. There are several parks in the Caballo Hills area that make it ideal for young families or just those who want to take advantage of the amazing California weather. For those not looking for a single-family home, there are numerous condos and alternative housing options.

Residents living in Caballo Hills say that while it only takes 35 minutes to get to San Francisco without traffic, it can take over an hour some days. There is an extensive public transit system that will take residents straight to the downtown San Francisco area.

4. Chabot Park

  • Population: 2,845
  • Median Income: $123,481
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,778
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

Sandwiched between the Anthony Chabot Regional Park, the Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park, and the Oakland Zoo is the neighborhood of Chabot Park, home to over 2,500 residents. If you’re looking to be steps away from child-friendly activities or a beautiful, extensive park, this is the perfect neighborhood for you.

Unlike some other neighborhoods on our list, Chabot Park has a more sprawling urban feel, with many homes having larger lots (half acre +) and streets spaced farther apart. Because of the location, many homes in Chabot Park have a beautiful view of the rest of the city. Some residents have called the neighborhood “a slice of country life” in such a big city.

The median household income of residents in Chabot Park is $109,892, with 30% of residents having a Bachelor’s degree and 29% having a Master’s degree or higher.

5. Upper Rockridge

  • Population: 5,996
  • Median Income: $182,758
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,931
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%

Upper Rockridge is the largest neighborhood on our list, with nearly 6,000 residents living in the area. Unlike some of the other neighborhoods, it also has more than just suburban housing, with shopping, restaurants, cafes, and stores available without leaving the neighborhood.

Homes in Upper Rockridge tend to be older, with some dating back as far as 1909. The historic quality of the neighborhood is considered charming by many residents and is a big draw. Upper Rockridge is often considered one of the best places to live in Oakland, period – not even just where crime is considered, but overall.

The median household income in Upper Rockridge is over $180,000, well over double the national average. Real estate in Upper Rockridge is very expensive, with the median home value being over $1.3 million. Median rent is over $2,500 a month, with 31% of residents choosing to rent.

6. Woodminster

  • Population: 1,530
  • Median Income: $170,156
  • Crime Per 100k: 2,087
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Next to the Diamond District and pressed against both the Joaquin Miller Park and the Roberts Regional Recreation Area is Woodminster, a small community of just 1,530 residents in Oakland. Woodminster is home to Holy Names University, a private Roman Catholic University, as well as the East Bay Innovation Academy, a public charter campus with STEAM-focused education.

Woodminster has a very suburban feel, with plenty of sidewalks for getting around the neighborhood. Butters Overlook provides excellent views for residents of the neighborhood, and Joaquin Miller Park has a dog park, an elephant barn, and the Woodminster Amphitheater, which hosts numerous musical guests each year.

Of all the neighborhoods on our list, Woodminster has a small town, community feel that is hard to beat in Oakland, with plenty of local festivals and events going on year-round to keep residents happy, including a yearly Greek festival that gets rave reviews!

7. Montclair

  • Population: 4,011
  • Median Income: $154,178
  • Crime Per 100k: 2,147
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%

Located along the western slope of Oakland Hills is Montclair, considered one of the most ‘prestigious’ neighborhoods in the city. Montclair has a charming, thriving shopping district called Montclair Village at the bottom of the valley, which contains many local businesses, restaurants, and cafes.

Montclair is also home to some of the highest-rated public schools in all of Oakland, which makes it an incredibly desirable neighborhood for families. There are also numerous parks in and around Montclair, which make it perfect for those beautiful California days. The Montclair Railroad trailhead is a popular hike for residents and visitors alike.

Montclair has a history that goes back to the late 1800s when it was first founded. There are plenty of newer or older homes in the neighborhood, though, so no matter what you’re looking for, you can find them in Montclair!

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8. Shepherd Canyon

  • Population: 1,751
  • Median Income: $177,417
  • Crime Per 100k: 1,119
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8%

A long, skinny neighborhood defined centrally by Shepherd Canyon Road and the Shepherd Canyon Park, this small but mighty neighborhood with an urban/suburban feel to it. If you want to be close to nature, Shepherd Canyon Trail runs through nearly the entire neighborhood, offering a variety of sceneries. It is also directly adjacent to both the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve and the Roberts Regional Recreation Area. If you want to spend a lot of your time outside, Shepherd Canyon certainly allows for that!

There are a small handful of shopping and restaurant choices within Shepherd Canyon itself, but most residents need to leave their neighborhood for a more extensive shopping experience. Despite the cost of living index in Shepherd County being 194, it is regularly ranked as one of the best places in Oakland to live.

Schools in Shepherd County are generally considered some of the best in the city, a big plus for families considering making the move. Graduation rates are 98%, 18% higher than the national average. Crime is overall lower than the national average, and most residents report feeling safe walking outside by themselves at night.

Living In Oakland

There are numerous perks to living in Oakland, California. There’s a thriving startup scene, pleasant weather, plenty of shopping, and more.

Living in downtown Oakland is a perfect approach to create a distinctive yet budget-friendly living experience for people who are engaged in entrepreneurial ventures yet prefer relaxing, green, and pleasant settings.

Transit System

The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system, which also serves San Francisco and Berkeley, includes Mass Transit Oakland. This connects Oakland to the rest of the Bay Area, making commuting to work and shopping much easier.

In addition, AC Transit’s regional bus service covers all of Oakland. A vast network of bus routes and ferries provide alternatives to the dreaded boredom of notorious traffic in cities such as Los Angeles.

These buses drive up and down local route 800 all night. Finally, Amtrak runs a regular service from Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. These options make getting around Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area simple.


Oakland public schools are committed to quality, with the schools in the Montclair area ranking among the best in the country. In fact, the outstanding school districts attract many new residents from Berkeley and San Francisco.

While the top Oakland schools are in Montclair, all of the areas listed in our Top 10 Oakland Neighborhoods list have exceptional educational opportunities. In addition, Oakland is home to various colleges and universities, including Mills College, Laney College, and Lincoln University.

Natural Environments

Oakland has a number of major natural areas. You may experience some wonderful instances of natural beauty and destress in beautiful surroundings with simple access via public transportation. These are some of them:

This lovely spot may be found east of Oakland, amid the hills. It has several second and third-growth Redwood trees and is accessible by BART. One first-growth tree, a 93-foot-tall tree growing out of a rock face near Merritt College, has survived.

Hiking and nature walks are available in the park, as well as huge green places for relaxation. The Chabot Space and Science Center is also located in the park, and it provides a variety of science and astronomy activities in collaboration with the City of Oakland and the Oakland Unified School District.

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Mary Newman
Mary Newman

Mary Newman thought that home improvement was all painting and putting down throw rugs... until she bought a fixer upper, and realized it's so much more. With a passion for helping others NOT make the mistakes she did, Mary seeks to always improve her home - and yours, too!

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