The San Francisco area has long been a desirable place to live, frequently ranking high on lists of both the “Best Places to Live in California” and the “Best Places to Live.” The city has also been named the happiest city in America, offering a very carefree, laid-back lifestyle. Although San Francisco is only the 11th most populous city in the country, it ranks second, after New York, in terms of population density. The city spans 46 square miles and with a population of over 883K, there is a staggering roughly 19,000 people per square mile.
Residents of San Francisco are drawn to the city’s diversity, history, stunning views, world-class museums, tolerance, impeccable food scene, outdoor adventures, and distinctive neighborhoods. San Francisco can be viewed as a complete universe in and of itself, with each neighborhood radiating its own individual personality. From the energetic piers of Embarcadero, to the lush hills of the Presidio, to the historic streets of the Mission District; each community is unique.
If you’re planning on relocating to San Francisco, you’ll have a lot to consider. The city contains approximately 36 distinct communities, with many differing by even a single block regarding character, aesthetic, history, price brackets – and, most importantly, safety.
Regardless of who you are or where you’re moving to, how safe the area you are settling in should be at the top of your priority list, especially if you have little ones. While the crime rates in San Francisco are significantly higher than national averages, this does not mean that there aren’t safe neighborhoods throughout the city.
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What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in San Francisco?
With the influx of Silicon Valley businesses setting up shop near San Francisco, the cost of living in the city has skyrocketed and resulted in gentrification, adding to the already substantial homeless population. Other issues, such as drug and theft-related crime have also become more prevalent in the city. Just like any other major city, the most violent crimes occur in pockets and these areas are best avoided.
In terms of violent crime, San Francisco has lower rates than other popular cities across the country including, but not limited to, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, and Washington D.C. However, that’s not to say that crime doesn’t occur. In fact, thefts such as bag snatching and pickpocketing are common in a city that sees around 25 million tourists a year. Car break-ins are another issue that plagues San Francisco.
Although crime rates appear to be dropping, crime still remains a concern for residents and visitors to the city. As of 2020, violent crimes in the city are 82% higher than the national average, and property crime is 152% higher. In spite of its issues, San Francisco remains a relatively safe city. As long as you know the areas to avoid and those to stick to, you can stay safe in San Francisco.
If you’re looking to move to The City by the Bay, understanding which neighborhoods are the safest is vital information for selecting your new home. In order to determine which communities earn this designation, we took a look at FBI crime statistics. More specifically, we analyzed the violent crime, property crime, and overall crime rates in each of the city’s 36 neighborhoods. Those with the lowest total crime made our list of the top ten safest neighborhoods in San Francisco.
- Crocker Amazon
- Outer Sunset
- Ocean View
- Inner Sunset
- Noe Valley
- Outer Richmond
- North Beach
- Financial District
Let’s explore these communities in further detail along with their characteristics, crime rates, and livability.
1. Crocker Amazon
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 280
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,025
- Population: 11,751
Located at the southernmost edge of San Francisco, Crocker Amazon borders the Excelsior District. It covers the area south of Geneva Avenue and Mission Street, spreading toward suburban Daly City. Pizza shops, bars, a barbershop, optometrist, essential retailers, and other takeout restaurants are situated around the intersection and center point of this neighborhood. This is where most of the commercial activity takes place.
Once the neighborhood starts to reach Daly City, the area looks more suburban as the homes rise up onto the high ridge. Crocker Amazon is largely a dense residential community with single-family homes in neat rows and varying architectural styles with well-manicured lawns. This neighborhood is considered one of the greatest sleeper neighborhoods of San Francisco, as its amenities are distinctive and plentiful.
Residents of Crocker Amazon enjoy some of the city’s most varied weather, with a good mix of fog and sun. Those located at the top of the neighborhood get to relish in spectacular views of downtown San Francisco.
With a total crime rate that is 49% lower than the national average and 79% lower than the San Francisco average, Crocker Amazon is considered the safest neighborhood in the city. Violent crimes per 100K comes in at 280, while property crime is 1,025 for 2020.
2. Outer Sunset
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 220
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,324
- Population: 50,788
Situated in the far west end of San Francisco, Outer Sunset is the farthest neighborhood from the city center. Though the area has an exceptionally low crime rate, it tends to get a bad rap for the lengthy transportation trips to go to and from the area and heavy fog. However, Outer Sunset might be the closest thing to true suburban living while still being within the city’s borders, as it is a far cry from the rapid pace of San Francisco.
This tranquil neighborhood is located right next to the Pacific Ocean and is the ideal place for families, professionals, surfers, and nature lovers. The homes in Outer Sunset are quintessential San Francisco with bright pastel-colored single-family homes with substantial backyard space and rugged beach houses. Residents enjoy not only close proximity to the ocean, but also many parks (including the neighboring Golden Gate Park), low traffic, less tourists (if any), quaint shops, and a general feeling of isolation.
Living in Outer Sunset offers the best of both worlds – being a resident of a busy metropolitan area, and enjoying the peacefulness of suburban living. Out Sunset ranks second on our list of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. The violent crime rate per 100K people is 220, and property crime sits at 1,324 for 2020.
3. Ocean View
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 281
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,527
- Population: 30,618
Located in the southern portion of San Francisco, Oceanview is more economically and ethnically diverse than the city as a whole. This is likely due in part to the area’s recent gentrification in the past decade. What was once a predominately African-American community, now contains a majority Asian population.
In the 1980s, due to widespread civic neglect, Oceanview become one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the city. Being geographically remote and primarily a population of blue color workers created an environment that was ripe with relative poverty and unemployment. Once the 1990s and 2000s rolled around, much of the African-American population was pushed out of the area due to the rising cost of living, poor-performing schools, and sub-standard public housing.
Crime has since been on a steady decline since the tech boom and revitalization efforts by the city. Ocean Avenue is the commercial center of Oceanview and offers many casual restaurants, cafes, and big-box retailers. Although the area doesn’t offer much in the way of parkland, young families are flocking to Oceanview for the relatively cheaper real estate.
Based on our calculations, Oceanview is the third safest neighborhood in San Francisco. Violent crimes per 100K people come in at 281 and property crime is 1,527 for 2020.
4. Inner Sunset
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 178
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,099
- Population: 27,720
The Inner Sunset neighborhood lies just south of Golden Gate Park. It is the twin of Inner Richmond, the community that borders the park on the northern side. While both neighborhoods are hotspots for independent small businesses, the restaurant scene in Inner Sunset is considered superior, especially among sushi lovers.
Inner Sunset is also known for having foggier weather and some even consider it to be the foggiest community in San Francisco. This neighborhood is very walkable and offers easy access to the light rail and buses, making it a relatively easy commute into the city. It is primarily residential with small lots of row homes and tract house, Victorian- and Edwardian-style house, and small-to-medium sized newer apartment complexes.
Inner Sunset is the ideal home for nature lovers and athletes, with the nearby Golden Gate Park. The community is also home to a lot of young professionals from the tech industry, along with older residents who have been here for generations. Inner Sunset ranks fourth on our list of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. The violent crimes per 100K people are 178 and property crime sits at 2,099 for 2020.
5. Noe Valley
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 163
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,204
- Population: 21,074
Though Noe Valley is located in the central part of San Francisco, it offers a small-town atmosphere. It is bordered by hills, which lends to its intimate feel. As a result, this community is considered a very coveted and pricey neighborhood. 24th Street, Noe Valley’s main thoroughfare, is flooded with yoga studios, artisanal goods shops, and a Whole Foods that is the biggest grocery in the area.
Similar to most centrally located communities, parking is tough and traffic is rough, but public transportation is plentiful and convenient. Residents of Noe Valley enjoy all the amenities along 24th Street, along with the popular Saturday Farmer’s Market that features local produce, live music, children’s activities, and food stands. Its’ lack of nightlife tends to make this area less desirable among young people and students, while older people and new families love the safety and sense of community in Noe Valley.
Based on our calculations, Noe Valley is the fifth safest neighborhood in San Francisco. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 163 and property crime is 2,204 for 2020.
6. Outer Richmond
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 209
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,185
- Population: 36,055
The Richmond District extends across the western edge of San Francisco. It is situated between Golden Gate Park on the south and the Presidio to the north. The entire district is broken up into two sections – Inner Richmond and Outer Richmond, the latter of which is beachier and more remote. This area is a diverse cultural community, as many waves of immigrants have settled here over the last century. In the Richmond District, you’ll find cuisines from Mexico, Russia, Italy, and France, and many parts of Asia.
Residents of Outer Richmond enjoy exploring the many nearby attractions including China Beach, the Sutro Baths, Sea Cliff, the Legion of Honor, and Baker Beach. Housing in Outer Richmond is a blend of large apartment complexes, bungalows, single-family homes, and Victorian and Edwardian houses. In general, homes and commercial properties tend to have a cozier feel and be more affordable than other parts of San Francisco.
Outer Richmond ranks number six on our list of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. The violent crime rate per 100K people sits at 209 and property crime is 2,185 for 2020.
7. North Beach
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 276
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,214
- Population: 11,601
Known as San Francisco’s “Little Italy,” the North Beach neighborhood is rich with history. It also contains one of the oldest streets in the city: Grant Avenue. North Beach is located in the northeast corner of San Francisco and has historically been home to a large Italian American population, primarily from Northern Italy.
This area has become one of San Francisco’s main nightlife hubs, in addition to a residential neighborhood of a blend of young professionals, Chinese immigrants, and families. North Beach has also been named one of the ten “Great Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association (APA).
Based on our calculations, North Beach is the seventh safest neighborhood in San Francisco. However, it should be noted that although the total crime rate is only 3% lower than the national average, it is 60% lower than the city average. Violent crimes per 100K come in at 276 and property crime is 2,214 for 2020.
8. Financial District
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 276
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,214
- Population: 6,974
The Financial District serves as the central business district in San Francisco. This neighborhood is home to roughly 6,974 residents as well as the city’s largest concentration of law firms, insurance companies, corporate headquarters, savings and loan banks, real estate firms, and other financial institutions. Additionally, all six Fortune 500 companies located in San Fran are situated in the Financial District.
Since the neighborhood is considered historic, some of San Francisco’s best and oldest restaurants are here. Unlike most other cities where business districts go quiet after hours, the Financial District is a bustling dining destination at the historic Jackson Square. The area also features several shopping malls, parks, plazas, and easy access to public transportation for residents to enjoy.
San Francisco’s Financial District comes in eighth on our list of the safest neighborhoods in the city. Violent crimes per 100K people are 276 and property crime sits at 2,214 for 2020, identical statistics to the aforementioned North Beach neighborhood.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 276
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,214
- Population: 1,429
Sometimes also spelled “Sea Cliff,” this affluent neighborhood is located in the northwestern portion of San Francisco. Known for its ocean views and large homes, Sea Cliff is one of eight master-planned residence parks in the city. Houses are exceptionally large and many offer views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and the Pacific Ocean.
As a result, this community is/was home to many famous individuals including Sharon Stone, Robin Williams, Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), Donald Fisher (founder of Gap), and the consul generals of South Korea, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. Many describe this neighborhood as a hidden gem with easy access to restaurants and local attractions.
Seacliff is the ninth safest neighborhood in San Francisco. With statistics identical to the above Financial District and North Beach neighborhoods, violent crimes per 100K people come in at 276 and property crime is 2,214 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 451
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,141
- Population: 37,796
Closing out our list is Excelsior, which shares its name with the name of the surrounding area: The Excelsior District. This district also includes the Crocker Amazon, Portola, and Mission Terrance neighborhoods. Excelsior is home to predominantly low-income and middle-class residents, among the few left in the city.
Although it isn’t known for impressive mansions, fine dining, or high-end shopping, this area offers plenty for families. The neighborhood curves around the second largest park in San Francisco, McClaren Park, and the weather is some of the best in the city. Residents enjoy McClaren Park for its tennis courts, hiking trails, a small lake, a golf course, playgrounds, and more.
Excelsior is also considered one of the most ethnically diverse communities in San Francisco. Home to the Excelsior Festival, the neighborhood brings in roughly 5,000 people from all over the city each year to celebrate diversity with free music and entertainment.
With total crime rates that sit right at the national average, Excelsior ranks tenth on our list of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. Violent crimes per 100K people come in at 451, while property crime is 2,141 for 2020.
Safest Neighborhoods in San Francisco for 2020
|Rank||Neighborhood||Population||Violent Crime (per 100K)||Property Crime (per 100K)|