People often wonder how safe San Diego is as a city. To find that out, you must analyze each neighborhood, starting with the most dangerous. There are unsafe neighborhoods throughout San Diego that you should avoid. Be cautious when traveling through these bad areas. This article sheds light on the 14 most dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego with the highest rates of aggravated assaults, violent crimes, and armed robberies. The danger levels of these neighborhoods are listed in order from most dangerous to least dangerous – and based on 2022 crime statistics and local opinions.

top dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego statistics

1. East Village

East Village is statistically the most dangerous neighborhood in San Diego, topping the charts in both aggravated assaults, violent crimes, and armed robberies. As a neighborhood with such artistic flair and bustling nightlife, why is it so unsafe?

This neighborhood is home to Petco Park and located directly downtown. It hugs the Gaslamp District, which attracts all sorts of bad characters. High incidents of violent crime overshadow the area’s thriving cultural scene. Efforts to revitalize and improve safety are ongoing, but caution is advised, especially at night.

East Village Danger Level: Very Unsafe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 282
  • Violent Crimes: 424
  • Armed Robberies: 47
  • Rapes: 43

2. Core-Columbia

In the heart of downtown San Diego lies Core-Columbia. This neighborhood is sandwiched between the Gaslamp District and Little Italy. Core-Columbia is a hub for business, large commercial buildings, and elevated crime rates. The dense urban environment contributes to its safety challenges.

Overall, San Diego is a safe city. However, as you can probably tell from this list, downtown San Diego is riddled with crime. Core-Columbia comes in as the neighborhood with the 2nd most violent crimes in 2022. While other neighborhoods surpass this area in other crime metrics, this neighborhood is worthy of being the 2nd most dangerous part of San Diego.

Core-Columbia Danger Level: Very Unsafe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 154
  • Violent Crimes: 221
  • Armed Robberies: 24
  • Rapes: 13

3. San Ysidro

Although it’s south of Chula Vista, San Ysidro is technically part of the city of San Diego. It’s a melting pot of cultures being located at the Mexico border. Because of this, San Ysidro is uniquely affected by cross-border challenges.

Issues like armed robberies are more prevalent here, partly due to its location. The community is vibrant and diverse, but the proximity to the border adds a layer of complexity to its safety. Police presence isn’t as strong here as in other neighborhoods closer to downtown San Diego. Although #4 and #5 surpass certain statistics of San Ysidro, it feels more unsafe there.

San Ysidro Danger Level: Very Unsafe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 101
  • Violent Crimes: 151
  • Armed Robberies: 24
  • Rapes: 2

4. Mission Valley East

Mission Valley East is a shopper’s paradise. Unfortunately, once stores close, a scary side of this neighborhood comes out. The high volume of visitors and commercial activities make it a target for crime, overshadowing its reputation as a retail haven

 Increased security measures are in place, but incidents do occur. There are multiple huge overpasses and highways in Mission Valley East, which makes it an opportune neighborhood for crime.

Mission Valley East Danger Level: Unsafe at Night

  • Aggravated Assaults: 79
  • Violent Crimes: 179
  • Armed Robberies: 41
  • Rapes: 12

5. Midway District

The Midway District, located next to Old Town San Diego, grapples with crime. This neighborhood suffers from similar danger levels to Mission Valley. It’s very commercial and industry, enabling criminals to get away from armed robberies and violent crimes more easily. This dangerous San Diego neighborhood has the 3rd highest amount of armed robberies.

Midway District Danger Level: Unsafe at Night

  • Aggravated Assaults: 112
  • Violent Crimes: 182
  • Armed Robberies: 33
  • Rapes: 9

6. Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach’s vibrant party scene is a double-edged sword. From the outside, it seems like the perfect beach town with fun activities for college kids. Where there is city fun, there are increased crime risks.

Popular with younger crowds, the area often suffers from petty crimes linked to its nightlife. Efforts to patrol and secure the area are ongoing, but caution is still recommended. Overall it feels safe in Pacific Beach, but depending on the time and place, it could be sketchy.

Pacific Beach Danger Level: Moderately Unsafe at Times

  • Aggravated Assaults: 129
  • Violent Crimes: 186
  • Armed Robberies: 12
  • Rapes: 21

7. Hillcrest

dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego

Hillcrest is a favorite San Diego neighborhood for many, being a beacon of inclusivity and diversity. Sadly, when you walk through this area, you can feel the amount of homeless people on the streets. This likely leads to higher crime rates.

Hillcrest does have a lively and friendly atmosphere. However, the side streets at night can become dangerous. Across the board, this neighborhood has higher crime statistics than many others in San Diego.

Hillcrest Danger Level: Safe Yet Unsafe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 111
  • Violent Crimes: 171
  • Armed Robberies: 19
  • Rapes: 19

8. North Park

North Park is a trendy area for foodies and craft beer lovers. However, it also contends with nighttime safety issues. Similar to Gaslamp, the bustling streets and bars can attract unwanted activities. Fortunately, the local community here is strong. The locals often advocate for increased policing and community vigilance to combat these issues.

North Park Danger Level: Unsafe at Nights Sometimes

  • Aggravated Assaults: 106
  • Violent Crimes: 154
  • Armed Robberies: 17
  • Rapes: 15

9. Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter’s historic charm is sometimes tainted by its crime rates. The mix of tourists and party-goers creates a scenario where petty crimes are more common. If you leave a laptop or purse in your car, expect a broken window and a missing item. During the day, Gaslamp usually feels very safe. However, crime can ensue at odd hours of the night after the bars let out.

Gaslamp Quarter Danger Level: Mostly Safe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 108
  • Violent Crimes: 150
  • Armed Robberies: 6
  • Rapes: 11

10. Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is known for its surf and laid-back vibe. If people aren’t surfing in North County San Diego, they are usually catching waves here in OB. Similar to California towns like Santa Cruz, it has a grungy vibe and isn’t immune to property crimes.

Thankfully, Ocean Beach has a strong community of locals that mostly take care of the area. If you find yourself on the outskirts of OB at night without much street light, sketchy people can sometimes cross your path. During the day, Ocean Beach is a relatively safe neighborhood in San Diego.

Ocean Beach Danger Level: Mostly Safe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 106
  • Violent Crimes: 127
  • Armed Robberies: 4
  • Rapes: 5

11. Logan Heights

Logan Heights is high on other people’s lists of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego. I would argue that the statistics aren’t as unsafe compared to other parts of the city. Logan Heights is rich in history and culture. However, it does struggle with gang activity. These issues often overshadow the area’s cultural vibrancy and strong sense of neighborhood pride. Efforts to foster community engagement and youth programs are key strategies in tackling these challenges.

Logan Heights Danger Level: Unsafe When Around the Wrong People

  • Aggravated Assaults: 96
  • Violent Crimes: 126
  • Armed Robberies: 17
  • Rapes: 1

12. Miramar

Miramar has a blend of military and civilian residents. Sadly, it does face security challenges. The diverse mix of residential and industrial areas creates unique crime patterns. The community is actively engaged in fostering a safe environment for all its residents. Miramar is located east compared to the other coastal neighborhoods. If you go too east in San Diego County, it can become more unsafe.

Miramar Danger Level: Moderately Safe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 99
  • Violent Crimes: 126
  • Armed Robberies: 7
  • Rapes: 6
  • Murders: 2

13. Barrio Logan

Barrio Logan, celebrated for its cultural heritage, is working to overcome its challenges with crime. The area’s economic inequalities contribute to higher crime rates. Fortunately, there’s a strong community drive to improve safety throughout this neighborhood. Efforts focus on economic development and community empowerment.

Barrio Logan Danger Level: Moderately Safe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 69
  • Violent Crimes: 104
  • Armed Robberies: 13
  • Rapes: 8
  • Murders: 3

14. Mission Valley West

Lastly, Mission Valley West, while generally safer, still deals with crime related to its bustling retail locations. The area’s mix of residential and commercial spaces requires a balanced approach to safety and community involvement. Ongoing developments aim to enhance the overall security of the neighborhood.

Mission Valley West Danger Level: Mostly Safe

  • Aggravated Assaults: 45
  • Violent Crimes: 103
  • Armed Robberies: 15
  • Rapes: 6

Navigating Unsafe Neighborhoods in San Diego

dangerous neighborhoods San Diego

Each of these neighborhoods has its unique charm and challenges. As unsafe as some of these neighborhoods appear on paper, they’re not all bad. Coming from a San Diego local, I can personally say that most of these areas are okay as long as you are aware of your surroundings and don’t venture into already sketchy situations. We buy San Diego houses regardless of how unsafe the area is and will continue to do so. Navigate these dangerous neighborhoods in San Diego with your head on a swivel and report crime when you witness it.