Some Santa Monica residents have been surprised by a new survey that ranks their city among the least safe in California.
In fact, violent crime and property crime both declined in the city of Santa Monica last year according to FBI data. This fact is acknowledged by both the city and the people behind the investigation. So what keeps Santa Monica always at the bottom of the list?
People who live in the tourist town of Santa Monica who spoke with NBCLA do not consider it a dangerous town, but a new survey from safewise.com suggests otherwise. Santa Monica ranks with Oakland, San Bernardino and Compton among the least safe cities in California.
“Intuitively, it doesn’t really make sense to someone who lives here that we’re among the least safe cities in the country,” said Marc Morgenstern of the Ocean Park Association.
Morgenstern has been a resident for 15 years. He points out, as the city did in response to the survey, that Santa Monica is measured not by its 95,000 residents, but by the quarter of a million people who move there every day, including workers and the tourists. This, they believe, would significantly improve its ranking.
“If you reflected the actual number of people in the city every day, not just residents but workers and visitors, the city’s rating would be much better in terms of safety,” Morgenstern said.
“A lot of cities are experimenting with tourism, especially big cities,” said Andrew Hull of safewise.com.
A report by Safewise, a home security company, analyzed FBI crime statistics to come to the conclusion. Video aired during Today in LA on Monday, April 4, 2022.
Hull says the survey did its best to compare cities fairly. He says Santa Monica has always had one of the highest rates of property crime and that’s what keeps its ranking near the bottom.
“It’s really admirable that the city’s violent crime rate has come down, but Santa Monica’s property crime rate is where we see a lot of trouble here,” Hull said.
City Council member Phil Brock said residents are concerned about crime issues related to the city’s homeless population. But he says the city is working hard to calm fears.
“I want everyone to feel safe walking our streets and alleys,” Brock said.
“It’s a wonderful place to live. It feels safe. The police department is doing a great job.”
The city also released a statement on its website in response to the report, saying, among other things:
“While the SMPD is pleased that the total number of reported crimes is down, the city and the police department remain vigilant and work hard day in and day out to combat the crime that is occurring in our community…Our focus and our focus on crime and community safety issues is unwavering.”
Some of the safest towns in Southern California in the safewise.com survey include Moorpark, Laguna Niguel, and Rancho Santa Margarita. See the list here.