10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Francisco

By PropertyClub Team
Feb 13th 2024
One of America’s iconic cities, San Francisco, is a popular tourist destination and major economic hub. Home to multiple tech giants and major companies, people commute from all over the bay area to work in the city. Unfortunately, although San Francisco may look like an idyllic city overlooking the sparkling bay, it has a high crime rate and a reputation for being a dangerous place to live. Read on to learn about the places you should avoid in San Francisco due to their high crime rates.

hash-mark10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Francisco

  1. Tenderloin District
  2. The Castro
  3. Hunters Point
  4. Mission District
  5. Chinatown
  6. Ocean View
  7. North Beach
  8. Outer Mission
  9. Western Addition
  10. South of Market SOMA

1. Tenderloin District 

The Tenderloin District is the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco. Located in Downtown San Francisco, the area has a population of 39,000 and an extremely high violent crime rate, which is over 270% higher than the national average. The Tenderloin has more violent crimes, such as robberies and assaults. In addition, some of the highest amounts of drug use and homelessness are concentrated in this neighborhood. Despite being one of San Francisco’s historic neighborhoods, you should be careful when walking through the area. 

2. The Castro

The Castro is also one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco. Located in San Francisco’s Eureka Valley neighborhood, the Castro is a historic community and one of the first LGBTQ neighborhoods in America. However, like many areas of San Francisco today, it suffers from a high rate of crime.

The total crime rate in the Castro is 8,200 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 253% higher than the national average. The violent crime rate is 124% higher than the rest of the country, while the property crime rate is 277% higher. Shootings, stabbings, robberies, and assaults are fairly common in the Castro, and your chances of being the victim of a crime are 1 in 13.

3. Hunters Point

Another one of the areas to avoid in San Francisco is Hunters Point. Located near the Port of San Francisco, Hunters Point has a population of 3,534 and an exceptionally high crime rate. Hunters Point has been plagued by poverty for decades, with communities being affected by incidents involving toxic leaks and hazardous waste spills. In 2022, there were over 4,000 assaults and over 1,000 incidents of burglary. 

4. Mission District

Mission district has a population of 45,039 and a crime rate that is 251% higher than the national average. Violent crimes were frequent, but most of the crime can be attributed to property crime, with over 6,000 incidents in 2022. During the COVID pandemic, crime rates surged in this neighborhood but have gone down since. Mission District remains a popular tourist destination and is safe as long as common sense is used. 

5. Chinatown

Chinatown is another one of the more dangerous parts of San Francisco. Located in between the financial district and the Tenderloin, Chinatown is a densely populated area that is home to about 35,000 residents. Although it’s a popular tourist destination, it suffers from social problems such as homelessness and drug addiction and has one of the highest crime rates in the city.

The total crime rate in Chinatown is 6,923 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 198% higher than the national average. The violent crime rate is 83% higher than in the rest of the country, while the property crime rate is 220% higher than in the rest of the US. Pickpockets are especially common along Stockton Street, and your chances of being the victim of a crime in Chinatown are 1 in 15.

6. Ocean View

Oceanview is another one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco. Situated in the southern portion of the city, Ocean View is home to about 7,000 residents. In the 1980s, the neighborhood suffered from widespread urban decay and became a major hub of violent crime and drug trafficking. Although civic improvements have led to a decrease in violence, Oceanview is still one of the most crime-ridden areas of San Francisco. The total crime rate is 195% higher than the national average, while the violent crime rate is 255% higher. Your chances of being the victim of a crime are 1 in 15.

7. North Beach

North Beach is also a dangerous San Francisco neighborhood. The community is adjacent to Chinatown, Russian Hill, and Downtown San Francisco and is home to a large Italian American population. North Beach is a popular tourist destination and is generally considered safe during the day, although it does suffer from a high rate of crime, and visitors are advised to take precautions. The total crime rate is 160% higher than the national average, and your chances of being the victim of a crime are 1 in 17. The property crime rate is also 179% higher than the rest of the country, while violent crime is 64% higher.

8. Outer Mission

Outer Mission is another dangerous San Francisco neighborhood. The area has a population of 8,546 and a crime rate that is 98% higher than the national average. The property crime rate is much higher than the violent crime rate in Outer Mission. Property crimes like car theft are rampant in this neighborhood, and it is not advised to leave any visible property in your car. Since Out Mission is greatly affected by homelessness, drug activity and other petty crimes are very common.

9. Western Addition 

With a population of 12,934, Western Addition is known for having rampant property crime and muggings. While some parts of Western Addition have undergone gentrification, homelessness affects the area and contributes to the overall crime rate. Car break-ins, petty theft, and drug activity. Residents report feeling generally safe, even at night, as long as common sense is used. 

10. South of Market (SOMA) 

Another dangerous San Francisco neighborhood is South of Market. Often abbreviated to SOMA, South of Market has a population of 11,457 and an overall crime rate 67% higher than the national average. Despite being a significant economic center hosting multiple tech companies, property crime is very high in SOMA. Vehicle thefts, muggings, and property theft are extremely common. 

hash-markIs San Francisco Safe?

San Francisco is relatively safe to visit if you plan accordingly and keep your stay exclusive to certain neighborhoods. San Francisco's main tourist areas, Union Square, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Warf, are all very safe during the day. However, you should always be careful as there is a lot of crime in the city, and pickpocketing is common. 

Living in San Francisco is a different story. San Francisco’s crime rate is 111% higher than the national average and 91% higher than the California average. Residents often complain of rampant homelessness, and property crime greatly affects many areas of San Francisco. 

hash-markSan Francisco Violent Crime Rates

The chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime in San Francisco is 1 in 178. In 2021, there were 49 murders, 2,490 robberies, and 2,181 assaults. Even though violent crime is still 40% above the national average, San Francisco is less violent than some other large cities. Since much of the crime revolves around drug addiction and subsequent property crime, violent crime isn’t as prevalent. While the city is more dangerous than many cities, San Francisco falls behind others, including Charlotte, Dallas, and Denver, when it comes to violent crime rates.

And, of course, your chance of being a victim of either a violent crime or a property crime in San Francisco depends heavily on the neighborhood.

hash-markSan Francisco Property Crime Rates

Property crime in San Francisco is one of the biggest issues facing residents. Overall, residents have a 1 in 22 chance of being the victims of property crime. In 2022, there were over 7,000 burglaries, 6,050 motor vehicle thefts, and 26,000 thefts. Taking common-sense measures like knowing your surroundings and not leaving belongings in plain sight in vehicles can help mitigate the chances of becoming a victim. However, car thieves will often break into cars in an attempt to find something to steal.

hash-markHomelessness and Crime in San Francisco

Much of the property crime is directly related to the surging homeless population in the city. Between 2017 and 2022, the homeless population has grown rapidly, now numbering over 35,000 and steadily growing. Many issues facing the homeless include drug trade and addiction, fueling property crime. Residents often complain of major homeless encampments in the city, which results in highly unsanitary conditions, including human waste and needles being left in pedestrian areas. 

hash-markIs San Francisco Dangerous Bottom Line 

San Francisco might not have the highest violent crime rate, but it’s more dangerous than other American cities, and theft and property crime plague the city. Since the city has one of the highest homeless populations in the world, the city has many issues stemming from this problem, including theft, drug use, and sanitation. Some neighborhoods in San Francisco are safe for tourists and have functioning business districts. However, given the widespread homeless issue, it affects all areas of the city. The chance of becoming the victim of a crime in this city is statistically very high.