Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Diego

Oct 31st 2023
With its sunny beaches, extensive parks, and buzzing nightlife, San Diego is a great destination for adventure-seekers. However, some parts of the city aren’t that safe, and many neighborhoods are known for their high crime rates. Read on to discover the ten worst neighborhoods in San Diego. 

hash-mark10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in San Diego

  1. Kearny Mesa
  2. East Village
  3. Cortez Hill
  4. Columbia
  5. Memorial
  6. College Area
  7. Marina
  8. San Ysidro 
  9. Lemon Grove
  10. Barrio Logan

hash-mark1. Kearny Mesa

The most dangerous neighborhood in San Diego is Kearny Mesa. This area is located in north San Diego. With a population of around 5,042, Kearny Mesa has a total crime rate that is 456% above the national average. The vast majority of crime in the area pertains to property crime and theft. Common issues include stolen property, home theft, vehicle theft, and larceny. Some violent crimes like assault and robbery occur in the area. 

hash-mark2. East Village 

East Village is also one of the worst neighborhoods in San Diego. This large area encompasses over 130 blocks and has a population of around 10,000. The crime rate in East Village is a whopping 441% above the national average, making it one of the most violent neighborhoods in San Diego. While many areas of East Village are generally safe, much of the area still struggles with violent crime and homelessness. Common crimes include drug trafficking, theft, assault, homicide, and prostitution. Common sense and general safety should be exercised when walking alone, especially at night. 

hash-mark3. Cortez Hill

Cortez Hill is a dangerous San Diego neighborhood located near downtown and Little Italy. With a population of around 2,891, Cortez Hills has a crime rate that is 291% above the national average. The area struggles with poverty and homelessness, including multiple homeless encampments. There were 1,474 violent incidents recorded during 2022, including many incidents of robbery and assault. Property crime and theft are problematic as well. 

hash-mark4. Columbia

Columbia is a neighborhood in downtown San Diego that mainly consists of commercial buildings. With a population of 1,641, Columbia has a crime rate that is 244% above the national average. Columbia struggles with a high homeless population, high property crime rate, and issues stemming from the drug trade. Violent crimes such as robbery, assault, and homicide often occur as well. 

hash-mark5. Memorial 

Memorial is located in southeastern San Diego and is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood has a population of roughly 14,637, with a crime rate of 85% above the national average. There was a total of 4,343 criminal incidents in 2022, with theft, burglary, and drug trafficking being common. 

hash-mark6. College Area

College Area is known for being the home of San Diego State University, with most residents being students. College Area has a bad reputation for property crime, with many student housing areas affected by theft. The area is home to a large homeless population, which contributes to some property crime and unsanitary conditions. However, using common sense when traveling should prevent most unsafe situations. 

hash-mark7. Marina

Marina is a waterfront neighborhood located in the southwest section of San Diego. Despite having some great ocean views, Marina’s total crime rate is 54% above the national average. Both violent and property crime rates are high, with thefts, burglaries, shootings, and gang activity being prevalent. Not only is the crime rate high but so is the cost of living, with housing costs being 148% above the national average. 

hash-mark8. San Ysidro 

San Ysidro is a neighborhood located just north of the US-Mexico border. The area has a population of around 27,974 and a total crime rate that is 43% higher than the national average. Property crime is the most common type of crime in the area, with various types of home and auto theft being common. Common types of violent crime include assault and robbery. Drug trafficking is a problem in San Ysidro, with the area having some minor gang activity. 

hash-mark9. Lemon Grove

Lemon Grove is a dangerous suburban area just outside of San Diego that is originally known for its sprawling citrus farms. Out of a population of 26,700, Lemon Grove has a violent crime rate that is 41% above the national average. While Lemon Grove is far from being the most dangerous city on this list, crimes such as theft, robbery, assault, and homicide still occur. At one point, the area was known for gang activity, but this has abated in recent years. 

hash-mark10. Barrio Logan

Located near downtown and Chula Vista, Barrio Logan is a transitioning neighborhood that still contends with a criminal element. Out of a population of 4,767, Barrio Logan’s crime rate is 29% above the national average. Property crime remains a problem in the area, with some transitioning neighborhoods experiencing problems with theft and burglary. Violent crime does occur as well but with less frequency. Barrio Logan has historically had a gang presence, while diminished, that still lingers in the area.