People often think of cities like Bakersfield as being unsafe. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it isn’t necessarily all bad. High crime rates can indicate that a city is struggling in some way, such as economically speaking or in terms of infrastructure. But does this mean that you should avoid visiting Bakersfield altogether? If you’re thinking about visiting the city as a tourist, a new resident, or for any other reason, you might be wondering about the safety concerns. Do the statistics make sense or is there something we don’t know about? Keep reading to get the lowdown on everything you need to know about Bakersfield safety and its implications.
Is Bakersfield Safe?
That depends on your definition of safe. Bakersfield is generally a pretty safe city if you take basic safety precautions (don’t wander alone through dark alleys at night, that kind of thing). There is a fair amount of petty crime here, but for the most part, it’s pretty low-level stuff—there aren’t a lot of muggings or shootings in Bakersfield.
Why Is Bakersfield Considered Unsafe?
Bakersfield’s economy is in an unfortunate state. It has suffered from a number of economic woes, including the closure of the Kern River Oil Field in the 1980s and the loss of that industry’s tax revenue in recent years. The city has also struggled with high unemployment rates. As a result, many people are moving away from Bakersfield and leaving behind what many consider to be an unsafe city.
Crime statistics can be misleading, and they don’t always tell the whole story. For instance, the crime rate is generally higher in cities with higher concentrations of poverty and low-income housing. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Bakersfield is a dangerous place to live, it does mean that there are some socioeconomic factors at play here that can lead to negative outcomes for residents (notably crime).
Drug Use / Addiction
As noted above, drug use can have a negative impact on communities as far as crime above, there are some socioeconomic factors at play here that can lead to negative outcomes for residents. There is a significant drug problem in Bakersfield, and it can be very dangerous. This is not to say that all Bakersfield residents are addicts or use illegal drugs, but there’s a relatively high prevalence of substance abuse in the city.
Bakersfield has a significant gang presence, which also contributes to negative outcomes for residents. The gang problem has worsened since the city’s oil industry began to decline, and it’s become more prevalent since the recession hit Bakersfield hard and unemployment rates spiked. This can cause problems for both residents and visitors alike (it’s not uncommon for gangs to target tourists who are visiting).
Poverty can cause crime to increase, as people with less money will have fewer options when they need to solve problems like violence or theft. Poverty can also contribute to drug use and addiction; while this is above, Bakersfield is a city with a lot of poverty and a high rate of unemployment. This means that there is a higher incidence of drug use and addiction here than in other cities. In fact, Bakersfield has one of the highest rates of opiate addiction in the nation.
Bakersfield’s economy has been struggling for years, and many locals are moving away from the area due to the poor economy and lack of job opportunities. The city’s unemployment rate is currently at 8%, which is much higher than the national average (5%).
The infrastructure in Bakersfield is fairly old, with many streets still not being paved (there are also no sidewalks). This makes it difficult for residents to get around town without getting lost or hurting themselves on potholes or rough terrain. Many residents have expressed concerns about safety in Bakersfield due to this problem, though it isn’t particularly severe compared to above, Bakersfield has a high level of drug use and addiction. The drug trade plays a role in many crimes committed in the city, including muggings and robberies. This may be because people are desperate for cash to support their addictions, or it could be that they have no other means of earning income. Either way, the drug trade is a factor in the crime rate here and it’s something that needs to be considered before deciding to visit Bakersfield for your next vacation or move.
What Are The Safest Parts Of Bakersfield?
Downtown Bakersfield is very safe. The downtown area is a very large area of city, so you can walk to different parts of town easily. It’s also close to many shopping centers and restaurants, as well as a large park.
The Park is a very safe place to be at night. It has a large fountain and fountain lights that light up the whole park at night time. This makes it very inviting for people to walk around at night time, which makes it even safer than other areas of Bakersfield.
The University of California, Bakersfield Campus
There are always people on campus after dark, making it extremely safe for students and other people who go there during the day or night time. There are also police officers on campus pretty much all the time, making it even safer than other areas of Bakersfield.
The airport is another part of town that is very safe. The airport is located in the center of Bakersfield, so it’s easy to get there from anywhere in town. The airport is also very well-lit at night time, making it a safe place to be at night time.
The mall is a large shopping center that is frequented by many people during the day and night time. It’s extremely safe because there are plenty of police officers around at all times, making it a very safe place to go during the day or night time.
School Bus Routes
The school bus routes are also very safe places for students to be at night or during the day because there are police officers and security guards stationed on all of them during the day or night time, making them extremely safe for students to walk around at any time of day or night. You can find more information about these routes here.
The library is another building that people can go to that is extremely safe for them to be at during the day or night time. There are police officers and security guards stationed on all of the library’s entrances, making it a very safe place for people to go during the day or night time.
How Bad Is The Crime In Bakersfield?
- The crime rate in Bakersfield is not very high. If you are a resident of Bakersfield, you are less likely to be a victim of crime than residents of the rest of California. About one in every 10,000 residents is the victim of a violent crime such as rape or murder each year. That is about half the rate for California as a whole. The chances of being killed by someone other than a family member are about one in five thousand annually.
- It is also worth noting that Bakersfield has not been flooded with criminals from other states and countries like many other cities have been over the past few decades. Still, it is important to remember that this does not mean that there have not been any major crimes committed in Bakersfield since I was born (in 1981). In fact, there have been more than 10 homicides so far this year alone!
- Bakersfield is also much safer than most cities without similar size (or larger) populations. It is worth noting that Bakersfield is about the same size as the city of Fresno, which is one of the most dangerous cities in California. Fresno has nearly three times as many violent crimes per capita than Bakersfield (1,042 vs. 549).
- There are many more crimes happening in Bakersfield than you may think. It is true that there have been more than 10 homicides so far this year alone, but it is also important to realize that these are only the reported crimes. Many people commit very serious crimes without ever being reported to police at all. About 8% of all violent crimes in California go unreported to police each year, and that rate increases with each additional crime severity (e.g., rape).
- You are much less likely to be a victim of crime in Bakersfield than you are in most other cities throughout California. The odds of being a victim of a violent crime like murder or rape in Bakersfield are only about 1 in 10,000 per year. In comparison, the odds of being a victim of a violent crime in Fresno are nearly three times as high (1,042 per 10,000 vs. 549 per 10,000).
The Bottom Line
Overall, Bakersfield is a pretty safe city for tourists to visit. The city has a higher crime rate than other large cities in the United States, but the actual chance of being a victim of crime is much lower than in other major cities. There are some things that you should be aware of when traveling to Bakersfield, such as the cold winter weather and long distance from other major cities. However, overall, Bakersfield is a safe city to visit.