From the abundance and variety of agriculture, to the privilege of being only a few hours away from beaches or snow, Californians have a lot to be thankful for. For some of us, that includes living in the safest cities in California. Thanks to the Crime in the United States report provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we have a relatively good idea on some of the safest cities to own a home in California for 2012.

Pulling the report, and dropping smaller towns (under 20,000 residents), we’ve found the top five safest cities in California—let’s take a look:

5. Moorpark – (Crime Affecting 1 in 95 Residents)


Just a mere 45 miles from the glitz, glamour and the now-and-again crime of Hollywood, California is Moorpark, one of the Golden State’s 5 safest cities. That distinction is, of course, related to the fact that the crime rate is a fraction of the national average, but several other factors also play a part. To begin, the city’s economy is poised to thrive with training and information programs that help business owners make the most of their businesses. For commuters and frequent business travelers, the location just doesn’t get any better—35 miles from the Burbank Airport and 50 miles from the Los Angeles Airport—making it one of the most ideal home settings in Los Angeles. And its popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed—Money magazine consistently names Moorpark as one of their Best Places to Live in the U.S. Moorpark had a reported 41 violent crimes in 2012, as well as 25 reported motor vehicle thefts.


4. Los Altos – (Crime Affecting 1 in 97 Residents)


With crime rates stunningly low, unemployment rates well below State averages and median household incomes nearing $140,000, it’s no surprise that Santa Clara County’s Los Altos is listed as the fourth safest city in California. With the average resident’s age hovering at 46 years old, the city is brimming with families and thanks to its highly ranked school districts, continually attracts younger families seeking a safe, desirable place to raise their children. Activities for kids like the Tiny Tots play-based preschool, youth theater and a variety of camps fuel the atmosphere, while the city’s nearly 20 park and recreation areas only add to the picture-perfect setting with opportunities for yoga, hiking, picnicking and more at the ready. With a population sitting right under 30,000, Los Altos saw only 1 aggravated assault and 8 motor vehicle thefts in 2012.


3. Aliso Viejo – (Crime Affecting 1 in 107 Residents)


Just 50 miles south of Los Angeles and 74 miles from San Diego is the beautiful masterplanned community of Aliso Viejo. This hometown gem provides an impeccable setting for families, with award-winning schools, parks, shopping centers, modern neighborhoods and a refreshingly low crime rate setting the scene. In fact, according to the FBI Crime Report, there were less than 7 robberies and only 13 motor vehicle thefts in Aliso Viejo in all of 2012. The city’s median resident age is 32 years old and the boundless opportunity for social and physical activity reflects that. Within 15 miles of Aliso Viejo, residents will find  more than 30 movie theaters, 3,000 restaurants and 82 bars. And for those more interested in outdoor attractions, over 30 miles of recreational trails are at their disposal with programs like yoga hikes and tot walks beckoning singles and families alike.


2.  Saratoga – (Crime Affecting 1 in 128 Residents)


For those needing to unplug from the pull of Silicon Valley, Saratoga is a welcome, relaxing respite. Set in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this culture-rich town is also one of the safest in California. In fact, less than 10 violent crimes were reported to law enforcement agencies in 2012. The allure of Saratoga may also stem from its other distinguishing recognitions, including being ranked one of America’s top 20 most-educated small towns and being called a top-earning town in the U.S. by Money magazine. The culmination of all of these honors is the warm, charming atmosphere of Saratoga, with its wineries and vineyards (many dog-friendly), spas, outdoor recreation opportunities and—for those with children—award-winning schools. Saratoga is truly a treasure.


1.  Rancho Santa Margarita – (Crime Affecting 1 in 142 Residents)

Rancho Santa Margarita

While the Orange County masterplanned city of Rancho Santa Margarita may have only been incorporated since 1999, it’s already become of California’s most desirable places to live. The setting, just 10 miles from the Pacific in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, is spectacular with gorgeous views and ample opportunity for outdoor recreation. The crime statistics in Rancho Santa Margarita are impressively low for a population of 50,000, with the most recent FBI Crime Report data revealing less than 10 robberies and only 10 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2012. Take the crime rate into account, along with the number of parks, dog parks, and community activities, and it’s pretty clear that Rancho Santa Margarita is the ultimate place to plant some solid, safe roots.

While 2012 is far past us, it will be exciting to see how 2013 will stack up once the annual report comes out early next year. Will any of the top five remain on this list? What cities do you think will fall from the top? Let me know in the comments!

For a list of the top 100 ranked by crime rate per capita, click here.