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t’s a question people often ask – is Orange County safe? 

As a lifelong resident, I feel safe here. (As safe as you can feel anywhere in the U.S., I suppose.)

Where I live, in Old Towne Orange, my husband and I frequently walk at night and I’ve never once felt unsafe. This said, I’m paranoid by nature and take few risks. If I were walking alone, as a woman, I might be more wary and more cautious – but I would be this way anywhere, having listened to my fair share of true crime podcasts.

Orange itself saw a 5% decrease in crime in 2021 and our police department prides itself in partnering with our local community to ensure Orange is a safe place to live.

Orange County is largely safe — but use common sense and take precautions

Property Theft

One of the biggest issues we have, throughout Orange County, are property crimes. It’s the reason why I never leave anything visible in my car – ever – not anything. Not a sweater, not an empty grocery bag, nothing. And I always lock my car doors. 

It’s also the reason I have my Amazon driver hide our packages, we always lock the doors to our home, and have an alarm system.

Lock Your Car & Hide Your Belongings

Gangs and Poverty

As for Orange County on the whole, I would say it’s mostly safe, but there are areas where there are pockets of gang activity. Gang violence here tends to be typically insular: gang members targeting other gang members. According to the District Attorney’s office, “when comparing violent crime rates in Orange County to other counties, Orange County is the safest large county in California.”

Homelessness is also an issue and, sadly, many in the “unhoused” community here also seem to have issues with drugs and/or mental illness. Typically, they aren’t aggressive, but they are visible, especially in parks, on sidewalks, and near freeway on-ramps and off-ramps. There are some tent “cities.” Steer clear.

Bottom line: listen to your gut. If it tells you an area isn’t safe – don’t go there.

INSIDER TIP: If you are renting a car, get one with a trunk – and use it. Don’t ever leave anything visible inside, and ALWAYS lock your vehicle. Even in a nice area…at the beach, in a high-end shopping center parking lot – your unattended car is a target for theft.


Are you in danger of being pickpocketed here? This hasn’t been an issue in the past, as it has for other large cities. Never say never, but I haven’t ever had it happen, nor have I ever spoken to anyone who was a victim of this type of theft.