You may look at this photo of San Bernardino, California, my hometown, and think to yourself, What a lovely town. It looks so peaceful. So tranquil. Living there must be absolutely delightful.
You would be incorrect. I just stumbled upon an online article that names San Bernardino as the eighth most dangerous city in America. But other sources dispute that number eight ranking. They say it’s far worse than that.
Just before the pandemic, CBS Local Los Angeles rated San Bernardino the most dangerous city in California and the third most dangerous city in the United States.
Another source placed it at #10 and yet another source put it at #2. No matter which is accurate, San Bernardino is not a very safe place and you should be cautious if you are to visit.
Just take a look at some of the crime stats and give thanks that you don’t live where I grew up.
Let’s put those numbers in perspective. In 2020 there were 69 murders in San Bernardino and a homicide rate of 31.06 per hundred thousand people. That compares to an United States average of just 7.8 homicides per 100,000. In other words, local residents are four times more likely to get murdered than the average American. I can’t find 2020 statistics for McKinney, Texas, where we now live, but in 2019 our murder rate was a minuscule 1.0 per 100,000. In 2018, the rate was zero. In 2017, it was 1.1 murder.
But back to San Bernardino. Turns out the fear of living dangerously is nicely dispersed across the metropolitan area.
San Bernardino Neighborhoods to Avoid
The city center is the most dangerous area. This includes:
Lankershim and Warm Springs
Please note that my actual hometown, Colton, a seedy little suburb nestled up alongside San Bernardino’s sweaty underbelly, is apparently so dangerous that it was listed twice. The same article notes that parts of neighboring cities of Rialto, Highland, and Redlands “can be dicey.”
In other words, avoid the entire “Inland Empire” region. You risk your life damn near anywhere in the area.
On the other hand, the valley is surrounded by beautiful mountains and there are actually some days when they’re not hidden behind a heavy brown veil of smog.