Is Chula Vista Safe?

Is Chula Vista, CA a safe place to live or visit?

“Is Chula Vista (California) Safe”?. If you’re writing up a list of cool Westcoast spots to live in or visit, that’s a sensible question. And by the end of this article, you’ll have your answer.

Want a little background info first? Sure you do!

Chula Vista, a leading city in conservation and renewable energy, has been named one of the top safest cities in the whole United States. One of the biggest pros of living in this city is its high level of safety-so here you already have the answer to the question Is Chula Vista Safe, all that because I don’t like to waste the time of my readers :).

Chula Vista means “beautiful view” and as you can guess there is more to see and do than you can imagine! If you’re thinking of moving to Southern California and looking for a safe place (so safe that Ukrainian refugees are moving there), you can definitely count on this wonderful city! Also San Diego is a good call if you want a safe, large city in California.

According to, Chula Vista had a 277,220 population in 2021 and sits smack dab in the middle between the USA’s San Diego and Mexico’s Tijuana.

The second-largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, boasts its outstanding schools, more than 52 square miles of coastal landscape, rolling hills, mountains, canyons, beautiful parks, and miles of trails. Chula Vista is located at the center of one of the richest cultural, economic, and environmentally diverse zones in the US. You cannot actually find a safer place in San Diego county.

San Diego, by the way, is one of the safest big cities in the entire US, so it is no surprise that neighboring Chula Vista is also a low crime area.

Our team also looked closely at the crime rates and the best and worst neighborhoods in other Californian cities, like the neighboring Santa Rosa and the promising city of Escondido, as well as some cities closer to Los Angeles like  AnaheimHuntington Beach, and Garden Grove.

City entrance to Chula Vista. In the next paragraphs, we will discover how safe Chula Vista is.
City entrance. In the next paragraphs, we will discover how safe Chula Vista is. Photo by Roman EugeniuszCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Now we’re going to see what the best and worst parts of the city are and find more details to the question: is Chula Vista safe?

Let’s deep dive into some crime rates first, to see how safe or dangerous Chula Vista statically is.

Chula Vista Crime Rate

Statistics definitely do a lot of talking when determining how safe or violent a city is. And you’ll be able to check out the most important ones below.

Infographic for article Is Chula Vista Safe
Our infographic with the answer to the question, “Is Chula Vista Safe?” (Feel free to share, but please give proper credit by linking back to this article 🙂 )

How Chula Vista’s Crime Rate Compares to Other Cities

Below you can see two tables.

The first table shows the crime rate (as well as the homicide rate and other information) of Chula Vista and compares it with other cities we analyzed. The source of the data is the FBI reports.

Crime Rate of Chula Vista (Proportional to the Population) Compared to Other Cities

Here the crime numbers are divided by the population and demonstrated as cases per 100,000 habitants, meaning that they are proportional to the number of residents. By clicking on the name of each city, you will find a complete article with their best neighborhoods, areas to avoid, crime rates, etc.

CityStatePopulationTotal Criminal Offenses per 100K Resid.Assaults per 100K Resid.Homicides per 100K Resid.Rapes per 100K Resid.Robberies per 100K Resid.
Chula VistaCA275,9783,26571821191
Santa AnaCA310,2272,698280547129
Santa RosaCA178,1272,15437426276
Huntington BeachCA198,7112,22915823554
Oklahoma CityOK670,8727,7051,430156197
Salt Lake CityUT205,92915,7233,0099132215
Crime rate numbers. Total criminal cases, assaults, homicides, rapes, and robberies in multiple American cities we analyzed, in cases per 100K residents. Data from 2022, 2021 and 2020.

Crime Rate of Chula Vista in Absolute Numbers Compared to Other Cities

Criminal Offenses
Chula VistaCA275,9789,0101,982631251
Santa AnaCA310,2278,37086915145401
Santa RosaCA178,1273,8366674110135
Huntington BeachCA198,7114,430313370107
Oklahoma CityOK670,87251,6899,595100406653
Salt Lake CityUT205,92932,3786,19619271443
The numbers of total criminal cases, assaults, homicides, rapes, and robberies in multiple American cities we analyzed, in absolute numbers. Data from 2021 and 2020.

According to, the Chula Vista total crime rate is 1,501 per 100,000 residents. This rate is 36% lower than the national average crime rate in the US. Total crime includes four illegal acts: murder, forcible rape, robbery, and assault. In 2022, the violent crime rate of this city is 329 per 100,000 residents which is 15% lower than the average violent crime rate in the US.

Per 100k people in 2020, Chula Vista had

  • 3.6 murders per 100k compared to 6.5 people
  • 22.7 rapes per 100k compared to 38.4 nationally.
  • 108.6 robberies per 100k compared to 73.9 nationally.
  • 194.6 assaults per 100k compared to 279.7 nationally.

This means Chula Vista falls well below the national average in all 4 violent crime categories. And FYI – it’s also lower than California’s state average.

The property crime rate is also 1,171 per 100,000 individuals. This rate is 40% lower than the average as well. Property crime includes four illegal acts: burglary, larceny-theft, motor or vehicle theft, and arson. The most often committed crimes in this city are property crimes, DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated), drug violations, and domestic violence.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of these threats can easily be avoided by being smart when in public places. Chula Vista crime rate indicates that the city is much safer than most cities in CA.

Chula Vista’s Overall Crime Rate – Below National Average

Great news – reported that in 2020, Chula Vista’s overall crime rate was 36% below the national average.

The Chula Vista crime rate falls well below neighboring Southern Californian cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. And for some national context, Chula Vista’s overall crime rate is significantly lower than comparably sized cities like Newark, NJ, Greensboro, NC, and Buffalo, NY.

Now, let’s get into some specifics. Overall crime is made up of violent crime and property crime, so let’s see how Chula Vista fairs in each category.

Chula Vista’s Violent Crime Rate – Below National Average

We’ll start you off with arguably the most crucial crime stat – Violent crime.

Violent crime is relatively low in Chula Vista. According to, in 2020, Chula Vista’s violent crime rate was 15% below the national average.

4 separate categories make up violent crime – Murder, rape, robbery, and assault.

Per 100k people in 2020, Chula Vista had 3.6 murders per 100k compared to 6.5 people nationally, 22.7 rapes compared to 38.4, 108.6 robberies to 73.9, and 194.6 assaults to 279.7.

This means Chula Vista falls well below the national average in all 4 violent crime categories.

And FYI – it’s also lower than California’s state average.

Chula Vista’s Property Crime Rate – Below National Average’s statistics show that in 2020, Chula Vista’s property crime rate was a healthy 40% below the national average.

3 categories constitute property crime – Burglary, theft, and vehicle theft.

Per 100k people in 2020, Chula Vista had 171.2 reported burglaries compared to 314.2 nationally, 726.9 reported thefts compared to 1,398, and 273.4 vehicle thefts compared to 246.

Chula Vista falls below the state and national average in 2 of 3 property crime categories.

At last, according to Chula Vista Crime Rate Report by the FBI, if I want to answer the question “Is Chula Vista safe?”, I should say yes.

Moving Out, Working Abroad and Keeping Your Sanity Cover
Recommended book: Moving Out, Working Abroad, and Keeping Your Sanity

Chula Vista Neighborhoods: The Bad Ones

When you’re looking for a place to travel or even for living, bad neighborhoods sometimes can be a disaster. Chula Vista’s neighborhoods bring up to mind too many stereotypes such as hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and ghettos. It appears as if there’s a neighborhood for everyone in the city.

Although Chula Vista consistently ranks as one of the best cities to live in the country because of its strong economy and entertainment, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine here. Realistically, you cannot expect all the neighborhoods to be wonderful, although Bella Lago ranks way above the rest. Some Chula Vista hoods aren’t as great as others. So the question is, which neighborhoods are the worst?

You can ask different people, “Is Chula Vista safe?”, or you can just take a look at the unbiased raw data here. Instead of relying on biased opinions, we analyzed the hard numbers from the FBI’s most recent crime report for every neighborhood in this city.

Generally, this report indicates that the criminal threat in Chula Vista is low. However, you should be aware of some areas that need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the city if you will.

Chula Vista neighborhoods with the worst total crime rates

  • Village Center
  • Northwest
  • Southwest
  • Fenton
  • East Lake
  • East Lake Vistas
  • Rancho Del Rey
  • Terra Nova
  • Otay Ranch

These are some neighborhoods that you might avoid visiting when you travel to the city. However, if you want to consider living in one of these neighborhoods, you should consider other factors such as beautiful views, living costs, and maybe good schools. None of these neighborhoods are bad in all of these factors.

Village Center

Village Center tops the “Bad Neighborhood” list because, in 2020, its violent crime rate was a worrying 247% above the national rate. Also, its total crime rate was 308% above Chula Vista’s average rate, with 3,773 crimes being committed per 100k people.

Despite these concerning figures, it’s essential to take these numbers with a grain of salt, as these are algorithmic estimates made using local law enforcement data (they’re not official FBI numbers).

Close-by areas like Eastlake Terraces have made the news in recent months for shootings. Also, some gang activity is occasionally reported by the locals, and the area is also known for car thefts. So you may wish to steer clear!


The Northwest neighborhood’s crime numbers are ranked second on the list, with 780 crimes committed per 100k people.

While not as high as the Village Center, the Northwest is still known in Chula Vista as something of a crime hotspot, with numerous assaults and acts of vandalism reported in October 2022 alone.


The Southwest neighborhood comes in at third on the list, with 461 crimes committed per 100k people. Numerous assaults, thefts, burglaries, and robberies were reported here within days of this article’s writing. So again, this is an area where you should exercise caution.

Important things to remember

Although these neighborhoods have higher crime figures than the rest of the city, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be in instant danger if you venture to any of these spots.

For example, cities like St. Louis, MI, Jackson, MS, and Detroit, MI, have neighborhoods that are pretty much no-go zones for tourists and out-of-towners.

Chula Vista’s Village Center, Northwest, and Southwest aren’t on this level in terms of crime, and many residents report living peacefully in these areas. The Village Center, for example, sits right next to the beautiful Eastlake community.

You’d be wise to use your best judgment when visiting any new city rather than relying solely on statistics or articles you’ve read online. For example, walking down dark alleys in sketchy-looking neighborhoods, leaving your car door unlocked, or mingling with local gangs is probably never a good idea, no matter where you are!

Chula Vista Neighborhoods: The Good Ones

It doesn’t matter where you move, you desire a neighborhood that is family-friendly, clean, and most importantly, safe. The most desired neighborhoods tend to be in the northeast regions of the city, while more affordable homes are in the southeast areas.

Map of Chula Vista including Bella Lago.
Bella Lago (red pin on the map) is one of the best neighborhoods in Chula Vista. Source: Google Maps.

The best Chula Vista neighborhood in terms of safety

  • Eastlake Woods: Its crime rates are 89% lower than the city average.
  • Bonita Long Canyon: Crime rates are 82% lower than the average and the livability score is 74/100.
  • Bella Lago: The crime rate is 692 per 100k individuals and its livability score is 90/100.
  • Paseo Ranchoero: This is one of the best and safest Chula Vista Neighborhoods as its crime rates are 55% lower than the city average.
  • Otay Ranch: The cost of living in this area is 3% lower and the real estate prices are 12% lower than the average.
  • Lynwood Hills: It has a livability score of 71/100, which is considered excellent.
  • Eastlake Greens: This area has a livability score of 77/100 which is great and its crime rates are 47% lower than the city average. Eastlake also has one of the best public high schools in California.
  • Eastlake Trails: It has a livability score of 76/100.
  • Sunbow: It has a livability score of 80.5/100.
  • Yosemite Dr: It has a livability score of 80.5/100 and the crime rate is 1,191 per 100k individuals.

The Eastlake Community

This sought-after area is famed for its wide-open green spaces, excellent schools, and incredible mountain views. This specially-designed community is broken down into smaller neighborhoods – Eastlake Greens, Eastlake Trails, Eastlake Vista, and Eastlake Woods.

If you’re an avid golfer, you may just fall in love with Eastlake Greens and its gorgeous 18-hole golf course (and its swanky country club).

Or, why not spend a day doing a little lakeside lounging? Eastlake Trails and Eastlake Vista are situated close to the lake itself. And with glistening still waters, acres of green grass, and perfect year-round Californian sunshine, its Westcoast livin’ at its finest.

Otay Ranch

Otay Ranch is situated just south of the Eastlake community. Families, in particular, love living here because of the widely-available, high-quality education, with some of the best schooling in the San Diego area.

Love the great outdoors? Otay Ranch is where you want to be – you can hike and bike along some spectacular wilderness trails, freefall 13,000 feet above the coastline with the skydiving club, or go on a border tour with a day visit to Tijuana, Mexico, which is just moments away.

And if retail therapy is more your vibe, then the open-air Otay Ranch Town Center shopping mall has everything to ensure your lifestyle needs are well and truly taken care of.

Downtown Chula Vista

The historic Downtown Chula Vista area is situated in the heart of West Chula Vista. Beautiful bayfront views await you here, and although the neighborhood is older than the city’s East side, it has a certain rustic charm that residents and tourists become smitten with.

And, despite its older (but more affordable) housing, new developments have been established all along the bayfront and are expected to continue popping up around the bay for the foreseeable future.

There are some excellent and (surprisingly!) inexpensive hotels in the best areas of Chula Vista. You can find them below.

Where’s The Best Place To Live In Chula Vista?

As we mentioned before, in Chula Vista neighborhoods, the good ones are more than the bad ones. According to the most recent FBI crime data, Eastlake Woods is the safest place to live in Chula Vista. One thing to remember is that FBI crime data takes into account everything from thefts and robberies to assaults and murders.

Map of Chula Vista including Eastlake Woods
Eastlake Woods (red pin on the map) is a very safe neighborhood in Chula Vista. Source: Google Maps.

Eastlake offers residents an area for walking or biking around the lake alongside its all other great features. Otay Lakes in this neighborhood provides quiet picnics and boating. So, if you are looking for a nice and family-friendly area that is also safe, you can definitely count on Eastlake Woods.

Final Thoughts – Is Chula Vista A Good Place To Live?

City Hall of Chula Vista, California.
Time for our answer to Is Chula Vista Safe? Picture of the city hall. Photo by Roman EugeniuszCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chula Vista, by and large, is what many people look for in an American city. Most people own their homes, a pleasant mix of urban and suburban living, and the public school system is highly-rated. It’s also only a short, 25-minute drive from Downtown San Diego and the airport.

You will have sunny weather and safety comparable to Honolulu, without the very expensive cost of living in Hawaii.

Add to this the low crime rate, the Southern Californian sunshine, the beautiful, easily accessible beaches, and the many other natural wonders you’ll experience here…

And you can see why this little-known Westcoast hotspot is attracting people from all over the nation.

Pros of Living in Chula Vista

  • Love Mexican food? You probably won’t find any that’s more authentic north of the border.
  • Love the outdoors? How about 560 acres of parkland where you can hike, bike, or just roam around free as a bird? 
  • Gorgeous year-round weather.
  • Chula Vista also boasts some seriously scintillating beaches packaged with breathtaking coastal views.
  • One thing that matters for most families who have children is the safety and quality of public schools in the neighborhood. The public schools in Chula Vista are highly rated and residents benefit from the quality education there.

The overall risk of living in Chula Vista is low. This city has a much lower total crime rate in comparison with other cities in the county. That’s why it is called one of the top safest places to live in the whole of San Diego. Every place in the world has good or bad neighborhoods when it comes to safety. Despite dangerous areas, there are many good places in Chula Vista that you can enjoy visiting or living there.

This city is safer than 36% of all other cities in the United States, making it a fantastic place for tourists to visit. The low risk of becoming the victim of a crime and many beautiful coastal areas made this place a wonderful choice for either traveling or living.

Book: Budget Travelers, Digital Nomads & Expats: The Ultimate Guide: 50 Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Ways to Free Stuff & Cheaper Flights
Recommended book: Budget Travelers, Digital Nomads & Expats: The Ultimate Guide: 50 Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Ways to Free Stuff & Cheaper Flights

Other Tips for Visiting Chula Vista Safely

1st — If you are visiting the city, there are plenty of options in terms of luggage storage, so you don’t need to walk around with your carry-on bags. Reliable, convenient, and inexpensive luggage storage services you can find at Radical Storage.

2nd — Areas surrounding airports and train stations can be dangerous.  Book a transfer in advance from the San Diego Airport (or from any station) to your destination and vice versa, so you can avoid scammers and criminals. I often used Get Transfer for that and it always worked fine.

3rd — If you want to walk around and see some historical spots without the risk of getting lost or wasting your time, hire a guide. You can find some amazing and reliable guides and tours at Viator. They will give you insider information about historical facts and curiosities, and also warn you of risky areas and keep you safe.

If you enjoyed this article answering the question Is Chula Vista Safe?, here are a few other reading suggestions for you:

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Some of the links of this article may be affiliate links, meaning that the author will have a commission for any transaction.

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