Oakland is a huge, sprawling city (the 45th largest in the US, in fact) that offers a little bit of everything. It’s a city with its own slang, its own culture, and its own, somewhat complicated, history. It’s a city where hipsters rub shoulders with soccer moms, where million-dollar mansions border ghettos, and where a horrific crime rate contrasts with a booming economy. Basically, it’s a city of extremes, and nowhere are those extremes more obvious than its neighborhoods. Some are clean and safe and all kinds of wonderful. Others are dank and dirty and very, very dangerous. If you know what’s good for you, do everything you can to avoid these 10 worst places to live in Oakland, CA.
Compared to most of the other neighborhoods on our list, Woodland isn’t doing too badly when it comes to crime. The rate of property and violent crime is still 6 percent higher than the Oakland average, but as we’ll soon see, that’s fairly tame by the standards of the city’s most notorious danger spots. But even so, it’s not a great place to call home, partly due to a high unemployment rate, partly because of a monstrously low median income of just $30,444, and partly because there’s just not a whole lot to do here. There are worse places in the city to live, but plenty of better ones too.
What makes Hoover-Foster one of the worst places to live in Oakland? In a word, crime. Over the past few years, the level of violent and property crime in the area has been creeping steadily skywards, to the degree that residents now have a 1 in 9 chance of becoming the victim of property crime and a 1 in 36 chance of becoming the victim of a rape, robbery, aggravated assault, murder, or gang violence. If that wasn’t enough to put you off your breakfast cereal, nothing will.
How does earning just a little over a third of the national median income strike you? Not a lot? Then don’t move to Fitchburg. Whatever else this neighborhood is, affluent it isn’t. Residents are struggling to get by on an average wage of just $27,462. The average single-family home, meanwhile, retails for a tiny $181,950. As you’d expect, the unemployment level is far higher than the average for Oakland. Just as depressingly, so is the crime rate.
If you thought the best things in life come in small packages, you’ve clearly never stepped foot in Webster. Despite having a population of just 3000 or so, this tiny neighborhood is big on the bad stuff. The only thing worse than the property crime rate is the violent crime rate and neither the unemployment nor the poverty figures make for pleasant reading. If you’ve got any kind of choice in the matter, steer clear.
6. Coliseum Industrial
According to Roadsnacks.com, Coliseum Industrial is one of the worst places to live in Oakland. With a crime rate that’s 55 percent higher than the Oakland average, shockingly high unemployment and poverty levels, and an insubstantial median income of $60,700, it’s not hard to see what bought them to their conclusion. On the plus side, real estate prices are 66 percent lower than the Oakland average… although what that says about the neighborhood’s desirability might be worth thinking about.
You’ve met Coliseum Industrial, now prepare to meet its wicked sister, Coliseum. The median home price of just $210,667 should give you an indication of the neighborhood’s desirability. If it doesn’t, the median income of just a little over $23,000 definitely should. It’s poor, it’s crime-riddled, and it’s definitely not a place most of us would want to call home.
4. Acorn-Acorn Industrial
If you like to sleep safe in your bed at night, you might want to avoid Acorn-Acorn Industrial. The overall crime rate is 497% higher than the national average. Even more worryingly, the rate of violent crime is 690% higher than average. While crime elsewhere in the city is slowly coming down, here it just keeps getting worse, increasing 15 percent year on year. If you think you can beat the 1 in 7 chance of becoming a victim of crime, by all means, make it your home. If not, stay away.
In fairness, Richmond is less of a neighborhood and more of a suburb, but it’s so bad we’re going to mention it anyway. The median income is the 3rd worse in the entire Oakland area (although in fairness, there’s so little to do here, there’d been nowhere for people to spend their money even if they were making any); the crime rate is bad enough to make you never want to leave your bed, let alone your home; the property market has been stagnating for years with little hope of a recovery, and the only thing higher than the unemployment rate is the poverty level.
Crime is something Oakland is known for, and not in a good way. According to Covesmart.com, the city is second only to Emeryville when it comes to California’s most dangerous places to live. Obviously, not all of the city’s neighborhoods are teeming with danger. Some are perfectly pleasant. Eastmount isn’t one of them. According to areavibes.com, it ranks as the most dangerous place to live in Oakland, with a violent crime rate that’s 692% higher than the national average and a property crime rate that’s 391% higher than the average. We’d mention the employment rate, the affordability, and the amenities but, ultimately, who really cares about the job market and whether there’s a good place to grab a burger when you’ve got a 1 in 8 chance of becoming a victim of crime?
1. North Kennedy Tract
It’s fair to say that whatever charms North Kennedy Tract has, they’re not obvious ones. Take its affordability for a start. Despite a lofty median home value of $263,100, the median income is a dismal $28,664, with the result that most people are too busy scraping together enough to put food on the table to even consider the possibility of buying their own home. It doesn’t get any prettier elsewhere: the unemployment rate is a depressing 10.4% and the crime is through the roof. All in all, it’s somewhere best avoided if you can.