Ventura County Named Safest Larger County in California

VENTURA, Calif. – Ventura County law enforcement is pleased to highlight a recent report on crime rates published by the Ventura County Civic Alliance. The report identifies Ventura County as the safest large county in California, according to data from the California Department of Justice.

The report shows that Ventura County had the lowest rates of reported crimes amongst the 16 largest counties in California in 2022. While many large counties in the state saw a rise in crime between 2020 and 2022, metrics show Ventura County’s crime rates decreased. The 2023 State of the Region Report also shows Ventura County’s crime rate in 2022 ranked
lowest in our county’s modern history. While the overall crime rate in 1994 was 37.52 crimes per 1000 population, it dropped to 15.49 crimes per 1000 population in 2022, a 59 percent decrease. This doesn’t happen by accident,” said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko, the current chair of the Ventura County Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee. “Ventura County is Contact: Joey Buttitta a special place. We’re proud of the great working relationships amongst our local law enforcement agencies and we place great value in our community partnerships.”

Property crimes include theft, motor vehicle theft, burglary, and arson. Violent crimes include criminal homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. The data is measured by the number of crimes reported per 1,000 residents. Ventura County often leads the way in public safety, but the 2022 numbers show an even larger gap between Ventura County and the other large counties.

In 2022, the Ventura County violent crime rate was just under 2 reported crimes per 1,000 residents, 30 percent below the county with the second lowest violent crime rate. Ventura County’s 2022 property crime rate was 13.51 reported crimes per 1,000 residents, 17 percent below the county with the second lowest property crime rate.

The cities of Camarillo, Moorpark, Ojai, and Thousand Oaks reported the lowest crime rates in Ventura County. Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said, “These statistics don’t just showcase the incredible work the women and men of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office do day in and day out, rather it also demonstrates the strong relationship we have with our community members.” Sheriff Fryhoff continued, “Our approach to reducing crime and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors, is based on the collaboration between law enforcement and the community coming together to identify and solve public safety issues.”

Crime has been consistently trending downward in Oxnard for the past three decades, and last year Ventura County’s largest city witnessed its third lowest year in reported crime during this time span. Oxnard Police Department’s Neighborhood Policing Team, Homeless Liaison Officers, and officers and staff across the department continue to prioritize community safety and community engagement. Chief Jason Benites stated, “We will continue to put forth a determined and ongoing effort on public safety across the board, focusing on matters such as traffic safety, the devastating community impacts of fentanyl, and providing support and resources for the unhoused.”

Simi Valley continues to be one of the safest cities in the state. In fact, crime in 2022 was lower
than when the city was designated “America’s Safest City” in 1996. Chief Steve Shorts stated,
“The members of Simi Valley Police Department continue to work with our community partners to
provide a safe city to live and work within. We focus on providing superior police services that
address our residents’ and businesses’ needs and concerns while responding swiftly to crime
trends and quality of life issues.”

In 2022, the City of Ventura, saw its lowest overall crime rate in over three decades. Chief Darin
Schindler attributes this significant milestone to strong, consistent community partnerships and
collaborative problem-solving efforts.

"We've made incredible progress; however, challenges like increased visible signs of vagrancy and
related quality of life issues persist," shared Chief Schindler. "Moving forward, the Ventura Police
Department remains committed to working closely with residents, business owners, and public
safety partners to elevate the overall living, working, and recreational conditions in Ventura."
Crime in Santa Paula has been consistent with the other jurisdictions in Ventura County. The city
experienced a decrease in violent crime and property crime rates since 2020. Interim Police Chief
Don Aguilar commented, “The men and women of the Santa Paula Police Department have
focused on increases in domestic violence assaults. We are working to provide additional victim
centered training to our staff and to offer all available advocacy assistance to crime victims. We’re
also working closely with our local shelter and community-based organizations to help those who
are experiencing homelessness.”

The city of Port Hueneme saw an 8 percent decrease in violent crime and a slight increase in
property crime. Unlocked vehicles and shoplifting were the driving force behind the increase in
property crime. While reported crime in Port Hueneme continues to remain at record lows, quality
of life issues once again comprised most of the police department’s calls for service last year. The
Port Hueneme Police Department is not only committed to keeping crime rates down, but also to
continuing to seek long-term, sustainable solutions to meet the needs of the community.
Port Hueneme Police Chief Michael Federico stated, “Credit needs to be given to the dedicated
public safety professionals in this county. We’re also fortunate for the great teamwork in Ventura
County, from the Sheriff and District Attorney down to the smallest police department.”
More information about Ventura County’s crime rates can be found in the State of the Region
Report 2023, published by the Ventura County Civic Alliance.