Crime Rates And The 10 Safest Places To Live In California

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Whether a person is looking to move or just wants to know how safe their neighborhood is, they will probably end up looking at crime rates. Looking at crime rates and statistics allows a person to get a good idea of how safe or dangerous an area may be. Having this information helps a person determine if they want to live in an area or whether or not they want to raise kids there.

Unfortunately, not every city in the world is as safe as every other city. Some places are safe enough for their residents to walk the streets without a care in the world. In other areas, a person could run into trouble just going around the block. Anyone looking to make an informed and safe decision regarding their future should know exactly what they are getting into when living in certain areas.

What Are Crime Statistics?

Crime statistics, or rates as they are also commonly known by, are reports about crime in different areas. The information for these reports can be collected through a variety of different means, some examples being public surveys and/or police records. Public surveys tend to offer slightly more reliable data, since people may report crimes that were never reported to the local police.

The information gathered is then compiled and used to create a detailed report about crimes in the area. Using this information, people can learn which cities and neighborhoods are safer than others.

The Types Of Crime Statistics

When it comes to reporting crime data, there are usually two types:

  • Violent Crimes
    These are crimes that are carried out by one person against another. They involve violence or threats of violence in order to get whatever the perpetrator is after.
  • Property Crimes
    These are crimes that involve the victim losing some form of property. This can include theft and burglary. This category also involves crimes such as vandalism, since that means someone else’s property is illegally damaged.

Crime statistics look at both of these categories and can give a person a good idea of whether they would be more likely to suffer from property damage or face harm themselves. If the data is used properly, a person can take the right precautions to keep themselves safe.

Safest Cities In California

California is a pretty big state and has a lot of diversity in it. Some cities and areas fall on the safe end of the spectrum, while others fall on the very unsafe side. Many places occupy the middle gray area in between those two extremes.

How cities are ranked based on safety can vary from report to report. This is due to the fact that researchers weigh statistics differently. According to Safewise.com, the 10 safest cities in California are as follows and the crime rates are per 1,000 people.

  1. Danville – 0.2 violent crimes, 8.13 property crimes
  2. Murrieta – 0.44 violent crimes, 14.44 property crimes
  3. San Ramon – 0.51 violent crimes, 10.7 property crimes
  4. Irvine – 0.57 violent crimes, 14.01 property crimes
  5. Aliso Viejo – 0.57 violent crimes, 8.12 property crimes
  6. Yorba Linda – 0.6 violent crimes, 10.55 property crimes
  7. Lincoln – 0.61 violent crimes, 11.46 property crimes
  8. Rancho Palos Verdes – 0.63 violent crimes, 9.71 property crimes
  9. Chino Hills – 0.75 violent crimes, 12.82 property crimes
  10. Mission Viejo – 0.77 violent crimes, 10.04 property crimes

According to the research conducted by Safewise, 62% of the safest cities in California are located in Southern California, while Northern California only has 38%.

How Does California Compare?

After looking at local areas, a person may begin to wonder how the state of California compares to the rest of the nation. The national average for violent crimes is 3.4 per 1,000 people, while the property crime rate is 22.7 per 1,000 people.

By comparing these numbers to the numbers from the cities above, a person can determine that the safest cities in California actually have crime rates lower than the national average. This means that, at least in some areas, California is a pretty safe place to live.

Using Crime Rates Effectively

When it comes to looking at crime rates, a person has to make their own decision about what they feel is safe. After they have made that decision, they can use crime rates and other statistics to figure out where they want to live. A city they may have originally considered moving to, may be deemed too dangerous for them. Conversely, a person may learn that the place they’ve chosen to live in is actually a very good place to raise a family.

 

At What Age Can You Leave Your Child Alone

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Every parent has been there. They need to quickly run into town for something such as a gallon of milk, an emergency dental appointment, or to pick up something from work. You don’t want to bring your child with you, but you’re not sure if you’re legally allowed to leave them at home.

California’s Laws About Leaving Children Home Alone

At this moment, the State of California doesn’t have any actual laws that deal with how old your child has to be before you can leave them unattended while you run to the store. The only states that currently have such laws are Maryland, Illinois, and Oregon. However, that doesn’t mean you’re free to leave your two-year-old in the crib while you nip out for a quick breakfast.

California law makers believe that it should be up to the parent to decide at what age their child is responsible enough to care for themselves while home alone. The states that do have laws have set that age from 10-12. Child care experts are quick to point out that it should be determined from one child to another.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a big difference between leaving a ten-year-old home alone while you make a quick dash to the store and leaving them alone while you go on an overnight trip with friends.

Other factors that should be taken into consideration include:

  • How safe a neighborhood you live in.
  • Whether there’s anyone in the area that will keep half an eye on your child and property while you’re out of town.
  • If the child has enough safe activities to keep them busy and out of trouble.

Alternatives To Leaving Your Child Home Alone

If you are in a position do to work or another commitment where you can’t routinely be with your child when they get home from school, most child care experts suggest looking for an after-school activity that they can participate in rather than leaving them to fend for themselves. Good choices include art classes, school sports, and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. Another option is working out a deal with one of your child’s friends parents in which they watch your child for a few hours each week in exchange for you taking over other responsibilities.

Keep in mind that if your child gets into trouble because you have left them home alone, the law could consider you both criminally and civilly responsible for their actions.

 

What Are Hate Crimes?

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When you look at one of the sites that cover news in a major California city, you’ll likely see at least one leading story that is connected to a hate crime. Most of the articles talk about someone who was injured because of a hate crime, has been arrested in relation to a hate crime or it’s about a local anti-hate crime protest.

What separates hate crimes from other types of crimes is that hate crimes actively aren’t about a personal connection. The driving reason behind hate crimes is that one person (or a group of people) represents a group that the perpetrator feels threatens them. Hate crimes can involve race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

The Department of Justice is quick to point out that in the case of hate crimes, the word hate is a bit misleading. Normally, hate is used to describe an intense and negative emotion, but in this situation, it is used to describe bias.

Hate crimes are a huge problem. While only one person might be an actual victim, the end result is that a single hate crime creates a ripple effect so that it impacts friends, family and even a community’s reputation.

California lawmakers are so worried about hate crimes in the state, that they’ve created a single, separate law to deal with the issue. California hate crimes are addressed in Penal Code Sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7 and 422.75 PC.

In California, you can be charged with a misdemeanor hate crime or a felony hate crime.

If convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime in California, you can be sentenced to a full year in a county jail and required to pay a maximum fine of $5,000, plus restitution. Some judges will settle for sentencing you to probation instead of actual jail time. You can also be required to complete up to 400 hours of community service.

If you’re convicted of a felony hate crime, Penal Code 422.75 PC section D states that “a person who is punished pursuant to this section also shall receive an additional term of one year in the state prison for each prior felony conviction on charges brought and tried separately in which it was found by the trier of fact or admitted by the defendant that the crime was a hate crime. This additional term shall only apply where a sentence enhancement is not imposed pursuant to Section 667 or 667.5.”

In many cases, additional charges, such as aggravated assault, are also filed.

 

Resisting Arrest In California

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Resisting arrest is usually an additional charge individuals discover they have to deal with after they’ve been arrested.

What Is Resisting Arrest?

The easiest way to think of resisting arrest is to consider it a catchall phrase/charge police use to describe basically any situation where a suspect fails to quietly submit to being arrested. Individuals who have also taken steps to make it difficult for the police to conduct a proper investigation have also found themselves charged with resisting arrest.

The problem with resisting arrest charges is that they can sometimes be subjective and based on little more than the arresting officer’s attitude on a given day. Protesting when handcuffs are put on, balking when being loaded into the police car and running when the police indicate they’re about to arrest you are examples of resisting arrest. The problem is that some people have been charged with resisting arrest because an officer felt they took too long to respond to a question or weren’t happy when told to do something simple, such as presenting their hands to be cuffed.

Reasons officers have filed resisting arrest charges in California include:

  • The individual provided false identification to the officer.
  • The individual deliberately prevented the officer from questioning a witness.
  • The individual knowingly interfered while the police were conducting surveillance.
  • The individual got in the way while the officer was arresting another person.

The good news is that being convicted of a resisting arrest charge requires that a few things happen.

If the charge goes to court, the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor and arresting officer. To secure a guilty conviction, they have to:

  • Prove that you understood you were being arrested and that you were confident that the person doing the arresting was a police officer.
  • That your acts of resistance were intentional and not triggered by confusion, miscommunication, fear or intimidation.
  • Show that the officer followed strict protocol during the arrest and didn’t do anything that encouraged you to resist.

What Happens If You’re Convicted Of Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest in California is considered a misdemeanor. If you’re found or plead guilty, the maximum sentence includes spending a full year in a county jail and being required to pay a $1,00 fine. When the judge gets ready to sentence you, they’ll look at things like the circumstances that led up to the resisting arrest charge, your criminal history and even the arresting officer’s history. In many cases, the judge will ultimately opt to simply sentence you to misdemeanor probation and require that you pay some sort of fine.

Defending Yourself From A Resisting Arrest Charge

If you’re defending yourself from a resisting arrest charge in California, the first thing you need to do is align yourself with a good lawyer who will help you present a case. Possible defenses in a resisting arrest case include:

  • You were falsely accused.
  • You didn’t understand what the police officer expected.

Since witness statements are so important when it comes to defending against resisting arrest in California charges, you’ll want to address the issue while everyone still has a clear memory of the events.

 

Dealing With Month-To-Month Tenants

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The advantage of having a year-long contract for a rental property is that you know that you’ll be collecting rent for the space for at least a year, something that isn’t guaranteed when you rent the unit on a month-to-month system. The biggest advantage to the month-to-month system is that California law doesn’t require that you and your tenant have a written contract. The agreement can be oral, this makes it easier for you as the landlord to decide if the rental situation isn’t working and you want the tenant to move out.

While you aren’t required to create a contract for a month-to-month rental in California, you do have to provide your tenants with written contact information.

When you’re dealing with a month-to-month tenancy agreement, you have the right to ask the tenant to leave. Your reasons for doing so can include things like:

  • You need the space for personal reasons.
  • You feel they’re damaging the property.
  • They aren’t following your rules
  • You’re concerned that they’re committing illegal acts on the property.
  • They’re consistently late with their monthly rent payment.

If you’re dealing with a tenant that has signed a long-term lease agreement, you must give them a 30-day notice before you can formally start the eviction process. If the tenant has lived in the unit for more than a year, the amount of time you have to provide them doubles.

With a tenant who is living on a month-to-month basis, you’re obligated to stick to this 30 day notice period. You’re free to tell the tenant they’re being evicted. It is worth noting that if you accept the rent one day and fail to mention that the rental space won’t be available for the full 30 days and then try to evict them the next, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll file a lawsuit against you.

What you’re not allowed to do is simply lock the doors so the tenant can no longer get into their rented space. You’re also not allowed to suddenly decide to remove all of their possessions. When it comes to evicting a tenant who doesn’t want to leave, there are a few things you must do.

If the tenant refuses to vacate the premises, you have to go to the municipal court and file an unlawful detainer action. This is a form that asks the court for permission to evict your tenant. If the tenant doesn’t present a valid counterargument, the court contacts the sheriff who arranges to evict the tenant. It’s in your best interest to let the law handle the situation and to simply stay out of their way.

Landlord/tenant laws are in a constant state of flux, so it is in your best interest to constantly review them before signing a contract with a new tenant.

 

What Does A Grand Jury Do?

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Most of us know that grand juries and trial juries aren’t the same thing, but many of us don’t know exactly what the difference between the two is.

The California legal system is set up in such a way that the grand jury is supposed to act as a kind of watchdog that oversees both the police and local/state government. While members of the grand jury don’t get involved with elections, they are responsible for determining if indictments should be issued. All of the work done by California’s grand jury is completely confidential. The only proof of the decisions the grand jury makes is in the published reports that detail police investigations of cases that were handed to the grand jury.

One of the issues California’s grand juries deal with is looking at how the local government utilized specific portions of public funds. Areas the grand jury is interested in include how well maintained the local jails are. It’s not uncommon for a grand jury to look at an area of concern that involves public funding and provide advice about how the money can be better utilized.

Most of the work California’s grand juries deal with involves criminal investigations. The bulk of the cases include looking at cases the DA has put together and determining if there’s enough evidence to take the case to trial.

What the grand jury doesn’t do is decide if the defendant is guilty or innocent. The purpose of the grand jury is to decide if a trial is justified.

The grand jury is made up of a variety of citizens. In most counties, once a person is named to the local grand jury, they serve on it for a full twelve months.

The law stipulates that anyone who sits on a California grand jury has to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. You also must have a history of living in the county you serve for at least twelve months. When considering your eligibility, jury selection officials look at how fluent you are with the English language and if you have ever been convicted of a felony. Another thing court officials look at is if you have any physical or mental disabilities that would make it difficult for you to meet your duties as a member of a grand jury.

While you’re a member of a grand jury for twelve months, the exact amount of time you must dedicate to serving on the jury in terms of hours varies based on the types of crimes the county deals with during your service period.

 

Dog Bites In California

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Everyone’s excitement about having pets back in the White House has dimmed considerably following reports that President Biden’s rescue dog, Major, allegedly bit someone. The immediate reaction to the incident was to relocate both presidential dogs.

Dog bites are the biggest fear many dog owners have. Any dog is capable of biting a person. One bite is all it takes to create all sorts of problems.

Dog bites are common in California. According to data collected by State Farm Insurance, the state had approximately 3,600 dog bites just in 2017. The state is a strict liability state which means that if your dog bites someone, you are responsible for paying for the medical bills. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time your dog has bitten someone or if the bite happened on your private property. If you own the dog, you’re responsible.

If your dog has a history of biting, the DA becomes involved. After the second biting incident, the DA looks into the dog’s history, the reason the bites happened, and how you handled the issue. If they believe the dog is dangerous or if they believe you failed to take appropriate steps to make sure the dog didn’t have a second chance to bite someone, they can take your dog away.

One of the best lessons that can be learned from the incident with the presidential dogs is that you have to give dogs time and space to get used to new surroundings and situations. They don’t understand why they’re suddenly surrounded by new people or why you’ve moved them into a new house. They find these kinds of things even more stressful than you do.

Rather than simply assuming your dog will be okay, give them the time, space and love that they require. Make sure you’re spending plenty of time with them so that they don’t have to worry that they’re about to be abandoned. If they show signs that they don’t want to hang out with your friends and family, provide your dog with a people-free space.

The single best way to decrease the odds of your getting into the middle of a dog bite scandal is taking the time to make sure your dog is both trained and properly socialized. This is something that has to continue throughout their life. Take them to classes with a positive reinforcement instructor who will not only help you train your dog but will also show you how to identify the early signs that your dog is stressed and uncomfortable.

As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to do everything possible to make sure no one ever gets bit by your dog. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and most importantly, your dog to be pro-active about preventing bites.

 

You’ve Finally Graduated – Don’t Forget To Be Smart!

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It seems like you’ve been waiting your whole life to finish school. Many people consider the summer between high school and the time when they start college (or trade school, or simply start working full time) to be one of the most exciting and fun times of their life. While it’s okay to have fun and celebrate your accomplishments, it’s also important that you remember to play it safe during this time.

One of the biggest mistakes teens make after they graduate from high school is getting drunk, which is bad enough, and then compounding that mistake by getting behind the wheel. Don’t be the person in your group who spends the months following high school graduation dealing with the consequences of a drunk driving charge.

The first thing to remember as you celebrate your freedom from high school is that even though you’re legally an adult, you still aren’t old enough to legally drink. You should avoid alcohol as you celebrate your life. Getting caught with booze at this point in your life will result in you being charged with a “minor in possession.”

If convicted of minor in possession charges, your sentencing could include:

  • Being required to do up to 32 hours of community service
  • Having to pay a $250 fine

If you are convicted of minor in possession charges a second time, the sentencing includes:

  • Up to a $500 fine
  • As much as 48 hours of required community service

In addition to fines and community service, you will also lose your driver’s license for a full year after your MIP conviction. The conviction could also impact your acceptance into college and eligibility for some scholarships.

If you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol as a minor, you are in even more legal trouble. Since you haven’t turned 21, any blood alcohol content that exceeds 0.01% is considered drunk driving. If your blood-alcohol level is 0.01% to 0.04% the officer who pulls you over will confiscate your driver’s license. The only way you can hope to get it back is by scheduling an Administrative Hearing during which you’ll learn how the county intends to handle the situation. You will likely be charged with minor-in-possession and may face additional consequences.

If your blood alcohol level is 0.05%-0.08%, you will be charged with a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. The first conviction results in:

  • A one-year suspension of your driver’s license
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol education program that lasts at least 3 months
  • Mandatory attendance in a youth drunk driving program

In many cases, additional charges, such as reckless endangerment, distracted driving and minor in possession charges are also filed against the young drunk driver.

 

Fireworks And Safety

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Fireworks are a fun and memorable way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but they can also be dangerous and in some cases have even been deadly. If you plan on setting off your own fireworks this Fourth of July, you owe it to yourself and your family to use common sense and practice firework safety.

Pay Careful Attention To Your Kids

Kids love fireworks and setting off an elaborate display with them is a great way to make new memories, but you don’t want the memories to include tears and emergency room visits. Never lose sight of the fact that fireworks and kids don’t mix. Encourage your kids to stand back while your setting up the fireworks and don’t allow them to play with any of the firework paraphernalia. Never leave your children unattended when there is even the smallest chance they could get into the fireworks.

Have A Ready Supply Of Water

One of the biggest problems with fireworks in California is that they contribute to the wildfire problem. If it’s extremely hot and dry, you should want to hold off on using your fireworks until after you’ve gotten some rain. If you really can’t resist setting off the fireworks, at least make sure you have an ample supply of water on hand. In addition to keeping buckets, hoses and sprayers close, you should also thoroughly spray the area and get everything damp before lighting the fireworks.

Don’t Light Duds

Yes, fireworks are expensive and it’s frustrating to have one that doesn’t perform well, but don’t try to get your money’s worth out of it by relighting it. Leave the duds alone. Lighting duds is how many people lose fingers and suffer extensive burns. In addition to not relighting it, liberally soak it with water before disposing of the defective firework.

Keep Medical Supplies On Hand

In addition to always wearing eye protection while setting off fireworks, you should also keep a medical supply kit close at hand. Make sure that the kit is liberally stocked with medical supplies that are designed to treat burns. If you get burned while lighting your fireworks, treat the injury right away and then seek professional medical help.

By putting safety first, you and your family will enjoy a fun Fourth of July holiday!

 

Oops, I Opened My Neighbor’s Mail!

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The postal service isn’t infallible. They’re prone to making human mistakes. One of the most common mistakes the postal service does is occasionally putting your neighbor’s mail in your mailbox.

Most of us don’t really look at the mail before we open it. Since it’s in our mailbox, we automatically assume it’s for us. As a result, occasionally we open a piece of mail that belongs to our neighbor.

This can instantly lead to a sense of panic because most of us know that opening other people’s mail is a federal offense.

If you’ve accidentally opened a piece of mail that isn’t yours, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and relax. Unfortunately, these things happen.

The best way to deal with the situation is to return the mail to the envelope, seal it with a piece of tape, and let your neighbor know what happened. If you don’t see your neighbor, either slide the mail under their front door with a note of explanation or return the mail to the post office.

You want to take a proactive stance on the situation. The quicker you are to admit to the mistake, the less likely your neighbor will be to press charges.

If you got as far as reading whatever was sent to your neighbor, you don’t want to discuss the contents with anyone. Not with your neighbor (unless they bring it up,) not your spouse and not your friends. Talking about the mail you accidentally opened could be considered an invasion of privacy and may cause your neighbor to consider filing charges against you.

The issue of mail theft is dealt covered by Penal Code 530.5(E). In California, opening someone’s mail is a misdemeanor offense. A guilty conviction could result in being sentenced to a single year in jail. The good news is that to secure a conviction, the prosecution has to prove that you knowingly accepted the mail (or took it out of someone’s mailbox) and opened it. That’s why it’s so important to admit what you’ve done and alert both the post office and the actual owner of the mail to the situation.