America’s #3 Most Dangerous Small Town is in California.

California is known for its sunny weather, diverse culture, and booming economy. But not all parts of the Golden State are equally prosperous or safe. In fact, some small towns are facing a surge of crime and violence that threatens their quality of life and security.

One such town is Redding, a city of about 92,000 people located in the northern part of the state. According to the latest FBI crime statistics, Redding ranked third among the most dangerous cities in California in 2023, with a violent crime rate of 1,387 per 100,000 residents. This is more than three times the national average of 366 per 100,000 residents.

What makes Redding so prone to crime? And what are the authorities and the community doing to address this problem? In this article, we will explore the causes, consequences, and solutions of Redding’s crime crisis.


There are several factors that contribute to Redding’s high crime rate, but the most prominent one is the drug epidemic. Redding is located along the Interstate 5 corridor, which is a major route for drug trafficking from Mexico to Canada. The town has become a hub for methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution and consumption, attracting dealers, addicts, and gangs from nearby and faraway places.

The drug problem is exacerbated by the lack of economic opportunities and social services in Redding. The town has a poverty rate of 18.9%, higher than the state average of 11.8%. Many residents struggle to find stable and well-paying jobs, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the local economy hard. The town also suffers from a shortage of affordable housing, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment facilities, leaving many people homeless, addicted, or mentally ill.

Another factor that fuels crime in Redding is the geographic isolation of the town. Redding is about 160 miles north of Sacramento, the state capital, and 230 miles north of San Francisco, the nearest major city. The town is surrounded by mountains, forests, and rivers, making it difficult to access and monitor by law enforcement agencies. The town also has a limited number of police officers, who are often overwhelmed by the volume and severity of crimes.


The high crime rate in Redding has serious consequences for the town and its residents. The most obvious one is the loss of life and property. In 2023, Redding recorded 24 homicides237 rapes433 robberies, and 1,055 aggravated assaults. The town also experienced 3,892 property crimes, including 1,038 burglaries2,353 larcenies, and 501 motor vehicle thefts. These numbers represent a significant increase from previous years, and are among the highest in the state and the nation.

Another consequence of crime in Redding is the loss of reputation and attractiveness. The town used to be a popular destination for tourists, retirees, and families, who were drawn by its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural events.

However, the crime wave has tarnished Redding’s image and deterred many potential visitors and residents. The town has seen a decline in tourism revenue, business investment, and population growth, which further hurts its economic and social development.

A third consequence of crime in Redding is the loss of trust and cohesion among the community. The crime situation has created a sense of fear, anger, and frustration among the residents, who feel unsafe and helpless in their own town.

Many people have resorted to arming themselves, installing security systems, or moving away, while others have become apathetic, cynical, or hostile towards their neighbors. The town has also witnessed a rise in hate crimes, racial tensions, and political divisions, which undermine the social fabric and civic engagement of the community.


Despite the grim reality of crime in Redding, there are some signs of hope and progress. The town has been implementing various strategies and initiatives to combat crime and improve public safety. Some of the most notable ones are:

Operation Boot: This is a joint effort by the Redding Police Department, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol, to increase patrols, arrests, and prosecutions of violent and drug-related offenders. The operation also involves collaboration with federal and state agencies, such as the FBI, the DEA, and the ATF, to target and dismantle criminal organizations and networks.

Hope Vant: This is a mobile outreach program that provides homeless and addicted people with access to basic needs, such as food, water, clothing, hygiene, and medical care. The program also connects them with resources and referrals for housing, employment, education, and treatment. The program is run by the Good News Rescue Mission, a local faith-based nonprofit organization, in partnership with the Redding Police Department and other community groups.

Neighborhood Watcht: This is a grassroots initiative that encourages and empowers residents to take an active role in preventing and reporting crime in their neighborhoods. The initiative provides training, tools, and support for residents to form and maintain neighborhood watch groups, which work closely with the police and other agencies to enhance security and communication. The initiative also fosters a sense of community and solidarity among the residents, who share information, resources, and activities.


Redding is a small California town that is facing a big crime problem. The town has become the third most dangerous city in the state, due to a combination of factors, such as drug trafficking, poverty, and isolation. The crime situation has negative impacts on the town’s life, reputation, and cohesion. However, the town is not giving up on its fight against crime, and is implementing various solutions to improve its safety and well-being. Redding is a town that needs help, but also a town that has hope.

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