Safe and Dangerous Places in Malibu
First, some facts and figures. Malibu is a relatively small city with a population of fewer than 15,000, but it receives over a million visitors a year. This isolated city is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica mountains.
Crime rates are relatively low, with the likelihood of someone being the victim of violent crime in Malibu only 1 in 305, compared to the rest of California which is 1 in 178 according to the website, Neighborhood Scout.
By "safety," I don't just mean crime, but also access to emergency services and the risk of natural disasters. Because of its unique geography, Malibu has a higher risk of natural disasters such as flooding and brushfires. More on this later.
Another critical factor is that there are only three main ways to get in or out of the city: going north on Pacific Coast Highway, south on Pacific Coast Highway, and via the three canyons. In my time as a student at Pepperdine University, I experienced heavy rainfalls that caused all but one entry to be closed, as well as two major fires that drove residents to evacuate.
So even though the crime rate in Malibu is relatively low, the risk of natural disasters is high.
Let's take a closer look at the safe and dangerous places in Malibu.
Malibu: safe places and areas
1. If you're a student, Pepperdine University is one of the safest places to be in Malibu, with burglary being the most frequent offense and very little or no serious crime. Visitors looking for safe places in Malibu can attend lectures, plays and concerts with no fear for their safety.
2. Malibu Creek State Park is one of the natural areas that define why southern California is such a great place to live. You're unlikely to encounter any areas that present a danger from other humans. As a state park, there are plenty of nearby rangers and other resources should you require aid. Just keep an eye out as you hike the trails, don't eat any fish you catch and beware of the wildlife.
3. Malibu Pier is one of the most photographed piers in California. Since most of the beaches in Malibu are privately owned, this pier and Surfrider Beach are excellent safe places in Malibu to enjoy the ocean and beach. And as one of the most tourist-friendly destinations you're likely to visit, it is also one of the safe areas. Malibu crime statistics report few assaults Ð only 6 per cent of the total crimes. To be safe, stay smart and stay with the crowds as you watch surfers from around the world test the breakers.
4. Zuma Beach, northwest of Malibu, is a family-friendly public beach. You'll see frequent sheriff patrols and plenty of young visitors taking advantage of the wide sandy beach, a playground, volleyball courts and the great swimming. Lifeguards add another layer of security, making this the poster child for Malibu as a safe city. As with all public areas, pay attention to where you park and obey the rules.
Malibu: dangerous places and areas
Despite the fact that this is a safe city in general, there are certain areas to avoid in Malibu.
1. The mountains can be considered dangerous places near Malibu because of the very real threat of brushfires. Many residents of the forested areas of the mountains have to make do with a few narrow roads to reach their houses. If you are in an isolated house and a fire breaks out, it will be difficult for the fire department to get to you.
2. Known as PCH to the locals, the Pacific Coast Highway is a much-loved, wide, winding road that skirts some of the most beautiful scenery on the West Coast of the USA. But it is definitely one of the dangers Malibu visitors must navigate. The curves, speed and possibility that people will be parking and walking along the roadside are a potentially deadly combination. Drivers, beware. If you are an inexperienced driver, this is one of the areas to avoid in Malibu.
3. The Ramirez, Escondido and Corral box canyons above Malibu may be natural gems with wildlife and wildflowers, but they also represent one of the major dangers in Malibu: wildfires. The narrow canyon roads, limited access and the high fuel load of chaparral (a local shrub) add to the danger. If you plan to hike these areas, only light fires in designated safe places.
4. Malibu is essentially a safe city unless you are a homeowner. The majority of crimes committed here are burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson. In general, tourists should keep a close eye on their belongings, park in legal, well-lit and safe areas and not leave valuables in a parked car.
5. Natural disasters are the last threat that visitors should keep in mind. While the threat of a tsunami, an earthquake or a landslide is generally small, it is wise to plan ahead and take reasonable precautions. The city of Malibu has a website with specific articles on how to be prepared for emergencies.
All in all, Malibu is a very safe city, and visitors don't really have anything to worry about. It has clearly earned its reputation as one of the most desirable places in California to live. Beautiful people, stunning views and the siren song of the Pacific are irresistible draws for the crowds who visit. Consider your itinerary carefully, take note of the areas to avoid in Malibu, and maximize your time in the city's many wonderful safe places.
- Overview:Malibu Travel Guide