(KRON) — Is Oakland a safe city to drive in compared to other cities across the United States and California? A recent study by Market Watch set out to answer that question.

Information compiled in the study revealed that while Oakland is one of the most unsafe cities for drivers in one aspect, it grades out as above average in others.

Car Thefts

According to Market Watch, Oakland has the highest rate of car thefts of any city in the United States.

There were 5,041 car thefts in Oakland in 2019, according to the FBI’s crime report. The town’s rate of 1,161.4 thefts per 100,000 people tops any other city nationwide. For comparison, Round Rock, Texas had the lowest car theft rate in the country at 39.9 thefts per 100,000 people — more than 29 times less than Oakland.

The city with the second-highest car theft rate is Detroit. Per 100,000 people, Detroit’s rate is 1,037.8 thefts per 100,000 people.

DUI and crashes

Conversely, Market Watch’s study grades Oakland out well in two categories. Oakland is well below California’s average for both DUI arrests and crash fatalities.

In Oakland, there are 263.28 DUI arrests per 100,000 people, according to additional data provided to KRON4 by Market Watch. That beats California’s rate of 314 arrests per 100,000 people.

Per 100,000 people, Oakland’s rate of fatal crashes is just 5.9. California’s state average is 10.9 and the United States average is 12.9. Oakland is not far off from Providence, R.I.’s nation-best rate of 5.7 traffic deaths per 100,000 people.

Freeway shootings

While Market Watch’s data did not include shootings on the road, that has emerged as a major issue for drivers in Oakland.

KRON4 detailed some of the freeway shootings in the Bay Area, many of which happened in Oakland. Interstate 580 and Interstate 880, both of which run through Oakland, have seen at least 15 shootings so far in 2023.

Within the next few months, California Highway Patrol expects to have 180 freeway cameras in the Bay Area to monitor these shootings.


To obtain fatal crash data, Market Watch used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for all cities with more than 100,000 residents. For DUI and car theft information, the study used data from the FBI’s 2019 Crime in the United States report.