These Are The 5 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Oregon

Oregon, the Beaver State, is known for its stunning natural beauty, from the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest to the dramatic coastline. It’s a place that beckons outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. But when considering a move to Oregon, it’s important to go beyond the picturesque postcards and delve into the realities of everyday life, including neighborhood safety.

Why Consider Neighborhood Safety?

While Oregon boasts a relatively low crime rate compared to the national average (18.8 per 1,000 residents compared to 25.8 nationally according to [U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics]), there are certainly pockets within the state where crime is more prevalent. Understanding these areas can be an essential part of making informed decisions, especially for those considering relocating or visiting. Whether you’re a young professional, a family seeking a safe haven, or a retiree looking for peace of mind, feeling secure in your surroundings is paramount.

How We Ranked Neighborhoods

For this analysis, we focused on violent crime rates, property crime rates, and overall crime statistics. Data was gathered from reputable sources like the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program ( Additionally, city/state law enforcement websites were consulted for the most recent information available. It’s important to acknowledge that crime data can be fluid, and trends can evolve over time. We encourage you to consult the latest information available for a specific neighborhood before making any final decisions.

Top 5 Most Challenging Neighborhoods in Oregon (by Crime Rates)

1. Lents, Portland

  • Crime Rate: 62.8 per 1,000 residents (according to AreaVibes)
  • Stats: Lents has a violent crime rate of 14.2 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 48.6 per 1,000 residents, significantly higher than the Portland city average.
  • Fact: Lents, a historically working-class neighborhood in southeast Portland, has grappled with gang activity and property crime for years. While revitalization efforts are underway, Lents continues to rank high in crime reports.

2. Old Town-Chinatown, Portland

  • Crime Rate: 58.9 per 1,000 residents (according to AreaVibes)
  • Stats: Property crime is a particular concern in Old Town-Chinatown, with a rate of 45.2 per 1,000 residents. Violent crime is also a concern, at 13.7 per 1,000 residents.
  • Fact: Portland’s Old Town-Chinatown is a vibrant and historic district, but it also struggles with issues of homelessness, drug use, and property crime. The close proximity of tourist areas can also make petty theft a concern.

3. Hazelwood, Portland

  • Crime Rate: 55.4 per 1,000 residents (according to AreaVibes)
  • Stats: Similar to Lents, Hazelwood experiences a high rate of violent crime (15.1 per 1,000 residents) and property crime (40.3 per 1,000 residents).
  • Fact: Another Portland neighborhood on the list, Hazelwood in the northeast quadrant of the city, has seen its share of violent crime and property crime. While community development initiatives are underway, residents report concerns about gang activity and drug trafficking.

4. Downtown Medford, Medford

  • Crime Rate: 42.1 per 1,000 residents (according to AreaVibes)
  • Stats: Medford, located in southern Oregon, has a higher crime rate than the state average. Downtown Medford, in particular, experiences a significant amount of property crime (34.7 per 1,000 residents) and drug-related offenses.
  • Fact: While Medford offers a charming downtown area, property crime and drug offenses are a concern, especially compared to the state average.

5. Pendleton Heights, Pendleton

  • Crime Rate: 41.3 per 1,000 residents (according to AreaVibes)
  • Stats: Pendleton Heights, a historic district in eastern Oregon’s Pendleton, faces challenges with both property crime (28.9 per 1,000 residents) and violent crime (12.4 per 1,000 residents).
  • Fact: While the neighborhood offers architectural charm and a rich history, understanding the crime trends is essential for potential residents considering Pendleton Heights.

Importance of Going Beyond the Rankings

It’s important to remember that these rankings paint a broad picture. Neighborhoods, especially large ones, can have significant variation within their borders. Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Neighborhood Nuance: A single street or even a specific apartment building can have a significant impact on your experience. Talking to residents and business owners can provide valuable insights into the microcosms within a neighborhood.
  • Community Resources: Does the neighborhood have active community associations or neighborhood watch programs? Are there resources available to address concerns or foster a sense of belonging?
  • Considering Crime Trends: Is crime on the rise or decline? Are there specific types of crime that are more prevalent? Understanding these trends can help you make a more informed decision.

Safety Tips When Visiting or Living in Oregon

  • Trust your gut: If a place feels unsafe, it probably is.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert, especially at night or in unfamiliar areas.
  • Keep valuables secure: Don’t leave belongings unattended in your car or in plain sight.
  • Invest in home security: Consider basic security measures for your home or apartment.
  • Get involved in your community: Knowing your neighbors and fostering a sense of community can be a powerful deterrent to crime.


Oregon offers a wealth of natural beauty and a unique lifestyle. By understanding the complexities of neighborhood safety and considering the factors discussed above, you can make informed decisions about where to live or visit in Oregon. Remember, safety is not just about statistics; it’s about feeling comfortable and secure in your surroundings.

Beyond the Rankings: Exploring Safer Options

While this article focused on some of the more challenging neighborhoods, Oregon has a plethora of safe and vibrant communities. Here are some suggestions for further exploration:

  • For Families: Look into suburbs like West Linn (crime rate: 18.2 per 1,000 residents), Lake Oswego (crime rate: 16.1 per 1,000 residents), or Beaverton (crime rate: 27.9 per 1,000 residents) surrounding Portland, which offer a family-friendly atmosphere with good schools and lower crime rates (according to AreaVibes). In Central Oregon, Bend (crime rate: 31.4 per 1,000 residents) is a popular choice for families seeking a blend of outdoor recreation and a strong sense of community.
  • For Young Professionals: Consider Portland’s inner east side neighborhoods like Hawthorne (crime rate: 38.1 per 1,000 residents) or Irvington (crime rate: 29.9 per 1,000 residents), known for their trendy shops, restaurants, and walkability (according to AreaVibes). Eugene, a college town with a lively arts scene (crime rate: 40.7 per 1,000 residents), is another attractive option.
  • For Retirees: Explore smaller coastal towns like Manzanita (crime rate: 19.1 per 1,000 residents) or Yachats (crime rate: 15.8 per 1,000 residents), offering stunning ocean views and a slower pace of life (according to AreaVibes). Ashland, in southern Oregon (crime rate: 33.2 per 1,000 residents), boasts a renowned theater scene and a vibrant arts community.

Additional Resources

Here are some resources to help you continue your research on neighborhood safety in Oregon:

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MBS Staff
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