Salinas, California

Salad Bowl of the World

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What's it like to live in Salinas?

What Is It Like Living in the Salinas Valley

As a Greenfield native who went away to school in LA and could not be happier to be back, I may be a little biased, but I love it!

There’s a lot of negative stereotypes associated with this area in regards to violence and what not in comparison to the Monterey/PG area. But I can genuinely say I probably feel safer here than anywhere else and crime isn’t as big of an issue as it might’ve been 10+ years ago. The majority of the population is really just hard working immigrants trying to put food on their family’s plates. The small town, close knit community truly is a feeling like no other. The adjustment coming from a bigger city like Capitola may be a bit difficult at first due to the distance from the actual towns to the bigger city (Salinas) but it’s something that grows on you. Now that I’m back home, I appreciate the local small businesses and activities we have here in comparison to the big box stores, business, etc. It’s a calm and comfortable life :)

Is Salinas that bad?

It's gotten better, and it's suffered a lot from being the worst place in a comparably affluent region. It's an ag town, which had a really bad Nortenos/Surenos problem in the 1990s. It's quieted down a lot since then. I think there may also be a certain amount of Anglo prejudice against Latinx people- Salinas is (slight majority) Latinx, and it was one of the first cities/towns in the region where Latinx politicians overtook the old Anglo Old Boys' Club. There are bad neighborhoods, and good neighborhoods. I'd say it's safe than West Oakland, Stockton, or Manteca.

The downtown core region is safe (Maya was my go-to movie spot, along with the Osio), though there are panhandlers. And if you get out to the outskirts, it's safe.

Overall, I'd say practice keeping your doors locked, have reasonable security practices, but it's not really worse than Santa Cruz (in fact, maybe even slightly better- Salinas is more cholos, Santa Cruz is more truly insane people).

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Hey there, my family moved to Salinas in 1989 from the Bay area. I've lived here since, with a few departures for career or military service. I've found most people that have never lived in Salinas have a negative viewpoint of it that isn't necessarily deserved. There is a significant homeless problem, however, the homeless are not the problem. You're not going to be harassed or robbed. It's the city's handling of the problem that is at issue.

Also, high profile gang issues from the late 80's through the 90's have also given Salinas a moniker of being violent. Although this was true in the 80's and 90's it is less so now. Sometime in 2017 to now, murders were at about 30 per year and have dropped to about 5 per year. More importantly, they are all usually gang related, meaning this aren't instances of random violence.

There are no specific areas that "should be avoided" however, I don't recommend being in the China Town area or on North Main Street on foot at night. That can get hairy. Some people will tell you to avoid the East Side entirely. I would tell you, if you do, you're missing out. People only say that because that is an area where people are majorily Mexican and where most low income housing is. Neither of which are the fault of the people there. If anything, most people would be more scared of you and wary of you.

All that being said, Salinas is not a hot bed for entertainment, culture, or really much else. This is just my opinion but it is a functional city that was made as an access point for the the agriculture in the valley. But I don't know how much you care about all that. It is 45 minutes south of San Jose so any of that stuff can be reached there. Frankly, I'm the kind of person who doesn't really care where they live. If I work somewhere and I live somewhere it doesn't make a difference. One place is the same as any other.

I'm sure this was not helpful at all sorry. I was just trying to give a somewhat impartial assessment of what Salinas is.