When Kavin Parikh moved to Irvine after graduating from college, he was seeking mainly convenience and fun. With two roommates, he shared an apartment that was close to his job.
Twelve years later, however, with a wife, a toddler and a condo in Cypress Village, he values Irvine most of all for its extraordinary safety.
“I feel safe in Irvine, and that’s what makes it such a great place to raise a family,” says Parikh, a management analyst and volunteer firefighter.
Yet another record
In October, an Irvine Police Department analysis of FBI data for 2022 found Irvine has the lowest occurrence of violent crime per capita for any city in the nation with a population of 250,000 or more. It’s the 18th consecutive year the city has earned that distinction.
“Irvine has been home to me for 34 years, so I can relate to and understand the importance of residing in a safe community and the impact that has on your family,” said Irvine Police Chief Michael Kent.
Kent cited several reasons for the city’s stellar record, among them dedicated, well-educated officers – most are college grads, and more than 1 in 10 have master’s degrees – close connections with the community and the Irvine Master Plan that, for the past 50 years, has carefully guided the city’s growth.
A key feature of that plan is to locate business districts and retail hubs throughout the city, which ensures that local tax revenues can support an ample, fully funded police force.
UC Irvine researchers have additionally found that Irvine’s self-sufficient villages contribute to public safety by creating a sense of “cohesion” in which residents know their neighbors and watch out for each other.
Kent said other strategies that naturally discourage crime include well-lit and carefully maintained public spaces, with clear lines of sight.
“I feel safe in Irvine, and that’s what makes it such a great place to raise a family.” – Kavin Parikh, Cypress Village resident
Friendly and efficient
While Irvine has earned its consecutive kudos since 2005, Kent says his department continues to seek ways to improve.
Beginning in 2022, he has assigned dedicated units, including a lieutenant, patrol officers, traffic officers and investigators, to different parts of the city so that his officers become more familiar with their communities and vice versa.
Parikh says he appreciates what he describes as the department’s friendly yet efficient presence.
“I’ve met officers at community events, like a Halloween gathering at the elementary school,” he says. “I also like how they’re very visible in the community.”
Kent returns the compliments. “A big part of what has kept this community safe, besides great policing and support from the City Council, is the partnership and trust we’ve had from our community over the decades,” he says. “My goal is to continue building these partnerships and maintaining the trust of those we serve.”