For the last eight years, Irvine has been ranked the safest big city in America based on FBI crime statistics for violent crimes. In 2011, Irvine reported a mere 120 violent crimes. Also, in 2010, Irvine was crowned the safest city to live in America based on the lowest crime rate per capita. These statistics must make the approximately 223,000 residents of Irvine feel very safe in the 66 square mile area that “Businessweek” recently ranked as the 5th Best City in the U.S.

Incorporated in 1971 with just 10,000 residents, Irvine saw tremendous growth with the population increasing 20% each year for approximately 10 years. Growth in the 80s averaged 8% per year, and since the 90s, the population has grown approximately 2% each year.

The Irvine Police Department is located at 1 Civic Center Plaza, and a specific unit is dedicated to crime prevention. The unit offers a variety of free services including a home security inspection by a crime prevention officer who conduct an on-site security inspection of your home or apartment. Inspections are pre-scheduled at your convenience, and lasts one hour. At the end of the inspection, the crime prevention officer will provide you with written recommendations on how you can improve the safety of your home or apartment.

Irvine’s jurisdictional court is the Harbor Justice Center located at 4601 Jamboree Road in Newport Beach. All traffic citations issued by the Irvine Police Department, as well as adult misdemeanors and some felony cases are heard there.

Located approximately 45 miles from Hollywood, Irvine has been the site of many film shoots including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Iron Man,” and “Planet of the Apes.” Locally, Irvine is the home of the Irvine Fine Arts Center which has offered a variety of programs since 1980. Located at 14321 Yale Avenue, in Heritage Park, the Center offers 100s of classes for adults, teens and children, as well as art exhibits, lectures, special events and serves as the home to many art studios. Every year, in June, the Center sponsors the Annual Studio Arts Festival which features the work of approximately one hundred local artists. Over 2,500 festival goers attended the 18th annual event in 2012.

Irvine is also proud to claim asparagus as the city’s official vegetable. Surprisingly, asparagus has been eaten since 20,000 b.c., and in the late 1800s, asparagus was one of the first major crops grown in Irvine. Unfortunately, die-hard fans of asparagus living in Irvine must travel to Stockton CA to attend the annual Asparagus Festival held in April.