Editorial: Safety, at What Cost?

Irvine’s picturesque community fails to prepare citizens for life outside the city


Cartoon by Noor Addal

Citizens of Irvine are trapped in their own little bubble with high costs breathing down their necks.

The city of Irvine is considered a utopian version of American life. Irvine offers world class education and a secure environment but living in Irvine comes at a high cost.

The strongest qualities of Irvine also contribute to its greatest weaknesses, proving there is no such thing as a “perfect” city. The allure of the quality education
that the Irvine Unified School District provides, draws in people who sacrifice their financial security for education. According to Zillow, the median home price in Irvine is $864,400, which is higher than California’s median home price of $600,000 and above the national median of $226,800. Therefore, Irvine residents
also face a higher cost of living than most in the nation.

Irvine is home to a large and active business sector, but it is not immune to some of the problems that arise from big businesses. The city reports that there are
more than 23,000 businesses that reside within Irvine, creating many jobs. The creation of jobs is great for the economy. However, a portion of those new employees will not be able to afford living in Irvine given the high cost of living. To fix the affordability issue, there should be more of a focus on expanding affordable housing instead of driving low income people from the city and continuing to build luxury housing. Furthermore, regulations to maintain a certain aesthetic and community standard lead to the “Irvine bubble” where many residents are sheltered from the realities of much of the nation’s issues and as a result, gain a skewed perspective where first world problems seem like real problems.

Irvine residents have fewer worries in comparison to the homeless population. According to the University of California Irvine, the Irvine police department picks
up homeless citizens and drops them off at shelters in nearby cities like Santa Ana. In doing so, authorities strive to maintain the picture-perfect image of Irvine.

Students that have grown up in the Irvine suburb may not be used to seeing real world hardships experienced by many people who are less fortunate. Students end up being upset that their parents did not get them the car model they wanted or complain about their lack of clothes despite their closet overflowing with them. They do not realize how privileged they are in owning a car or multiple pairs of shoes in the first place. The lack of knowledge and exposure to the real world because of Irvine’s sheltered atmosphere contributes to a lack of recognition of the realities of others.

Despite many shortcomings, residents of Irvine should still be thankful for the regulations that allow for a clean and safe community. Irvine residents feel secure thanks to the security provided by the police department which works to maintain the city’s low crime rate. According to Area Vibes, “the overall Irvine, CA crime rate is 53 percent lower than the California average and is 50 percent lower than the national average.” Irvine also has one of the most prosperous business sectors in America. Companies like Verizon, Taco Bell, Blizzard, In-N-Out and Toshiba all have their national headquarters based in Irvine. This healthy job market maintains the economic stability of the city and helps provide support for recessional periods. Furthermore, the educational opportunities that are provided in Irvine are unparalleled. Irvine also remains clean thanks to tight regulations on everything from vehicle dimensions to grass length. Thanks to successful planning, Irvine is able to maintain a safe, unique environment, which leads to world-class opportunities.

Although all of these factors come together to create unparalleled opportunities, it will always come at the cost of losing important experiences and exposure to the real world.