I've lived here since 2005 and I feel like its safe and friendly. To take a look at the crime use the link that jerry heard posted below and compare it to other areas in San Diego you were looking at such as up north.
As for shopping my wife can tell you that its very convenient. Walmart, Home Depot and vons are very close. San Ysidro outlets are so close that in order to avoid parking and traffic you can drop off your wife and pick them up in a few hours. Bonita, Otay Ranch and Chula Vista malls are close as well. Distance and time were right in the middle between the Costco on Broadway and the one on H street in Rancho Del Ray.... more