As a Victor Valley resident from 1978 to present, I would say there's been a definite change in the area towards more crime. My guess, from some of the agenda items at the Victorville City Council is that crime continues to escalate, and that many crimes go unreported. One of my friends has scrap stolen from his yard often enough that he's stopped reporting it.
The city has had a large influx of unemployed, people on probation and parolees from adjoining counties as it's cheaper to house them here. There hasn't been additional money sent to the local jurisdictions to help in the policing of these new residents.
The High Desert is usually the last place in CA to recover, so I don't foresee any quick improvements.
There are some nice neighborhoods in Victorville, but my personal preferences run toward Oak Hills and county areas of Apple Valley.
Much of what, where, and why you are looking at the Victor Valley has to be answered before I could make any further recommendations. There are still many reasons to buy in the area, but during hard economic times I recommend against being in dense population centers.