...look around the older apartments/condos in lake forest or Tustin, anything with a garage. Anything north of irvine is likely to get you a broken car window for a pair of sun glasses you forgot to take with you overnight. That was my experience with north tustin & Santa Ana.
Laguna hills, mission/aliso viejo are also good candidates. You are going to be hard pressed to find anything under $1800 in irvine. I'd recommend hitting up rentalliving.com and just getting an apt through the irvine company even if it does run you $1800+.