The Safest States in America

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10. Minnesota
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
229.1
> Population: 5,457,173
> Total 2014 murders: 88 (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

Minnesota’s violent crime rate of 229 incidents per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the national crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people and among the lowest of any state. As is often the case, prosperity among Minnesota residents may help make the state a safer place. With just 11.5% of residents living in poverty, the state has one of the lower poverty rates nationwide. While Minnesota is one of the safest states overall, its larger cities are relatively dangerous. Minneapolis, for one, reports a violent crime rate of 1,012 incidents per 100,000 people, one of the highest of any city. And St. Paul’s violent crime rate of 662 incidents per 100,000 people is about 300 crimes more per 100,000 than the national rate.

9. Rhode Island
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
219.2
> Population: 1,055,173
> Total 2014 murders: 25 (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.3% (24th lowest)

It is generally accepted that unemployed individuals are more likely to turn to crime. However, while the state’s unemployment rate of 7.7% is the third-highest rate in the nation, Rhode Island remains one of the safer states. Both violent and property crimes are much more common in large urban areas. This may partially explain why Rhode Island — which has only one city with at least 100,000 residents, Providence — has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

8. Utah
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
215.6
> Population: 2,942,902
> Total 2014 murders: 67 (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (11th lowest)

There are 216 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Utah residents in a single year, the eighth lowest of any state in the nation and well below the U.S. rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans. Jobless and destitute men are among the most likely individuals to commit crimes, and crime rates tend to be lower in areas where job markets are healthy — as is the case in Utah. Like in most of the nation’s safest states, Utah’s unemployment rate of 3.8% is one of the lowest in the country. Similarly, just as a high poverty rate can contribute to a higher crime rate, financial stability in an area tends to lower the incidence of violent behavior. In Utah, less than 12% of people live in poverty, one of the lower poverty rates nationwide.