The Safest Cities in America

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4. Naperville, Illinois
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 73
> Population: 144,221
> 2013 murders: 0 (tied-the least)
> Poverty rate: 4.4% (the lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 97.8% (the highest)

Naperville is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with a median household income of more than $105,000 last year. Naperville also had the lowest poverty rate of any large U.S. city, at just 4.4%. A lower poverty rate may help explain the city’s extremely low levels of violent crime. There were no reported murders in Naperville in 2013, while few cities reported less cases of rape per 100,000 residents. Adult residents are also exceptionally educated. Nearly 98% of people 25 and older had at least a high school diploma, the highest rate nationally, while more than 63% had at least a bachelor’s degree, also among the highest rates.

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3. Cary, North Carolina
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 69
> Population: 148,905
> 2013 murders: 1 (tied-9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 5.5% (4th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 95.0% (10th highest)

Cary’s median household income of $89,405 in 2013 was one of the highest among large U.S. cities. High incomes and the area’s remarkably low poverty rate of just 5.5% likely contributed to Cary’s low crime rates. There were just 69 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2013, down from 82 per 100,000 the year before. Most violent crimes in Cary were aggravated assaults. Still, Cary had one of the lowest assault rates in the nation, at 55 per 100,000 people. Economic growth often leads to declining crime rates, according to the Urban Institute’s Roman. The Raleigh-Cary metro area was identified by IHS Global Insights as among the fastest growing metro areas in the country in 2013.

2. Murrieta, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 65
> Population: 107,768
> 2013 murders: 1 (tied-19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 8.4% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 92.9% (36th highest)

Murrieta reported 38 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people last year, the lowest in the nation. While Murrieta had a higher violent crime rate than Irvine in 2013, the city reported a total of just 70 violent crimes last year, the lowest nominal figure among all large cities. Property crimes were also relatively uncommon, with 1,522 reported per 100,000 people last year, versus a national rate of 2,731 per 100,000 people. Larceny accounted for the bulk of property crimes in Murrieta, with 1,066 incidents reported per 100,000 people. This was still among the lower rates compared with other large U.S. cities. Residents were quite well-off financially. A typical household earned $72,385 in 2013, among the higher incomes among cities reviewed.

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1. Irvine, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 48
> Population: 235,830
> 2013 murders: 2 (44th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (53rd lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 95.3% (7th highest)

Just 113 violent crimes were reported in Irvine last year, a city with more than 235,000 residents. As a result, the city’s violent crime rate was just 48 per 100,000 people, the lowest among large U.S. cities. This is the 10th straight year in which Irvine has had the nation’s lowest violent crime rate among large cities. Irvine’s property crime rate was also extremely low, ranked ninth lowest in the nation. The city’s consistently low crime rates are likely due, at least in part, to its high-earning and well-educated population. Last year, the median household income in Irvine was $87,830, and more than 61% of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the highest figures in the nation.

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