Special Report

The Safest Cities in America

25. Centennial, Colorado
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
132
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 4.8%
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%

There were 161 violent crimes per 100,000 Centennial residents in 2010. Since then, the violent crime rate has steadily declined. In 2014, only 132 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 residents, the 25th lowest violent crime rate in the United States. Violent crime tends to be less prevalent in affluent areas, and Centennial, Colorado is no exception. The typical household brings in $91,354 annually, making Centennial one of the wealthiest cities in the country.

Higher educational attainment rates also tend to accompany low crime rates. In Centennial, 97.9% of adults have a high school diploma, the highest educational attainment rate of all major U.S. cities.

24. McAllen, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
131
> 2014 murders: 6
> Poverty rate: 26.2%
> Unemployment rate: 5.6%

Bordering Mexico near the southernmost tip of the Lone Star State, McAllen is one of the safest U.S. cities. While most of the safest cities in the country have high educational attainment, high incomes, and low poverty rates, McAllen is an exception. With an annual median household income of just $48,929, McAllen is one of only two of the safest cities where the typical household income is less than the nationwide median household income. Additionally, only 73.9% of area adults have earned a high school diploma, the smallest share of the 25 safest cities and considerably lower than the national high school attainment rate of 86.9%. Most unusual perhaps is the city’s high poverty rate. Over one quarter of area residents live in poverty, one of the highest poverty rates of any city in the country.

Despite lagging behind much of the country in several economic measures, only 131 violent crimes were reported in McAllen for every 100,000 city residents in 2014. The national violent crime rate of 366 reported incidents per 100,000 Americans is more than double the rate in McAllen.

23. Carrollton, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
129
> 2014 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 11.1%
> Unemployment rate: 4.6%

With 129 reported violent crime incidents per 100,000 residents in 2014, Carrollton, Texas is one of the safest cities in the country. Robberies and aggravated assaults accounted for the bulk of the city’s violent crimes, and there was only one documented murder case last year.

The economic conditions in the Dallas suburb are closely associated with the city’s low violent crime rate. With an unemployment rate of 4.6% — one of the lowest in the nation — a larger segment of the population is gainfully employed and therefore less likely to gravitate towards crime. People in Carrollton are also less likely to be in desperate financial situations that frequently lead to criminal activity. Only 11.1% of Carrollton residents live below the poverty line. The poverty rate across the United States is 15.5%.

22. Fremont, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
125
> 2014 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 6.2%
> Unemployment rate: 4.6%

California is home to 11 of the safest cities in the country, and Fremont is one of them. Like many of the country’s safest cities, Fremont residents are quite wealthy. The typical area household earns $106,921 annually, the second highest median household income of any city in the nation. Located roughly 20 miles outside of Silicon Valley, Fremont is likely home to a large share of tech industry workers. Adults in Fremont are also highly educated. More than half of all adults in the city have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. By contrast, only 30.1% of American adults have similar educational attainment. Of the 14,249 reported homicides in the United States in 2014, only one occurred in the Fremont, California metro area.


21. Round Rock, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000:

125
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 12.4%
> Unemployment rate: 4.1%

Situated 20 miles north of the state capitol, Austin, Round Rock is one of four Texas cities among the 25 safest in the United States. With no known murders, the 72 reported incidents of aggravated assault accounted for the largest share of violent crimes in Round Rock in 2014. Like many of the cities with low violent crime rates, property crimes were also relatively rare in Round Rock. Only 1,951 property crimes were reported per 100,000 Round Rock residents in 2014, far lower than the nationwide average of 2,596 property crimes per 100,000 people.

The safest cities are also often prosperous, and Round Rock residents are not poor. The typical Round Rock household earns $73,098 annually, significantly more than the national median household income of $53,657.