The Safest Cities in America

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20. Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
115
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: N/A
> Unemployment rate: N/A

Last year, only 19 cities reported no murders whatsoever, and Woodbridge Township is one of them. Home to roughly 101,000 people, reported robberies and aggravated assaults accounted for nearly all of the 116 violent crimes committed in the city last year.

Woodbridge Township is located just 20 miles away from Newark, New Jersey, a city that ranks among the most dangerous in the country. Newark’s violent crime rate of 1,078 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2014 was nearly three times higher than the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

19. Sunnyvale, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
112
> 2014 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 7.1%
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Sunnyvale slipped in ranking from the 10th safest city in the country last year to 19th safest this year, as the area’s violent crime rate increased from 97.2 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2013 to 112 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2014. Still a relatively safe place, Sunnyvale residents are among the wealthiest in the country. A typical household in the area brings in $104,681 annually, more than in all but two other cities in the country. Sunnyvale residents are also more likely to have higher educational attainment. Roughly 63% of area adults have a bachelor’s degree, a higher college attainment rate than in all but a handful of other cities.


18. Simi Valley, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
111
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 8.6%
> Unemployment rate: 5.9%

With 111 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Simi Valley, California is one of the safest cities in the country. No murders were reported in the city last year. Aggravated assault accounted for the bulk of the violent crimes with 89 total incidents.

Low poverty rates often accompany low crime rates, and Simi Valley is no exception. Only 8.6% of area residents live below the poverty line, one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, and considerably lower than the national poverty rate of 15.5%. Area residents also report high incomes. The typical Simi Valley household earns $82,168 annually, significantly more than the median household income across the country of $53,657.

17. Surprise, Arizona
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
110
> 2014 murders: 4
> Poverty rate: 12.2%
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Last year, 110 violent crimes per 100,000 people were reported in Surprise, Arizona, down from the previous year’s violent crime rate of 122 incidents per 100,000 people — also one of the lowest rates that year. Like a number of other safe U.S. cities, Surprise residents have economic and social advantages of living close enough to a major metropolitan center — that can provide high-paying jobs — but also living far enough to avoid the typically higher crime rates found in larger urban areas. Surprise is located roughly 25 miles from downtown Phoenix, where crime is far more common. Crime is also far more common in poorer areas, and Surprise residents are not poor. The area’s poverty rate of 12.2% is one of the lower rates compared to other U.S. cities and well below the U.S. rate of 15.5%.

16. Amherst Town, New York
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
108
> 2014 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: N/A
> Unemployment rate: N/A

After falling from 2010 through 2012, the violent crime rate in Amherst, New York increased from 75 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2012 to 108 per 100,000 residents last year. Despite the increase, Amherst is still one of the safest cities in the country.

Amherst is located roughly 15 miles outside of Buffalo, New York, which is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In stark contrast to Amherst’s low violent crime rate, 1,228 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 residents in Buffalo, the 14th highest violent crime rate in the country. Also, as is usually the case in the nation’s safest cities, property crimes were also very uncommon in Amherst. For instance, just 37 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 people were reported in the city, versus the 216 per 100,000 Americans nationwide.