Special Report

The Safest Cities in America

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

Though it ranks as one of the safest cities in the country, Edison Township is located only about 25 miles from Newark — one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. According to 2014 crime statistics, while Edison Township had no murders and only 96 incidents of violent crime for every 100,000 residents, there were 93 murders in Newark, contributing to the city’s violent crime rate of 1,078 incidents for every 100,000 residents.

Last year’s violent crime rate in Edison Township marked a substantial decrease from the previous year’s figures. There were roughly 25 fewer incidents per 100,00 people in 2014 than there were in 2013 when the rate was 121.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

9. Glendale, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 16.6%
> Unemployment rate: 8.0%

With more hours of free time and added financial stress, unemployed individuals are often more likely to commit crimes than their gainfully employed peers. However, despite ranking as one of the nation’s safest cities, Glendale’s unemployment rate is exceptionally high, at 8% last year. Similarly, while the vast majority of the nation’s safest cities are also some of the wealthiest, Glendale residents are not especially wealthy. The city’s median annual household income of $51,020 and poverty rate of 16.6% were each worse than the corresponding national figures. Education levels are also closely tied to crime rates. In Glendale, 85.2% of adults have at least a high school diploma. While this is one of the lower rates, the area’s college attainment rate of 37.4% is one of the nation’s higher college attainment rates.

8. Temecula, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 6.3%
> Unemployment rate: 6.0%

Eleven of the country’s 25 safest cities are in California. One of these cities, Temecula, reported 92 violent crimes per 100,000 area residents last year, the eighth lowest violent crime rate in the nation. Temecula is not quite within commuting distance of Los Angeles or San Diego, but its location between the two major urban centers is likely a desirable feature of living in Temecula. City residents also have relative ease of access to several of California’s beaches. Cities with amenities such as these are often prosperous. Temecula residents are some of the nation’s wealthiest and least likely to live in poverty. A typical area household earns $80,753 annually, and just 6.3% of people live in poverty. By contrast, a typical American household earns $53,657 annually, and 15.5% of Americans live in poverty.

7. Gilbert, Arizona
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 6.8%
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Only a handful of cities have a lower violent crime rate than Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert is one of only 11 major U.S. metro areas with a violent crime rate of fewer than 100 incidents for every 100,000 residents. As is often the case, low crime in Gilbert is accompanied by low unemployment, high incomes, and a large share of adults with a high school diploma. Only 4.7% of the city’s workforce is unemployed, a significantly smaller share than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. Additionally, roughly 96% of all area adults have graduated high school, a higher rate than in all but seven other U.S. metro areas. Households in Gilbert also have among the highest incomes in the country. Median annual household income in the metro area is $84,153. By contrast, the typical American household earns $53,657 annually.

6. Frisco, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000:

> 2014 murders: 4
> Poverty rate: 3%
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%

The city of Frisco and its residents are exceptionally well off even compared to the wealthy cities comprising the nation’s 25 safest cities. Toyota’s North American headquarters, Liberty Mutual Insurance’s West Plano location, FedEx Office’s corporate offices, and the headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys are all within commuting distance of the city. Billions of dollars are expected to be invested in the area, according to the Dallas Business Journal — on top of investments already made over the city’s history. Residents have also prospered. A typical household earns $115,603 annually, the highest of cities reviewed. The poverty rate of just 3% is also nearly the lowest in the nation. Partially as a consequence of these strong economic indicators, Frisco’s violent crime rate of 82 incidents per 100,000 residents trails only five other large U.S. cities.

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