Special Report

Safest Cities in America

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The number of violent crimes per capita in the United States fell 0.9% last year, according to recent data from the FBI, from 386.3 incidents per 100,000 Americans in 2016 to 382.9 per 100,000 in 2017. The decline is part of a long-term trend that began in the early 1990s after decades of rising violent crime.

The national violent crime rate dipped below 400 incidents per 100,000 Americans for the first time in 40 years in 2011. In a handful of large and midsize cities, however, violent crime is currently at a level not seen on a national scale since the 1960s.

To identify the safest cities in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the violent crime rate for cities with populations of 100,000 or more from the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report.

Click here to see the full list of the safest cities in America.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Kelly Colson Photography / Getty Images

25. Round Rock, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 135.6
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 9.6%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.1%

There were two murders, 33 incidents of rape, 44 robberies, and 90 aggravated assaults reported in the midsize city of Round Rock in 2017. Adjusted for population, there were 136 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, less than half the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans and among the least of any U.S. city.

While the relationship is complicated, violent crime is often less common in areas with greater economic opportunity, and cities with low poverty and unemployment tend to be safer overall. In Round Rock, 9.6% of residents live in poverty, far less than the 15.1% national poverty rate. Also, just 3.1% of the workforce is unemployed, less than the 4.4% national share and one of the lowest unemployment rates of any city.

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24. Glendale, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 135.4
> 2017 murders: 3
> Poverty rate: 14.7%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.3%

There were 135 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Glendale residents in 2017, far less than the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans and among the least of any U.S. city. Like in many other cities with low violent crime, property crimes — such as burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — are also relatively uncommon in Glendale. There were 1,541 property crimes reported per 100,000 city residents in 2017, far below the national rate of 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 Americans.

Source: CameronK23 / Wikimedia Commons

23. Thousand Oaks, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 133.1
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 6.5%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.6%

There were just 133 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Thousand Oaks residents in 2017, just over one-third of the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

While the wealthy Southern California city regularly ranks as one of the safest cities in America, in November 2018 it was home to one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. On Nov. 8, a gunman shot and killed a security guard outside of the Borderline Bar & Grill and continued to fire into a crowded room of approximately 200 patrons. A total of 13 people were killed, including the gunman.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Corona, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 131.8
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 11.7%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.0%

Corona, a city in Southern California of approximately 169,000 people, is one of the safest communities in the country. There were just 132 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in the city in 2017, about a third of the national violent crime rate that year. The low incidence of violence may have partially reduced the need for police in Corona. There are only 91 law enforcement officers for every 100,000 Corona residents, less than half the national proportion.

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21. Cape Coral, Florida
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 127.5
> 2017 murders: 3
> Poverty rate: 13.1%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.0%

There were just 127 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Cape Coral, Florida, in 2017, the second lowest violent crime rate of any city with at least 100,000 residents in Florida and one of the lowest nationwide. Like other communities to rank on this list, Cape Coral is a popular family vacation destination, boasting beachfront properties along the Gulf Coast, golf courses, and hundreds of miles of canals for boating and fishing.

Source: Thinkstock

20. Provo, Utah
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 125.9
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 27.2%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 2.8%

There were just 126 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Provo residents in 2017, less than one-third of the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans. Additionally, there were only 1,732 property crimes — which include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — reported per 100,000 city residents, a 26.1% decline from the year before and far less than the national rate of 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 Americans.

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19. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 124.1
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 8.0%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.9%

In recent years, the incidence of violent crime in the midsize city of Broken Arrow has declined more than in nearly any other city. There were just 124 violent crimes reported per 100,000 city residents in 2017, down 19.2% from 2016. Over the same period, the national violent crime rate fell 0.9% from 386 to 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Financial hardship is also relatively uncommon in Broken Arrow. Just 8.0% of residents live in poverty, one of the lowest poverty rates of any U.S. city.

Source: roadgeek / Flickr

18. Carrollton, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 122.2
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 10.3%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3%

Carrollton, a small affluent community in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the United States. There were just 122 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2017, less than a third of the national rate of 383 incidents per 100,000.

Like many safe communities, Carrollton residents have access to a strong job market. Just 3.3% of the local workforce was unemployed in 2017, well below the 4.4% national unemployment rate.

Source: Bill_Dally / Getty Images

17. Sunnyvale, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 117.5
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 7.0%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 2.8%

Sunnyvale is one of the wealthiest, most educated, and safest cities in the country. The typical household earns $109,799 a year, nearly twice the national median household income of $55,322. Nearly 22% of households earn at least $200,000 a year, and 62% of adults have a bachelor’s degree — the largest and eighth largest such shares nationwide.

Wealthier areas with greater educational attainment tend to have less violent crime. In Sunnyvale, there were just 117 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2017, less than one-third of the national violent crime rate.

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16. Sandy Springs, Georgia
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 116.9
> 2017 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 11.8%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.6%

Sandy Springs is the only city in Georgia to rank among the country’s safest cities. There were no murders in the city in 2017, and the overall violent crime rate of 117 incidents per 100,000 residents is a fraction of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Like many safe American cities, Sandy Springs has a well-educated population. Approximately 61% of adults in the community have a bachelor’s degree or higher, double the 30% share of adults nationwide.

Source: Zeete / Wikimedia Commons

15. Edison Township, New Jersey
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 109.1
> 2017 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: N/A
> 2017 unemployment rate: N/A

Edison is a midsize city located in the New York metropolitan area along the shore of the Raritan River. According to the FBI, there were no murders reported in Edison in 2017, and just seven reported incidents of rape, 47 robberies, and 58 aggravated assaults. Adjusted for population, there were 109 violent crimes reported per 100,000 city residents, less than one-third of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000 and nearly the least of any U.S. city.

The incidence of property crime — burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — in Edison is also among the lowest of any city nationwide. There were 1,178 property crimes per 100,000 city residents in 2017, the sixth least of any city in the country.

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Source: Robbieraeful / Wikimedia Commons

14. Amherst Town, New York
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 102.4
> 2017 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: N/A
> 2017 unemployment rate: N/A

Amherst is the only town in New York state to rank among the safest in the country. There were no murders reported in the Buffalo suburb in 2017, and adjusted for population, there were just 102 violent crimes for every 100,000 people — a lower rate than in all but 13 other U.S. cities with at least 100,000 residents.

Property crimes like burglary and motor vehicle theft are also relatively rare in Amherst. The town’s property crime rate of 1,542 incidents per 100,000 residents is well below the national rate of 2,362 per 100,000.

Source: Madison Berndt / Flickr

13. Frisco, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 101.8
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 3.8%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3%

Frisco is one of several midsize suburban communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to rank among the safest cities in America. There were just 102 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, far less than the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Violent crime is often less common in areas with greater access to economic opportunities, and wealthy cities with high educational attainment tend to be safer overall. In Frisco, 59.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, nearly twice the 30.3% national college attainment rate. Additionally, the typical household earns $117,642 a year, more than double the $55,322 national median income.

Source: Zeete / Wikimedia Commons

12. Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 101.8
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: N/A
> 2017 unemployment rate: N/A

Woodbridge, New Jersey, is a New York City suburb just across the Arthur Kill strait from the southern end of Staten Island. There were just 102 violent crimes in Woodbridge for every 100,000 people in 2017, nearly the lowest violent crime rate in the state and one of the lowest in the country.

Woodbridge is patrolled by more police than most safe cities on this list. Still, the 234 law enforcement personnel for every 100,000 city residents is lower than the national ratio of 294 law enforcement personnel per 100,000 Americans.

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Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

11. Temecula, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 101.5
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 6.7%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.1%

The violent crime rate of 102 incidents per 100,000 people in the Southern California city of Temecula is among the lowest in the country. Like in many safe communities, the median household income in Temecula is high. The typical area household earns $83,840 a year, far more than the $55,322 the typical American household earns. Additionally, just 6.7% of Temecula residents live in poverty, well below the 15.1% national poverty rate.

Source: SEASTOCK / Getty Images

10. Bellevue, Washington
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 100.2
> 2017 murders: 0
> Poverty rate: 7.5%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.4%

Bellevue is a suburban city of approximately 144,000 residents located in the Seattle metropolitan area. There were no murders in the city in 2017 and just 100 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, less than one-third the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

While the relationship between income and crime is complicated, wealthy cities tend to be safer. In Bellevue, the typical household earns $100,703 a year, one of the highest median incomes of any mid-size U.S. city.

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Source: Thinkstock

9. Port St. Lucie, Florida
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 98.6
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 14.1%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.4%

Port St. Lucie is the safest city in Florida and one of the safest in the country. After declining by about 33% from 2016, the city’s violent crime rate stood at 99 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2017. For reference, there were 383 violent crimes for every 100,000 Americans nationwide that year. The city’s property crime rate of 1,127 incidents per 100,000 residents is also nearly the lowest of any city tracked by the FBI.

Source: MeekMark / Wikimedia Commons

8. Allen, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 98.3
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 5.1%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.3%

The Dallas suburb of Allen is one of the safest cities in the country. The area’s violent crime rate of just 98 incidents per 100,000 residents is approximately one fourth of the national violent crime rate. Property crimes like motor vehicle theft and burglary are also relatively rare. There were just 1,246 property crimes for every 100,000 people in Allen in 2017, compared to the national rate of 2,362 incidents per 100,000 people.

Source: samsebeskazal / Flickr

7. Lakewood Township, New Jersey
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 92.4
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: N/A
> 2017 unemployment rate: N/A

Lakewood is one of several small, wealthy townships in New Jersey to rank among the safest cities in America. There were just four reported incidents of rape in Lakewood Township in 2017, the least of any U.S. city when adjusted for population. Additionally, only one murder was reported that year. Adjusted for population, there were just 92 violent crimes per 100,000 Lakewood Township residents, less than one-fourth of the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 Americans and among the least of any city.

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Source: Lindsaymhenson84 / Wikimedia Commons

6. League City, Texas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 92.1
> 2017 murders: 3
> Poverty rate: 5.3%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.9%

According to data recently released by the FBI, League City is the safest city of at least 100,000 residents in Texas and the sixth safest in the United States. Despite climbing by 13.9% from 2016, the city’s violent crime rate of 92 incidents per 100,000 residents is a fraction of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Like many cities on this list, League City is relatively affluent. The typical area household earns $97,087 a year, far more than the median household income nationwide of $55,322.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

5. Naperville, Illinois
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 91.9
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 4.9%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.0%

With just 92 reported incidents for every 100,000 city residents in 2017, Naperville is one of only nine cities tracked by the FBI with a violent crime rate below 100 incidents per 100,000 people. Not only is the Chicago suburb one of the safest cities in the country, but also it is one of the wealthiest. The typical area household earns $110,676 a year, double the income the typical American household earns.

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Source: Venske / Wikimedia Commons

4. Surprise, Arizona
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 88.7
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 10.2%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.5%

Surprise is one of two Arizona communities to rank among the top five safest cities in the United States. Down 14.2% from the previous year, the city’s violent crime rate of 89 incidents per 100,000 people is less than one-fourth the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 people.

A low violent crime rate will not drive up need for police, and in Surprise, there are just 100 law enforcement officers for every 100,000 people, less than half the nationwide ratio.

Source: Printezis / Getty Images

3. Gilbert, Arizona
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 85.5
> 2017 murders: 5
> Poverty rate: 6.2%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.5%

The Phoenix suburb of Gilbert is the safest city in Arizona and the third safest city in the United States. There were only 86 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2017. For reference, there were 383 incidents per 100,000 people nationwide the same year.

Violent crime appears to be less common in high-income areas, and in Gilbert, the typical household earns $85,581 a year, about $30,000 more than the typical American household earns.

Source: reg1992 / Flickr

2. Murrieta, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 70.8
> 2017 murders: 1
> Poverty rate: 9.3%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 4.1%

Murrieta, a Southern California city located between San Diego and Los Angeles, is the second safest city in both the state and the country. Despite climbing by a nation-leading 60.4% in 2017, the city’s violent crime rate stands at 71 incidents per 100,000 people, a fraction of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Like many cities with low crime rates, Murrieta’s police force is relatively small. There are just 75 law enforcement officers for every 100,000 people, compared to 206 per 100,000 nationwide.

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1. Irvine, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 61.2
> 2017 murders: 2
> Poverty rate: 12.7%
> 2017 unemployment rate: 3.4%

There were just 169 violent crimes in Irvine, California — a city of over a quarter million people — in 2017. Adjusted for the population, the city’s violent crime rate of 61 incidents per 100,000 residents is the lowest of any city tracked by the FBI.

Like other safe cities, Irvine’s job market is strong. The city’s annual unemployment rate of 3.4% is a full percentage point lower than the comparable national rate of 4.4%.

Detailed Findings

Violent crime is often less prevalent in wealthy areas with greater access to economic opportunity. Low-crime areas are also more likely to attract advanced, high-paying industries and highly educated adults, which can be a boon to economic activity. Partially as a result, cities with less violent crime tend to have higher educational attainment and higher median incomes.

In 16 of the 21 cities on this list with available data, the share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree is greater than the 30.3% national college attainment rate. Similarly, the unemployment rate is lower than the 4.4% national figure in 19 of the 21 cities, and the median household income is higher than the national median of $55,322 in 18 of the 21 cities.

Many of the safest cities are suburbs of larger, more dangerous cities. In Naperville, Illinois, for example, there were just 92 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2017, the fifth least of any U.S. city of at least 100,000 residents. Naperville is approximately 30 miles west of Chicago, where 1,099 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 residents — the 21st most of any major city. Other large metropolitan areas home to some of the safest cities in America include Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York.

Methodology

To identify the safest cities in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime and population statistics for cities with populations of 100,000 or more from the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report, table 8: “Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City, 2017.” We calculated the rate of violent crime per 100,000 people.

Comparisons between 2017 and 2016 law enforcement staff counts and crime rates also came from the FBI UCR. Median household income, educational attainment, and poverty rates for each city were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 5-year American Community Survey. Annual unemployment rates are for 2017 and are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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