Special Report

Safest Cities in America

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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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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.

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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.

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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%.