Special Report

Safest Cities in America

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.