America’s Safest Cities

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Source: Madison Berndt / Flickr

5. Frisco, Texas
> 2018 violent crime rate: 86.8 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 2
> Poverty rate: 3.9%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.1%

Frisco is one of several wealthy, fast-growing suburbs of the Dallas metro area to rank among the safest cities in the United States. The typical household in Frisco earns $120,701 a year, more than twice the $57,652 national median household income. Similarly, just 3.9% of residents live in poverty, compared to 14.6% of Americans nationwide. From 2009 to 2018, the population of Frisco rose by 73.6% — more than 11 times the 6.6% national growth rate.

While the relationship between wealth and crime is complicated, crime tends to be less prevalent in high-income cities. In Frisco, there were just 87 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2018, less than one-fourth the national violent crime rate.

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4. McAllen, Texas
> 2018 violent crime rate: 84.5 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 0
> Poverty rate: 25.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 4.7%

McAllen is a city of approximately 144,000 residents located in the southern tip of Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2018, there were just 85 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in McAllen, less than one-fourth the national violent crime rate of 369 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the least of any midsize to large city in Texas.

While crime is disproportionately concentrated in low-income areas and many of the safest cities in the United States are among the wealthiest, McAllen is one of the least wealthy cities in the country. Some 25.2% of McAllen residents live in poverty, far more than the 14.6% national poverty rate.

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3. Murrieta, California
> 2018 violent crime rate: 80.2 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 2
> Poverty rate: 8.9%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.5%

According to FBI data, there were two murders, 16 rapes, 35 robberies, and 39 aggravated assaults reported in Murrieta in 2018. Adjusted for population, there were just 80 violent crimes per 100,000 Murrieta residents, less than one-fourth the national violent crime rate of 369 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

The prevalence of property crime in Murrieta is similarly low. In 2018, there were just 1,231 burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents in Murrieta, far less than the national property crime rate of 2,200 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

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2. Naperville, Illinois
> 2018 violent crime rate: 68.7 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 0
> Poverty rate: 4.4%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.0%

Naperville is a suburb of approximately 145,000 residents located approximately 30 miles west of downtown Chicago. While Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the country — there were 1,006 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Chicago residents in 2018, more than twice the national figure — Naperville is one of the safest. In 2018, there were just 69 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Naperville residents, far less than the national violent crime rate of 369 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the second lowest rate of any city with a population of at least 100,000.

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1. Irvine, California
> 2018 violent crime rate: 55.5 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 0
> Poverty rate: 13.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 2.8%

According to the most recent FBI data, there were zero murders, 40 rapes, 53 robberies, and 67 aggravated assaults reported in Irvine in 2018. Adjusted for population, there were just 56 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Irvine residents, by far the lowest rate of any U.S. city with a population of at least 100,000 and less than one-sixth the national violent crime rate.

The low prevalence of crime may have been a pull factor for the large influx of residents who moved to Irvine over the past decade. From 2009 to 2018, the population of Irvine grew by 33.6%, more than five times the 6.6% national growth rate.