The United States has gotten safer in the past few decades. The violent crime rate (including aggravated assaults, robberies, rapes and murders/nonnegligent manslaughters) has declined steadily from nearly 750 incidents for every 100,000 Americans in 1993 to 366.7 incidents per 100,000 in 2019.
Yet, not every part of the country can be considered safe. While in some states the violent crime rate is less than half of the national rate, in others, it is more than double.
To determine the safest state in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2019 for all 50 states, with data coming from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
There is a well-established link between poverty and crime, as America’s poorest states tend to be its most violent. For instance, New England states tend to have relatively high incomes and low poverty rates, and every state in the region ranks as one of the safest in the country. Most of the nation’s most dangerous states are located in the South, where incomes are typically among the lowest and poverty rates among the highest.
Violent crime occurs most frequently in U.S. urban areas. Even in many of the safest states, there are cities with very high violent crime rates. Similarly, it is no coincidence that many of the states with the highest rates of violent crimes are also home to some of America’s most dangerous cities. In some cases, a single city can account for over a quarter of all violent crime in an entire state. In other states, the violent crime rate is fairly low, at least compared to large cities in some states.
Maine ranks as the safest state in America. The state reported 115.2 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2019, less than a third of the U.S. violent crime that year of 366.7 per 100,000. In 2019, there were 20 murders in Maine, the fourth fewest among all states.
Maine’s incarceration rate is 146 per 100,000 adults, the second lowest among all states. Its poverty rate, which is sometimes a factor in crime, is 10.9%, the 19th lowest in America.
This northeastern state had the lowest rate of murder (1.5 per 100,000 residents) and aggravated assault (61.3 per 100,000) in the country as well.