Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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50. Maine
> Violent crime rate, 2020: 108.6 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Murder rate, 2020: 1.6 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Firearm deaths, 2020: 10.4 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> Incarceration rate, 2020: 126.9 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Augusta (402.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people)

Maine ranks as the most peaceful state in the country. A total of 1,466 violent crimes – such as robbery, murder, or aggravated assault – were reported in the state in 2020, or 109 for every 100,000 people, the lowest violent crime rate in the country. Maine also has the second lowest murder rate and second lowest incarceration rate in the nation.

While as a whole Maine is a safe place, there are parts of the state with higher than average crime rates. In the state capital of Augusta, for example, there were 402 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2020, more than triple the statewide violent crime rate and slightly higher than the national rate of 399 incidents per 100,000 people.

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49. Massachusetts
> Violent crime rate, 2020: 308.8 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
> Murder rate, 2020: 2.3 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Firearm deaths, 2020: 3.7 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Incarceration rate, 2020: 98.1 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Springfield (966.8 violent crimes per 100,000 people)

Massachusetts is one of four New England states to rank among the five most peaceful states in the country. With some of the tightest gun restrictions in the country, Massachusetts also has one of the lowest gun death rates. A total of 268 state residents died as a result of a firearm injury in 2020, or 3.7 for every 100,000 people – the second lowest firearm death rate among states.

State residents receive violence from state governments in a variety of ways, notably through the practice of law enforcement. The Massachusetts government appears to use this form of violence far less frequently than other states. The incarceration rate of 98 inmates per 100,000 people in Massachusetts is the lowest of any state and less than a third of the 369 per 100,000 national rate.

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48. New Hampshire
> Violent crime rate, 2020: 146.4 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Murder rate, 2020: 0.9 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Firearm deaths, 2020: 8.9 per 100,000 (9th lowest)
> Incarceration rate, 2020: 172.1 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Manchester (592.8 violent crimes per 100,000 people)

New Hampshire, which shares a border with Massachusetts and Maine, the second most and most peaceful states, respectively, ranks as the third most peaceful state in the country. New Hampshire’s top ranking among peaceful states is due in part to its homicide rate, which, at 0.9 murders per 100,000 people in 2020, is the lowest in the country.

Homicides are one component of the violent crime rate, and New Hampshire’s violent crime rate of 146 incidents per 100,000 people is the second lowest among states and less than half the national rate.

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47. New Jersey
> Violent crime rate, 2020: 195.4 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Murder rate, 2020: 3.7 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> Firearm deaths, 2020: 5.0 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Incarceration rate, 2020: 144.4 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Asbury Park (1,226.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people)

New Jersey is the only state outside of New England to rank among the five most peaceful states in the country. New Jersey has some of the strongest firearm restrictions in the U.S. – and one of the lowest firearm death rates. A total of 443 people were killed by guns in the state in 2020, or five for every 100,000, the third lowest firearm fatality rate among states.

The violent crime rate in New Jersey of 195 incidents per 100,000 people is also relatively low – less than half the national violent crime rate of 399 per 100,000. Still, there are parts of the state where criminal violence is more common than average. In Asbury Park, for example, the violent crime rate stands at 1,226 incidents per 100,000 people, more than three times the national rate.

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46. Rhode Island
> Violent crime rate, 2020: 230.8 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> Murder rate, 2020: 3.0 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> Firearm deaths, 2020: 5.1 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> Incarceration rate, 2020: 210.7 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Woonsocket (501.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people)

Like many states in the Northeast, Rhode Island has relatively strong gun control laws. And, also like many Northeastern states, Rhode Island has a relatively low gun death rate. There were 54 deaths in the state resulting from a firearm injury in 2020, or 5.1 per 100,000 people, the fourth lowest among states.

Criminal violence is also relatively uncommon in Rhode Island. The state’s violent crime rate of 231 incidents per 100,000 people is lower than in all but half a dozen states nationwide.

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