100 Safest Cities in America in 2022

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The last few years in America have been difficult to say the least. So much so that the FBI’s most recent crime data shows that violent crimes in the U.S. increased by 5.6% in 2020. The murder rate grew by 30% marking the largest single-year increase on record.

This is certainly alarming when you consider that crime has been declining over the last 30 years. Though it is not entirely surprising given the anger and stress that has engulfed the country in recent years which has been seen anecdotally and now empirically.

This includes the economic, medical, and mental trauma associated with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the political, social, and racial tensions which have reached a boiling point in recent years evidenced by the anniversary of violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

On a positive note, the property crime rate decreased in 2020 with many people at home during the pandemic, though this is a continuation of a downward trajectory for property crimes.

As we kick off 2022, we wanted to pay tribute to the cities, helpful citizens and men and women in uniform that work to keep our cities safe. To do so we examined the most recent FBI data on crime rates to find out which are the 100 safest cities in America.

The rankings were based on the total crime rate in 7,000 cities across the country. The total crime rate is all crimes such as violent crimes (murder, rape, assault, etc.) as well as property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson).

Here’s a look at several key findings:

  • Wayland, Massachusetts is the No. 1 safest city in America
  • New York state has 10 of the 25 safest cities
  • El Paso, San Diego and New York City are the three safest among larger cities
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida has the lowest combined crime rate among mid-sized cities

25 Safest Cities in the U.S.

Wayland, Massachusetts, a city of just under 14,000 about 20 miles west of Boston, has the lowest overall crime rate, 7.22 per 100,000. The city’s low rate is based on a single violent crime, an aggravated assault. New York’s Northport ranks No. 2 with a rate of 27.56. New York state is home to 10 of the 25 safest cities in America.

25 Safest Cities in the U.S.

Among the cities with the 25 lowest rate, a combined 40 total crimes were reported in 2020; these communities combine to account for about 92,000 residents. Ten New York cities and towns are on the list, while Colorado and Wisconsin have two each. Fourteen states are represented on the top 25 list.

10 Safest Large Cities with Population 500,000+

As we’ve seen, smaller communities tend to have smaller crime rates, while for larger ones, the reverse is usually true. However, there are a handful of major U.S. cities, those that are home to at least a half-million people, where the combined crime rate in 2020 was lower than for the U.S. overall.

In the U.S. as a whole in 2020, crimes occurred at a rate of 2,356.7 per 100,000 people, while four major cities had lower rates — El Paso, San Diego, New York City, and Mesa all boasted lower combined crime rates in 2020.

10 Safest Large Cities with Population 500,000+

Among major cities, El Paso has the lowest overall crime rate, and eight of the 10 big cities with the lowest crime rates also saw crime fall over the past decade. In El Paso, overall crime rates have dropped by 46 percent over the past decade, while San Jose and Los Angeles both saw rates rise slightly (just 4 percent for each).

10 Safest Mid-Sized Cities

Looking at cities with populations between 150,000 and 500,000 shows that Port St. Lucie, Florida has the lowest overall crime rate, followed by Cary, North Carolina, and Santa Clarita, California.

Again, most of the mid-sized cities with low crime rates have also seen crime decline, as was the case with major cities. Port St Lucie, for example, posted a 63 percent drop in its overall crime rate, tied for the biggest decline of any city in its population group (Laredo, Texas also had a 63 percent drop in overall crime rates).

10 Safest Mid-Sized Cities

All 10 of the mid-sized cities with the lowest crime rates in 2020 have seen those rates fall since 2011. In fact, only 17 of the 121 cities in the group have seen their overall crime rate rise over the past decade.

10 Safest Small Cities

In the 1,278 cities with population between 50,000 and 149,999, Franklin Massachusetts has the lowest overall crime rate, just 110.9 per 100,000 residents. Nine of the 10 cities with the lowest crime rates in this population bracket are in just four states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The other is in Indiana (Zionsville).

10 Safest Small Cities

In keeping with the trend we’ve noted toward lower crime rates, nine of these 10 cities have seen their overall crime rates fall over the past decade (2011 data was unavailable for Marshfield, Massachusetts). Long Beach, New York had the biggest decline among these cities, with the overall crime rate falling by 81 percent.

Safest City in Every State

In most states, the city with the lowest crime rate has a lower overall crime rate than the nation as a whole, which had a combined crime rate of 2,356.7 per 100,000 people. The two exceptions to this are Washington, D.C., which given its population density is better compared to a city than other states, and Illinois, for which the FBI excluded important bits of data.

The agency’s reporting for 2020 for Illinois excluded data on arson and larceny-theft. Because larceny-theft, which includes things like shoplifting, is by far the most common crime in the U.S., we included only one city in Illinois for this reason. So, by default, Rockford is both the safest and most dangerous Illinois city in our findings.

Those issues aside, there is a great deal of variation in crime rates when looking at the safest cities in every state. Even in neighboring states, the differences can be dramatic. In California, for example, the city with the lowest crime rate is Rolling Hills, with a rate of 325.6 per 100,000 people; Oregon’s safest city is Vernonia, where the crime rate is nearly three times higher — 871.8 per 100,000.

10 Safest Small Cities

100 Safest Cities in America

Rank

City

State

Total Crime Rate 2020

1

Wayland

Massachusetts

7.22

2

Northport

New York

27.56

3

Milton

Wisconsin

31.57

4

Homer

New York

32.46

5

Coxsackie

New York

37.66

6

Durham

New York

37.76

7

New Hanover

New Jersey

38.17

8

Pine Plains

New York

41.68

9

Rangely

Colorado

44.37

10

Colstrip

Montana

44.46

11

Norfolk

New York

45.66

12

Ault

Colorado

52.27

13

Elk Point

South Dakota

53.76

14

Wilder

Idaho

53.82

15

Webb

New York

56.21

16

Cooperstown

New York

57.37

17

Fulton

Wisconsin

57.85

18

Lewisport

Kentucky

59.1

19

Yerington

Nevada

61.43

20

Colville

Washington

61.92

21

Chatham

New York

62.27

22

Cornwall

New York

62.91

23

Montgomery

Minnesota

65.34

24

Bangs

Texas

65.88

25

Brighton

Tennessee

68.7

26

Surrey

North Dakota

68.87

27

Matawan

New Jersey

69.66

28

Pelham

Massachusetts

76.22

29

Barnesville

Minnesota

76.75

30

Barneveld

Wisconsin

79.81

31

Zebulon

Georgia

81.04

32

Burlington

North Dakota

82.1

33

Skagway

Alaska

82.92

34

West Liberty

Kentucky

84.6

35

Oologah

Oklahoma

84.82

36

Boley

Oklahoma

85.25

37

Wray

Colorado

85.29

38

Brighton

Vermont

86.13

39

Chester

New York

86.47

40

Clarkton

Missouri

87.87

41

Haworth

New Jersey

88.47

42

Atwater

Minnesota

89.53

43

Occoquan

Virginia

90.58

44

Tioga

Texas

92.51

45

South Shore

Kentucky

95.24

46

Cumberland

Wisconsin

95.42

47

Caledonia

New York

96.02

48

Adrian Township

Michigan

96.2

49

Benson

Minnesota

99.27

50

Groveland

Massachusetts

102.1

51

Alstead

New Hampshire

103.2

52

Lake Linden

Michigan

106.16

53

Battle Lake

Minnesota

106.95

54

San Augustine

Texas

107.24

55

Clinton

Massachusetts

107.4

56

Shippensburg

Pennsylvania

107.72

57

Broadview Heights

Ohio

110.18

58

Brush

Colorado

110.84

59

Franklin

Massachusetts

110.85

60

Ishpeming Township

Michigan

113.86

61

Fall River

Wisconsin

114.68

62

Norfolk

Massachusetts

116.01

63

Perry Township

Ohio (Columbiana County)

117.4

64

Oakes

North Dakota

118.69

65

Wagener

South Carolina

118.91

66

Sparta Township

New Jersey

119.13

67

Northvale

New Jersey

121.09

68

Hamilton

New York

122.64

69

Barnesville

Ohio

125.72

70

Van Buren

Missouri

125.79

71

Canon

Georgia

126.58

72

Rye

New York

127.45

73

Rock Valley

Iowa

128.24

74

Plain City

Ohio

129.65

75

Montgomery

New York

129.95

76

Hanna

Wyoming

131.23

77

La Farge

Wisconsin

131.41

78

Oregon

Missouri

132.28

79

Jourdanton

Texas

134.32

80

Oak Hill

West Virginia

137.21

81

Oconomowoc

Wisconsin

137.25

82

Cleveland

Wisconsin

137.93

83

Kingston

New Hampshire

138.46

84

Holden

Massachusetts

139.09

85

Strafford

New Hampshire

141.44

86

Nisswa

Minnesota

142.05

87

Wartrace

Tennessee

142.86

88

Woodsboro

Texas

142.96

89

Cape Vincent

New York

145.14

90

Afton

Wyoming

145.99

91

Amity

Arkansas

146.84

92

Wild Rose

Wisconsin

147.06

93

Gaines Township

Michigan

147.47

94

Springfield

New Hampshire

148.81

95

Park Ridge

New Jersey

149.63

96

Collinsville

Texas

150

97

Winnebago

Minnesota

150.38

98

Abbeville

Georgia

150.72

99

Cleveland

Missouri

151.29

100

Danville

New Hampshire

152.81

7 Tips to Keep Your Home & Family Safe

For most people, it’s not realistic to simply pack up and move to one of these hyper-safe communities. And even in a community where the crime rate is lower than average, violent tragedies still take place, and property crimes still occur.

So, regardless of the crime rate in the city where you live, there are some common-sense ways you can make your home and property a less likely target for crime. Here are our tips for ensuring your home is as safe as possible no matter where you live:

  1. Install a Smart Security Camera: A solid security camera can be purchased for less than $200. Older surveillance cameras tend to send dozens of false notifications. Look for a smart camera, with artificial intelligence, that has facial recognition, and video analytics such as digital tripwires. We recommend a professional security camera system that can be recorded on premises, and monitored in real-time over the Internet on any device.
  2. Advertise That the Property is Under Surveillance: A security camera will serve as a deterrent, but only if the criminal knows it is there. Put up security signs saying that the property is being monitored as this increases the deterrent factor substantially.
  3. Use an Alarm System: In the event your home gets breached, it is critical to have an alarm system that will make criminals leave the scene while alerting the police to get them onsite as soon as possible. There are many great options such as SimpliSafe.
  4. Do Not Overshare on Social Media: Be mindful of social media posts that let people know when you’re not home. This will give a green light to anyone that may seek to break-in. Similarly, violent criminals may come when they know you are home alone.
  5. Have Neighbors Watch Your Back: Ask a trusted neighbor to look after your place and bring in your mail so burglars do not see it piling up. Be sure to return the favor to create a safer community for all.
  6. Be Vigilant: Always double check that all doors and windows are locked and that your alarm and security cameras are operational. This will give you peace of mind whether you are home or away.
  7. Consider Owning a Firearm: If a weapon will make you feel safer you can purchase one legally, learn how to use it and lock it away from children.

Conclusion

Safety is a relative concept. After all, as we’ve seen, even in the safest cities in America crime still does occur. However, given the recent rise in violent crimes and the likelihood that anger in America will continue into 2022 from the reasons outlined earlier, it is important citizens take a proactive, common sense approach to protecting their homes and families.

Methodology

The data for this report came from the FBI, which collects and publishes crime data for cities and towns across the U.S. on an annual basis. Data for the most recent year 2020 is available here, and data for 2011 here. The rankings in this study are based on the total crime rate in more than 7,000 cities. The total crime rate is the average of all violent crimes (murder, rape, assault, etc.) and all property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson). Cities with very small populations that reported zero crimes were omitted from the list.

Most Illinois cities did not have arson or larceny-theft data, and since larceny-theft is by far the most common single type of crime, we excluded all but one Illinois city — Rockford, which did report this data. There were a handful of other cities we excluded for this reason, but Illinois was the state most widely affected by data reporting limitations.

Ray Ansari
is an NYU-educated computer scientist, chemist and the Founder and CEO of CCTV Camera World.

 

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