Live Here Not There: The Best and Worst Cities for Safety
Feeling safe and secure is an important aspect of life. The safety of your valuables and loved ones safe should never be taken for granted. People do their best to minimize the risk – they drive safe cars, they pay attention to the neighborhoods, and they decide the safest place to live.
However some cities in this nation are better suited than others for safety. They are known to be safer to walk alone in, or hanging out in the neighborhood. Their law enforcement does a good job at keeping criminals away and keeping you and your loved ones safe.
So where are they? Here are the safest large (population over 250,000) cities in the US, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
It’s important to note that the results can be open to interpretation. First, crime rates can be measured by city jurisdiction, or metropolitan area. Also some types of information are voluntarily submitted; in fact murder is the only statistic that all agencies are required to report. Additionally some agencies data may not be included if it is submitted past the deadline.
Still, given the information that was submitted, we can argue that these are the safest cities (population over 250,000) to live in.
1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Endless miles of sandy beaches, boardwalks, thousands of acres of parks, and amenities help make Virginia Beach such a great place to live. It has a nice estimated household income of around $62,000 and high property values. High education is also shown in the data with over 93% high school graduation rates.
2. Henderson, Nevada
Not too far away from Las Vegas – Henderson shows to be a great place to live in the statistics. Very low crime rate, job growth, and the dry desert climate cause people to flock there (population has grown 48% since 2000!).
3. Plano, Texas
Plano is the eastern half of the Dallas-Fort Worth “Metroplex” and boasts much better crime statistics than it’s neighbor. The unemployment rate is very low at 4.3% (compared to the US average 6.3%).
4. Chandler, Arizona
Arizona had quite a few cities that ranked ‘safe’ in the FBI list. Low numbers of violent crimes and property crimes per capita help rank Chandler as one of the safest cities to live. As a prominent suburb of Phoenix, the city boasts a strong economy and many recreational amenities, parks, and aquatic centers.
5. Chula Vista, California
Beautiful sunny skies and beaches are only part of the reason people long to live in the southern california city of Chula Vista. The violent crime rate in the city is well below average and the vehicular mortality rate is less than a third the national average! It also has one of the lowest drug uses of any country.
Wonder what the worst large cities in the US are on that list? The FBI Uniform Crime Reports has that too. If we look at the other end of the list we find cities with the highest violent crime rates per capita.
1. Detroit, Michigan
Often the city most people think of when they think ‘unsafe’. It’s true that Detroit has more violent crimes than any other city and is often at the top of the list most years. Even though crime has dropped for the last three years, it still remains at the top. Why is that? Well it comes from a combination of factors. One being the typical income level for a family in Detroit is only $25,000 which is the second lowest in the country. Also as more crimes happen, more families leave – which results in more crime for less population which skyrockets the percentage.
2. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis exhibited a very high violent crime rate for it’s population. In addition to the violent crime, it also had the highest incident of arson listed. Like most dangerous cities, it has a poverty rate of nearly 28%, which is among the highest in the nation. However it does have nearly 82% of adults that have high school degrees.
3. Oakland, California
Crime in Oakland began escalating in the 1960s. It’s reported that one of the challenges Oakland faces is an understaffed police force. And it’s not just violent crime. Property crime in Oakland is recorded as one robbery per 91 residents. And carjackings occur 2 to 3 times more often in Oakland than other cities of comparable size. Much like it’s other counterparts on this list – poverty and education play a factor. The estimated median household income in 2013 was $54,000. Data shows about 28% of students drop out of high school in Oakland every year.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
Luckily the crime rate is lowering in St. Louis. In 2010 the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department reported the lowest total reported crimes since 1967. The crime rate fell 9.2 % from 2009, but the Chief of Police stated that homicides and burglaries were still a problem in the city. The estimated household income for St. Louis is $34,000 and reports 82% high school graduates.
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The largest city in Wisconsin and the fifth largest city in the midwest. The median household income for Milwaukee is only $32,000 and most of the economy relies on the manufacturing and stockyards. The city has been in the top 10 cities for crime for many years although it continues to try to improve crime rates.
Not everyone has the opportunity to just pick up and move. Jobs and careers often dictate where we take our families. However if you get a job opportunity in one of the listed cities, hopefully knowing a little bit more about the safety reputation can help sway your decision. The safety of your family and valuables should always be a high priority in your life.
Like this post? Be sure to check out 3 Things To Do After A Break In and our Fourth of July Safety Infographic.