Safety is one of the most important factors people take into consideration when choosing a place to live, especially if they have children. The number of violent crimes across the United States is estimated to have dropped by 4.6% in 2014 as compared to the year before, according to a preliminary report that was recently released by the FBI. Violent crimes includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Not only did violent crimes see a decrease in 2014 when compared to 2013, but there was also a decrease in property crimes to the tune of 7.5% when compared to the same data time period in 2013. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. (While arson is considered a property crime, it isn’t included in the stats due to fluctuations in reporting).
In all, the number of crimes declined by nearly 15% in the last 10 years. Even though the overall number of violent crimes across the United States continues to decline, some places are simply safer to live than others are. With that in mind, here are the ten safest cities in America.
The list of safest cities in America was determined by combing through official FBI crime statistics for cities with a population of 100,000 or more residents. Violent crime, median household income and poverty rates were used to select the ten safest cities.
Top 10 Safest Cities in America
10. Sunnyvale, California
Violent crime rate: 97 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $99,000
Sunnyvale residents are generally safe, financially secure and educated. The city’s rate of 97 violent crimes per 100,000 residents is well below the national average of 368 per 100,000 people. The majority of violent crimes were a result of robberies and aggravated assaults, with only 4 murders committed in 2013. Almost 60% of adults 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree and just 7.3% of residents live in poverty.
9. Glendale, California
Violent crime rate: 93 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $50,172
This suburb of Los Angeles is one of the safest cities in the country with just a single murder and only 97 incidents of aggravated assault in 2013. Glendale is unique in the fact that it has managed to keep crime rates low despite a relatively high poverty rate (17.8%) and its relative lack of wealthy residents. Despite lower incomes and higher poverty rates than many other cities of its size, Glendale finds itself as one of the ten safest places to live in America.
8. Amherst, New York
Violent crime rate: 90 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $72,585
Even with a significant surge in violent crime in 2013, Amherst is still one of the safest cities in the U.S. From 2010 through 2012 the violent crime rate was just 75 per 100,000 residents, but it spiked to 90 per 100,000 in 2013. Despite the additional crimes in 2013, there was just a single murder during the year and burglary rates occurred at a rate of just 172 per 100,000 as compared to 610 per 100,000 nationally.
7. Gilbert, Arizona
Violent crime rate: 86 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $80,355
Gilbert has an extremely low poverty rate, with just 6% of residents living in poverty. The low poverty rate — a significant factor in criminal activity — is one of the lowest in the country and likely contributes to the area’s safety. Again, there was just a single murder in Gilbert during 2013 and robberies occurred at a rate of just 21 per 100,000 residents versus a national rate of 109 per 100,000. Gilbert is one of the safest cities in America, but don’t stray too far. Surrounding cities such as Phoenix have crime rates much higher than the national average.
6. Temecula, California
Violent crime rate: 85 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $78,356
There were just 91 violent crimes committed in Temecula during 2013, an astoundingly small number for a city of nearly 107,000 people. Additionally, the aggravated assault rate of 36 per 100,000 people was lower than all but two cities nationally. While Temecula is an extremely safe community for its residents, it’s not as safe for their property. Violent crime in the city is well below the national average, but the property crime rate of 2,670 per 100,000 wasn’t much lower than the national rate.
5. Frisco, Texas
Violent crime rate: 76 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $110,000
Frisco is the lone representative from Texas. With just 100 total violent crimes in 2013, it sits as the fifth safest city on the list. On top of an overall low crime rate, there wasn’t a single murder in the city in 2013. The city’s high median income (more than any other large city in the U.S.) and low poverty rate (less than 5%) play a large role in keeping the area crime free.
4. Naperville, Illinois
Violent crime rate: 73 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $105,000
Not only is this suburb of Chicago one of America’s safest cities, it’s also one of its wealthiest. A median income of $105,000 and a poverty rate of less than 5% help explain the city’s low crime rate. There wasn’t a single murder in the city during 2013 and only a few cities reported fewer sexual assaults per 100,000 residents. In addition to high wages and low poverty rates, an educated population also helps keep the crime rate down. More than 63% of residents 25 or older hold at least a bachelor’s degree and nearly 98% of those 25 or older have completed high school.
3. Cary, North Carolina
Violent crime rate: 69 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $89,405
There were just 69 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Cary during 2013. Once again, relatively high wages and a low poverty rate (5.5%) are two reasons for the low crime rates. Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime in Cary, but it was still one of the lowest rates in the nation coming in at just 55 per 100,000 people. Cary and the surrounding area were recently ranked as one of the fastest growing metro areas of 2013 and the increased economic growth likely played a large role in reducing the violent crime rate from the previous year when 82 violent crimes per 100,000 residents were reported.
2. Murrieta, California
Violent crime rate: 65 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $72,385
Murrieta reported the lowest aggravated assault rate in the nation in 2013 with just 38 per 100,000 residents. In total, there were just 70 violent crimes reported the entire year. Larceny was the most common crime in Murrieta, but the rate of 1,066 per 100,000 people was still one of the lowest rates in the nation for large cities.
1. Irvine, California
Violent crime rate: 48 per 100,000 residents
Median Income: $87,830
Irvine tops the list of safest cities in America with a violent crime rate of just 48 per 100,000 residents. In total, the city had just 113 violent crimes reported for the year. Irvine has had the lowest violent crime rate among large cities for ten years running. High incomes and a well-educated population — 61% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree — have helped make Irvine the safest city in the country for a decade.
Even as the nation becomes increasingly safe, a number of large U.S. cities still stood out for their low crime rate. Across the country, 368 violent crimes were reported for every 100,000 people last year. Such crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. In America’s 10 safest cities, there were fewer than 100 such crimes for every 100,000 people. Based on violent crime data published by the FBI’s 2014 Uniform Crime Report, these are America’s safest cities.
Remember, safety starts with good information! Whether you live in one of these 10 safest cities or live elsewhere, there’s no guarantee that the person living next to you is who they say they are. Get piece of mind by doing a background check on your neighbors. Doing so doesn’t mean that you are overly paranoid or too cynical. The truth is, it’s just not a good idea to have blind faith in people who you don’t know much about.