What makes a city safe to live in?
Each year, local law enforcement agencies across the country provide the FBI with crime data for their communities. The information reported covers both violent crime (aggravated assault, murder, etc.) and property crime (burglary, robbery). Together, they help paint a picture of how safe a particular community is — or isn’t —.
An analysis of this FBI crime data by SafeHome.org, a security research and advisory site, found that, of the largest US cities, Seattle had the most burglaries and Memphis had the most. of theft reports in 2020, for example.
This type of information, of course, has an impact on the value of real estate in a community. Properties located in areas considered safer are generally more expensive than those with a reputation for being troubled by high crime rates.
Average crime statistics in the United States
Analysis of the most recently released FBI crime data from the FBI, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, and other sources shows:
- The murder rate in the United States increased by 30% between 2019 and 2020, the largest single-year increase in more than 100 years
- Violent crime increased 12% in US cities between 2010 and 2020
- Property crime in US cities fell 33% between 2010 and 2020
- The state with the most crimes in 2020 was New Mexico (per capita)
- The state with the fewest crimes in 2020 was New Hampshire (per capita)
Ranking of the safest cities to live in
Cities are ranked in order of annual crime rate per 1,000 population.
1. Zionsville, IN
- Population: 31,702
- Median household income: $137,265
- Median home price: $600,000
Describing itself as one of the most desirable places to live in the country, Zionsville offers a small-town atmosphere and character and is located just 20 minutes from Indianapolis. Zionsville is in the 51st percentile for safety. The annual crime rate is only about 2.5 crimes per 1,000 population.
- Population: 654,776
- Median household income: $76,298
- Median home price: $789,000
A large, bustling and historic borough made up of a wide array of neighborhoods, Boston averages a solid B for safety, ranking in the 43rd percentile among major cities. The annual crime rate is 2.93 crimes per 1,000 population.
3. Naples, Florida
- Population: 21,750
- Median household income: $118,141
- Median home price: $699,000
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is known for its high-end boutiques and art galleries — often housed in pastel-colored Art Deco buildings — and is home to more than a few Fortune 500 CEOs. violence in the city is 3.28 incidents per 1,000 population.
4. Glen Cove, New York
- Population: 28,131
- Median household income: $79,131
- Median home price: $729,000
Glen Cove is in Nassau County, just 20 miles from New York City on the north shore of Long Island. The crime rate here is much lower than the average American city. It is in the 98th percentile for security in the United States. Only 2% of towns are safer than Glen Cove and 98% are more dangerous. There are approximately 8.38 crimes per 1,000 population each year.
5. Santa Clarita, CA
- Population: $224,593
- Median household income: $100,932
- Median home price: $769,900
Just north of Los Angeles, the small community of Santa Clarita is known for being a united, family-friendly, and safe place to live. And for good reason. Santa Clarita ranks in the 66th percentile nationally for safety, which leaves only 34% of cities with a safer rating and about 66% more dangerous. Santa Clarita’s crime rate is 9.9 crimes per 1,000 residents.
6. Lake in the Hills, IL
- Population: 28,945
- Median household income: $96,470
- Median home price: $289,500
Just 41 miles from Chicago, Lake in the Hills is known for offering a high quality of life. It is also a national leader in low crime rates. Lake in the Hills is in the 94th percentile: just 6% of cities are safer. The crime rate is around 10.8 crimes per 1,000 population.
7. Glens Falls, New York
- Population: 14,722
- Median household income: $55,496
- Median home price: $229,000
Founded in 1908, Glens Falls has a reputation for welcoming neighborhoods and many successful corporations and businesses. It ranks in the 83rd percentile for safety – 17% of cities nationwide are safer than Glens Falls, while 83% experience more crime. There are approximately 15.49 crimes per 1,000 residents each year in Glens Falls.
8. Ridgefield, Connecticut
- Population: 25,011
- Median household income: $152,630
- Median home price: $872,000
A 300-year-old community, Ridgefield is known for its historic Main Street and Norman Rockwell vibe. The crime rate in Ridgefield is lower than that of the average American city. It is in the 79th percentile for safety. About 21% of cities in the country are safer and 79% are more dangerous. There are approximately 16.8 crimes per 1,000 residents each year in Ridgefield.
9. Midland, Michigan
- Population: 83,445
- Median household income: $64,078
- Median home price: $223,500
Located in the center of the State of Michigan, the city of Midland has been recognized as an ideal place to raise a family and find a job. Midland is also known for its excellent school system. Crime in Midland is lower than the average for US cities with approximately 18 crimes per 1,000 residents each year.
10. Port St. Lucie, Florida
- Population: $217,523
- Median household income: $62,380
- Median home price: $420,000
The third largest city in South Florida, Port St. Lucie is about 80 km north of West Palm Beach. The city is known for its diverse housing offerings and economic opportunities, as well as its network of parks and golf courses. Port St. Lucie’s crime rate is lower than most US cities, ranking in the 70th percentile for safety. There are approximately 19 crimes per 1,000 population each year.
11. McKinney, TX
- Population: 202,690
- Median household income: $100,775
- Median home price: $560,600
Just under 30 miles from Dallas, the small community of McKinney is known for being a scenic spot with tree-lined streets and a historic downtown. McKinney has also been recognized as the location for growing industry jobs. The crime rate in McKinney is slightly lower than most other cities in the country: it is in the 65th percentile for safety. About 35% of US cities are safer and 65% are more dangerous. There are approximately 21 crimes per 1,000 population each year.
12. Frisco, TX
- Population: 210,719
- Median household income: $128,761
- Median home price: $734,500
A wealthy suburb about 25 minutes from Dallas, the community of Frisco is home to many white-collar professionals who work in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Frisco’s crime rate is in the 47th percentile for safety, which means about 53% of cities are safer, while 47% are more dangerous. There are approximately 27 crimes per 1,000 residents each year in Frisco.
13. Sunnyvale, CA
- Population: 152,258
- Median household income: $150,464
- Median home price: $1.6 million
Sunnyvale is just outside San Francisco, in the heart of Silicon Valley. A number of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered there, including Yahoo, Spanson, Maxim, and Network Appliances. The crime rate is 31 incidents per 1,000 population.
14. Portland, Maine
- Population: 68,313
- Median household income: $61,695
- Median home price: $489,000
Located on Maine’s southern coast, Portland is the state’s largest city and economic center. Full of entrepreneurs, it’s also a popular tourist destination known for its historic Old Port district. There are approximately 44.5 crimes per 1,000 residents per year in Portland.
Cities are ranked using statistical data from CrimeGrade.org which calculated a number of crimes per 1,000 residents in a given municipality. Other data on each city comes from US Census Bureau information, official city websites, and local real estate listings.