The Search for the Safest Cities in the U.S.
Safety first is a popular maxim for good reason: We all want to live in a low-crime locale where homes are secure and residents feel comfortable at local businesses, parks, and schools.
So if you’re thinking of relocating—whether for career opportunities, to raise a family, or simply to get a fresh start with a change of scene—start your search with this list featuring 19 of 2021’s safest cities, culled from the annual SafeWise analysis of FBI crime statistics and other data from all 50 states. These towns are tops for low violent crime (VC) and property crime (PC) rates, and have high ratings for high-quality educational and recreational offerings.
Related: America's 20 Most Burglarized Towns and Cities
Nestled about 26 miles west of Boston, Hopkinton was established in 1715. With a zero violent crime rate and a very low property crime rate, the charming hamlet of Hopkinton boasts a fine public school system with a 14:1 student to teacher ratio, a beautiful state park with a wide assortment of activities, a downtown historic district, and it’s the starting point of the Boston Marathon. Median income is about $132,000 and median home value is about $592,000, according to recent data. And if you can’t find your dream house in this New England town of some 18,585 people, consider nearby Franklin, Massachusetts, which also has very low rates of crime.
Wikimedia Commons via John Phelan
Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania
Located among the lovely, gently rolling hills of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Buckingham Township boasts a zero violent crime rate and a low property crime rate. Homeowners here have a median income of approximately $120,000 annually. The area has scenic beauty and open spaces, and the residents often vote overwhelmingly in favor of land preservation.
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While many of the safest cities are also the wealthiest, Rexburg has a modest median income of just under $30,000. Idaho is currently among the most popular states for relocation, and Rexburg’s low violent crime rate and property crime rate are mighty appealing. The town is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho and calls itself “America’s Family Community.” Nature lovers, take note: Rexburg stands as the gateway to both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Wikimedia Commons via Ken Lund
Trophy Club, Texas
The town of approximately 12,000 people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area welcomes newcomers and is hoping to grow, offering incentives to attract businesses that meet the vision and standards of its town council. While violent crime is 11 percent higher in Texas than the national average, Trophy Club ranks as the safest city in the Lone Star State. The violent crime rate is only 0.1 and property crime is at 4.9 per 1,000 residents, and both are on the decline.
Zillow Digs home in Trophy Club, TX
Oakland Township, Michigan
Sitting pretty in the outskirts of Metro Detroit, Oakland Township describes itself as a residential bedroom community that retains many elements of rural, wooded beauty. It’s less densely populated than towns to the east, west, and south and boasts almost no violent crimes, and a very low property crime rate. It’s a fairly affluent area with a median income of just under $127,000, and one of its gracious homes was once owned by Marshall Bruce Mathers III, otherwise known as Eminem.
Scarsdale Village, New York
With a median income of $250,000+, Scarsdale Village is the wealthiest community on this list. This New York City suburb of some 18,000 people stands as a symbol of Westchester County affluence, with splendid properties and stately single-family homes. It has a low property crime rate and an extremely low violent crime rate. However, the town still retains a touch of scandalous violent tarnish due to the 1980 murder of the “Scarsdale Diet” doctor Herman Tarnower by his lover, local headmistress Jean S. Harris.
Wikimedia Commons via Jim.henderson
Bernards Township, New Jersey
Chartered back in 1760, Bernards Township has a population of 27,000 and a median income of about $127,000. During the country’s fight for freedom, colonial troops rested under the oak tree in Basking Ridge Presbyterian Churchyard, which still stands among the town’s historic sites. Bernard Township boasts a zero violent crime rate and 3.05 property crime rate per 1,000 residents.
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Located 18 miles southwest of Milwaukee, the city of Muskego was established in 1964. Proud and happy Muskego citizens describe their community as “a quiet, friendly town” with a “rural atmosphere and excellent school system” with test scores that are 49 percent higher than the national average. It has almost no violent crimes, a low property crime rate, and home values are 47 percent higher than the national average.
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Danville’s motto is: “Small town atmosphere, outstanding quality of life.” Settled during the Gold Rush in the 1850s, Danville has a low violent crime rate, which is below the state, regional, and national averages. Property values here are nearly 400 percent higher than the national average and school test scores are 49 percent higher than the national average. Danville was home to Eugene O’Neill, America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright.
Some 20 minutes north of Indianapolis, Zionsville has small-town values, mom-and-pop shops, an award-winning school system with test scores that are 82 percent higher than the national average, and 500 acres of impeccable parkland. Tree huggers will be pleased to learn that the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes the town for meeting all its standards as a Tree City USA community. Zionsville has a near zero violent crime rate and a property crime rate of 2.82 per 1,000 residents, which is 88 percent lower than the national average.
Wikimedia Commons via Huw Williams
About 15 minutes south of Cincinnati, Ohio, Independence was incorporated in 1842 and remained fairly sleepy until the 1960s, when it began to annex significant plats of land in surrounding areas. People and businesses continue to move to this town of some 28,500, which was recently cited as the 99th fastest growing city in the country and is proud to offer urban amenities in a rural setting. The median household income is around $73,000, and the 4 percent unemployment rate is 21 percent lower than the national average. Independence has a very low violent crime rate and a low property crime rate per 1,000 residents.
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Founded in 1708 at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, this colonial community is home to a population of about 24,300 and is one of the safest cities in America. In addition to its low crime rates, quality of life in Ridgefield is enhanced by one of the finest school systems in the state. Folks in Ridgefield have a 1 in 344 chance of being a crime victim, which is 88 percent lower than the national average, and the 2 percent unemployment rate is 57 percent lower than average.
This suburb of both Cincinnati and Dayton was first settled before the turn of the 19th century. Springboro came to serve as an important stop on the Underground Railroad, providing refuge for those escaping from slavery. Spurred by growth in the neighboring bigger cities, it experienced a population boom and gained a new highway by the 1960s. Now nearly 19,000 live in bike-friendly Springboro, where recent figures show median home values at around $228,000, the median income is about $107,000, a near zero violent crime rate, and a property crime rate of 3.48 per 1,000 residents.
Wikimedia Commons via Ed!
Spanish Fork, Utah
Spanish Fork was initially settled by Mormons and today its population of just under 40,000 is largely made up of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That said, there also is a Lutheran, Baptist, and Roman Catholic churches, and a Hare Krishna temple in Spanish Fork. There is a very low violent crime rate and an 8.18 property crime rate per 1,000 residents. The median income is about $75,000 and the median home value is nearly $270,000.
Huntley lies some 48 miles northwest of Chicago, but its position along the Golden Corridor of Interstate 90 allows a direct route to the Windy City. The village, named for farmer Thomas Stillwell Huntley, who settled there in 1846, became a shipping center when the Northwest Railroad came through. Today it is one of the fastest growing communities in the area, with a diverse economy made up of manufacturing, warehouse, service, and healthcare industries. There is a violent crime rate of near zero and a property crime rate of 4.56 per 1,000 residents. Median property value is about $242,000 and Huntley households earn an average of about $76,000 per year.
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Due to the location of the Pacific Northwest city Sammamish on a plateau among hilly lakeshore terrain, it was largely a rural resort area when first settled in the early 1900s. Residential development began in the 1970s, and Sammamish officially became a city in 1999. According to most recent data, it boasts a low crime rate, the average household earns about $153,000, and unemployment at 3 percent is 40 percent lower than the national average. The city has received praise for its scenic beauty, friendly people, and convenient location that’s about 18 miles east of Seattle.
Related: These are the Best States for Life After Retirement
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Merrimack, New Hampshire
Although the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales no longer train at Merrimack’s brewery, human citizens here enjoy the comfort and security of this safe city, with a very low violent crime rate and low property crime rate. Incorporated in 1746, Merrimack was for the most part an agricultural community until the mid-20th century, and now diverse employers in manufacturing, electronics, and investing are based in town. Most recent data shows that unemployment is quite low at 2.7 percent, and the median household income is around $91,000. Residents can travel just about an hour to be either in the mountains or at the seashore.
Arizona is among the most popular states for relocation now, and Florence is its safest city with year over year crime down 28 percent. The town sits 45 minutes away from both Phoenix and Tucson, has an historic downtown area, and boasts the scenic beauty of the Sonoran Desert for outdoor adventuring. The population is currently about 27,500 and steadily increasing, with some 200 new homes built annually in the area during the past few years. But those raising kids should note: School test scores have been 40 percent lower than the national average, despite a student to teacher ratio of 16:1. Both violent crime and property crime rates have been declining for the last several years in this state.
Related: Common Household Crimes and How to Protect Yourself
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Currently among the country’s most desirable states to relocate, Colorado’s Frederick is 20 miles north of Denver, and reported zero cases of violent crime. Recent data shows that Frederick residents have a 1 in 1018 chance of being a crime victim, which is 96 percent lower than the national average. The growing community along the front range of the Rocky Mountains boasts 300+ sunny days a year, 25 skiing facilities within driving distance, and loads of trails, parks, and open space. The town’s motto is: “Built on what matters.”
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