America’s safest cities

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Safety has taken on new significance in 2021, amid record infections and deaths from COVID-19.

Despite progress overall, crime still impacts America’s communities. Crime and safety are intertwined with prosperity, income and economic opportunity. Crime is costly to individual victims, perpetrators, communities and society at large.

MoneyGeek analyzed the most recent crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to estimate the cost of crime in nearly 300 cities across the United States.

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The Safest Cities in America

We ranked 297 cities with populations over 100,000 people from most to least safe in this analysis. The following summaries show the safest cities overall, the safest large cities and the most dangerous cities from the analysis and their total and per capita cost of crime. The full data set including the city’s population, cost of crime and crime rates by type of crime are included at the end of this study.

There’s an ongoing stereotype that larger cities are more dangerous. While no larger cities (population of 300,000 or more) made the overall safest list, fewer than half of the 15 least-safe cities in the U.S. were large cities.

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Methodology

To rank the safest cities in the United States, MoneyGeek started with standardized crime statistics reported to the FBI. The population of each city was added to the analysis to determine crime rates per 100,000 people, and this information was also accessed via data provided by the FBI. When cities with more than 200,000 people did not have data available in the FBI dataset, MoneyGeek conducted individualized research on standardized crime statistics for each specific city.

MoneyGeek relied on research by professors Kathryn McCollister and Michael French of the University of Miami and Hai Fang of the University of Colorado Denver to determine the cost of crime to society. We then integrated their findings into the broader dataset to better understand the societal cost of crime within individual cities.

To calculate the change in the cost of crime from 2019 to 2020, MoneyGeek analyzed 2019 FBI crime statistics according to the methodology above and compared them with our 2020 analysis results.

Lastly, MoneyGeek used data provided via Wikipedia on the number and nature of mass shootings in the United States in 2020.

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20. Centennial, Colorado

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $351
  • Violent Crime Rate: 128
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,765
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $39,401
  • Population: 112,104

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19. Meridian, Idaho

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $348
  • Violent Crime Rate: 159
  • Property Crime Rate: 844
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $41,435
  • Population: 119,203

Image Credit: Dmharris26 / Wiki Commons.

18. Daly City, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $326
  • Violent Crime Rate: 180
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,366
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $34,861
  • Population: 106,855

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17. Santa Clarita, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $319
  • Violent Crime Rate: 131
  • Property Crime Rate: 907
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $70,742
  • Population: 221,932

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16. Temecula, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $311
  • Violent Crime Rate: 127
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,943
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $36,223
  • Population: 116,442

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15. Woodbridge Township, New Jersey

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $311
  • Violent Crime Rate: 126
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,235
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $31,103
  • Population: 100,119

Image Credit: Summersleek / Wiki Commons.

14. Bend, Oregon

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $310
  • Violent Crime Rate: 168
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,893
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $32,062
  • Population: 103,485

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13. Coral Springs, Florida

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $301
  • Violent Crime Rate: 121
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,232
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $40,693
  • Population: 135,027

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12. Lee’s Summit, Missouri

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $295
  • Violent Crime Rate: 129
  • Property Crime Rate: 2,045
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $29,574
  • Population: 100,268

Image Credit: Glenn Kinyon / Wiki Commons.

11. Allen, Texas

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $276
  • Violent Crime Rate: 97
  • Property Crime Rate: 920
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $29,844
  • Population: 108,218

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10. McKinney, Texas

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $276
  • Violent Crime Rate: 134
  • Property Crime Rate: 936
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $57,442
  • Population: 208,335

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9. Thousand Oaks, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $252
  • Violent Crime Rate: 60
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,037
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $31,970
  • Population: 126,823

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8. Irvine, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $236
  • Violent Crime Rate: 51
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,499
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $70,042
  • Population: 297,069

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7. Cape Coral, Florida

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $233
  • Violent Crime Rate: 128
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,068
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $46,386
  • Population: 199,503

Image Credit: MatthiasOtt/istockphoto.

6. Amherst Town, New York

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $227
  • Violent Crime Rate: 126
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,537
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $27,589
  • Population: 121,304

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5. Frisco, Texas

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $218
  • Violent Crime Rate: 86
  • Property Crime Rate: 972
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $46,412
  • Population: 212,626

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4. Carmel, Indiana

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $214
  • Violent Crime Rate: 49
  • Property Crime Rate: 587
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $22,068
  • Population: 103,100

Image Credit: Alejandra Mejia/ istockphoto.

3. Murrieta, California

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $200
  • Violent Crime Rate: 81
  • Property Crime Rate: 1,024
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $23,540
  • Population: 117,639

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2. Cary, North Carolina

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $195
  • Violent Crime Rate: 66
  • Property Crime Rate: 946
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $33,968
  • Population: 174,441

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1. Naperville, Illinois

  • Crime Cost per Capita: $187
  • Violent Crime Rate: 66
  • Property Crime Rate: 164
  • Cost of Crime ($000s): $27,824
  • Population: 149,137

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The Safest Large Cities

Here are the 15 safest large cities and their crime costs per capita:

  1. Virginia Beach, Virginia: $611
  2. Honolulu:$695
  3. Henderson, Nevada:$767
  4. El Paso, Texas: $811
  5. Mesa, Arizona: $901
  6. San Diego: $906
  7. Raleigh, North Carolina: $996
  8. Anaheim, California: $1,077
  9. San Jose, California: $1,100
  10. Santa Ana, California:  $1,109
  11. New York City: $1,204
  12. Austin, Texas: $1,205
  13. Arlington, Texas:  $1,303
  14. Las Vegas: $1,329
  15. Riverside, California: $1,354

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Most Dangerous Cities

Here are the 15 most dangerous cities and their crime costs per capita:

  1. St. Louis, Missouri: $11,574
  2. Jackson, Mississippi: $9,138
  3. Detroit: $7,292
  4. New Orleans: $7,214
  5. Baltimore: $7,091
  6. Memphis:$6,884
  7. Cleveland: $6,423
  8. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: $6,150
  9. Kansas City, Missouri: $5,382
  10. Shreveport, Loisiana: $5,153
  11. Milwaukee: $5,049
  12. Dayton, Ohio: $4,907
  13. North Charleston, South Carolina: $4,854
  14. San Bernardino, California:  $4,824
  15. South Bend, Indiana: $4,547

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