America’s Safest Cities
America is a vast collection of cities, from the super small to the mega metropolis, from quiet and quaint suburbia to cities that never sleep. No matter what city or town, public safety is paramount in feeling comfortable in your neighborhood and home. To help you decide where to make your next move, we looked at the safest cities in America to find out where people live in peace, knowing their city is safe.
There are two qualifications to this list: First, we looked at cities with populations over 200,000. There are many small, quiet towns in the U.S. that rank high on the crime index scale; for that reason, there would be no way to include all of them or fairly separate them. Secondly, we excluded natural disasters and looked strictly at crime rate and public safety. With those considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the five safest cities in America.
5. Fremont, CA
Fremont sits just north San Jose and just across the bay from San Francisco and is one of two California cities to make the list. While Fremont has a higher property crime rate than other cities on this list, it’s violent crime rate is 183.4 per 100K. Fremont is the second largest city in terms of square mileage but also last in population on our list. That means Fremont has 69 crimes per square mile, an astonishingly low number. Taking natural disasters into account, we find Fremont most likely does not make the list, as Fremont historically has above average earthquake activity 7667% greater than the overall U.S. average. For the purposes of crime and safety, however, Fremont spends an average of $332.00 per year on the cost of crime per 100K residents and the chances of being a victim of property crime in Fremont is 1 in 50, making it a very safe town and landing as the fifth city on our list.
4. Virginia Beach, VA
By far the largest city on this list at over 450,000, Virginia Beach is also the only east coast city on the list and boasts impressive statistics despite its size. Virginia Beach lands on almost every major list of safest places to live because of its low violent and property crime per capita. Largely a resort city, Virginia Beach is still the most populous city in Virginia (44th most populous in the United States) and holds the Guiness Book of World Records for the “Longest Pleasure Beach” in the world. In this tourist town with nearly half a million residents, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 760. Virginia Beach also has a property crime of 1951.5 per 100K, a statistic better than our number five city on this list, with double the population of Fremont. Virginia Beach is host to numerous tourist attractions and events and yet, for tourists and locals alike, lands number four on our list of one of the safest cities in America.
3. Plano, TX
Plano, Texas lands in the top five of many lists when it comes to safety. Texas has many cities that ranked highly on safety, but Plano is by far the safest. Nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, this city suburb is the second largest city on the list. Yet, like Virginia Beach, Plano still manages to check the boxes on low crime and property damage. There were only 431 violent crimes in 2020 in a city of 280,000 people, which averages out to 18.5 total crimes per 1000 people. Compared to the other cities on our list, Plano excels in low rates of property crime. With only 289 reported residential burglaries reported in Plano in 2020 and residential burglaries on a five year decline overall, Plano is slowly becoming one of the safest cities in America all while growing year over year. Texas’ 9th largest city is also the safest and boasts impressive yearly safety awards which places it firmly as number three on our list.
2. Gilbert, AZ
With a modest population of 29,000 people in 1990, Gilbert, Arizona has exploded to over 260,000 residents in 2020, a 770.3% increase during that span. Despite Gilbert’s rapid growth in a short period of time, the town has largely kept violent crime and property crime to very low levels. Gilbert’s Crime Index score of 48, and while that doesn't seem high with a population of over 200,000 is very impressive. This quaint city just outside Phoenix has managed to do the impossible of growing at a spectacularly rapid rate and keep crime and property damage to a minimum. The only reason it’s not number one on this list is because its 85.4 violent crimes per 100K is a bit higher than our number one city. The town referred to as "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", Gilbert, Arizona also boasts the title of Scout’s second safest city in America.
1. Irvine, CA
Irvine sits atop this list and frankly, it’s not even close. Healthy Living, WalletHub and World Atlas all ranked Irvine the number 1 safest city to live in America and for very good reasons. The city has an impressively low 60.9 violent crimes per 100K. No other major city with at least 200,000 residents even comes close. The city averages a mind-numbing $194 crime cost per capita meaning the city spends virtually nothing on the cost of crime. Additionally, the property crime rate of 1310.2 is the lowest of any city on this list. Located 45 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 north of San Diego, Irvine’s sixty six square miles sits within Orange County and only seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a picturesque town with some of the lowest crime rates in the country and soundly sits atop Scout’s list for the safest city in America.