While there’s no such thing as absolute safety, many private and publicly funded agencies have compiled statistics ranking some of the safer cities in the United States. The cities ranked below all have populations over 250,000 and were considered based on their violent crime rates, traffic accidents, traffic-fatality rates, and workplace related deaths. Violent crime statistics only included reported occurrences of aggravated assaults, robberies, forcible rapes, and murders. Violent crime statistics were taken from figures compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and traffic data was compiled by the National Highway Safety Administration.
The honor of being named the country’s safest overall city, determined by averaging violent crime rates and traffic-fatalities, goes to Plano, Texas. Plano is a city of just under 300,000 that boasts an exceedingly low rate of violent crime and the sixth lowest vehicle fatality rate in the United States. Much of the credit given for Plano’s overall safety rating is given to its well funded public safety agencies. The city’s tax base has a medium income of $79,234 so their police, fire department, and school system function with healthy budgets. Roughly 8.1% of Plano’s residents live below the poverty line, as opposed to the national average of 15.1%. Further, admission onto the police department requires a four year degree, ensuring that their police force is both well funded and well educated.
The city of Honolulu in Hawaii is another exceedingly safe city. Hawaii is home to some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States, which helps to keep violent crime rates down. Further, Honolulu itself is a relatively affluent city that boasts a relaxed atmosphere that many believe helps to keep traffic and violence rates low. Honolulu’s high rate of traffic congestion may also contribute to its low traffic-fatality rate. When it comes to matters of traffic-fatality, congestion can be a good thing because vehicles cannot go fast enough to cause fatal car accidents.
Minneapolis is one of the larger cities to be considered one of the safest places to live. This ranking, in large part, is due to its unusually low rate of workplace related deaths. Forbes, at one point, ranked it as the safest city in the country for workplace related deaths.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Each year Allstate compiles data on the safest cities to drive in in the United States. In 2012 Sioux Falls took top honors. According to Allstate’s statistics, the average Sioux Falls driver will only experience a vehicle collision every 13.8 years, which is 27.6% less likely than the national average of every 10 years.
El Paso, Texas
The Congressional Quarterly Press City Crime Rankings found that El Paso was, by their standards, the safest city in the country. It has been argued that the high percentage of immigrants in the city helps to keep violent crime rates down. University of Texas El Paso lecturer Melinda Lauck notes that many immigrants, “don’t want to gamble with their status in the country, since the ease of access into the United States has gotten harder throughout the years.”
Gary Smith is a crime scene investigator and guest author at Top Colleges Online, where he contributed to the guide to the top colleges for online criminal justice degrees.