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These Are The Safest Places In America (Fall 2014 Edition)

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When searching for a new home, safety is often the No. 1 priority for many people. Whether you have a family to be worried about, or maybe if you just want to be able to take a walk in the evening without fear, how dangerous a place is plays a major role in whether or not you make that spot your home.

Given that we’re all about helping you find your perfect home here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’re happy to do a little of the work for you. To that end, we’ve used the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report to find the least dangerous big cities in the nation.

Those safest cities were:

1. Gilbert, AZ
2. Irvine, CA
3. Fremont, CA
4. Plano, TX
5. Chula Vista, CA
6. Chandler, AZ
7. Henderson, NV
8. Boise, ID
9. Scottsdale, AZ
10. Irving, TX

Last time we did this ranking, Irvine was No. 1, but this year we have a brand new champion of safety. If you’re curious to see if your hometown ranked, you can check the table at the bottom of this article. If, on the other hand, you’re just wondering how we made this ranking, you can read all about it in the very next section.

Our Methodology

We’ve done a ranking of safest places before, as you may remember, and we did this ranking the same way. The only difference here is that the data is more recent. Just a short time ago, the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report was released with the latest crime stats, and it was from there that we gathered our data. We examined crime in the following seven criteria:

We then divided these crimes into four categories:

We only looked at the 100 largest cities for this particular ranking. In order to fairly compare places with a wide range of population sizes, we calculated all of these crime rates based on crimes per capita (per person). We ranked each place with a score from one to 100 in every criteria, with scores closer to one being safer.

Then, we weighted these rankings so that murders, violent crimes, and property crimes each made up 30 percent of the overall score, whereas the total number of crimes accounted for a smaller portion of the final score at 10 percent. Lastly, we averaged these weighted rankings together into one overall Big Deal Score, with the lowest score being our safest place.

    • This ranking is not a critique of police practices or effectiveness. It simply an analysis of where crimes occurred.
  • Let’s take a look at our top 10 places in a little more detail.

    1. Gilbert, AZ

    Source: Flickr user Dottie Day

    Let’s start with a pretty fantastic fact. Gilbert, a city of over 225,000 people, had only one murder reported in 2013. That’s it. Compared to cities of similar sizes like Birmingham and Cincinnati, which had murders numbering in the 60s and 70s, that’s really a stat to smile about. It also was no surprise that this city had the fewest murders per capita on our list.

    That wasn’t the only good ranking here, though. Gilbert also had the second lowest violent crime and property crime, as well as the second lowest total crime.

    Locals also had a 1 in 61 chance of being the victim of a crime, which was easily the lowest chance in Arizona and one of the lowest chances in the nation. Gilbert locals, you can breathe easy tonight.

    2. Irvine, CA

    Source: Flickr user UCI UC Irvine

    Last year’s safest city has been bumped from its No. 1 spot, but that doesn’t meant that this place wasn’t safe. In fact, Irvine had the No. 1 ranking for lowest violent crime, lowest property crime, and lowest total crime. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find a safer city than this.

    The only reason this place ranked second rather than first, was due to the slightly higher murder rate. How much higher? Irvine had double the murders that Gilbert had which was a whopping…two. No, seriously, for a city of over 235,000 people, this place had only two murders. So really, it wasn’t that much of a difference.

    It is also worth mentioning that locals had a mere 1 in 69 chance of being the victim of any sort of crime in 2013. Plus, the likelihood of being the victim of an assault was the absolute lowest on our list.

    3. Fremont

    Source: Flickr user East Bay Regional Park District Public Affairs

    Like our first place city, this California city had only one murder reported in 2013. While that ranked this place No. 2 in murders per capita, what really made this place impressive was the third lowest total crime, with merely 0.019 crimes per person. That also meant that locals had only a 1 in 51 chance of being the victim of a crime.

    Speaking of impressive, this place had the third lowest violent crime, with some of the fewest assaults seen anywhere on our list, and the fourth lowest property crime as well. In fact, the most common crime here was theft, and even that was one of the lowest per capita on our list.

    Fremont may have fallen to No. 3 this time around, but be assured, this is still one of the safest spots to call home.

    4. Plano

    Source: Flickr user Adam Schrader

    This Texas locale was No. 4 on our list last edition, and this time it stuck at that spot with some impressive numbers across the board. There were three murders reported in 2012, but given that came out to 0.00001 murders per person, it’s really not that frightening a stat. Neither was the fifth lowest violent crime overall.

    What about the other stats? Well, besides the low violence and the seventh fewest murders, this place also had the ninth lowest property crime and the sixth lowest total crime. What more can you ask from the safest spot in the great state of Texas?

    Well, you could ask for a low chance of being the victim of a crime, and with locals having only a 1 in 44 chance, Plano delivers.

    5. Chula Vista, CA

    Source: Flickr user Port of San Diego

    This is a pretty in-demand area to live, which is no surprise considering how safe it was. We’ll admit, the violent crime in this city was a little higher than others in our top 10, ranking No. 11 due to a comparatively high number of robberies and assaults. That being said, this place still fared better than most of the nation and had the eighth lowest property crime.

    More than that, this place had the seventh lowest crime total for 2013, and offered locals a low 1 in 43 chance of being the victim of a crime.

    The best number here, though? Chula Vista had the third lowest murders on our list, with merely two of them occurring in 2013. Not bad, considering the population was over 255,000 people.

    6. Chandler, AZ

    Source: Flickr user Saul Mora

    The second of three Arizona cities on our list, Chandler was perfect for anyone worried about physical safety. Besides the fourth lowest murders per capita (there were only 0.000008 per person), this spot also offered the ninth lowest violent crime. It should also be noted that this spot had a very low number of robberies.

    When it came to property crime, though, this place still fared pretty well. The 14th lowest property crime, with very very few vehicle thefts, helped give Chandler the 11th lowest crime overall.

    For locals, that also meant that in 2013, they only had a 1 in 38 chance of being the victim of a crime. Just another reason that Arizona was one of the safer states to call home.

    7. Henderson, NV

    Source: Flickr user

    This was the biggest place to make our top 10, at a whopping 268,237 locals. That might also be the reason that this place had slightly more murders per capita than others in our top 10, but Henderson still fared better than most other spots in the nation with only 0.000029 murders per person. Besides, the rest of the stats definitely showed the safety of this Nevada locale.

    The violent crime was the fourth lowest, with very few rapes and assaults, and the property crime ranked No. 7. All of that came out to Henderson having the fourth lowest total crime for 2013.

    For added comfort, locals can just keep in mind that during the year of our analysis, they had only a 1 in 47 chance of being the victim of a crime, with it being even less likely to be a violent crime.

    8. Boise, ID

    Source: Flickr user Idaho Air National Guard

    The Idaho state capital made a pretty darned good showing this year, as evidenced by good solid stats across the board. With the 12th lowest violent crime and the 10th lowest property crime, you can be fairly sure that you and your possessions are both safe in this city.

    What’s more is that this place had the ninth fewest murders in 2013, with merely 0.0000139 per capita. That also lead to the ninth lowest total crime on our entire list, so locals can worry less about all sorts of safety concerns.

    Still not sure? Perhaps the very small 1 in 40 chance of being the victim of a crime that locals had might change your mind a little.

    9. Scottsdale

    Source: Flickr user fpugirl

    Scottsdale has been on a lot of our lists recently, not always for the best reasons. This time, it earned a pretty positive ranking in the way of safety, for some pretty good reasons. Let’s start by saying that this place had the 11th fewest murders per capita in 2013, at just 0.000017 per person.

    If you want yet another reason to be happy about living in this city, it also had the sixth lowest violent crime and the 17th lowest property crime. That all helped give locals a mere 1 in 37 chance of being the victim of a crime.

    The other big seller here had to be the fact that this third Arizona city in our top 10 list had the 15th lowest total crime. Basically, it’s hard to go wrong when picking out a place to live here.

    10. Irving, TX

    Source: Flickr user David

    Just because this Texas city was 10th doesn’t mean it wasn’t an incredibly safe place to live. Just looking at the numbers, Irving had the sixth fewest murders per capita, and the 10th lowest violent crime in 2013, with especially few rapes per capita. There were also merely two murders total in the year of our survey, so personal safety isn’t much of an issue here.

    The property crime here was a bit higher, but it still fared better than the majority of the nation in that category. On top of that, this place boasted the 18th lowest total crime for 2013. Just another reason Irving is a great place to live.

    For one more reason, you can look to the low chance of being the victim of a crime here, at only 1 in 34, which is far better than any of the cities in our bottom 10.

    There’s Safety In Numbers

    The safety shown by these numbers in particular should tell you a lot about how great the 10 spots above are to call home, whether you’re single or have a family. In fact, any spot in our top 50 places would be a good bet, and many have gotten much safer since the last survey we did (here’s looking at you, San Jose.)

    If you’re looking for a safe place to call home, and need a little more help than just this list, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We do sell houses, and we’d be more than happy to make the whole process a little less stressful for you.