How safe is your city or town? This is a common question, and not only for home owners, but most people. To help answer this question, Movoto Real Estate studied crime statistics to find the 10 safest cities in New York state. After concluding our research, we found that Elmira is the safest city in the Empire State.
Here are the 10 safest cities in New York:
- Town of Elmira
- Village of Briarcliff Manor
- Town of Lewisboro
- Town of Mount Hope
- Village of Pleasantville
- Town of Stillwater
- Village of Malverne
- Village of Chester
To find out how we created our ranking, as well as read a breakdown for how each city placed on it, read on. Or, if you’re more interested in seeing how your city fared in the studied, check out the chart at the bottom of the post.
How Did We Make This Report?
To create our ranking of the safest cities in New York, we looked at FBI crime statistics from 2012, the law enforcement organization’s most recent report. For the study, we selected cities with a population of 5,000 or more, which left us with 213 locations in total. We then looked at three criteria:
- Violent crime (rape, murder, assault)
- Property crime (theft, burglary, motor vehicle thefts)
- The chance a resident will be a victim of crime
For violent crime and property crime, we calculated the number transgressions per resident. In the case of the chances a resident will be a victim of a crime, we used the total number of crimes in a city. We then ranked each city from one to 213 across these three criteria, with the lower number being the best.
The criteria was then weighted with a greater emphasis placed on violent crime, followed by property crime, and finally the chances a resident will be the victim of a crime. Violent crime made up 50 percent of our ranking, property crime made up 30 percent, and the chances of a resident being the victim of a crime made up 20 percent.
For some perspective, there were a total of 351,073 crimes committed last year across the cities in our study. This means their residents had a 1 in 33 chance of being the victim of a crime overall. The majority of these crimes were property theft; about 79.5 percent, or 279,292 reported crimes.
The city which ranked the worst on our list of the safest cities in New York was Niagara Falls, which had a total of 3,582 reported crimes last year for 50,356 residents. In other words, residents of this city had a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Here are the 10 safest cities in New York:
1. Town of Elmira
The safest place on our list is Elmira Town, an area in the upstate Fingerlake region. How did the Town of Elmira take the No. 1 spot? According to FBI statistics, the town was crime-free in 2012. For comparison, this small municipality reported a single crime in 2011, a theft.
Not to be confused with the City of Elmira, Elmira Town is among the smallest cities on our list with a population of 5,991 people, according to the FBI. The town buttes against the City of Elmira, which took 191st place on our ranking.
2. Village of Briarcliff Manor
Coming in at No. 2 on our list was Briarcliff Manor, a village of almost 7,962 people. What kept the village from placing higher? Property crime. The village had a total of 14 property crimes in 2012 (four burglaries and 10 thefts).
This scant number overshadowed by a better figure. According to the FBI report, Briarcliff Manor had no reported violent crimes, which was typical of the cities on our list. According to our research, Briarcliff Manor residents had a 1 in 569 chance of being the victim of a crime—topped only by the Town of Elmira.
3. Town Lewisboro
In 2012 there were just 32 reported crimes in Lewisboro. This was good enough to propel the town of 12,569 into the top three on our list of the best places in New York. As with nine of the 10 places on our list, there were no reported violent crimes. There were, however, 32 property crimes–all thefts, according to FBI data. This gives residents of the area a 1 in 393 chance of being the victim of a crime.
This small village of 6,503 within the town of Greenburgh had a scant 23 reported crimes in 2012 (three burglaries and 20 thefts). This made the village the eighth safest place on list when it came to property crimes, according to our findings. For comparison, the place that ranked the lowest in this category was Johnson City, which recorded 1,087 property crimes (nearly all thefts) for its 15,134 residents.
5. Town of Mount Hope
Last year there were a total of 29 crimes in Mount Hope, making it the fifth safest place in New York. The most common type of crime reported was theft, at about 83 percent of total crimes.The 7,086 residents of Mount Hope, a town in Orange County, had a 1 in 244 chance of being the victim of a crime.
6. Village of Pleasantville
The location of Pace University, Pleasantville is home to 7,093 people which have a one in 209 chance of being a victim of a crime. Only 10 other places on our complete list have a higher chance of being a victim of crime, making this small village one of the safest places in New York. There were 34 property crimes reported in 2012–31 thefts, two burglaries, and one motor vehicle theft.
7. Town of Stillwater
The third smallest place on our list, Stillwater is home to 6,624 people, all of whom can sleep well at night knowing the likelihood of a crime happening to them is few and far between. There were just 36 reported crimes in 2012, none violent. Those who call Stillwater home have a 1 in 184 chance of being the victim of a crime and, in that unfortunate event, the crime would likely be a theft. Thefts made up 84 percent of the town’s reported crimes; a high percentage, yes, but given the low number of reported crimes, Stillwater residents should feel safe at night.
8. Village of Malverne
Malverne is one of two places on our top 10 list to have reported a violent crime in 2012. This village of 8,593 reported a single robbery, according to FBI data. This single crime was enough to keep the village from placing higher on our list, despite residents having a 1 in 307 chance of being the victim of a crime. By comparison, the village reported no violent crimes in 2011 according to the FBI.
What makes Malverne safe? The village reported 28 crimes last year, about 61 percent of which were thefts and about 36 percent of which were burglaries. For a village of nearly 8,600, these are small numbers.
Kent is the largest place on our list with 13,608 people living within the town’s borders, all of whom have a 1 in 150 chance of being the victim of a crime–the 20th lowest chance, according to our ranking. This town in Putnam County reported 91 crimes last year, none of which were violent. Of these reported transgressions, 71 were thefts.
10. Village of Chester
The final place on our list is Chester, a town of 8,090 in Orange County. This town was the second area on our list to record a violent crime. According to FBI data, Chester reported a single aggravated assault in 2012. For comparison, there was a single violent crime reported in Chester in 2011 as well. Other than violent crime Chester reported only 22 property crimes, again the majority being thefts.
Where You Should Avoid
As we mentioned earlier, the place that ranked the lowest on our list was Niagara Falls. However, it wasn’t the only location to have crime troubles. Buffalo placed second to last with a rank of 212, thanks to a 1 in 16 chance of a crime happening to one of its residents. The places the ranked the worst were, in descending order: Herkimer, Newburgh, Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls.
Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is a national online real estate brokerage. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes, CBS News, and The New York Times.