When it comes to buying a home, there are a lot of factors to consider. One of the most important is how safe the city or town you’re looking to live in actually is. It’s with that in mind that the Movoto Real Estate Blog has been analyzing safety in all 50 states, and today we’re looking at Washington.
After conducting our analysis, we determined that Sammamish is the safest places in the Evergreen State with a population of more than 10,000. The full top 10 includes:
1. City of Sammamish
2. City of Snoqualmie
3. City of Bainbridge Island
4. City of Mercer Island
5. City of Pullman
6. City of West Richland
7. City of Kenmore (tie)
7. City of Camas (tie)
9. City of Mukilteo
10. City of Maple Valley
Keep reading to find out how we conducted this investigation, and what makes each of these places safer than the rest.
How We Created This Ranking
As we’ve done with all our previous crime rankings, we started with a list of places in the state with populations of more than 10,000 based on 2010 U.S. Census data. We then gathered crime data on each place from the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report, omitting any that do not report crime data to the bureau. This left us with a total of 74 places, which we looked at in terms of:
- Vehicle theft
We divided these crimes into four distinct categories:
- Violent crimes
- Property crimes
- Total crimes
We calculated crime rates for each place based on crimes per 100,000 residents, a standard analytical practice used to make comparisons between locations with different population sizes fair. Each place was given a ranking of 1 to 74 in murders, violent crimes, property crimes, and total crimes per 100,000 with one being safest.
These four rankings were then weighted so that murders, violent crimes, and property crimes each accounted for 30 percent of the overall score, while total crimes made up 10 percent. The weighted rankings were averaged into one overall Big Deal Score, with the lower the score, the safer the place.
You’ll find a full ranking of the safest places in Washington at the end of this article. First, though, let’s look in more detail at the 10 safest places, starting with Sammamish.
In 2012, this Seattle suburb saw only 728 property crimes and 34 violent crimes (including no murders) per 100,000, for a total of 762 crimes per 100,000 people, a fact that is made even more impressive by the city’s population of nearly 48,000. This means that residents in the city had just a 1 in 131 chance of being the victim of any crime in 2012.
This King County city had the lowest violent crime rate, with a total of just 18 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012, none of which were murders.
Snoqualmie also ranked well for its lack of property crimes, reporting just 1,283 per 100,000 people in 2012. This included 1,001 thefts, 255 burglaries, and 27 vehicle thefts. To put that into perspective for you, Port Orchard, a similarly sized city, saw more than 5,200 thefts, 1,300 burglaries, and 612 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people.
3. Bainbridge Island
This city ranked fourth safest in terms of property and total crime rates. In 2012, Bainbridge Island saw 1,226 property crimes and 51 violent crimes per 100,000, making for a grand total of just 1,277 crimes per 100,000 people that year.
Just like our other safest cities in the state, this did not include any murders, and, in fact, no robberies either. Compare that to SeaTac, with a similar population and 249 robberies, and you can see why Bainbridge Island made our top 10.
4. Mercer Island
According to our analysis, Mercer Island was one of the least violent places in the state, with a total of just 48 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012. This included no murders, nine rapes, nine robberies, and 30 aggravated assaults per 100,000. This may sound a bit frightening all laid out at once, but compare that to Tukwila, where there were 10 murders, 102 rapes, 498 robberies, and 407 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people, and Mercer Island’s safety is evident.
With just over 30,000 residents, Pullman is the largest city in Whitman County and home to Washington State University. Pullman ranked as second safest for both its property and total crime rates, with just 762 and 859 per 100,000, respectively during 2012. This meant that residents here had a 1 in 116 chance of being the victim of a crime.
6. West Richland
In 2012, West Richland saw 1,137 property crimes and 114 violent crimes per 100,000, for a total of just 1,251 crimes per 100,000 people, placing it third for its overall number of crimes. For violent crimes, the city saw just eight robberies and 106 aggravated assaults per 100,000, along with no rapes or murders.
As far as property crimes go, the majority of West Richland’s property crimes were thefts (788), followed by burglaries (333), and then assaults (106), all per 100,000 residents.
The first of our two seventh place spots went to Kenmore. Nestled along the north shore of Lake Washington, Kenmore had a low number of crimes overall, just 1,774 per 100,000 in 2012. This number included 1,694 property crimes and 80 violent crimes per 100,000. No rapes or murders were among these.
Camas ranked seventh overall for its lack of violent crime, with just 60 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012. This included five robberies, 10 rapes, 45 assaults, and no murders per 100,000 for the year. It also ranked well for its total crime rate of just 2,074 crimes per 100,000 people in 2012.
To put that this perspective, the similarly sized Tukwila saw 17,082 total crimes per 100,000 people in 2012. That’s almost nine times as many, and Tukwila has fewer residents than Camas.
Mukilteo previously made our 10 best places in Washington for a number of reasons, one of which was its low crime rate. This city did particularly well when it came to its low total number of crimes, just 1,916 per 100,000 for the entire year of 2012. To break that down a bit further, the city saw 1,834 property crimes and 82 violent crimes per 100,000 people, none of which were murders.
10. Maple Valley
In 2012, Maple Valley reported just 1,532 property crimes, including 937 thefts, 462 burglaries, and 133 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people. In addition, there were 107 violent crimes (none of which were murders), for a relatively small total of 1,639 crimes per 100,000 people, giving residents a 1 in 61 chance of being the victim of a crime. Compare that to say, Spokane, where residents hasa 1 in 11 chance, and you’ll see why Maple Valley made our list.
Living Safe In Washington
So far on the Movoto Blog, you’ve seen Washington’s most exciting places, its overall best, and now, the safest. No matter where your city ranked, in which list or lists, though, if we’ve learned one thing about this great state, it’s that it’s great—especially when it comes to safety.