If you’re looking to move to a new state, there are so many reasons to think about moving to Colorado. It’s one of the most naturally beautiful states in the country, it actually has all four seasons, there are recreational activities no matter your preferences, and depending on where you look, it can actually be quite affordable.
But before we start sounding too much like a brochure for Colorado, there is one question left to be answered: Is it safe?
That was the subject of our latest analysis at the Movoto Real Estate Blog. We learned that yes, in fact, Colorado is safe—in some places more than others. Here are the 10 safest of those places:
1. Town of Erie
2. Town of Firestone
3. Town of Windsor
4. Town of Parker
5. City of Fruita
6. City of Arvada
7. City of Lafayette
8. City of Golden
9. Town of Castle Rock
10. City of Longmont
10. City of Fort Morgan (tie)
Yes, that’s 11, but that’s simply because there was a tie for 10th place. Keep reading to find out why exactly these places are safer than the rest. We’ll also go over the method behind our analysis in the following paragraphs.
How We Created This Ranking
In order to find the safest places in Colorado, we started with a list of places in the state with populations of 10,000 residents or more, gathered from the 2010U.S. Census. We then used the latest Uniform Crime Report from the FBI (2012) to find crime data for these places, omitting any that did not report crime data to the bureau. This left us with a total of 39 places, which we looked at according to the following:
We divided these crimes into four categories:
- Violent crimes
- Property crimes
- Total crimes
We calculated each of these crime rates based on crimes per 100,000 residents, in order to compare the places on our list with both large and small populations equally. We ranked each place with a score from one to 39 in terms of murders, violent crimes, property crimes, and total crimes, all per 100,000, with one being the safest possible score.
We then weighted these rankings so that murders, violent crimes, and property crimes each made up 30 percent of the overall score, where the total number of crimes accounted for just 10 percent. We averaged these weighted rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, with the lowest score going to Erie, the safest place in Colorado.
For a full ranking of all the places we looked at in this analysis, you can head down to the bottom of the post. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a more in depth look at what makes each of our top places safer than the rest.
Source: Town of Erie
Just like most of the others in our top 10, Erie ranked highly in our analysis for having no murders in 2012; but where it really shined was in its extremely low rate of crime overall—just 619 crimes per 100,000 people for the year.
To put that into perspective, Denver had 4,329 crimes per 100,000 that same year.
Of Erie’s 619 crimes, there were 571 property crimes (the lowest in the state) and 48 violent crimes (the third lowest) per 100,000 people. All of this combined to give Erie residents the lowest likelihood of being the victim of a crime out of anywhere else in our analysis: just 1 in 162 odds.
Source: Town of Firestone
Just like our safest place, Erie, Firestone residents can feel pretty confident that they won’t be facing any difficulties with crime in the near future, since the likelihood is just 1 in 104.
That’s because in 2012, Firestone had just 958 crimes per 100,000 people, made up of 921 property crimes and 37 violent crimes.
To break this down further, let’s take a look at each. The property crimes consisted of 104 vehicle thefts, 703 thefts, and 114 burglaries per 100,000. The violent crimes included 28 assaults, nine rapes, and no robberies or murders per 100,000 people.
Source: Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture
This town in Northern Colorado was among the safest places, primarily for its incredibly low violent crime rate: just 10 violent crimes per 100,000 for all of 2012.
Those violent crimes included 10 assaults, and no rapes, robberies, or murders, making Windsor the least violent place in our analysis.
Additionally, this town saw 191 burglaries, 942 thefts, and 16 car thefts for a total of 1,149 property crimes per 100,000, which when compared to, say, Federal Heights where there were 5,612 property crimes per 100,000 in 2012, is a very low number indeed.
Source: Town of Parker
Located in Douglas County, this town of just over 47,000 residents ranked well in our analysis for its low overall number of crimes—just 1,080 per 100,000 in 2012.
Of those crimes, Parker had a particularly low number of property crimes, with 955 per 100,000, and of those, a very low number of thefts, with 691 per 100,000.
To put that into perspective for you, most places in our analysis had at least more than 1,000 thefts per 100,000 in 2012, and many, like Lakewood and Grand Junction, for example, 3,500 or more.
Additionally, Parker saw 125 violent crimes per 100,000, none of which were murders.
Source: Flickr user Karah Levely-Rinaldi
This small city had just 2,047 crimes in 2012. Of those, there were 1,914 property crimes (101 vehicle thefts, 1,517 thefts, and 296 burglaries) and 133 violent crimes (16 robberies, 109 assaults, eight rapes, and no murders) per 100,000 people.
To understand just how low this is, let’s take a look at another place with a similarly sized population: Federal Heights. In this city in 2012, there were 5,612 property crimes and 682 violent crimes, including eight murders, per 100,000.
Clearly the idea that bigger cities are more dangerous is a fallacy, as Federal Heights is actually about 1,000 people smaller than Fruita.
Source: City of Arvada
With over 100,000 residents, Arvada is the seventh most populous city in Colorado, but clearly, a larger population does not necessarily mean more crime (as we saw with Fruita and Federal Heights).
In 2012, Arvada had a total of 2,534 crimes per 100,000, including 2,389 property crimes and 145 violent crimes per 100,000, none of which included murder.
Compared to the similarly sized Pueblo where there were 6,445 property crimes and 730 violent crimes, including seven murders, per 100,000 people, it’s clear that, in the case of crime, size doesn’t have much to do with safety.
Source: City of Lafayette
This city may not have ranked among the best for its violent crime rate (215 per 100,000 in 2012); that being said, it did not have any murders, and the property crime rate was low enough to make up for the violence in our rankings.
In 2012, Lafayette saw just 1,598 property crimes, including 1,257 thefts, 63 vehicle thefts, and 278 burglaries per 100,000.
Most places on our list had at least 2,000 property crimes per 100,000, and some, like Lakewood and Colorado Springs had 4,579 and 4,140 per 100,000, respectively.
Source: Flickr user Nikky
This city, “Where the West Lives,” is well known for its small-town, old west feel, and one big reason for this is its underlying safety.
In 2012, Golden had just 2,601 crimes per 100,000 people, including 2,440 property crimes and 161 violent crimes per 100,000, ranking it 14th and 13th in these categories, respectively.
Of those property crimes, there were 98 vehicle thefts, 2,057 thefts, and 285 burglaries; and the violent crimes were made up of 124 assaults, 21 robberies, 16 rapes, and no murders.
This may sound a bit overwhelming all spelled out, but compared to Aurora where there were 220 assaults, 143 robberies, 53 rapes, and nine murders per every 100,000 people, Golden is looking pretty darn safe.
9. Castle Rock
Source: Flickr user Mike Lewis
About 30 miles south of downtown Denver is the town of Castle Rock, which, when it comes to safety, may be well worth the commute to the capital.
In 2012, Castle Rock had just 1,421 crimes per 100,000 people—the fifth lowest in the state. This was mainly due to its low number of property and violent crimes, 1,331 and 90 per 100,000, respectively. The only reason Castle Rock didn’t rank higher on our list was for its two per murders per 100,000 in 2012.
Compared to nearby Denver, though, Castle Rock looks like a veritable Eden. In 2012, Denver had 4,329 crimes per 100,000 people—3,714 property crimes and 615 violent crimes, which included six murders per 100,000. So if you’re working in downtown Denver, it might just be worth the commute.
Source: Flickr user Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious
Residents in nearby Boulder often pride themselves on their city’s safety—which it is—but its low crime rate pales in comparison to Longmont’s nothing compared to Longmont’s.
In 2012, this city had 2,650 overall crimes per 100,000 people, which was made up of no murders, 211 violent crimes, and 2,439 property crimes per 100,000.
As we said, the nearby City of Boulder is pretty safe, especially as far as major cities go; but with a total of 3,179 crimes per 100,000, including no murders, 249 violent crimes and 2,930 property crimes, clearly Longmont is the safer option in the area, even if only slightly.
10. Fort Morgan
Source: City of Fort Morgan
This city of just over 11,000 residents made it into our top 10 for its impressively low number of violent crimes in particular.
In 2012, Fort Morgan had just 121 violent crimes per 100,000 people; the seventh lowest number in the state. Of those violent crimes, there were 104 assaults, 17 robberies, no rapes, and no murders.
Fort Morgan also had 2,796 property crimes per 100,000 people, most of which (2,235) were thefts. While this isn’t exactly the lowest number of property crimes in our analysis, it certainly beats, say, Pueblo where there were 6,445 property crimes per 100,000.
Another Reason To Consider Colorado
In the beginning of this article, we pointed out just a few of the things that Colorado has going for it—its beauty, its neverending supply of things to see and do, and—in many places—its affordability.
After reading this analysis, we think you’ll also agree that Colorado is very safe too, if you’re looking in the right places. If you didn’t see your hometown among our top 10, feel free to take a look at the table below. If it isn’t there either, it may be that it has a population less than 10,000, or that it simply didn’t report its crime data to the FBI.