When most people think of Vermont, they imagine beautiful fall colors and quaint and charming towns filled with friendly folks—the types of people who pass by each other on the streets and actually smile, before walking off to the library or something. And while this may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s a reason Vermont is painted as such a lovely place to live—it’s because it is. And in the latest analysis here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’ve discovered one big reason why: its safety. Not only is the entire state the third safest in the nation, there are a handful of towns within its borders that are downright idyllic. Here are the 10 safest places in Vermont, according to the latest data: 1. Town of Woodstock
2. Town of Norwich
3. Town of Hinesburg
4. Town of Bristol
5. Town of Waterbury
6. Town of Richmond
7. Town of Shelburne
8. Town of Swanton
9. Town of Randolph
10. Town of Northfield
If you happened to catch last year’s list, some of these places may look familiar to you, but most are actually new as of this year. To find out how we conducted this analysis, just keep reading. Then we’ll go over each place in more detail.

Our Methodology

In creating lists like this one, we rely on the facts and math, rather than our own opinions (because what kind of analysis would that be?). So we used the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report and looked at all of the most populous places in Vermont in the following categories:
  • Murders
  • Rapes
  • Robberies
  • Assaults
  • Burglaries
  • Thefts
  • Vehicle Thefts
We divided these crimes into four categories:
  • Murders
  • Violent Crimes
  • Property Crimes
  • Total Crimes
And then we omitted any places that didn’t report data that year, which left us with a total of 26 places. From there, we calculated the number of crimes per person in each, to better compare places of all sizes, and ranked them all with a score from one to 26. The lower the score, the safer the place. Next we weighted murders, violent crimes, and property crimes to make up a larger percent of the overall score (30 percent each) and let the total number of crimes account for a smaller percentage (just 10). Finally, we averaged all of these weighted scores into one overall Big Deal Score, where again, the lowest scores went to our safest places. If your hometown has more than 3,000 people and you don’t see it on this list, you might want to check the table at the end of the post. If you don’t see it there, well, it’s either too small or didn’t report data that year. Anyway, let’s take a closer look at our winners!

1. Woodstock

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Eric LaMontagne
With just a hair over 3,000 people, Woodstock barely made it into our analysis—clearly, it’s a good thing it did. Per person, Woodstock had some of the fewest violent crimes and the second fewest property crimes in the state. Just how few? In 2013, Woodstock had a grand total of zero violent crimes for the entire year. This is almost unheard of anywhere—but in Vermont, it actually tied with two other places in this category! This, plus the impressively low 25 property crimes for the year gave Woodstock a total of 25 crimes for the entire year and gave residents a 1 in 120 chance of being the victim of a crime.

2. Norwich

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Sarunas Burdulls
First off, we should just congratulate Vermont as a whole for its lack of violence—in most of our studies, it’s rare to find even one city or town with no violent crimes for the year. In Vermont, though, there were three! Yep, along with Woodstock and Waterbury, Norwich had no reported violent crimes in 2013. Of it’s 51 property crimes, there were 29 thefts, four motor vehicle thefts, and 18 burglaries, averaging out to give Norwich the 10th fewest crimes per person in the state.

3. Hinesburg

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user redjar
This little town in the Champlain Valley comes in high on our list for ranking well, pretty much across the board. With a population of 4,475 and a total of just 54 crimes in 2013, Hinesburg had the fifth fewest per person in our analysis. Those 54 crimes were made up almost entirely of property crimes—53 to be exact. And to be even more exact, 41 of those were thefts, eight were burglaries, and four were motor vehicle thefts. The one reported violent crime was an aggravated assault.

4. Bristol

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Wesley Carr
Even though Bristol came in at No.1 in last year’s list, its No. 4 ranking is mostly due to other places growing safer, rather than this town growing more dangerous. In fact, with just 37 total crimes in 2013, “dangerous” is about the last thing you’d call this town. Of those 37 crimes there were 35 property crimes (the third fewest per person) and two violent crimes (the 11th fewest per person.) Any state where having two total violent crimes for the year gives you the 11th fewest per person... if that doesn’t say “safe,” we don’t know what does.

5. Waterbury

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Benjamin Ragheb
This Washington County town blew the others out of the… water (sorry, had to be done) when it came to number of total crimes per person. It had a total of just 25 crimes for the entire year! With its population of just over 5,100, this gave Waterbury the fewest total crimes per person and gave residents just a 1 in 204 chance of being the victim of a crime. To break it down a bit further for you, those 25 crimes were made up of 22 property crimes (20 thefts and two burglaries), and three violent crimes (two assaults and one rape).

6. Richmond

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Redjar
Richmond: the third and final place in Vermont to have a total of absolutely zero, zilch, nada violent crimes for the entire year of 2013. Of course it did have some crime (we have yet to encounter a place in the U.S. with absolutely no reported crimes for the year), but all of those were property crimes. There were a total of 63 in 2013—39 thefts, 23 burglaries, and just one motor vehicle theft. Averaged out, these 63 crimes gave Richmond the 11th fewest crimes per person in Vermont.

7. Shelburne

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Rob Shenk
With a population of 7,551, Shelburne was the largest place in our top 10 (Vermont is pretty darn sparsely populated), but clearly, more people doesn’t always equal more crime. Case in point: in all of 2013, Shelburne had just two violent crimes—both of which were assaults. This gave Shelburne the eighth fewest violent crimes per person in our study. This, plus Shelburne’s total of just 98 property crimes (73 thefts, two vehicle thefts, and 23 burglaries) gave this town the eighth fewest total crimes per person.

8. Swanton

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region
Don’t worry, Swanton residents—even though you guys have dropped a few points since last year’s ranking, that doesn’t mean your town not still incredibly safe. And to be more specific, in this case “incredibly safe” looks a little something like having the seventh fewest total crimes per person in the state. To be even more specific, those crimes were made up of the eighth fewest property crimes per person (a total of just 82 for the year) and the 10th fewest violent crimes per person (two assaults and one robbery.)

9. Randolph

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Chris Boese
In 2013, Randolph had just one reported violent crime. With its population of just under 5,000, this one aggravated assault gave Randolph the fifth fewest violent crimes per person. This plus the 22 burglaries, 53 thefts, and four vehicle thefts gave Randolph a total of just 80 crimes for the year, or the 12th fewest per person. With crime rates like these, it’s no wonder Randolph made our list two years in a row!

10. Northfield

Safest Places In Vermont Spring 2015
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
Bringing our list to a close is yet another place to reappear in our ranking. Last year Northfield came in as the sixth safest, mostly due to its low number of property crimes. This year looks much the same. With its total of just 63 property crimes and a population of 6,175, Northfield had the fourth fewest property crimes per person. These included 47 thefts and 16 burglaries. Additionally, the town had six reported violent crimes (ranking it 17th in this category), but added up and averaged out, Northfield still managed to have the fourth fewest total crimes per person in the state.

Pretty Much A Movie Set

If you’ve ever watched a movie that was quintessential northeast—you know, the beautiful fall leaves, the charming old buildings dotting the streets, and the cute and quirky townspeople milling around, going about their days (think “Gilmore Girls” meets the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”), you’re basically picturing Vermont. (Fun fact! That second one was actually filmed in Vermont. Yes, it’s that beautiful.) And as we’ve shown you in today’s list, a large part of that Vermont charm is its underlying safety, especially in the 10 places above. To get in on some of this safety, you can search and search for a home on your own, or you can get in touch with us, and we’ll do the legwork for you. It’s kind of what we do here—plus, we’ll take any reason we can get to keep ogling pictures of Vermont. Safest Place In Vermont (Spring 2015 Edition)