In a recent article by the New York Times, it was said that out of all of the cities in the U.S., Corvallis, OR was the very safest-in terms of avoiding natural disasters. In fact, two of the top 10 in the study were cities in Oregon: Corvallis and Salem.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are more things than natural disasters to harm us; you need only turn on the news to see this. That's why at Movoto Real Estate we are going around the country, from state to state, city to city, and town to town, in an effort to uncover the safest places to live-not in terms of natural disasters, but crime.
So far we've looked at Florida, Michigan, and New Jersey, and today, we are heading up to Oregon. Interestingly, Corvallis, one of the safest cities for avoiding natural disasters also showed up as our No. 8 safest places in terms of crime. But the No. 1 winner? That honor goes to the City of West Linn.
Really, though, all of our top places were the winners of this analysis. Here are the top 10 safest places in Oregon:
1. City of West Linn
2. City of Wilsonville
2. City of Sherwood
4. Newberg-Dundee Metropolitan Area
5. City of Lake Oswego
6. City of Canby
7. City of Beaverton
8. City of Corvallis
8. City of Albany
8. City of Milwaukie
What makes West Linn so safe? And what is with all the ties? We'll explain the method behind our analysis and just why each of these places was so safe in the following paragraphs. For a complete list of all the places we looked at in our analysis, hop down to the bottom of the post.
How We Did It
In order to come up with a list of the 10 safest places in Oregon, we wanted to be as accurate as possible, and so we went to the experts: The FBI. We looked at the FBI's 2012 Oregon Crime Report and selected all of the places in the state with a population of 10,000 or more, which left us with a total of 40 places. Then, we looked at each place in terms of these 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 of transgressions per resident. In order to determine a resident's chances of being the victim of a crime, we used the total number of crimes in the city.
Then, we ranked each city from one to 40 across the three criteria; the lower the number, the better its score.
Of course, there is no such thing as a good crime; but there are certainly some that are worse than others. So, when we weighted the criteria, we placed a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime, and finally, the chance a resident might be the victim of a crime. Violent crime made up 50 percent of our ranking, property crime made up 30 percent, and a resident's chances of being the victim of a crime made up 20 percent.
To put that into perspective for you, in total, there were 90,552 total crimes committed in 2012 across all of the places in our ranking. Out of these, 83,834, or 93 percent, were non-violent crimes (property theft). Which is good news.
The bad news? Some cities were not so safe. The most dangerous place in our study, for example, turned out to be Ontario with a total of 938 crimes and a population of just 11,348, which means residents here had a 1 in 12 chance of being the victim of a crime.
But enough about the dangerous parts of Oregon-we'll get back to that later. For now, let's take a look at the brighter side: the 10 safest places in the state, starting with our winner.
1. West Linn
Source: City of West Linn - Kim Stone
This southern suburb of Portland has all the benefits of being so close to the state's largest city, but without any of the drawbacks (namely, the 33,547 crimes reported in 2012).
With a population of over 25,500 residents, West Linn only had five reports of violent crime in 2012, none of which were murder or manslaughter. This may not sound all that cheery, but considering Newberg-Dundee, with a similar-sized population, had three murders in 2012, well, you can see why West Linn came in first.
All told, West Linn had a total of 254 crimes, 249 of which were property crimes and non-violent. Of course, this may not sound like that small a number, but considering the population is over 25,000, residents in this city were actually the least likely to be the victim of any crime, with just a 1 in 101 chance.
Source: City of Willsonville
Another city in the Portland Metropolitan Area, Wilsonville saw just 290 crimes total in 2012, for nearly 20,000 residents. To break that down a bit further, this included a total of eight violent crimes (three forcible rapes, four robberies, one aggravated assault) and 282 property crimes, 220, or 78 percent, of which were reports of larceny/theft.
And to break that down even further, in the end, residents only had a 1 in 2,482 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, a 1 in 70 chance of being the victim of a property crime, and just a 1 in 68 chance of being the victim of a crime in general. Considering residents in Medford were nearly five times more likely to be the victim of a crime, this is not too shabby at all.
Source: Wikipedia user Hrystiv
The other No. 2 spot on our list went to Sherwood. This Washington County city was originally and indirectly named after Sherwood Forest in England, which, as we all know, was protected from forces of evil by Robin Hood and his Merry Men; so it really does seem that the name is fitting.
Of course, the criminal justice system here is a bit different than "steal from the rich, give to the poor," but whatever they are doing, it is clearly working. For example, Sherwood only had 255 total crimes in 2012, for their population of 18,699. That means that residents only had a 1 in 73 chance of being a victim.
Out of these crimes only 11 were violent, giving residents just a 1 in 1,700 chance of being the victim of such a crime; and of the remaining, non-violent crimes, a vast majority were merely reports of theft/larceny (214 out of 244).
Source: Wikipedia user M.O. Stevens
Also located in the Portland Metropolitan Area, Newberg-Dundee ranked well in our study for its low number of crimes overall. With a total population of 25,613, the Newberg-Dundee police department reported a total of just 444 crimes in 2012. Of these, 95 percent were non-violent (property crimes) and of those property crimes, a vast majority (285) were cases of theft/larceny, followed by 119 burglaries, and 17 motor vehicle thefts.
Which left just 23 reports of violent crime, and for a metropolitan area of over 25,000 people, that is not bad at all. To put that into perspective for you, this means that residents only had a 1 in 1,114 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Like I said, not bad at all.
5. Lake Oswego
Source: Wikipeida user Esprqii
This affluent suburb of Portland is mostly recognized for being high, as in, high median household income, a high cost of living, high home prices, and high graduation rates in school. There is one area where it scored exceedingly low, though, and that was its crime rate.
Out of 37,309 residents, Lake Oswego only saw 687 total crimes in 2012, giving residents just a 1 in 54 chance of being the victim of a crime. Where it really shined, though, was in its lack of violent crimes in particular, which was the most weighted criteria in our study. With only 35 violent crimes total, residents of this largest city on our list thus far had just a 1 in 1,066 chance of being the victim of violence.
Source: City of Canby
Just northeast of Barlow lies the quaint and idyllic city of Canby. With just over 16,000 residents, it is the smallest place in our top 10, and, proportionally, had one of the smallest crime rates in our analysis. Canby had a reported 17 violent crimes in 2012 (zero murders, six forcible rapes, three robberies, and eight aggravated assaults), and just 284 property crimes, 222 of which were merely cases of larceny/theft.
Laid out like that, it may not sound all that idyllic; but considering that residents in Canby only had a 1 in 948 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, and a 1 in 54 chance of being the victim of a crime in general, well, it sounds downright peachy.
Source: Flickr user Wonderlane
With a population of 92,276, Beaverton is the sixth-largest city in Oregon, and by far the largest city on our top 10. That being said, naturally, Beaverton had one of the highest numbers of total crimes in our top 10 (1,612), but proportionally, it still beat out Corvallis, Albany, and Milwaukie in our top 10, and of course, the remaining 30 cities in the analysis.
Out of these 1,612 total crimes, 141 were violent, and, impressive for a larger city, zero of these were murder/non-negligible manslaughter. Out of the remaining 1,471 non-violent crimes, 196 were burglaries, 1,165 were larceny/theft, and 110 were motor vehicle theft. When all was said and done, residents here only had a 1 in 57 chance of being the victim of a crime.
No wonder Beaverton was recently named one of Money Magazine's 100 Best Places to Live.
Source: Flickr user WVVA
As mentioned in the beginning, Corvallis was ranked the safest city in the U.S. by The New York Times, when it comes to avoiding natural disasters. Well, now residents in Corvallis can add safety from crime to their list of things they love about their city, as well.
With a population of just over 55,000 people, Corvallis only saw a total of 67 violent crimes and 1,418 property crimes in 2012, making a total of just 1,485 crimes in a year. Or, think of it this way: residents only had a one in 822 chance of being involved in a violent crime, a one in 39 chance of being the victim of a property crime, and a one in 37 chance of being the victim of a crime in general. So think about this next time you're in a crowd of, say, 822 people, and I assure you, you will see why Corvallis was ranked among Oregon's safest.
Source: Wikipedia user Aboutmovies
The third-largest city in our top 10, Albany, came in high on our list for its extremely low chance of being the victim of a violent crime. With a population of 51,084 and just 44 reported violent crimes, residents in Albany only had a 1 in 1,161 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Of those violent crimes, zero were murder, and only 10 were forcible rape, 23 were robberies, and 11 were aggravated assaults.
Of the 1,580 property crimes reported, 80 percent were larceny/theft, followed by 14 percent, or a reported 224, burglaries.
Source: Wikipedia user Finetooth
The final city on our list, tying with Albany and Corvallis, was Milwaukie. This suburb of Portland located in Clackamas County beat out 30 other places in Oregon, mainly due to its low chance of being the victim of a crime-violent crime in particular.
With a population of 20,664, Milwaukie only saw a total of 25 violent crimes in 2012, giving residents just a 1 in 827 chance of being the victim of such a crime. As far as property crimes go, Milwaukie only had a total of 533 (377 of which were larceny/theft, followed by 115 burglaries, and 41 motor vehicle thefts), giving residents just a 1 in 39 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
Watch Out For The Yellow Tape
You always know where a crime scene is, because of the yellow tape (or at least, that's what they do in movies.) But how should you know where to avoid, if the danger zone is an entire city? Well, we're about to tell you-at least for the least safe places in Oregon.
Coming in as our third most dangerous place in Oregon. was Portland. Yes, the Portland of Portlandia, filled with hipsters, hippies, and their dogs; the Portland where we thought the biggest crime was putting a plastic bottle in a trash can. That Portland. While it was the largest city in our study by far, with a total of 598,037 residents, it still ranked low proportionally, with a total of 3,093 violent crimes (20 of which were murder!) and 30,454 property crimes, giving residents a one in 18 chance of being the victim of a crime.
After Portland, the next most dangerous place in Oregon was Medford. Its population was much larger, with 76,037 residents, and so was its crime rate: a total of 4,843 reported crimes.
And finally, the moment of truth, the most dangerous place in Oregon: Ontario. This city has a relatively small population of just over 11,000-and yet there were a total of 856 property crimes and 82 violent crimes in 2012.
So if you're moving to Oregon and are looking for the safest place for your family, stick to our list of 10. And if your heart is set on Portland, well, you might want to head for the 'burbs.
Featured Image Source: Flickr User lorenkerns