Top 10 Safest & Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

The Top 10 Safest and Most Dangerous Cities in America

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reports that in 2018, the estimated violent crime rate in the United States was 368.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants (a 3.3% decrease from 2017). The estimated rate of property crime in the US was 2,199.5 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants (a 6.3% decrease since 2017).

Of the 18,586 law enforcement agencies eligible to participate in the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report Program (UCR),16,659 of which submitted data. The UCR Program collects information regarding:

The UCR Program also collects arrest reports associated with the offenses listed, on top of 20 other crimes not listed above (except for traffic violations). Other 2018 crime statistics reported by the FBI from the UCR Program’s findings include:

  • Collectively, victims that suffered from property crimes (not including arson) suffered losses estimated at $16.4 billion.
  • Law enforcement agencies nationwide made an estimated 10.3 million arrests (excluding those for traffic violations).
  • 13,497 law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI that as of October 31, 2018, they collectively employed 686,665 sworn officers and 288,640 civilians — a rate of 3.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

Even though the overall crime rate throughout the United States is decreasing, each city has its own statistics to report. Per-capita homicides, poverty, and unemployment rates — on top of the crimes listed above — can make or break the safety of a city.

Top 10 Safest Cities in the United States

It may be difficult to define what makes a city safe. However, oftentimes smart and safe cities radiate these eight different characteristics.

  • Adaptable: Safe cities can oftentimes adapt appropriately to technological, political, economical, societal, cultural, and environmental changes.
  • Human-Centric: Safe and smart cities should make their residents their number one priority. This can be done by involving the public on major decisions such as developmental projects.
  • Inclusive: Being inclusive may be the most important principle. Cities that implement safety begin by including everyone within the community, regardless of social status. Excluding anyone or location might alienate or divide the city, potentially resulting in prolonged instability.
  • Nurturing: Cities that nurture the arts, humanities, education, sports, play, healthy living, sustainable commerce, social links, science, invention, and innovation can encourage the people to live the lives they want to pursue.
  • Proactive: The visions and strategies of the cities should be proactive, rather than reactive, meaning that they should be prepared to take action, especially when it comes to emergency response and disaster management.
  • Secure: The ability to ensure that the public, economy, and infrastructure are all safe should be a common characteristic that is found in safe cities. Being invested in public safety in order for it to be successful and part of a cycle of continued safety improvements is crucial.
  • Sustainable: Any safe and smart city should implement economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
  • Transparent: Safe cities should encourage two-way participation between the government and citizens in an open, transparent, and honest manner.

There are many safe cities in America, however, some are safer than others.  Here is a list of the top 10 safest cities in the U.S. using the 2018 crime rate statistics provided by the FBI.

1. Irvine, California

The FBI reports that in 2018 out of a population of 288,052 — per 100,000 people the city of Irvine had: 

  • 0 homicides;
  • 40 rapes;
  • 53 robberies;
  • 67 aggravated assault cases;
  • 3,659 property crimes;
  • 621 burglaries;
  • 2,840 larceny thefts;
  • 198 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 2.87% unemployment rate;
  • 13.2% poverty rate. 

“The men and women of the Irvine Police Department are consummate professionals who work hard every day to keep our wonderful community safe,” says Christina Shea, Mayor of Irvine. “Our City Council, residents, businesses, and visitors continue to owe a debt of gratitude to them for their commitment to duty.” 

The public is able to view a crime map for the city of Irvine that provides data on criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, stolen vehicles, and arson. However, for confidentiality reasons, the map does not include reports of domestic abuse and sexual assault. 

The low crime rates combined with the professionalism of the Irvine Police Department are just two of the many reasons why Irvine, California is deemed the number 1 safest city in America. 

2. Naperville, Illinois

The FBI reports that in 2018 Naperville, Illinois had an estimated population of 148,457. Per 100,000 people there were:

  • 0 homicides;
  • 29 rapes;
  • 21 robberies;
  • 52 aggravated assault cases;
  • 163 burglaries;
  • 39 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 4.4% unemployment rate;
  • 3.0% poverty rate.

Naperville’s internationally-accredited police and fire departments routinely go above and beyond numerous fundamental expectations for public safety agencies, including maintenance of a low crime rate and rapid response to emergencies.  In 2016 the city conducted a survey for its citizens reaffirming the community’s satisfaction with the quality of emergency services in Naperville, which are significantly higher than the national and regional averages. 

3. Murrieta, California

City-data states that in 2018, per 100,000 people, the city of Murrieta had:

  • 2 homicides;
  • 16 rapes;
  • 35 robberies;
  • 39 aggravated assault cases;
  • 234 burglaries;
  • 952 larceny thefts;
  • 226 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 2 cases of arson;
  • 3.5% unemployment rate;
  • 8.9% poverty rate.

Residents and visitors of Murrieta can access public crime information with help from the Murrieta city crime map. The goal of the map is to assist police departments in reducing crime through a better-informed citizenry. 

4. McAllen, Texas

Out of the estimated 144,363 residents in McAllen, Texas, the FBI reports that per 100,000 people there were:

  • 0 homicides;
  • 39 rapes;
  • 26 robberies;
  • 57 aggravated assault cases;
  • 3,856 property crimes;
  • 203 burglaries;
  • 3,598 larceny thefts;
  • 55 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 4.7% unemployment rate;
  • 25.2% poverty rate.

The McAllen Police Department publishes in the 2018 McAllen Crime Report that in 2018, the police department responded to 138,777 calls for service. This is a 3.4% decrease compared to 2017. 

5. Frisco, Texas

Frisco, Texas city crime rates report that in 2018 per 100,000 people there were:

  • 2 homicides;
  • 44 rapes;
  • 21 robberies;
  • 96 aggravated assault cases;
  • 245 burglaries;
  • 2,179 larceny thefts;
  • 138 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 3 cases of arson;
  • 3.1% unemployment rate;
  • 3.9% poverty rate.

The Frisco Police Department envisions being recognized by its citizens and peers as the standard of excellence in law enforcement by leading in collaborative partnerships and community service, personnel development, innovation, and the effective use of technology. One of the ways they have done this is by organizing a Frisco, Texas crime map. Whether users use a desktop or their cell phones, they’re able to see the current crime reports from two to 30 days prior. The report shows everything from assault and theft to DUIs and weapons. 

6. Gilbert, Arizona

The crime rate in Gilbert, Arizona reports that in 2018 per 100,000 people there were:

  • 2 homicides;
  • 75 rapes;
  • 32 robberies;
  • 125 aggravated assault cases;
  • 406 burglaries;
  • 2,715 larceny thefts;
  • 152 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 16 cases of arson;
  • 3.5% unemployment rate;
  • 5.9% poverty rate. 

The Gilbert Crime Prevention Department offers multiple programs and services through the Gilbert Police Department to better assist and educate its citizens. Some of the programs offered are:

  • Child ID/Fingerprint Clinics;
  • Crime Free Multi-Housing;
  • Drug and Gang Prevention and Awareness;
  • Home and Business Security Surveys;
  • Identity Theft Prevention;
  • Vacation Watch;
  • Neighborhood Watch;
  • Vehicle Theft Reduction Program.   

7. Pearland, Texas

The crime rate in Pearland, Texas finds that in 2018 per 100,000 people there were:

  • 2 homicides;
  • 19 rapes;
  • 32 robberies;
  • 65 aggravated assault cases;
  • 215 burglaries;
  • 1,532 larceny thefts;
  • 94 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 3 cases of arson;
  • 3.4% unemployment rate;
  • 3.8% poverty rate.

With help from the Pearland Police Department Police-2-Citizen website, the community is able to track the crime in Pearland. By allowing citizens to research calls for service history, verify the existence of police reports, view a daily bulletin of events, and links to other helpful resources, the Police-2-Citizen (P2C) website can be a helpful resource for the homeowners association, property managers, residents, and more. 

8. Thousand Oaks, California

According to the 2018 FBI crime report, in Thousand Oaks, California out of an estimated population of 129,319 — per 100,000 people there were:

  • 14 homicides;
  • 30 rapes;
  • 30 robberies;
  • 52 aggravated assault cases;
  • 1,480 property crimes;
  • 236 burglaries;
  • 1,127 larceny thefts;
  • 117 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 3.0% unemployment rate;
  • 5.7% poverty rate.

Since 1964, the Thousand Oaks Police Department has contracted with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services. Here the members of the Sheriff’s Department aim to preserve the peace, prevent crime, apprehend offenders, enforce laws, display empathy for all individuals, and many more. 

9. Glendale, California

The 2018 FBI crime report states that out of the estimated 204,724 residents of Glendale, California per 100,000 people there were:

  • 1 homicide;
  • 24 rapes;
  • 77 robberies;
  • 100 aggravated assault cases;
  • 3,110 property crimes;
  • 454 burglaries;
  • 2,390 larceny thefts;
  • 266 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 4.4% unemployment rate;
  • 15.6% poverty rate.

The Glendale Police Department makes it their mission to apply emphasis on fiscal responsibility, exceptional customer service, economic vibrancy, and a safe and healthy community. 

10. League City, Texas

The 2018 crime report for League City, Texas states that per 100,000 people there were: 

  • 1 homicide;
  • 41 rapes;
  • 20 robberies;
  • 47 aggravated assault cases;
  • 215 burglaries;
  • 1,485 larceny thefts;
  • 114 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 12 cases of arson;
  • 3.6% unemployment rate;
  • 6.2% poverty rate.

The League City Police Department values P.R.I.D.E to help promote practical relationships with each other and those they serve. P.R.I.D.E stands for:

  • P – Professionalism
  • R – Respect
  • I – Integrity
  • D – Dedication
  • E – Excellence

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

America’s most dangerous cities oftentimes share common characteristics, notably, a lack of economic opportunity. A majority of the cities listed on the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States have poverty and unemployment rates that are higher than the national average. 

This isn’t to say that all low-income cities are unsafe. Rather, it says that cities that fall under the low-income category oftentimes show increasing rates in violent crimes, rapes, homicides, robbery, and aggravated assault.

1. Detroit, Michigan

Out of an estimated 671,275 residents, the FBI reported that in 2018, per 100,000 people there were: 

  • 261 homicides;
  • 988 rapes;
  • 2,309 robberies;
  • 9,920 aggravated assault cases;
  • 28,897 property crimes;
  • 7,440 burglaries;
  • 15,003 larceny thefts;
  • 6,454 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 9.0% unemployment rate;
  • 37.9% poverty rate.

The Detroit Police Department and its 2,200 officers are attempting to lessen the crime load brought upon the city by implementing different programs. For example, Cease Fire, Project Green Light, and the new Real Time Crime Center were all created with intentions of making Detroit a safer city.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

According to the 2018 FBI statistics report, per 100,000 out of the estimated 652,226 residents in Memphis there were:

  • 186 homicides;
  • 491 rapes;
  • 3,050 robberies;
  • 8,947 aggravated assault cases;
  • 41,779 property crimes;
  • 8,494 burglaries;
  • 28,835 larceny thefts;
  • 4,450 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 4.6% unemployment rate;
  • 26.9% poverty rate.

The Memphis Police Department has a zero-tolerance for crime. Which is why they take both their mission and vision statement very seriously.

  • Mission Statement: To create and maintain public safety in the City of Memphis. We do so with focused attention on preventing and reducing crime, enforcing the law, and apprehending criminals.
  • Vision Statement: To create and maintain for the City of Memphis an environment of public safety recognized for its zero tolerance for crime and its compassion and responsiveness to the needs, rights, and expectations of all its citizens, employees, and visitors.

3. Birmingham, Alabama

2018 crime report in Birmingham, Alabama per 100,000 people is reported at: 

  • 88 homicides;
  • 180 rapes;
  • 941 robberies;
  • 2,816 aggravated assault cases;
  • 2,555 burglaries;
  • 8,988 thefts;
  • 1,752 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 145 cases of arson;
  • 4.6% unemployment rate;
  • 28.1% poverty rate.

Birmingham’s high crime rate can be attributed to the drug trade and its high poverty rate. However, there has been a 40% decrease in crime since the late 1990s.

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Of the 605,436 residents of Baltimore, Maryland the FBI reports that per 100,000 in 2018 there were:

  • 309 homicides;
  • 361 rapes;
  • 5,066 robberies;
  • 5,364 aggravated assault cases;
  • 27,217 property crimes;
  • 6,048 burglaries;
  • 16,794 larceny thefts;
  • 4,375 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 5.7% unemployment rate;
  • 22.4% poverty rate.

“Our efforts to reduce violent crime are producing clear results,” says Catherine Pugh, Mayor of Baltimore. “Crime is declining in every category.”

5. St. Louis, Missouri

The FBI crime report states that in 2018, of the estimated 306,875 residents in St. Louis, Missouri per 100,000 people there were:

  • 187 homicides;
  • 309 rapes;
  • 1,452 robberies;
  • 3,577 aggravated assault cases;
  • 18,142 property crimes;
  • 2,979 burglaries;
  • 12,413 larceny thefts;
  • 2,750 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 3.8% unemployment rate;
  • 25.0% poverty rate.

In hopes of decreasing crime rates, St. Louis officials consider aerial surveillance to fight crime. With the high amount of property crime and burglary rates, St. Louis residents may want to consider installing a home security system. By doing so, it may bring peace of mind knowing their family and property are going to be safe. Installing security systems may also be a viable option for small businesses, and commercial businesses.

6. Kansas City, Missouri

The crime rate in Kansas City, Missouri in 2018 reports that per 100,000 people there were:

  • 137 homicides;
  • 403 rapes;
  • 1,637 robberies;
  • 5,665 aggravated assault cases;
  • 3,717 burglaries;
  • 13,305 thefts;
  • 4,214 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 216 cases of arson;
  • 3.5% unemployment rate;
  • 17.3% poverty rate.

The Kansas City Police Department focus on teaching the public prevention and safety tips. For example, they created crime prevention goals that are intended to:

  • Reduce crime and the fear of crime;
  • Enhance the knowledge of citizens and police officers with respect to community proactive crime prevention strategies;
  • Develop tactics and strategies this will create and maintain vital community successful crime prevention programs;
  • Enhance the safety and the quality of life for Kansas Citians.

7. Cleveland, Ohio

The crime rate in Cleveland, Ohio in 2018 reports that per 100,000 people there were:

  • 86 homicides;
  • 461 rapes;
  • 1,772 robberies;
  • 3,257 aggravated assault cases;
  • 4,658 burglaries;
  • 9,342 thefts;
  • 2,970 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 165 cases of arson;
  • 6.5% unemployment rate;
  • 35.2% poverty rate.

The mission statement of the members of the Cleveland Division of Police is to enhance the quality of life, strengthen [their] neighborhoods and deliver superior services with professionalism, respect, integrity, dedication, and excellence by working in partnership with [their] neighborhoods and community.

8. Little Rock, Arkansas

The FBI reports that in 2018 of the estimated 199,288 residents in Little Rock, Arkansas there were, per 100,000 people:

  • 40 homicides;
  • 218 rapes;
  • 371 robberies;
  • 2,253 aggravated assault cases;
  • 13,049 property crimes;
  • 2,079 burglaries;
  • 9,850 larceny thefts;
  • 1,120 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 3.5% unemployment rate;
  • 17.8% poverty rate.

By implementing T.R.U.S.T the Little Rock Police Department is able to provide professional service that is unbiased, consistent, and transparent, with hopes of leading to a decrease in crime and increase public safety throughout the city. 

  • T – Teamwork
  • R – Respect
  • U – Understanding
  • S – Service
  • T – Transparency

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

According to the 2018 FBI statistics report, per 100,000 out of the estimated 595,619 residents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin there were:

  • 99 homicides;
  • 489 rapes;
  • 2,279 robberies;
  • 5,549 aggravated assault cases;
  • 17,699 property crimes;
  • 4,259 burglaries;
  • 8,851 larceny thefts;
  • 4,589 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 4.0% unemployment rate;
  • 27.4% poverty rate.

Milwaukee adopted the Cure Violence program in hopes of breaking the crime cycle. The program works on the idea that violence spreads like an epidemic. The program trains trusted individuals, some who may have criminal backgrounds themselves, to anticipate where violence may occur and how to properly intervene. 

10.Stockton, California

Out of the estimated 313,158 residents in Stockton, California, the FBI reports that per 100,000 people there were:

  • 33 homicides;
  • 193 rapes;
  • 1,205 robberies;
  • 2,952 aggravated assault cases;
  • 11,800 property crimes;
  • 2,329 burglaries;
  • 7,417 larceny thefts;
  • 2,054 motor vehicle thefts;
  • 6.9% unemployment rate;
  • 22.4% poverty rate.

Stockton Crime Stoppers was established on April 13, 1981, and was the first of many crime stopper programs in California. Tips received through Crime Stoppers have directly resulted in clearing more than 4,500 cases, over 2,700 arrests, and the payment of more than $223,000 in rewards.

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