The phrase “small town America” often conjures up images of white picket fences, well-trimmed lawns, and big houses. But how safe is modern-day suburbia in America?
Some of the smallest places in the country can actually be among the most dangerous. Take for example Bessemer, Alabama, with a population of around 26,000 and a violent crime rate of 33.1 per every 1,000 residents.
That said, there are many small cities that are true havens for families across the United States. Visual Capitalist's Avery Koop uses this map to showcase the safest cities in the U.S., using FBI data and Census Bureau populations compiled by NeighborhoodScout in 2023.
Note: The source only considered cities with a population of 25,000 or higher. This report is based on total index crimes reported in each city, which includes arson, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.
Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S.
40% of the cities in the ranking are located in Northeastern states, which are typically rated the “safest” based on FBI data.
Here’s a closer look at the Top 10:
One quarter of the safest cities are located in Massachusetts, with the vast majority clustered around Boston.
The median population of the cities and towns in the top 100 is just 32,000, and few widely-recognized cities make the list. Carmel, Indiana (#60) is the only city with a population above 100,000 to make the rankings. This would seem to follow the logic that bigger cities are more dangerous, but our map covering the most dangerous cities in America shows that many small cities were just as dangerous, and some even more.
Regardless, small towns can truly be idyllic. For example, a person’s chance of falling victim to crime in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the safest ranked city in the U.S., is just 1-in-510. That’s an overall rate of fewer than two incidents of crime per every 1,000 residents.
One surprising observation from the data is that many of the safest U.S. cities are in very close proximity to some of the most dangerous.
One example that illustrates this is Detroit, which ranks as the sixth most dangerous city in America. Despite this, as shown on the map above, there are four communities nearby that have some of the lowest crime rates in America.
In other words, America’s metro areas contain much contrast, and these insights provide valuable information for individuals and families seeking secure places to live across the country.