No one likes crime. Although only criminals would disagree with that statement, most people have to put up with some amount of crime in their cities. For the residents of some of the nation's safest cities, however, the worst crimes they're likely to see are crimes of fashion, such as wearing socks with sandals. These diverse cities have done an excellent job at controlling the criminal element, allowing their residents to walk alone at night or leave their belongings in their cars without worry.
For this list, AreaVibes focused on finding the safest cities with a population above 200,000 for 2015. We compiled crime statistics in two broad categories, property crimes and violent crimes, and compared these statistics to both state and national averages to select the top ten cities with the lowest crime rates in the United States.
- 1. Irvine, CA
Despite its inviting sunshine and mild climate, the city of Irvine, California, has long since rolled up the welcome mat for criminals. Irvine is a growing city, but the crime rate has actually gone down recently. The city's crime numbers easily beat both California and the nation. For example, Irvine had 48 violent crimes per 100,000 people, a bare fraction of California's average of 402 per 100,000. Murder and rape are both extremely rare in the city, helping residents to feel safe enough to walk around their city even late at night. Learn more about Irvine, CA crime rates.
- 2. Arlington, VA
Although Arlington, Virginia, is close to the high-crime city of Washington, D.C., Arlington enjoys a much lower crime rate, and the city's crime rate has actually been dropping recently. Arlington's safe streets and secure neighborhoods make the city a popular place for workers of Washington, D.C., to put down roots. Arlington saw an estimated 104 violent crimes and 1,213 property crimes per 100,000 residents. Meanwhile, the state of Virginia experienced 196 violent crimes and 2,066 property crimes. Nationally, the city is safer than 75% of other American cities. Learn more about Arlington, VA crime rates.
- 3. Gilbert, AZ
Pleasant weather, diverse amenities and low crime rates draw families and retirees alike to Gilbert, Arizona. The city has grown at an exceptional pace; in 1980, only 5,000 people called the city home. Today, the population is well over 200,000. Even with this growth, however, the city has kept its small-town roots and managed to keep crime low. Gilbert, AZ experienced only one murder in the last full year that crime was reported. The property crime rate is less than half of Arizona's average, and saw only 153 vehicle thefts in the city. Learn more about Gilbert, AZ crime rates.
- 4. Fremont, CA
Fremont, California, is a part of the San Francisco Bay area and has a population of approximately 220,000 residents. Despite the city's high cost of living, the low crime rates draw in plenty of residents each year. Murder and assault are rare in the city, putting Fremont's rate of violent crime 69% lower than the rest of California. Although Fremont isn't as skilled at making sure that people's belongings stay where they belong, the city's property crime rates are still solidly below the rates for both California and the rest of the nation. Learn more about Fremont, CA crime rates.
- 5. Henderson, NV
Away from the glitz and glamour of nearby Las Vegas, Henderson is a quiet Nevadan suburb with good schools and ample employment opportunities. One of the city's biggest attractions is its low crime rates. Henderson's violent crime rate is 77% lower than the rest of Nevada, allowing residents to enjoy the cool Nevada nights in peace. The murder rate is slightly below the average for the state and the country, an impressive feat with the problems of Las Vegas right next door. Property crimes, though more common in Henderson than violent crimes, are still 29% lower than the Nevada average. Learn more about Henderson, NV crime rates.
- 6. Plano, TX
Plano is the ninth most populous city in Texas and offers a safe environment for its residents. Violent crime in particular is one of the bright spots on Plano's crime report. The city's rate is 65% lower than Texas' and 61% lower than the country's average, allowing residents to enjoy the Texas sunshine without fear of assault. With its many tempting targets, Plano's property crime numbers are not as sunny as its violent crime statistics, but even here the city is an improvement on its fellow Texas cities; its property crime rate is 37% lower than the Texas average. Learn more about Plano, TX crime rates.
- 7. Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, Arizona, is another popular desert destination for snowbirds, retirees and new families. Although Scottsdale's numbers last year weren't bad, crime has decreased by 5% in the city this year. Violent crime rates are low, adding to the feeling of security for the city's residents. Scottsdale's violent crime rate of just 149 per 100,000 citizens makes its residents 65% less likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the average Arizona resident. Even in property crimes, a common Achilles' heel for desirable cities, Scottsdale is a notable improvement on both the Arizona and national average; property crimes are 24% less common in Scottsdale than they are for the average Arizonan. Learn more about Scottsdale, AZ crime rates.
- 8. Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, Virginia, is home to almost half a million people. The city boasts beautiful beaches, historical sites and a handful of state parks in close distance. With the city's large population and healthy tourism industry, it wouldn't be unusual for Virginia Beach to be home to a healthy criminal population. However, Virginia Beach has done a good job of keeping property crimes in check; its property crime rate is just 20% higher than the Virginia average, but that's still 10% lower than the national average. The city sometimes can't protect your wallet, but it does do a good job protecting its residents and visitors from violent crimes. Compared to the nation, the violent crime rate in Virginia Beach is 55% lower. Learn more about Virginia Beach, VA crime rates.
- 9. Chula Vista, CA
Located in the San Diego metropolitan area, Chula Vista is one of California's most populous and fastest-growing cities. The city has been experiencing some growing pains with regards to crime, but Chula Vista's leaders have largely done an admirable job of maintaining a peaceful environment while managing the city's growth. Violent crime rates remain low, with the citizens reporting only 233 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That rate is 41% lower than the average for the state. Property crimes aren't quite as rosy, but even there the city outperforms its neighbors by 22%. Despite the city's recent growth, the city only reported a 1% increase in the total number of crimes. Learn more about Chula Vista, CA crime rates.
- 10. Chandler, AZ
Originally founded by a veterinarian in the late 1800s, Chandler is now a charming town boasting a population of almost 250,000 people. It's no wonder that people flock to Chandler; the city offers wonderful weather, good educational facilities and lots of housing options. One thing Chandler does not offer is a robust criminal population, with overall crime rates 31% below the Arizona average and 15% lower than the national average. Chandler does particularly well at not creating violent crimes, with only 231 violent crimes per 100,000 citizens. Year to year, Chandler's total number of crimes decreased 12% from last year. Learn more about Chandler, AZ crime rates.
You can refer to the Best Places to Live report for real-time, up-to-date and interactive top 100 best and worst list of cities. The results are sortable, and it allows you to filter by the population as well as your preferred state.