If you’re going through the house-hunting portion of the home buying process, the level of security in the areas you’re looking at is likely an important factor in your decision-making. After all, everyone wants to feel safe in their own homes, neighborhoods and cities.
In spite of the typical public perception of the crime rate, crime has actually been trending downward in the United States for quite a while now. However, the crime rate varies a lot from state to state and city to city – it often even varies significantly between adjacent neighborhoods or city blocks.
Since safety is one of the most influential factors in choosing a place to live, we took at look at crime data across the country to get an idea of which cities have the least amount of crime.
Before we get into our findings, a quick note about the idea of safety: “Safe” is a highly subjective term, and means different things to different people. For the purposes of our list, we define it very narrowly, referring only to the rates of violent crime and property crime in each city. However, just because one city has a higher rate of crime than another doesn’t necessarily mean that one is objectively “safer.”
There are many different factors that affect the crime rate in a particular area, and we encourage readers to use this list to get a sense of the types and amount of crime in a particular city, not as a complete portrait of a city’s character.
Data for listed cities includes the entire metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or metropolitan division (MD) in which it resides.
For context, here’s the population, unemployment, income and crime data for the United States as a whole (crime rates are per 100,000 inhabitants):
- Population: 327,167,434
- Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
- Average Income: $51,960
- Violent Crime Rate: 368.9
- Property Crime Rate: 2,199.5
1. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
The Gettysburg MSA includes the city of Gettysburg and Adams County.
- Population: 102,358
- Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
- Average Income: $49,940
- Violent Crime Rate: 129.9
- Property Crime Rate: 620.4
Gettysburg is most well-known as the site of one of the most significant battles of the Civil War, and as such is an area that is rich in history.
Gettysburg proper is very small and densely packed, with a population of around 7,637 living within a total of 1.66 square miles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Both Gettysburg and the larger Adams County area make for charming places to live, with good schools and plenty of activities for families.
The median home value in Gettysburg is $232,400, while the median value for Adams County as a whole is around $201,900.
2. Midland, Michigan
The Midland MSA includes the city of Midland and Midland County.
- Population: 83,544
- Unemployment Rate: 3%
- Average Income: $53,420
- Violent Crime Rate: 142.4
- Property Crime Rate: 739.7
Nature lovers will love peaceful Midland, where there’s plenty to do for singles, families and everyone in between. Housing is affordable and crime is low, making Midland a great place to live.
The median home value for the city of Midland is $146,800, and the median home value for Midland County is $137,600.
3. State College, Pennsylvania
The State College MSA includes the city of State College and Centre County.
- Population: 163,729
- Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
- Average Income: $48,120
- Violent Crime Rate: 98.3
- Property Crime Rate: 820.9
Home to Penn State University, the municipality of State College, Pennsylvania is a lively and interesting place to live. However, it’s not necessarily the most affordable – Centre County has a median home value of $220,500, and State College has a median home value $299,500.
4. The Villages, Florida
The Villages MSA includes the Census-designated place of The Villages and Sumter County.
- Population: 130,254
- Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
- Average Income: $41,610
- Violent Crime Rate: 174.3
- Property Crime Rate: 883.7
The Villages is a popular spot in central Florida for retirees. In fact, the vast majority of residents are over 65 years old – nearly 80% in the Villages and 58% in overall Sumter County.
Median home values are $246,500 in Sumter County and $269,300 in the Villages.
5. Elizabethtown, Kentucky
The Elizabethtown-Fort Knox MSA includes the city of Elizabethtown and Hardin, Larue and Meade Counties.
- Population: 150,452
- Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
- Average Income: $43,280
- Violent Crime Rate: 113.7
- Property Crime Rate: 948.5
Property crime data for this MSA is incomplete; burglary data only includes numbers for the city of Elizabethtown.
Elizabethtown is a bustling city with plenty to do and lots of beauty in its surrounding areas. It’s also fairly affordable.
The median home value for Elizabethtown is $170,000. It’s $153,900 in Hardin County, $107,500 in Larue County and $150,700 in Meade County.
6. Wausau, Wisconsin
The MSA of Wausau-Weston includes the city of Wausau and Lincoln and Marathon Counties.
- Population: 163,751
- Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
- Average Income: $45,920
- Violent Crime Rate: 139.8
- Property Crime Rate: 925.8
Wausau boasts great schools and lots of interesting events and activities for art lovers and outdoorsy types.
The median home value in Wausau city is $118,300. In Marathon County, it’s $152,000 and in Lincoln County, it’s $139,800.
7. Glens Falls, New York
The Glens Falls MSA includes the city of Glens Falls and Warren and Washington Counties.
- Population: 123,394
- Unemployment Rate: 4%
- Average Income: $45,480
- Violent Crime Rate: 136.1
- Property Crime Rate: 999.2
Located about 50 miles north of Albany, New York, Glens Falls is quiet, friendly and charming. It’s known as “Hometown USA.”
The median home value is $151,900 in Glen Falls city, $193,800 in Warren County and $145,900 Washington County.
8. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Massachusetts
The Cambridge-Newton-Framingham MD includes Essex and Middlesex Counties and makes up a portion of the larger Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire MSA.
- Population: 2,407,742
- Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
- Average Income: $67,370
- Violent Crime Rate: 209.9
- Property Crime Rate: 977.5
This peaceful metro area is a part of Greater Boston. These two counties are on the wealthier end of the Boston suburbs, and as such tend to have less affordable real estate.
Median home values are at $389,900 in Essex County and $476,500 in Middlesex County.
9. Rockingham and Strafford Counties, New Hampshire
The Rockingham County-Strafford County MD includes Rockingham and Strafford Counties and makes up a portion of the larger Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire MSA.
- Population: 440,588
- Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
- Average Income: $67,370
- Violent Crime Rate: 132.6
- Property Crime Rate: 1,096
Also making up the Greater Boston area are these two New Hampshire counties. These are both great areas for families with plenty to do and a great, culturally and historically rich city just a short ways away.
The median home value for Rockingham County is $310,200 and the median value for Strafford County is $226,600.
10. Montgomery, Bucks and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania
The Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County MD includes Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties and makes up a portion of the larger Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware-Maryland MSA.
- Population: 1,978,598
- Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
- Average Income: $56,170
- Violent Crime Rate: 120
- Property Crime Rate: 1,122.4
The Greater Philadelphia area, also known as the Delaware Valley, is full of history. For those who want to be in such an iconic area but want a more suburban feel with good schools and more space, this metro area fits the bill.
The median home value in Montgomery County is $305,800. In Bucks County, it’s $323,300 and in Chester County, it’s $347,000.
11. Harrisonburg, Virginia
The Harrisonburg MSA includes the city of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
- Population: 135,460
- Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
- Average Income: $42,010
- Violent Crime Rate: 136.6
- Property Crime Rate: 1,136.9
Harrisonburg is an exciting and fairly affordable area to live in. It features plenty of options for outdoor activities, plus a charming and active downtown area.
The median home value in Harrisonburg is $197,400 and the median home value in Rockingham County is $210,000.
12. Portland, Maine
The Portland-South Portland MSA includes the cities of Portland and South Portland and Cumberland, Sagadahoc and York Counties.
- Population: 535,224
- Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
- Average Income: $51,260
- Violent Crime Rate: 114.5
- Property Crime Rate: 1,326.9
Maine’s Portland is a great, albeit snowy, place to live. It’s safe and walkable, with plenty to do for singles and families alike and lots of great food.
The median home value in Portland is $273,400. In South Portland city, it’s $247,900. It’s $269,200 in Cumberland County, $200,500 in Sagadahoc County and $241,200 in York County.
13. Provo-Orem, Utah
The Provo-Orem MSA includes the cities of Provo and Orem and Juab and Utah counties.
- Population: 633,113
- Unemployment Rate: 1.7
- Average Income: $47,610
- Violent Crime Rate: 87.8
- Property Crime Rate: 1,359.9
These two cities boast endless natural beauty, lots of arts and culture, and friendly locals. Brigham Young University is located in Provo, so you can expect a college town vibe from this locale.
The median home value for both Provo and Orem is $247,100. In Juab County, it’s $203,200 and in Utah County it’s $280,100.
14. Logan, Utah
The Logan, Utah-Idaho MSA includes the city of Logan, Utah, Franklin County, Idaho and Cache County, Utah.
- Population: 140,265
- Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
- Average Income: $40,460
- Violent Crime Rate: 722.28
- Property Crime Rate: 1,015.2
This metro area is known as the “Cache Valley.” The city of Logan is home to Utah State University. This area features plenty of recreation activities for those who thrive in the outdoors, regardless of whether your activity of choice is hiking, fishing, camping or something else.
The median home value in Logan is $181,500. In Franklin County, Idaho, it’s $198,000 and in Cache County it’s $218,400.
15. Winchester, Virginia
The Winchester, Virginia-West Virginia MSA includes the city of Winchester, Virginia, Frederick County, Virginia and Hampshire County, West Virginia.
- Population: 138,929
- Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
- Average Income: $46,380
- Violent Crime Rate: 135.3
- Property Crime Rate: 1,422.3
Winchester, home of the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, is a great place to live with plenty of things to do in the community, especially in the bustling Old Town district.
Winchester city’s median home value is around $236,800. Frederick County, Virginia’s is $245,100 and Hampshire County, West Virginia’s is $143,700.
How We Got Here
For our crime data, we pulled from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s 2018 “Crime in the United States” report. Looking at each metro area’s rates of crime for both violent crime and property crime, we found the areas with the lowest rates of crime in each category and then found the average of those two categories to be able to rank the metro areas numerically by average crime rate. Population data was also pulled from this report.
Unemployment rates are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report, which was based on November 2019 data. Average income comes from BLS’ May 2018 “Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates” report. For our three listed metropolitan divisions, we used BLS wage data for the larger metropolitan areas they’re a part of.
Median home values are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-year estimates.
All data used was taken from the most recently available publications.
Buying A House In One Of The Safest Cities In America
Buying a house in one of the cities or areas on this list isn’t a guarantee of safety, and you should be sure to do plenty of research to make sure that the area you’re thinking of moving to is a good fit for your lifestyle and will suit your needs in addition to allowing you to feel safe in the place you call home.
Some other factors to think about when considering moving to an area include its cost of living, the types and number of amenities nearby (including how close the nearest grocery store is or whether there are multiple options for things like doctors or mechanics), and the length of your commute to work.
You don’t want to focus on a single factor when choosing a place to live; take a holistic approach and make sure you’re happy with more than just the relative level of crime in the area.