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With a rich history, an independent spirit, and ample barbecue, life is good in the Lone Star State. The population is growing and the economy is booming.
Unfortunately, the crime rate is booming in Texas, too. The second most populous state in the nation has crime rates that are well above the national average.
If you live in Texas, it’s important for you to understand how safe your city is. The safety of a city impacts all aspects of your life, from your waking to your sleeping hours. At Tuck, we’re particularly concerned with those sleeping hours. Stress and anxiety—like being constantly on edge from living somewhere unsafe—are two of the biggest blockers to sleep.
Without quality sleep, your mood, cognitive performance, and energy levels all suffer. Go without quality sleep for too long, and you increase your risk for chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Living somewhere safe gives you the peace of mind that makes life more enjoyable—even during those times you’re not awake. If you live in Texas, you may be wondering, “What is the safest city in Texas?”
Well, we did the research for you. Take a look at our top five safest and unsafe cities in Texas, based on crime rate. Then read on to understand how we chose our cities and what makes them safe (or not).
|The Safest Cities in Texas||The Least Safe Cities in Texas|
To get our list of Texas cities, we reviewed the most recent population data from the United States Census Bureau. While the Census is officially performed every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau provides population estimates for each year in between the census. We used their 2017 Population Estimation for Texas, and removed any cities with a population below 40,000.
Next, we referenced the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data to find the crime rates for each of these cities. The FBI has already released some early data for 2017, but it only covers the first half of the year. We used the 2016 report because it is the most recent report that captures a full year of data.
The FBI compiles the UCR from crime data that is voluntarily submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies. If a Texas city did not submit their crime data to the UCR, we removed the city from our list.
After removing cities smaller than 40,000, and any cities that did not report their crime to the UCR, we had a final list of 39 cities. We ranked these according to their crime rate.
Specifically, we looked at three types of crime for each city in Texas. These included:
The FBI categorizes burglary as a subtype of property crime. However, we felt it was important to review on its own, due to the intimacy of a burglary crime and how it relates to home safety. The sense of security and safety we have in our own home deeply affects how well we sleep, and how safe we feel overall.
Fortunately, property crime has been on the decline nationwide for a number of years (see chart below from the FBI UCR).
The trend is similar for Texas. From 2015 to 2016, the Texas property crime rate decreased 2.5%.
However, violent crime is on the rise in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Violent crime went up 5.6% year over year. In the same time period, the murder rate increased over 10%.
Worse, as you can see from the chart below, the crime rates in Texas are significantly above the national averages for similar types of crime. Each type of crime we analyzed is between 12% to 13% higher than the national average.
|Type of Crime||Texas Crime Rate (per 10K residents)||National Crime Rate (per 10K residents)|
In the following sections, we’ll discuss how the crime rates in our safest cities compare to these state and national averages.
Below we reveal our rankings for the top five safest cities in Texas. Each of these cities boast some of the lowest rates of violent, property, and burglary crimes in the Lone Star State. With populations ranging from 88,000 to nearly 300,000, these are all large suburbs in close proximity to major Texas cities.
If you live in one of these cities, consider yourself lucky. These are the safest places to live in Texas! Keep reading to understand what makes these cities so safe.
With the lowest rates of both violent and property crime, Sugar Land is the safest city in Texas. This Houston suburb has a violent crime rate of only 8.55 per 10K residents, which is 5 times below the state average. At 162.02 property crimes per 10K residents, property crime is low here, too. The city of Sugar Land has the fifth lowest burglary rate in Texas, at 27.75 per 10K residents.
Sugar Land has won national awards for its safety, which the Police Chief attributes to the good relationship between the community and law enforcement. Law enforcement regularly surveys city residents and responds to their requests. One recent initiative involved replacing some of their saloon cars with highly-visible SUVs to deter crime.
Part of Sugar Land’s safety may also be due to the wealth of its residents. The median household income is $108,504 here, and only 5% of residents live at or below the poverty line.
This north Texas city of 286,143 residents is located just north of Dallas. Residents of Plano enjoy the third lowest violent crime rate in Texas, at 13.84 per 10K residents, over 3 times below the state average. Plano also holds the third lowest property crime rate, at 190.1 per 10K residents, which is 30% lower than the state average. At 31.33 per 10K residents, Plano has the seventh lowest burglary rate.
Its safety makes Plano a nice place to live, but that’s not all the city’s won awards for. Plano has also been named one of the Best Family-friendly Cities in Texas, and one of America’s Happiest Cities. Its education and hospital system have both received national recognition as well.
City law enforcement provides a wealth of resources for residents on its website. The city of Plano also operates many community programs. One such program iss their Community Camera program. Homeowners can register their home security cameras so the police can contact them in the event a crime happened nearby and their camera caught footage of it.
El Paso may be one of the biggest cities in Texas, but it’s also one of the safest. It’s so safe, in fact, that it earned the #5 spot on our rankings of the safest cities in America, which assesses cities with populations greater than 100,000 residents. Local government and residents are both committed to keeping El Paso safe and maintaining its friendly, small town vibe.
The west Texas city has the second lowest rates of property and burglary crime in the state. At 180 per 10K residents, the property crime rate nearly 35% lower than the state average. Burglaries are even rarer, at 20.52 per 10K residents. That’s less than half the state average.
At 39 per 10K residents, violent crime is low in El Paso, too—likely thanks to the city having one of the lowest murder rates in the entire country.
Another university town rounds out our list of the safest cities in Texas. College Station is home to Texas A&M University and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. This east-central Texas city of 113,564 has the eight lowest violent crime rate in Texas, at 22.11 per 10K residents, just under half the state average.
College Station has the fourth lowest property crime rate, at 206.71 per 10K residents. It also has the sixth lowest burglary rate, at 30.87 per 10K residents.
This college town has a very low unemployment rate of 2.7%, over a full percentage point below the US average. The city just released an online reporting system for non-emergency property crimes, and the police manage a variety of initiatives designed to strengthen police-community relationships and prevent crime.
Round Rock may be known as a suburb of Austin, but this is a thriving city all of its own. The city of 123,678 is home to Dell Computer HQ and the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team. Thanks to its job opportunities, highly-rated school systems, and family-friendly lifestyle, the city is one of the fastest growing cities in America.
Round Rock is also a very safe place to live, earning it the #3 spot on our list of the safest cities in Texas. Round Rock has the fifth lowest violent crime rate in Texas, at 14.5 per 10K residents. It holds the sixth lowest property crime rate, at 222.37 per 10K residents, and the fourth lowest burglary rate, at 25.4 per 10K residents.
The community supports local police through tax initiatives, $29 million of which went to a recently opened training center for police officers and firefighters.
Below we share the cities at the bottom of our list. These five cities are the least safe in Texas, with the highest rates of violent, property, and burglary crime.
It may surprise you to find that some of the largest cities in the state, like Dallas and Austin, didn’t make the list. In fact, thanks to its livability, Austin was actually one of our best cities for sleep.
However, as the list below shows, a city is not inherently dangerous just because it has a high population. A great example of that is El Paso, which made our list of the safest cities in America.
Keep reading to understand why these cities are some of the most dangerous places to live in Texas.
Lubbock, TX is home to Texas Tech University. It’s also the hometown of Buddy Holly. Unfortunately, this city of 253,888 has yet another claim to fame: being the least safe city in all of Texas.
Across the board, Lubbock holds second place for the highest crime rates in our rankings of Texas cities. At 108 per 10K residents, the violent crime rate here is well over twice the state average. At 501 per 10K residents, the property crime is nearly double the stage average, and more than double the national average. Burglaries are twice as common in Lubbock, too, at 105.89 per 10K residents.
Today, Lubbock has a single downtown police station. Fortunately, voters recently approved funding to increase that to multiple sub-stations throughout the city which should improve the department’s presence and cooperation with the community. Lubbock has also developed several programs deter crime, such as security camera registration and an anti-gang center.
Alamo City ranks second on our list of the most dangerous cities in Texas. This south Texas city of over 1.5 million also holds high rates of violent crime and burglary, at 71.76 per 10K residents and 81.64 per 10K residents, respectively. The murder rate alone increased 59% from 2015 to 2016.
Part of this may be due to San Antonio being a larger city, and also a tourist destination. As we saw with our ranking of the safest cities in Florida, cities that attract tourists also tend to attract crime, since tourists make an easy target. This may explain why San Antonio has the highest rate of property crime in Texas. At 519 per 10K residents, it’s nearly double the state average.
It may also have to do with the high number of people living in poverty. Nearly one in five residents of San Antonio live at or below the poverty line.
Fortunately, the police department is working to reduce crime through specialized task forces on violent crime and property crime.
The most dangerous place to live in Texas, based on crime rate, is Beaumont, TX. Located near the state’s eastern border with Louisiana, this city of 119,114 has the highest violent crime rate in Texas, at 111.26 per 10K residents. That’s 2.5 times the state average, and nearly three times higher than the national average.
At 428.21 per 10K residents, Beaumont holds the fifth highest property crime rate in the state, over 55% higher than the state average. Of property crimes, burglaries are especially common. The city holds the highest burglary rate in the state, at 123.43 per 10K residents.
Beaumont’s economy has suffered in recent years, a trend that’s common among less safe cities. Over 20% of the city’s residents live in poverty, and nearly 6% are unemployed—nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate. Poorer cities also tend to be less well-rested.
Located in the Texas panhandle, this city of 199,826 ranks fourth on our list of the least safe cities in Texas. The violent crime rate here is just below San Antonio’s, at 71 per 10K residents. Amarillo also holds the fifth highest property crime rate, at 473 per 10K residents, and the fourth highest burglary rate, at 89.79 per 10K residents. All of these are significantly above the state averages.
A high number of Amarillo residents live in poverty, at 16.7%. However, the city is in a period of economic growth, and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Texas, at just 2.6%. Hopefully, these conditions will help move some residents out of poverty in the near future.
In other good news, the Amarillo Police Department has announced plans to reduce crime rates. Initiatives include outfitting officers with body cams, increasing communication with the public via social media, and hiring more officers for neighborhood patrol positions.
It may be small, but San Angelo has big crime rates—especially when it comes to property crime. This Texas city of around 100,000 has the third highest property crime rate in the state, at 490 per 10K residents. That’s 78% higher than the state average.
Burglaries are a problem in San Angelo, too. At 85.89 per 10K residents, the city holds the fifth highest burglary rate in Texas. There is some positive news, however. The violent crime rate here is below both state and national averages, at 36.42 per 10K residents.
In early 2018, San Angelo launched a specialized anti-crime unit focused on repeat offenders. The unit has already reported significant improvement in reducing street-level crime.
There you have it: the top and bottom five safest cities in Texas. To find out how your Texas city ranks when it comes to safety, check out our full rankings below. We’ve listed the population, violent crime rate, property crime rate, and burglary rate for each of the cities on our list.
To compare your city’s crime rates against the state and national averages, here’s a recap:
You can view crime rates for smaller cities (less than 40,000) on the FBI UCR website.
|Rank||City||2017 Population (USCB Estimation)||Violent Crimes per 10K residents||Property Crimes per 10K residents||Burglaries per 10K residents|
On average, Texas is less safe than other states in America. However, many cities buck that trend, with crime rates that are well below both the state and national averages. Cities like Sugar Land, Plano, and Round Rock are thriving suburbs, located close to big cities but without the big crime. These cities are enjoying economic growth that make it a safe place to live.
In contrast, many of the cities on the other side of our list—the most dangerous cities in Texas—have higher unemployment rates and more residents living in poverty. With less wealth, law enforcement agencies receive less funding, which makes it hard for them to police the community and prevent crime.
Fortunately, the police departments in all of our cities—safe and unsafe—appear committed to making them safer for residents to live. They’re launching new programs, investing in community relationships, and sharing public safety resources with residents.