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What Are the Safest Cities in the U.S.?

How safe you feel in your city impacts all aspects of your life. It impacts where you choose to work, and whether you’ll feel safe on your commute. It affects where you look to rent or buy your home, and where you send your kids to school. It influences what leisure activities you engage in, and when and where.

The safety of a city impacts one other, often overlooked, area of your life: how well you sleep. If you’re worried about your safety on a daily basis, even if it’s not always at a conscious level, you’re living in a constant state of stress and anxiety. These are two of the biggest contributors to insomnia, both temporary and chronic. They put your nervous system on high alert, which makes it difficult for you to calm down enough to rest deeply at night — especially if you’re up cycling through worrisome thoughts for hours before bed.

Insomnia is more common than ever. Over one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the CDC.CDC Sleep Deprivation by County Image

Even worse, according to a 2017 study of over 2,100 adults, the people who live in unsafe cities are nearly 8 times likelier to miss out on sleep.

Less-safe cities also tend to be bigger cities, which means they come with other barriers to sleep, like noise and light pollution. Independent of other factors (like safety or violence), the mere noisiness of a neighborhood can increase your risk of insomnia four-fold. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to move to the suburbs to enjoy restful sleep.

At Tuck, we want everyone to sleep better. That’s why we set out to rank the top five safest cities in the United States — and the five least safe.

Our 5 Safest and Least Safe Cities

Below we’ll reveal our methodology for choosing the safest cities in America, and share insights about what makes these particular cities so safe. To satisfy curious minds, however, we present our top and bottom five safest cities in the U.S.:

5 Safest Cities in America 5 Least Safe Cities in America
  1. Irvine, CA
  2. Glendale, CA
  3. New York, NY
  4. Plano, TX
  5. Virginia Beach, VA
  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. St. Louis, MO
  4. Spokane, WA
  5. Baltimore, MD

Are you surprised by any of the cities on our list? Read on to discover how we selected them.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Safest Cities in America

To rank the safest cities in America, we used information provided by the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Report (UCR). We used the 2017 report because it is the most recent, comprehensive report containing a full year’s worth of data. Currently, only limited data is available for the first half of 2018.

In 2017, over 400 cities completely reported their crime statistics to the FBI. To create our official list, we only analyzed the data for cities with populations of 200,000 or above — a total of 89 cities. For each city, we calculated the rate of violent crime, property crime, and burglary per 10K people.

Using the FBI’s 2017 data, we looked at three specific types of crimes:

  • Violent crime, which includes offenses like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Slightly down since 2016, the national rate of violent crime is 39.4 per 10K residents.
  • Property crime, which includes crimes like arson, vandalism, and theft. Down 3.6% since 2016, the national property crime rate is 236.2 per 10K residents.
  • Burglary, which includes unlawful entry into a home or structure to commit a crime. Down nearly 8% since 2016, the national burglary rate is 43 per 10K residents.

Burglary is actually a subsection of property crime, representing 18.2% of all property crimes. However, we felt it was necessary to include as a separate category because of how it relates to home safety. The security of your home plays a big factor in how safe you feel in your bedroom and, consequently, how well you sleep.

For each category of crime, we calculated the number of times it was committed per 10K residents. Based on these numbers, we narrowed down our list to the top 5 safest and least safe cities in America. Scroll down to view our full rankings for the top cities in America, and see how your city stacks up when it comes to crime.

The Top 5 Safest Cities in America

Below we share the top five safest cities in America, according to Tuck. Each of these cities boasts some of the lowest violent, property, and burglary crime rates in the U.S. They’re all decently-sized metro areas, with the smallest one still well over 200,000 residents.

If you live in one of these cities, it’s going to be much easier for you to sleep soundly at night, knowing you live somewhere safe. We’ve included city level sleep deprivation information from the CDC’s 2018 500 Cities report for each city on our list. Read on to find out why these cities are the safest places to live in America.

1. Irvine, CA

  • irvine caPopulation: 276,115
  • Lowest violent crime rate: 6.12 per 10K residents
  • Lowest property crime rate: 131.65 per 10K residents
  • 4th Lowest burglary rate: 22.71 per 10K residents
  • 31% of adults in Irvine report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

It’s rare to see a Safest Cities in America list that doesn’t have Irvine, CA on it. With a population of 276,115, Irvine enjoys two claims to fame when it comes to safety.

This sunny, central Orange County city has the lowest violent crime rate, at only 6.12 per 10K residents, and the lowest property crime rate, at 131.65 per 10K residents. That’s nearly 7 times less than the national average for violent crime. Irvine also holds the fourth lowest burglary rate in the country, at 22.71 per 10K residents.

With a suburban feel and a thriving business center, Irvine is home to both families and young professionals. The school system is highly rated, and the city is nestled between the beach and the mountains, making it a great place to live and to sleep.

2. Glendale, CA

  • Glendale ImagePopulation: 202,381
  • 2nd lowest violent crime rate: 13.54 per 10K residents
  • 3rd lowest property crime rate: 154.07 per 10K residents
  • 5th lowest burglary rate: 24.61 per 10K residents
  • 35% of adults in Glendale report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

Irvine’s fellow Southern California city of Glendale also makes our list. This city of just over 200,000 has the second lowest violent crime rate in the nation. At just 13.54 violent crimes per 10K residents, you are three times less likely to experience a violent crime here.

Property crime rates are low in Glendale, too, with the nation’s third lowest property crime rate and fifth lowest burglary rate.

Receiving awards for its safety is old hat to Glendale. City officials attribute safety to a strong relationship between the police force and residents. Not only is the police force responsive, but they regularly hold community outreach and education programs on crime prevention. Additionally, the city is one of only seven California communities with a fire department that’s received a Class 1 Rating for safety.

3. New York City, NY

  • new yorkPopulation: 8,616,333
  • Higher violent crime rate: 53.89 per 10K residents
  • 2nd lowest property crime rate: 144.86 per 10K residents
  • Lowest burglary rate: 12.89 per 10K residents
  • 40% of adults in New York City report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

It might surprise some to find New York City on our list of the safest cities in the U.S. However, New York has the lowest burglary rate of all the cities on our list, at 12.89 per 10K residents. The Big Apple also holds the second lowest rate of property crime in the country, at 144.86 per 10K residents. That’s nearly half the national average.

Both of those numbers are impressive, especially considering this is a major tourist destination. Tourists tend to make easy targets for criminals. While New York does have a higher than average violent crime rate, at 53.89 per 10K residents, its low rates of burglary and property crime earn it the third spot on our list.

Local law enforcement has been working diligently to lower the crime rates here for the past few decades, and their efforts continue to pay off. For the past 27 years, crime has been on the decline in NYC.

4. Plano, TX

  • plano txPopulation: 290,413
  • 4th lowest violent crime rate: 14.98 per 10K residents
  • 4th lowest property crime rate: 173.37 per 10K residents
  • 6th lowest burglary rate: 25.07 per 10K residents
  • 32% of adults in Plano report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

As one of the cities surrounding Dallas, Plano, TX allows residents to enjoy the benefits of living near a big city, while avoiding some of the traffic, hustle and bustle, and higher crime rates. This north Texas city, with a population of 290,413, has the fourth lowest violent crime rate in the nation, at 14.98 per 10K residents.

Both Plano’s property crime rate and burglary rate are low as well, at 173.37 and 25.07 per 10K residents, respectively. Like Irvine, the schools are rated well here.

Plano, TX is an affluent and populous suburb that regularly wins awards for its low crime rates, and its commitment to the safety of its residents. The city attributes its safety and high quality of life to the strong relationship between the citizenry and its police force. Plano is also unique for requiring police officers to have four-year degrees or an equivalent with military service.

5. Virginia Beach, VA

  • Population: 454,353
  • 3rd lowest violent crime rate: 13.76 per 10K residents
  • 10th lowest property crime rate: 193.46 per 10K residents
  • 2nd lowest burglary rate: 16.6 per 10K residents
  • 37% of adults in Virginia Beach report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

The resort town of Virginia Beach rounds out our list of the top five safest cities in America. Residents here enjoy the third lowest violent crime rate in the country, at 13.76 per 10K residents.

Virginia Beach manages to keep their burglary and property crime rates impressively low for a tourist destination, at 16.6 and 193.46 per 10K residents, respectively. Both residents and tourists agree: Virginia Beach is a safe place to live and a safe place to visit. The city has a 75% repeat visitation rate among travelers.

For a city of its size, Virginia Beach maintains one of the lowest overall crime rates. Police maintain a strong community presence and are often seen participating in local events. There’s also strong support from the community, as evidenced by their successful Crime Solvers program.

The 5 Least Safe Cities in America

For there to be a list of the safest cities in America, there follows that there will be cities who represent the bottom of the list. Below we share the five least safe cities in the U.S., according to Tuck. We’ve included city level sleep deprivation information from the CDC’s  2018 500 Cities report for each city on our list.

These cities have some of the highest violent crime, property crime, and burglary rates in the country.

Read on to understand why these cities are so unsafe.

1. Albuquerque, NM

  • albuquerquePopulation: 561,375
  • 8th highest violent crime rate: 136.91 per 10K residents
  • Highest property crime rate: 736.58 per 10K residents
  • 6th highest burglary rate: 124.62 per 10K residents
  • 32% of adults in Albuquerque report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

The largest city in New Mexico also has the highest crime rates. The Duke City has the highest property crime rate in the country, at 736.58 per 10K residents. That’s nearly 200% higher than the national average. Burglaries are common as well. At 124.62 per 10K residents, Albuquerque has the sixth highest burglary rate in the nation.

Violent crime is prevalent here, too. The city holds the eighth highest violent crime rate of all the cities on our list, at 136.91 per 10K residents, which is 3.5 times the national average.

A recent analysis found that the bulk of Albuquerque’s crime occurs in five “cluster areas.” For example, one area may account for only 7% of the city’s population of 561,375, but 27% of its crime. Based on this report, local police are focusing on reallocating resources to fight crime in these areas.

2. Memphis, TN

  • Memphis ImagePopulation: 652,765
  • 4th highest violent crime rate: 200.33 per 10K residents
  • 3rd highest property crime rate: 629.78 per 10K residents
  • 2nd highest burglary rate: 146.02 per 10K residents
  • 41% of adults in Memphis report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

The Tennessee city of 652,765 holds the nation’s fourth highest violent crime rate, at 200.33 per 10K residents, over 5 times the national average. Memphis also claims the second highest burglary rate, at 146.02 per 10K residents, and the third highest overall property crime rate, at 629.78 per 10K residents. Memphis frequently makes the rounds on Dangerous Cities in America lists, and it’s topped the FBI list several times.

Memphis has a high poverty rate, with over a quarter of the city’s residents living below the poverty line.

3. St. Louis, MO

  • St. Louis ImagePopulation: 310,284
  • Highest violent crime rate: 208.23 per 10K residents
  • 5th highest property crime rate: 604.12 per 10K residents
  • 13th highest burglary rate: 101.13 per 10K residents
  • 38% of adults living in St. Louis report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

The third least safe city in America, according to our analysis, is St. Louis, MO. The River City holds the current record for highest murder rate in the country, at 6.61 per 10K residents. For reference, that’s over 12 times the national average.

This city of 310,284 has the highest violent crime rate, at 208.23 per 10K residents. It also holds the fifth highest property crime rate, at 604.12 per 10K residents. That’s more than double the national average. The city’s burglary rate is the thirteenth highest in the nation, at 101.13 per 10K residents.

The culprit behind St. Louis’s high crime rate is, at least partly, the city’s depressed economy. Nearly a quarter of the city’s residents live below the poverty line. Poorer cities tend to see higher crime rates (and poorer sleep quality, too).

4. Spokane, WA

  • Spokane ImagePopulation: 217,066
  • High violent crime rate: 62.65 per 10K residents
  • 2nd highest property crime rate: 723.14 per 10K residents
  • 12th highest burglary rate: 102.32 per 10K residents
  • 33% of adults in Spokane report sleeping less than 7 hours on average

Spokane is the most dangerous place to live in Washington, and one of the least safe cities in the country. The city of 217,066 has the second highest property crime rate in the country, at 723.14 per 10K residents. That’s over three times above the national average.

Burglaries and violent crime are rarer here, at 102.32 and 62.65 per 10K residents, respectively, but both are still well above the national averages.

Spokane’s homeless population is on the rise, and over 15% of city residents live below the poverty line. Fortunately, the Spokane Police Department has made concerted efforts in the past several years to lower crime rates and citizen complaints. Today, nearly 90% of residents agree that the department is doing a good job improving its relationship with local residents (a number that’s up from 56% in 2015).

5. Baltimore, MD

  • Baltimore ImagePopulation: 613,217
  • 3rd highest violent crime rate: 202.7 per 10K residents
  • High property crime rate: 492.81 per 10K residents
  • 5th highest burglary rate: 131.13 per 10K residents
  • 43% of adults in Baltimore reported sleeping less than 7 hours on average

Maryland’s biggest city also claims some of its highest crime rates. Baltimore has the third highest violent crime rate in the country, at 202.7 per 10K residents, which is over 5 times above the national average.

This city of 613,217 also experiences high rates of property crime rates. Property crimes occur at a rate of 492.81 per 10K residents, and the city has the country’s fifth highest burglary rate, at 131.13 per 10K residents.

Baltimore is unfortunately one of those cities that often finds itself being called one of the most dangerous cities in the country. With higher homicide rates than cities like Detroit and New Orleans, Baltimore is one of the most dangerous “big” cities in the U.S. To reduce crime, and in particular violent crime, Maryland’s Governor announced early this year that the state will soon open a Violent Crime Joint Operations Center. This will be staffed by over 200 federal and local officers focused on reducing the city’s gang violence and murder rate.

The Safest Cities in America, Ranked

You now know the five safest and least safe cities in America, according to Tuck. You may be wondering how your own city stacks up. To find out whether your city is on the safer side of the spectrum, check out our full list of safest city rankings below.

If your city wasn’t big enough to make our list, you can reference the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. As a reminder, the national averages are 29.4 violent crimes per 10K residents, 236.2 property crimes per 10K residents, and 43 burglary crimes per 10K residents.

RANK CITY POPULATION VIOLENT CRIME PER 10K PROPERTY CRIME PER 10K BURGLARY PER 10K AVERAGE CRIME SCORE
1 Irvine, CA 276,115 6.12 131.65 22.71 53.49
2 Glendale, CA 202,381 13.54 154.07 24.61 64.07
3 New York City, NY 8,616,333 53.89 144.86 12.89 70.55
4 Plano, TX 290,413 14.98 173.37 25.07 71.14
5 Virginia Beach, VA 454,353 13.76 193.46 16.60 74.60
6 Henderson, NV 299,285 18.51 183.30 36.39 79.40
7 El Paso, TX 688,667 37.88 181.89 18.83 79.54
8 San Diego, CA 1,424,116 36.66 184.30 26.80 82.59
9 Tampa, FL 384,360 46.44 174.37 32.13 84.31
10 Scottsdale, AZ 251,840 15.72 217.20 34.86 89.26
11 Jersey City, NJ 267,906 50.95 180.70 41.77 91.14
12 Santa Ana, CA 335,699 48.85 209.03 27.67 95.18
13 Mesa, AZ 492,268 41.58 217.20 38.15 98.98
14 Boise, ID 225,677 27.92 244.46 32.61 101.66
15 Boston, MA 682,903 66.92 208.90 30.88 102.24
16 Laredo, TX 260,669 32.19 248.36 33.53 104.69
17 Irving, TX 242,062 22.68 253.94 40.03 105.55
18 San Jose, CA 1,037,529 40.37 244.07 37.84 107.43
19 Oxnard, CA 209,513 43.34 254.30 37.56 111.74
20 Anaheim, CA 353,400 35.46 263.04 38.23 112.24
21 Madison, WI 255,850 37.44 266.21 36.23 113.30
22 Los Angeles, CA 4,007,147 76.13 253.59 41.60 123.77
23 Newark, NJ 283,673 89.65 239.50 42.37 123.84
24 Long Beach, CA 471,397 65.78 267.25 58.66 130.56
25 Fort Wayne, IN 266,259 35.75 317.96 49.13 134.28
26 Austin, TX 971,949 41.48 318.96 45.06 135.17
27 Aurora, CO 368,018 60.84 300.37 45.41 135.54
28 Riverside, CA 328,023 50.88 305.83 51.00 135.91
29 Arlington, TX 397,377 51.69 319.77 45.32 138.93
30 Sacramento, CA 499,997 67.56 293.66 57.76 139.66
31 Colorado Springs, CO 472,958 52.41 321.68 53.03 142.37
32 Pittsburgh, PA 305,932 65.64 311.44 52.63 143.23
33 Reno, NV 248,531 67.36 308.57 54.20 143.38
34 Fort Worth, TX 873,069 56.02 321.53 58.60 145.38
35 Las Vegas, NV 1,627,244 61.89 294.34 80.52 145.58
36 Philadelphia, PA 1,575,595 94.76 306.35 41.83 147.64
37 Savannah, GA 242,941 46.27 343.13 54.95 148.12
38 Dallas, TX 1,338,551 77.46 318.51 73.77 156.58
39 Norfolk, VA 245,190 55.59 374.89 47.15 159.21
40 Lexington, KY 322,332 35.09 378.21 64.75 159.35
41 Jacksonville, FL 894,638 63.13 352.67 63.11 159.64
42 Chicago, IL 2,706,171 109.89 326.38 47.71 161.33
43 Corpus Christi, TX 329,256 70.25 356.53 67.79 164.86
44 Denver, CO 706,616 67.56 366.71 61.29 165.19
45 St. Paul, MN 306,696 65.08 356.54 74.15 165.26
46 Omaha, NE 449,388 64.73 388.02 46.46 166.40
47 Fresno, CA 526,371 56.50 384.14 69.32 169.99
48 Phoenix, AZ 1,644,177 76.09 367.07 77.86 173.67
49 Miami, FL 463,009 72.09 401.42 52.70 175.40
50 Columbus, OH 872,205 51.34 394.49 81.53 175.79
51 Rochester, NY 208,591 89.75 380.36 64.10 178.07
52 Washington D.C. 693,972 94.87 415.62 26.05 178.85
53 Oklahoma City, OK 648,260 78.73 375.25 94.18 182.72
54 Modesto, CA 213,677 97.06 396.16 55.60 182.94
55 Bakersfield, CA 381,154 47.93 406.84 96.21 183.66
56 Nashville, TN 674,942 113.82 381.80 63.13 186.25
57 Louisville, KY 684,362 64.70 412.22 82.16 186.36
58 St. Petersburg, FL 263,712 69.85 431.27 67.19 189.44
59 Stockton, CA 309,566 141.46 362.73 69.13 191.11
60 Buffalo, NY 256,169 101.92 383.61 91.97 192.50
61 New Orleans, LA 397,447 112.14 424.38 56.08 197.54
62 Houston, TX 2,338,235 109.52 412.84 73.17 198.51
63 Amarillo, TX 200,993 75.53 437.18 83.78 198.83
64 San Bernardino, CA 217,259 129.11 386.77 98.32 204.73
65 Milwaukee, WI 595,168 159.74 379.20 92.71 210.55
66 San Antonio, TX 1,520,712 70.75 484.48 77.08 210.77
67 Atlanta, GA 481,343 93.57 477.64 70.43 213.88
68 Minneapolis, MN 418,971 110.13 464.14 89.79 221.35
69 Indianapolis, IN 870,788 133.40 441.19 102.72 225.77
70 Tucson, AZ 532,323 80.18 525.17 83.11 229.48
71 Portland, OR 649,408 51.57 567.70 72.91 230.73
72 Seattle, WA 721,365 63.27 525.86 108.20 232.44
73 Orlando, FL 283,982 74.41 545.46 84.09 234.65
74 Cincinnati, OH 299,116 94.71 504.99 115.27 238.32
75 Tacoma, WA 213,504 81.36 557.41 97.09 245.29
76 Anchorage, AK 296,188 120.33 541.58 74.82 245.58
77 Wichita, KS 391,084 102.23 553.56 83.90 246.56
78 Mobile, AL 248,431 74.02 545.38 121.68 247.03
79 San Francisco, CA 881,255 71.50 616.80 56.00 248.10
80 Detroit, MI 670,792 205.67 454.06 123.11 260.95
81 Tulsa, OK 404,868 104.08 545.56 137.67 262.44
82 Oakland, CA 424,915 129.93 598.28 61.71 263.31
83 Cleveland, OH 385,351 155.68 491.60 151.89 266.39
84 Baton Rouge, LA 227,403 102.68 559.40 141.86 267.98
85 Baltimore, MD 613,217 202.70 492.81 131.13 275.55
86 Spokane, WA 217,066 62.65 723.14 102.32 296.04
87 St. Louis, MO 310,284 208.23 604.12 101.13 304.50
88 Memphis, TN 652,765 200.33 629.78 146.02 325.38
89 Albuquerque, NM 561,375 136.91 736.58 124.62 332.71

Conclusion

On its own, your sense of safety can impact the quality of your sleep. More often, however, the safety of your city represents just one of many factors that contribute to worse or better sleep. If you live in a prospering city that’s also safe, you’ll likely sleep better than someone living in a less safe city where they may also be suffering economically or educationally — and dealing with the associated stress.

Fortunately, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2017 shows that country is currently experiencing a decline in crime, both in violent offenses as well as property crime.

Safer cities like Irvine, Glendale, and Plano tend to be growing and prospering, with residents enjoying better schools and lower crime rates. More dangerous cities, like St. Louis and Memphis, tend to be hit with a bunch of negatives at once: population decline, a depressed economy, and higher rates of violent and property crime.

How safe is your city? If you’d like to see the connection between safety and sleep for yourself, check our rankings of the best cities for sleep. If you live somewhere safe, there’s a good chance you, and your fellow residents, sleep better, too.

Additional Resources

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