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.
Less-safe cities also tend to be bigger cities, which means they come with other barriers to sleep, like noise and light pollution. 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
New York, NY
El Paso, TX
St. Louis, MO
Are you surprised by any of the cities on our list? Read on to discover how we selected them.
Methodology: Choosing our Cities
To get our official list of cities, we looked to the United States Census Bureau. The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years and provides population information. Based on the 2010 Census, we reviewed their Population Estimation for each city in 2017 to find the 100 largest cities in the country.
Once we had a list of the 100 largest American cities, we checked whether each city on the list had submitted information on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report in 2016. If the city didn’t report their information, we eliminated them from our list.
The remaining cities, 83 total, were ranked.
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 chose the 2016 report because it is the most recent, comprehensive report. Currently, only limited data is available for the first half of 2017.
Using the FBI’s report, we looked at three specific types of crimes:
Violent crime, which includes offenses like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault;
Property crime, which includes crimes like arson, vandalism, and theft; and
Burglary, which includes unlawful entry into a home or structure to commit a crime
Burglary is actually a subsection of property crime, representing 19.1% 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 100K 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 250,000 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. Read on to find out why these cities are the safest places to live in America.
1. Irvine, CA
Lowest violent crime rate: 57 per 100K residents
Lowest property crime rate: 1,401 per 100K residents
4th Lowest burglary rate: 240 per 100K residents
It’s rare to see a Safest Cities in America list that doesn’t have Irvine, CA on it. With a population of 266,663, 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 57 per 100K residents, and the lowest property crime rate, at 1,401 per 100K residents. That’s nearly 7 times less than the national average for violent crime, which is 386.3 violent crimes per 100K residents. Irvine also holds the fourth lowest burglary rate in the country, at over 240 per 100K 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. New York, NY
Higher violent crime rate: 573.42 per 100K residents
2nd lowest property crime rate: 1,462.35 per 100K residents
Lowest burglary rate: 141 per 100K residents
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 141 per 100K residents. The Big Apple also holds the second lowest rate of property crime in the country, at 1,462.35 per 100K 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 573.42 per 100K residents, its low rates of burglary and property crime earn it the #2 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.
3. Plano, TX
2nd lowest violent crime rate: 138.43 per 100K residents
6th lowest property crime rate: 1,901 per 100K residents
6th lowest burglary rate: 313 per 100K residents
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 288,242, has the second lowest violent crime rate in the nation, at 138.43 per 100K residents.
Both Plano’s property crime rate and burglary rate are the sixth lowest, at 1,901 and 313 per 100K 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.
4. El Paso, TX
Violent crime rate: 390.28 per 100K residents
4th lowest property crime rate: 1,798.18 per 100K residents
3rd lowest burglary rate: 205 per 100K residents
Despite rising violent crime rates nationwide, El Paso’s crime is actually on the decline. This far west Texas city holds the 3rd lowest burglary rate, at 205 per 100K residents, and the fourth lowest property crime rate, at 1,798.18 per 100K residents.
The Texas border town of 687,193 residents also has the second lowest murder rate in the country. Many attribute its low crime rates to the family-friendly, small town community feel and the large presence of law enforcement in the city, from both federal and local offices.
Many people mistakenly assume that because El Paso shares a border with Juarez, Mexico, a city known for gang and drug violence, it wouldn’t be safe. However, its established history of low crime shows that couldn’t be further from the truth. El Paso is significantly safer than other cities of comparable size.
5. Henderson, NV
4th lowest violent crime rate: 211.6 per 100K residents
5th lowest property crime rate: 1,881 per 100K residents
Burglary rate: 424 per 100K residents
Henderson, NV may be located just southeast of Sin City, but its low crime rates earn it a spot as one of the safest cities of America.
Henderson has a population of 291,584. This Nevada city has the fourth lowest violent crime rate on our list, at 211.6 per 100K residents. Its property and burglary crime rates are low, too, at 1,881 and 424 per 100K residents, respectively.
Henderson’s commitment to quality of life, recreational and public facilities for residents, and community-driven safety have all contributed to its low crime rates. The city also has a lower than average commute time, which makes it easy to get to work on time safely and without stress.
The 5 Least Safe Cities in America
For there to be a list of the safest cities in America, there needs to be cities who represent the bottom of the list. Below we share the five least safe cities in the U.S., according to Tuck.
These cities have some of the highest violent crime, property crime, and burglary rates in the country. Unsurprisingly, several of these cities, including Cleveland and Detroit, also rank on our list of the Worst Cities for Sleep.
Read on to understand why these cities are so unsafe.
1. Albuquerque, NM
High violent crime rate: 1,112.08 per 100K residents
Highest property crime rate: 6,861 per 100K residents
10th highest burglary rate: 1,110 per 100K residents
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 6,861 per 100K residents. That’s nearly 200% higher than the national average. Burglaries are common as well. At 1,110 per 100K residents, Albuquerque has the tenth highest burglary rate int he nation.
Violent crime is prevalent here, too. The city holds the thirteenth highest violent crime rate of all the cities on our list, at 1,112.08 per 100K residents, which is nearly triple 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 561,560, but 27% of its crime. Based on this report, local police are focusing on reallocating resources to fight crime in these areas.
2. St. Louis, MO
2nd highest violent crime rate: 1,913.15 per 100K residents
2nd highest property crime rate: 5,931 per 100K residents
Burglary rate: 1,018 per 100K residents
The second least safe city in America, according to our analysis, is St. Louis, MO. The River City may as well have been named Murder City, as it holds the current record for highest murder rate in the country, at 10 times the national average.
This city of 314,507 residents has the second highest violent crime rate, at 1,913.15 per 100K residents. It also holds the second highest property crime rate, at 5,931 per 100K residents. That’s more than double the national average, which is 2,450.7 per 100K residents. The city’s burglary rate is 1,018 per 100K 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).
3. Memphis, TN
3rd highest violent crime rate: 1,819.98 per 100K residents
6th highest property crime rate: 5,634.69 per 100K residents
3rd highest burglary rate: 1,394 per 100K residents
Memphis is the Birthplace of Rock and Roll, and apparently also of crime. Memphis frequently makes the rounds on Dangerous Cities in America lists, and it’s topped the FBI list several times.
The Tennessee city of 656,434 sees the nation’s third highest violent crime rate, at 1,819.98 per 100K residents, nearly 5 times the national average. Memphis also claims the third highest burglary rate, at 1,394 per 100K residents, and the sixth highest overall property crime rate, at 5,634.69 per 100K residents.
Like St. Louis, Memphis has a high poverty rate, with over a quarter of the city’s residents living below the poverty line.
4. Cleveland, OH
5th highest violent crime rate: 1,630.91 per 100K residents
7th highest property crime rate: 5,316.3 per 100K residents
Highest burglary rate: 1,640 per 100K residents
Cleveland, OH is another city in the throes of economic and population decline. The big Ohio city has a population of 386,227, which is just a third of what it was in the 1950s.
Cleveland holds the nation’s fifth highest violent crime rate, at 1,630.91 per 100K residents, which is over four times the national average. According to a report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, incidences of murder and robbery are on the rise as well. Cleveland also holds the seventh highest property crime rate, at 5,316.3 per 100K residents, and a high burglary rate, too, at 1,640 per 100K residents.
Worse, over half of Cleveland’s children live below the poverty line. It only missed the poorest city title to Detroit.
5. Tulsa, OK
Higher violent crime rate: 1,095.26 per 100K residents
3rd highest property crime rate: 5,904 per 100K residents
2nd highest burglary rate: 1,425 per 100K residents
Tulsa is the last entrant on our list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. This northern Oklahoma city has the second highest burglary rate in the country, at 1,425 per 100K residents. At 5,904 per 100K residents, its property crime rates are over double state averages.
While the violent crime here doesn’t rank in the top ten, the city does have a higher-than-average crime rate of 1,095.26 per 100K residents.
Tulsa has an attrition problem among its police force, as not enough new recruits are joining to replace the officers who are retiring. Fortunately, Tulsa did just receive an $800,000 federal grant to help it in fighting crime. Local police plan to use the funds towards ballistic technology and investigating violent gun crimes.
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 386.3 violent crimes per 100K residents and 2,450.7 property crimes per 100K residents.
Violent Crime Rate
Property Crime Rate
New York, NY
El Paso, TX
Virginia Beach, VA
Jersey City, NJ
San Diego, CA
Santa Ana, CA
San Jose, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Long Beach, CA
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Wayne, IN
Las Vegas, NV
St. Paul, MN
Colorado Springs, CO
Corpus Christi, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
New Orleans, LA
Baton Rouge, LA
St. Petersburg, FL
San Bernardino, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Antonio, TX
St. Louis, MO
There is a wide range of crime across America. Though violent crime is on the rise, the country is currently seeing a decline in property crime, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2016.
Safer cities like Irvine and Plano tend to be growing and prospering, with residents enjoying better schools and lower crime rates. More dangerous cities, like St. Louis and Cleveland, tend to be hit with a bunch of negatives at once: population decline, a depressed economy, and higher rates of violent and property crime.
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 stresses of that.
Now that you know which are the safest cities in America, find out which ones are the best cities for sleep.