The 20 Safest Cities In America

Violent crime reports rose in America for the first time in 2006, according to FBI statistics.

However, the recent 1.2% increase belies a long-term trend: America is becoming a much safer country.

To find out which parts of America are the safest, we looked at the FBI’s latest report on crime and found cities with violent crime rates substantially below the national average. 

We only included cities with populations of more than 200,000 to exclude suburban areas. Many of the cities are repeat winners from our 2011 report on America’s safest cities.

Irvine, Calif. has been the safest city in the country for the 9th consecutive year. The city of just more than 200,000 has one of the country’s top-ranked school systems, a median household income well above the national average, and a crime prevention method that includes keeping a thorough record of violence.

Nine of the 20 safest cities are located in the Southwest, with another six located in California. Conversely, on our list of the 25 most dangerous cities, there were no Southwestern cities and only two California cities.

Clearly there’s a geographic trend here. It should be noted, however, that different crime reporting policies among states may make some states appear safer or more dangerous than they really are.

neighbouring cities Virgina Beach and Chesapeake, VA, are the only two on the list with murder rates equal to or above the national average. However, rape and robbery rates substantially below the national average compensate for this difference.

El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities, is located directly across the Mexico-U.S. border from Juarez, Mexico, one of the world’s most violent cities. Officials there say that drug cartels keep their base of operations in Mexico to avoid encounters with U.S. law enforcement.

It also turns out safety has its trade-offs: four of the safest cities (Chula Vista, Calif., Hialeah, Fla., Chandler, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev.) also appear on Forbes’s list of the 10 most boring cities in America. 

These were the safest cities in 2012:

1. Irvine, Calif. had a murder rate 80% below average; rape rate 86% below average; robbery rate 86% below average.

2. Fremont, Calif. had a murder rate 81% below average; rape rate 76% below average; robbery rate 47% below average.

3. Plano, Texas had a murder rate 92% below average; rape rate 28% below average; robbery rate 65% below average.

4. Madison, Wisc. had a murder rate 73% below average; unreported rape data; and robbery rate 11% below average.

5. Irving, Texas had a murder rate 72% below average; rape rate 55% below average; and robbery rate 47% below average.

6. Scottsdale, Ariz. has a murder rate 71% below average; rape rate 26% below average; and robbery rate 55% below average. 

7. Boise, Idaho has a murder rate 90% below average; rape rate 35% above average; and robbery rate 73% below average. 

8. Henderson, Nev. has a murder rate 68% below average, rape rate 13% below average; and robbery rate 43% below average. 

9. Chandler Ariz. has a murder rate 65% below average; rape rate 1% below average; and robbery rate 46% below average.

10. Chula Vista, Calif. has a murder rate 32% below average; rape rate 50% below average; and robbery rate 20% below average. 

11. Hialeah, Fla. has a murder rate 63% below average; rape rate 36% below average; and robbery rate 2% below average.

12. Virginia Beach, Va. has a murder rate equal to average; rape rate 52% below average; and robbery rate 36% below average.

13. Garland, Texas has a murder rate 37% below average; rape rate 25% below average; and robbery rate 12% below average. 

14. El Paso, Texas has a murder rate 28% below average; rape rate 2% above average; and robbery rate 39% below national average. 

15. Fontana, Calif. has a murder rate 47% below average, rape rate 42% below average; and robbery rate 27% above average. 

16. Oxnard, Calif. has a murder rate 5% below average; rape rate 85% below average; and robbery rate 32% above average. 

17. Reno, Nev. has a murder rate 35% below average; rape rate 46% below average; and robbery rate 25% above average. 

18. Chesapeake, Va. has a murder rate 12% above average; rape rate 41% below average; and robbery rate 22% below average. 

19. Laredo, Texas has a murder rate 31% below average; rape rate 24% above average; and robbery rate 34% below average. 

20. San Diego, Calif. has a murder rate 25% below average; rape rate 15% below average; and robbery rate 0.3% below average. 

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