You Can Live in One of American's 5 Safest Cities
BOSTON ( MainStreet) There's nothing worse than you or a loved one falling victim to crime, so here's a look at five U.S. communities you can move to where murders, rapes or less-serious incidents such as car thefts rarely occur.
"These places are fantastic choices if you're looking for a safe and stable community," says Andrew Schiller of NeighborhoodScout.com, which recently named the Safest Cities in the U.S. by analyzing crime data for every community with 25,000 residents or more.
NeighborhoodScout compiles its list each year by reviewing crime statistics that local police departments report to the FBI covering all murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny/thefts auto thefts and forcible (as opposed to statutory) rapes.
Schiller, whose Worcester, Mass.-based firm aggregates all sorts of data about different U.S. locales, believes America's safest cities "are those places that are very stable. They tend to have fewer transients and high levels of homeownership."
And while wealthy suburbs make up many communities at the top of NeighborhoodScout's safest-cities list, Schiller says you don't have to move to a superexpensive town to find low crime. "There's more than one path to safety," he says.
Click below for a rundown of the five communities at the top of NeighborhoodScout's latest safe-cities rankings (or click here for a list of America's most-dangerous communities).
Neighborhood Scout based its findings on total property- and violent-crime rates for each U.S. community as of 2011, the latest year with final figures available. (The firm supplemented the crime statistics municipalities report to the FBI each year with data from local sheriffs, transit police and other law-enforcement agencies.)
All references to violent crimes refer to murder, robbery, aggravated assault and forcible rape, while references to property crimes refer to burglary, larceny/theft and automotive theft. College-graduation rates refer to those of adults 25 or older, while the odds of becoming a crime victim refer to both violent and property crimes unless otherwise noted.
Fifth-safest U.S. city to move to: Bella Vista, Ark.
Located in Arkansas' northwest corner, Bella Vista is so safe that residents run just a 1-in-133 chance of becoming crime victims in any given year including only 1-in-1,237 odds of facing violent incidents.
Originally a private retirement community, Bella Vista only became a city officially in 2007, operating before that as an exclusive, residents-only enclave of golf courses and lakes.
Schiller says that even now, the community's non-retiree residents are often white-collar professionals who work at the Wal-Mart corporate headquarters some 10 miles away in Bentonville, Ark. "The people at Wal-Mart's headquarters think of Bella Vista as a nice, quiet, safe place to raise children," he says.
The city's 27,200 residents reported zero murders or robberies and just one car theft in 2011. Bella Vista also enjoys a burglary rate that's 63% below U.S. average and both aggravated-assault and theft/larceny levels that are some 79% under what you'd expect given the community's population.