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The 30 Safest Cities to Raise a Child – 2016

30 Safest Cities Raise Child (1)

Raising children is stressful enough without having to worry about their whereabouts and safety. Luckily, there are a number of cities across America that are ideal for raising kids.

How We Established The Safest Cities to Raise a Child

To find the “Safest Cities to Raise Children in America,” we analyzed violent crime data from the most recent FBI Crime Report, along with sex offender populations, state graduation rates, and school rankings. We also looked for unique programs that were kid-friendly. While we know there are tons of wholesome communities out there focused on keeping their children safe and happy, the following are the best for raising kids based on our research.

Along with the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics, we also reviewed population data. We eliminated all cities with fewer than 10,000 residents as well as any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.

If your city made the list, share the news by embedding the “Safest Cities to Raise a Child” badge on your site. Click here to get the code, then just copy and paste.

1. Carmel, Indiana

Carmel, Indiana is the number one safest city in America to raise kids. That’s because the city puts an emphasis on its smallest residents—and infrastructure. Funny enough, Carmel has made history in the Guinness Book of World Records because it has the  “World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery.” This art center showcases student artwork and encourages local youth to get involved in music and the arts. Carmel also excels in general education. With award-winning schools and close to a 90% high school graduation rate, it’s a town that promotes health, safety, and success of its youngest inhabitants.

2. Fishers, Indiana

The Hoosier State has done it again—clenching number one and two on our “30 Safest Cities to Raise Kids in America” list. This time, Fishers, Indiana has caught our attention for its sublime low crime statistics. Out of the town’s 85,557 residents, there were only 18 violent crimes reported in 2014. Thanks to little crime, parents are able to enjoy a wide variety of town activities with their kids—like “Monsoon Madness,” a free slip-n-slide festival, and “Can You Win It?”, a community family game night series.  

3. Greenwich, Connecticut

Greenwich, Connecticut has exceptionally low crime rates, a low sex offender population, and stellar education. Connecticut as a whole ranks sixth for the best schools in the nation. Greenwich helps uphold this status with its youth services bureau that is pro-active in providing alternates to juvenile arrest and juvenile court by providing a Juvenile Review Board as well as a strong library system. The Greenwich Library has a literacy initiative called BookFlix that encourages young kids to enhance their reading skills and develop a love for books. Once they get a bit older, young adults can continue reading with the community-wide program, “Greenwich Reads Together”—a digital book club that promotes socialization and reading for pleasure. They have a Youth Services Director that works with all the town departments and non-profits in town to set children up to succeed and get connected to any needed services. They also have a very active First Selectman’s Youth commission consistently working with local leaders to make sure Greenwich is its very best to all its residents, even its youngest.

A note from Greenwich: 

The Greenwich community and service providers place a very high priority on meeting the needs of our children and families. Greenwich has approximately 17,000 children under the age of 20, or about 28 percent of our population. (United Way Needs Assessment) Greenwich is a thriving community because of all it’s agencies, collaborators and partners working together to make the community the best it can be.  Including but not limited to, the Boys Scouts, Arch Street Teen Center, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, YWCA, Pathways, ABILIS, Kids in Crisis, Family Centers that all work to meet all the community needs from family enrichment to critical needs including counseling to address mental health, behavioral, and substance abuse problems; and job training.  Additionally the Greenwich Police Department is pro-active and is part time home to the Youth Services Bureau and coordinating services to meet the needs of all our youth, as well as with it’s Special Victims Section and Community Impact office.  From the Citizen’s Police Academy, Self Defense Classes, to restorative justice programs such as town’s Juvenile Review Board and the First Selectman’s Youth Commission all play a key role in keeping Greenwich safe and special. 

4. Irvine, California

Irvine is a breathtaking city between the mountains and sea. Aside from its natural beauty, it’s also a safe and enriching place to raise a family. With almost 60 parks throughout the city, parents have ample opportunity to recreate with their kids outdoors. Children also have the ability to get out and grow by enrolling in over 100, week-long summer camps. Whether your child is interested in art, dance, sports, science, or engineering, they can find a program they’ll love.

5. Middletown Township, New Jersey

If you’re thinking about starting a family in Middletown Township, go with your gut. This coastal city has been voted one of the “Best Places to Live” by MONEY Magazine four times—most recently in 2014. We think this has to do with the town’s interest in resident education. Once a month, parents can meet with a certified Traffic Safety Officer to learn how to install car seats correctly. With programs like these, you can tell Middletown Township, NJ cares about every child’s wellbeing.

6. Old Bridge Township, New Jersey

New Jersey has the second best schools in the nation and the fifth highest graduation rates. To uphold these rankings, Old Bridge Township runs programs that focus on students and families. The Before & After School Program is a non-profit group that provides families with affordable childcare—and has been doing so for over 20 years. Working parents who utilize this service can trust that their kids are learning, playing, and getting homework done in a positive and safe environment.

7. Merrimack, New Hampshire

You’ll feel safe and sound in Merrimack, New Hampshire. With only four violent crimes reported in 2014, it’s one of the safest cities in America based on that data. Merrimack’s fire department works to keep residents safe in other ways. The city has a designated kid’s safety page called, Kid’s Corner, where parents can find coloring activities, quizzes, word searches, and other games that center around child fire safety education. The fire department also encourages parents to visit the fire station with their children, so they can learn about fire prevention and safety first-hand.

8. Essex, Vermont

The draw of apple picking, tractor riding, and vibrant fall foliage are big selling points of this gorgeous city. So is the fact that Essex, Vermont is incredibly safe. With the sixth lowest number of sex offenders in the country (statewide), you can feel better about the neighborhoods and community where your children play. Likewise, parents can ease their worries about their children’s safety because of the active community Neighborhood Watch program that works to fight crime.

9. Olathe, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas is a mix of urban and country. You’ll find pastures with horses as well as a bustling downtown. Spend weekends and summer holidays playing in the 1,238-acre Heritage Park with your kids or observing art at the Downtown Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit. When it’s time to go back to school, rest assured that your kids will be in good hands. One of the most remarkable facts about Olathe is that its students feel safer than other places. In fact, Kansas came in second in the nation for making high school students feel secure enough to attend class. To keep the younger kids safe too, Olathe has a resource called, School Safety, that provides tips about how kids can travel safely to and from school.

10. South Brunswick Township, New Jersey

Less than an hour from busy New York City, you’ll find quaint South Brunswick Township. As the tenth safest city to raise a family in America, South Brunswick Township has extremely low crime rates and ranks fifth in the country for best graduation rates (based on statewide data). Living here, you’ll discover programs for people of all ages—especially kids. The public library has a fantastic program where children with special needs can practice reading to therapy dogs. Not only does this advance their reading skills, but helps with socialization too.

11. Newton, Massachusetts

Sending your kids to school in Newton, Massachusetts shouldn’t make you nervous. Massachusetts as a whole has the lowest amount of fights in high school and among the lowest instances of high school bullying. Newton itself has a number of projects that support harmony at school. Currently, the town is busy renovating and expanding Zervas and Cabot Elementary Schools to reduce overcrowding, increase its ability to take on more students, and offer state-of-the-art learning facilities.

12. Fairfield, Connecticut

Connecticut schools are ranked sixth in the country for their quality. In Fairfield, CT, you won’t find anything but the best in its public school system. Not only do they have anti-bullying laws and policies in place, but they offer students and parents a portal called, Infinite Campus. Middle school students, high school students, and their parents can make accounts to keep track of assignments, grades, attendance records, and communications from the schools. It’s a great way for parents to stay on top of their children’s schooling and keep them on track for graduation.

13. Cary, North Carolina

Cary, North Carolina has great restaurants, a hopping downtown area, and scenic surroundings. That in itself is a good enough reason to move there to start a family. What sweetens the pot is the amount there is for young families to do in Cary. Every summer, kids and adults can sign up for a plethora of camps and classes. Classes vary from a skating club called, Sk8-Cary, to cooking classes, sports, and a variety of special interest groups. The city of Cary also puts on events like Princess Picnic, which encourages parents and their children to dress up like royalty and mingle with other pretend blue bloods.

14. Manchester Township, New Jersey

When you live in Manchester Township, your kids will be able to build sandcastles at the nearby Jersey Shore, frolic on the boardwalks, and enjoy nearby Harry Wright Lake. With little crime, parents can put their minds at ease while their families enjoy this water sports haven. The town employs lifeguards at Harry Wright Lake from Memorial Day to Labor Day for enhanced water safety. It even throws fun events like Luau at the Lake—an event complete with Hawaiian food, dancers, and music.

15. Monroe Township, New Jersey

This Middlesex County city has a lot to offer families. For instance, Monroe Township public schools have an elective class called, AVID (advancement via individual determination). The course prepares students for academic success so they can attend college. It seems to be working—AVID reports that 95% of its graduates enroll in universities. New Jersey as a whole has an impressive education system. Across the state, over 87% of students graduate high school.

16. Franklin Township, New Jersey

Kids who live in Franklin Township, NJ can get a healthy dose of the outdoors. Have your children sign up for a number of sports programs or enjoy recreating in any of the twelve parks in town. To enrich the lives of children even more, Franklin Township has the Franklin Township Youth Council. This group coordinates events and volunteer activities, and posts open job positions for kids 5-25-years old. It’s a great city to live in because your kids can truly integrate into the culture and community.

17. Orem, Utah

This picturesque city rests in the shadows of the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains. Living here means kids and parents can hike, bike, ski, trail run, and explore thousands of acres of national parks. If learning about nature isn’t enough, your children can grow their minds at the local library. Orem Public Library has a children’s summer reading program, reading sessions for families with special needs children, and bilingual storytime to incorporate children of different backgrounds.

18. Toms River Township, New Jersey

Toms River Township, NJ works to keep its children safe. The health department regularly posts about safety topics like backyard barbecuing safety, beach closures, and asthma control. The health department even has a worksheet for children that educates about the dangers of Zika virus through a storybook-like coloring activity. This accessible safety information plus the town’s low crime record make it an attractive place to raise young kids.

19. Naperville, Illinois

Naperville has been touted for its family friendliness before it made it on our “30 Safest Cities to Raise Kids in America.” Since 1997, it’s been named one of the top five “kid-friendliest” cities in the nation. A lot of this has to do with the education system. The Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) has equipped classrooms with advanced technology to aid in faster and more dynamic learning. Naperville is close to implementing this technology in all K-12th grade classrooms, so the community’s students can flourish.

20. Edison Township, New Jersey

Edison Township is named after a very famous inventor: Thomas Edison! His “invention factory” was built in Menlo Park and gave birth to over 400 patented creations during his stay. In the spirit of invention and brilliance, Edison Township promotes learning and creativity in its youth. Plays-in-the-Park is an ongoing initiative that makes theater more accessible to everyone. Families can take their kids to watch these productions in the town’s amphitheater to learn about the arts.

21. Gilbert, Arizona

Tourists flock to Gilbert, Arizona because of its outdoor adventures. Families move in for the low crime rates, quality schools, and fun activities. Those who love to be active with their kids will fall for The Riparian at Water Ranch. This preserve has over 250 species of birds, picnic areas, a dinosaur digs section, and more kid-friendly activities. There is also an astronomy observatory where you can teach your children about outer space. In a safe, engaging, and quiet community such as Gilbert, it’s easy to see why it’s #21 of our “30 Safest Cities to Raise Kids in America.”

22. Marlboro Township, New Jersey

Marlboro Township in Monmouth County invests in the protection of its youngest citizens. While police work to keep crime rates well below the national average, they do their duty teaching students about safety topics too. Resource officers work at all of the public schools and the elementary program is patrolled by Frank Perrini. Every year, he teaches the students about topics like Halloween and bike safety. He even invites students on field trips to the police station so they can ask questions and learn how to stay safe.

23. Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

If your children are enrolled in schools in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, they’ll be enriching their minds and bodies. That’s because the school system has a strict nutrition policy that eliminates overly processed foods from meals and fills lunch trays with healthier alternatives. While schools have strived to make children’s lunches more wholesome, the city has worked to do the same with its crime records. In 2014, there were only two reported violent crimes in Shrewsbury. If you have a young family or are thinking of starting one, Shrewsbury is a safe and healthy place to live.

24. Bridgewater Township, New Jersey

West of Edison, NJ, another one of our top cities to raise kids, sits Bridgewater Township. With some of the best schools in the country, Bridgewater Township also has some of the best school protocol. Parents can sign up for Honeywell Instant Alert® notifications. This electronic online system will notify you if there is an emergency in school or if school will be closed or closing early. It’s an advanced way to stay on top of your child’s safety and schedule wherever you are.

25. West Hartford, Connecticut

Next to the rushing waters of the Connecticut River, sits West Hartford, Connecticut. Streets are lined with large old trees and large, historic homes dot every corner. Although it neighbors crime-riddled Hartford, this suburb is more quaint, quiet, and safe. In 2014, West Hartford only documented 49 crimes for its 63,000 residents. The West Hartford police department’s “community policing” helps with this. The program concentrates on high police visibility in neighborhoods to prevent crime. The police also run the Behind the Badge: Citizen’s Police Academy program. It brings people of the community together to form stronger relationships with police units in town.

26. Jackson Township, New Jersey

Jackson Township is the third largest city in New Jersey. With over 56,000 residents, the police is busy finding ways to keep everyone safe. On its website, residents can find information about bear safety, online bullying, and specific parent resources. Jackson Township works to keep this resource up to date so that parents can find all the information they need to keep their children safe.

27. Bedford, New Hampshire

Bedford, New Hampshire is a cute little town outside of busy Manchester. Its low crime rates and fantastic school system have made Bedford our 27th “Safest City to Raise Kids in America.” The police department regularly educates the public on child safety matters. In April 2016, Detective Matt Fleming gave a presentation on “Social Media: A Predator’s Playground.” To help everyone learn about the dangers of the internet, the video has been posted online for parents to watch at their convenience.

28. Milford, Connecticut

Milford city lines run right up to the Long Island Sound. Because of this, residents can enjoy parks, beaches, and outdoor activities with their young ones. Another cool outdoor feature is Milford’s skate park that gives skateboarders, skaters, and bikers a safe place to practice. The park has strict rules that enforce helmet wearing, no drugs or alcohol, and no loitering after-hours. If your children are avid skaters and bikers, having this complex in town will be a big plus for your peace of mind.

29. Wallingford, Connecticut

There’s nothing to fear when you live in Wallingford CT. Well, except one thing: Wallingford has the state’s biggest “haunted” attractions. Trail of Terror can be visited by families with children 10 and up every year from September through Halloween for a spooky fun time. Aside from that, residents can sleep soundly at night because of the low crime rates. In 2014, Wallingford only had 23 reported violent crimes and continues to strive for less.

30. Hillsborough Township, New Jersey

Hillsborough Township, NJ has the same low crime, good schools, and great graduation rates as other cities on this list. However, it has something we’ve never seen before: a rewards card. The Hillsborough Rewards Visa Card is issued through Affinity Federal Credit union and gives back to local youth and senior programs, and nonprofit organizations. The Rewards Card is an incredible to tool to have in Hillsborough, since every time you spend money, you will help your community.

Honorable Mentions

31. Wayne Township, NJ 32. Frisco, TX 33. Manalapan Township, NJ
34. Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, NJ 35. Glastonbury, CT 36. Colchester, VT
37. Glendale, CA 38. Howell Township, NJ 39. Washington Township, Gloucester County, NJ
40. Woodbridge Township, NJ 41. Piscataway Township, NJ 42. Shelton, CT
43. Maple Grove, MN 44. Virginia Beach, VA 45. Eagan, MN
46. State College, PA 47. Warwick, RI 48. East Brunswick Township, NJ
49. Eden Prairie, MN 50. Franklin, MA

Do you live in a city that’s great for raising kids? We’d love to hear about more places in America that are family-friendly and secure. Please share stories about your town or tips about how you keep your family safe in the comment section below.

Curious if your town made 2016’s “100 Safest Cities in America” based on different criteria? See the report.

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Caroline Maurer

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