West Virginia was hit hard by natural disaster in 2016, encouraging the state to prioritize its citizens’ knowledge of emergency preparedness. The deadly floods that ravaged the state and prompted the president to declare a disaster in a dozen West Virginia counties were voted the top news story of the year.1 But, along with this damage, the state saw an outpouring of community support and volunteers to help the many homes, businesses, and schools impacted.
Most of the state’s safest cities were safe from the flooding, but the same civic spirit that inspired local college football heroes to donate equipment to affected high schools is evident in the ten cities that came out on top this year.2 Weston, named number one in our West Virginia rankings, formed the Urban Renewal Authority to rehab abandoned and dilapidated buildings to increase housing opportunities and safety throughout the city.3
Weston’s crime record is impressive—with only four total crimes reported, according to the most current FBI crime report. In addition, none of those crimes were violent. Following Weston’s stellar example, 80% of the cities on our list reported five or fewer violent crimes, and 90% ended the year with no reports of murder. Overall, West Virginia’s state violent crime rate beats that of twenty-five other states.
In regard to property crime, 80% of the safest cities reported fewer than eight burglaries. These are impressive numbers that helped West Virginia beat thirty-one states’ property crime rates. Even if you call one of these safe cities home, there’s no question that home security systems help deter burglars. Whether or not your hometown is included on this year’s list, it’s easy to explore home security options using our comprehensive West Virginia Safety Directory.
How We Chose the Safest Cities in West Virginia
To identify the safest cities in West Virginia, we reviewed the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2015, along with population data. We eliminated all cities with fewer than 2,000 residents as well as any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.
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From there, we evaluated the remaining cities. We narrowed it down based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) in each city. To further level the playing field, we calculated the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 people in each city.
1. Weston ↑
Previous rank: 2
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.00
Property Crimes per 1,000: 0.98
2. Grafton ↑
Previous rank: 3
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.77
Property Crimes per 1,000: 0.96
3. Charles Town
Previous rank: Not ranked
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.34
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.13
4. Bethlehem ↑
Previous rank: 7
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 3.71
5. Ripley ↓
Previous rank: 4
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.54
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.32
6. Winfield ↑
Previous rank: 10
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.85
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.13
7. Lewisburg ↑
Previous rank: 15
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.50
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.10
8. Williamson ↑
Previous rank: 13
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 4.64
Property Crimes per 1,000: 8.28
Previous rank: 9
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.74
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.56
10. Fairmont ↑
Previous rank: 12
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.70
Didn’t see your city rank in the top 10?
Check the remaining cities below, and take a look at the most recent FBI crime data here.
|11. Philippi||12. Shinnston||13. Weirton|
|14. Spencer||15. Vienna||16. Point Pleasant|
|17. Oak Hill||18. Morgantown||19. Bluefield|
|20. Milton||21. Moorefield||22. Bridgeport|
|23. Wheeling||24. Buckhannon||25. Parkersburg|
|26. Moundsville||27. Kenova||28. Dunbar|
|29. Princeton||30. St. Albans||31. Nitro|
|32. Martinsburg||33. Fayetteville||34. South Charleston|
|35. Charleston||36. Barboursville||37. Beckley|
How safe is your home?
Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.
To learn more about the home security options available to you in your area, select the city nearest you in the drop down menu below.
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1. TheNewsCenter, “West Virginia Floods Voted Top Story Statewide”
2. WHSV3, “Flood-Affected Schools Receive Thousands in Donated Football Equipment”
3. The Exponent Telegram, “Weston Addressing Blighted Areas, Forms Urban Renewal Authority to Help”