We just released the 100 safest small towns in America for 2020 and Connecticut is home to three towns that made the list. Check out the full rankings to see if your town made the cut.
The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the sixth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 20 Safest Cities in Connecticut for 2020. See if your city made the list.
Connecticut’s attitudes about safety and security reflect national averages, but its top violent crime concern—mass shootings—is outside the norm. The scars from the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012 still loom large. However, Newtown continues to be named among the state’s safest cities.
Mass shootings are outlier events that cause incomprehensible damage, but don’t necessarily indicate the general safety of a city or state.
Connecticut respondents to our 2020 State of Safety survey indicated slightly higher general concern about safety year over year and experience with crime nearly doubled. But the state’s concern about mass shootings (41%) is far above the national average of 28%.
That level of worry is likely fueled by the fact that 11% of participants reported that they (or someone they know) have been personally affected by a mass shooting at some point in their life.
41% of Connecticut residents are most concerned about mass shootings.
Connecticut enjoys lower crime rates than most of the nation. Its violent crime rate is 2.1, compared to 3.7 nationwide, and the property crime rate is 16.8, which is well below the national rate of 22.0. Both rates decreased year over year—but respondents reported more personal experience with both types of crime.
Violent Crime in Connecticut: Fear vs. Reality
Connecticut shows lower levels of concern for nearly every violent crime when compared with national averages. The standout exception is its most worrisome crime, mass shootings, which participants also named as the crime they think is most likely to happen.
41% named mass shootings the violent crime they’re most concerned about (38% nationally).
Mass shooting was also named the most likely violent crime, with 25% of respondents making it their top pick versus 23% nationwide.
As of July 15, 2020, there have been three mass shootings in Connecticut, killing two and injuring 12. Across the country there have been 299 mass shooting incidents so far this year.
Between 2014 (the earliest year for which we have data) and 2019, there were 16 mass shootings in Connecticut, leaving six dead and 78 injured.
Nationwide, there were 2,087 mass shooting incidents between 2014 and 2019.
In 2018, there were 83 murders in Connecticut and 54 involved firearms. Murder accounted for 1% of all violent crime across the state.
Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime reported (4,294 incidents) in Connecticut, accounting for 58% of all violent crime.
11% experienced violent crime in the past 12 months. That’s almost double what was reported last year, but still below the national average of 12%.
Property Crime in Connecticut: Fear vs. Reality
In general, Connecticut is more concerned about property crime than the national average. Someone breaking in while the occupants are home is the biggest property crime concern, beating national levels of concern by eight percentage points.
66% named someone breaking in while they’re at home as the top property crime worry, compared to 58% nationwide.
Burglaries account for just 12% of all property crime in the safest cities and 13% of all property crime across the state.
Despite such high concern, only 24% report using a home security system and just 19% use security cameras. Only 15% use firearms to protect their home, and 24% use a dog or other guard animal.
Nearly 40% of survey respondents said they don’t use any kind of security or protection on their property.
40% named theft of digital property as the most likely property crime—four percentage points above the national average.
Last year digital security was the number one safety concern in Connecticut.
Only 18% reported experiencing a property crime in the past year. That’s below the national average of 26% but double last year’s report of 9%.
A Closer Look at Connecticut’s Safest Cities of 2020
For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
Ridgefield stayed on top for the second consecutive year, reporting 65 total crimes and just one violent crime.
55% of the cities improved their rank this year, with Danbury making the biggest leap from 33 in 2019 to 19 this year.
South Windsor made its debut as one of Connecticut’s safest cities at number 12.
All of the safest cities are below both state (2.1) and national (3.7) violent crime rates.
90% of the cities had fewer than one violent crime occur per 1,000 people.
The highest violent crime rate is Danbury, with 1.5 incidents per 1,000.
Ridgefield, the safest city, reported one violent crime—a robbery.
There were only three murders among the safest cities.
All cities came in under the national property crime rate of 22 and 95% beat the state rate of 16.8.
Branford’s property crime rate (16.9) is barely above the state rate of 16.8—that’s still almost five percentage points below the US average.
40% of the cities reported fewer than 10 property crimes per 1,000 residents.
Mass Shooting Definition: SafeWise uses the GVA definition of a mass shooting: “If four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.”
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more