Agriculture is Nebraska’s economic backbone, with farms and ranches utilizing over 90% of the state’s 77,348 square miles and cattle outnumbering residents four to one.1,2 But premier beef and produce aren’t all this midwestern state has going for it. Nebraska offers one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, earns high marks for quality of life, and touts rising incomes that Governor Pete Ricketts has every reason to be excited about.3,4,5

Additionally, Nebraska’s violent crime rate is lower than the national average, and incidents of homicide dropped substantially since our last report. In fact, Nebraska experienced a 21% decrease in reported murders, according to the most recent FBI crime statistics. While even one murder is too many, the residents of Nebraska’s safest cities can take comfort in knowing only a single crime of this type was reported among these cities—which together represent over 140,000 people. Nebraska’s nominal violent crime may be an outcome of the state’s justice reinvestment legislation (LB 605) and similar reforms which aim to reduce recidivism through strengthened parole supervision and other tactics.

Kudos for nominal crime carry through to the ten safest cities in the state, which reported an average of less than one violent crime for every 1,000 people. That’s approximately 80% lower than the national average. What’s more, York—the safest city in Nebraska—reported zero violent crimes, and second-ranked Seward reported only one. Washington County’s safe city of Blair deserves equal recognition for its exceedingly low property crime rate that’s less than half the national average.

For important information on safety and security in the Cornhusker State, see our Nebraska Safety Directory, where we’ve gathered numerous resources on emergency preparedness, crime prevention, and more.

The 10 Safest Cities in Nebraska

1. York
Population: 7,885
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.00
Property crimes per 1,000: 28.92
Total crime: 0% violent, 100% property

2. Seward
Population: 7,204
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.14
Property crimes per 1,000: 7.91
Total crime: 1.75% violent, 98.25% property

3. Plattsmouth
Population: 6,454
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.62
Property crimes per 1,000: 16.89
Total crime: 3.67% violent, 96.33% property

4. Columbus
Population: 22,911
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.09
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.78
Total crime: 5.01% violent, 94.99% property

5. Nebraska City
Population: 7,341
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.23
Property crimes per 1,000: 40.05
Total crime: 3.06% violent, 96.94% property

6. La Vista
Population: 16,973
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.24
Property crimes per 1,000: 14.49
Total crime: 8.54% violent, 91.46% property

7. Blair
Population: 7,969
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.25
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.80
Total crime: 9.80% violent, 90.20% property

8. Bellevue
Population: 56,294
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.31
Property crimes per 1,000: 17.66
Total crime: 7.44% violent, 92.56% property

9. McCook
Population: 7,557
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.32
Property crimes per 1,000: 27.66
Total crime: 4.78% violent, 95.22% property

10. Holdrege
Population: 5,575
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.43
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.96
Total crime: 6.25% violent, 93.75% property

How We Chose the Safest Cities in Nebraska

To identify the ten safest cities in Nebraska, we reviewed the 2016 FBI crime report statistics and population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI were excluded from the ranking system.

Our evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.

Learn more about how we rank our Safest Cities reports.


  1. Nebraska Department of Agriculture, “Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card
  2. Nebraska Beef Council, “State and National Beef Facts
  3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  4., “Quality of Life
  5., Office of Governor Pete Ricketts, “Gov. Ricketts: Revenue Trend a Sign of Growing Incomes

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

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, check out SafeWise’s picks for  Best Home Security Systems of 2018.

If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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