Our 2020 State of Safety survey revealed that 55% of the New Yorkers who participated experience high concern about their safety every day. That’s almost ten points higher than the national average of 46%.
New York has higher levels of concern about safety despite some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
Across the board, New York’s levels of concern don’t match up with the reality of crime in the Empire State. Both violent and property crime rates in New York are lower than national rates.
New York has a violent crime rate of 3.5, compared to 3.7 nationwide, and the property crime rate is 14.4, compared to 22.0 across the country.
Despite the lower violent crime rate, New Yorkers reported a slightly higher rate of personal experience with violent crime—13% versus the national average of 12%. But they do better when it comes to property crime, coming in twelve points below the national average of 26%.
Violent Crime in New York: Fear vs. Reality
Physical assault by a stranger is the violent crime that New Yorkers fear most, but they think it’s more likely that they’ll be robbed on the street.
50% cited physical assault by a stranger as the violent crime for which they have the most concern on a daily basis (40% is the national average).
Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime in New York, comprising 60% of all incidents reported by the safest cities and 63% across the state.
41% said they think they’re most likely to be robbed on the street, over any other violent crime. Only 27% across the country agree.
Among the safest cities, there were only nine robberies reported, accounting for 30% of all incidents in those cities. Robbery comprised 27% of violent crimes statewide.
Property Crime in New York: Fear vs. Reality
New Yorkers are most concerned about someone breaking in when the occupants aren’t at home. It’s also the property crime they think is most likely to occur.
65% expressed the highest level of concern about a break-in when no one is at home. That’s slightly higher than the national average of 62%.
35% think that a break-in when they’re away from home is the crime most likely to happen, versus 38% across the country.
Burglary accounted for 10% of all property crime reported by the safest cities, and statewide it made up 11% of all property crime incidents.
Larceny-theft was the most prevalent property crime in New York, making up 86% of all incidents reported in the safest cities and 84% across the state.
Despite high concern about burglaries, only 21% of New York respondents said they use a security system to protect their home. The national average is 24%.
Security cameras and dogs or other guard animals are the security measures used most often in the Empire State, with 29% claiming each form of protection. Across the US, 25% use security cameras and 33% rely on a guard animal.
37% of New Yorkers don’t use any security measures to protect their property.
A Closer Look at New York’s Safest Cities of 2020
For the purposes of this report, the terms “safest” and “dangerous” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
Lewisboro Town is the number one safest city in New York for the third consecutive year, reporting zero crimes to the FBI in 2018.
The top three cities (Lewisboro, Sleepy Hollow Village, and Kirkland Town) all reported no violent crime, so rankings came down to each city’s property crime rate. Eight cities total reported no violent crimes.
Eleven cities (55%) improved their rankings year over year, with Plattekill Townmaking the biggest jump—57 spots from 65 to 8.
Four cities (20%) dropped in rank this year.
Two new cities joined the list this year—Sleepy Hollow Village and New Castle Town.
Every city on the list beat both state (3.5) and national (3.7) violent crime rates and every city kept violent crime to fewer than 0.5 incidents per 1,000.
There were only 30 total violent crimes reported by the safest cities.
All cities are below both state (14.4) and national (22.0) property crime rates and no city reported more than 4.4 incidents per 1,000.
Fifteen cities (75%) reported fewer than 50 total property crimes.
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