The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report.
Rhode Island’s 10 Safest Cities of 2021
Here are the 10 safest cities in Rhode Island for 2021
5. North Kingstown
6. North Providence
10. East Providence
See if your city made the full list.
Rhode Islanders are more concerned about their safety than the average American, although the state boasts lower-than-average crime rates. Even better, the state’s safest cities have crime rates nearly 60% below the national average.
2021 Rhode Island crime rates
The Ocean State boasts the ninth-lowest violent crime rate in the country but the second-highest among states in the New England region. Rhode Island reported 2.2 violent crime incidents per 1,000 people for the second consecutive year, remaining far below violent crime nationwide.
Rhode Island’s property crime rate is lower than the national average, but the state saw nearly three more incidents per 1,000 people than the rest of the New England region. Still, Rhode Island saw a drop in property crime year over year—the state’s property crime rate decreased by almost 8% in 2021 (almost the same as the drop across the region).
Level of concern and experience with crime in Rhode Island
Overall concern about crime and safety rose by three percentage points this year, an increase that’s in line with Rhode Island’s rising property crime rate. Reports of experience with violent crime also jumped year over year.
Along with fewer property crime incidents reported to law enforcement, survey respondents shared fewer personal experiences of property crime. And although concerns have risen, use of property protection methods remain less prevalent in Rhode Island than in the rest of the US.
But just because Rhode Islanders are worried about crime and safety, it doesn’t mean they feel unsafe in The Ocean State—60% said their state is a safe place to live, compared to 55% nationwide. In a similar vein, 13% more Rhode Islanders have confidence in law enforcement than the national average.
Crime concerns in Rhode Island
We asked Rhode Island residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Rhode Islanders are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2021 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in Rhode Island: Fear vs. reality
Rhode Island’s violent crime rate held steady year over year, remaining one of the lowest in the country. But reports of violent crime experiences rose this year and Rhode Islanders are slightly more worried about violent crime than the rest of the country.
- Rhode Island’s violent crime rate (2.2) is well below the national average of 3.7 incidents per 1,000, but it has the second-highest rate in the New England region.
- Rhode Island sees a smaller percentage of murders, robberies, and assaults in its violent crime numbers, but its reports of rape make up 21% of all violent crime compared to 8.2% nationwide. Differing FBI definitions of rape could account for the large discrepancy.
- 38% of Rhode Island survey participants say they use some form of personal protection like pepper spray or a stun gun (US 34%).
- 45% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%) and 73% of Rhode Islanders are highly concerned about the pandemic every day. That makes Rhode Island the sixth-most-concerned state when it comes to COVID-19.
Attitudes about police and gun violence in Rhode Island
- 58% of Rhode Islanders told us their top safety concern is gun violence—that’s 5% points higher than the national average.
- In 2020, there were no mass shooting incidents in Rhode Island and only one officer-involved shooting. Those numbers match year-end totals from 2019.
- Rhode Island has higher confidence in law enforcement than much of America, with 63% supporting law enforcement’s approach to public safety, versus 56% across the country.
Property crime in Rhode Island: Fear vs. reality
In line with the falling incidence of property crime, Rhode Islanders told us that they’re 17% more concerned about property crimes than the national average.
- Rhode Island’s property crime rate dropped by more than one incident per 1,000 people from 16.6 in 2020 to 15.4 this year.
- The Ocean State has the highest property crime rate (15.3) in the New England region, which dropped this year by just over one incident per 1,000 people to 12.8.
- 57% of survey respondents in Rhode Island are proactive about home security (US 62%) with 30% of those using security cameras to protect their property.
- 32% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
A closer look at the safest cities in Rhode Island
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.
- 19 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking this year.
- Bristol and South Kingstown held on to the top 2 spots for the second year in a row.
- Number 1 city Bristol reported just 119 total crimes in the FBI’s most recent annual report.
- Among the safest cities, there were only 0.9 violent crimes reported per 1,000 people, nearly 3 fewer incidents than the national average of 3.7.
- 80% of the cities reported 0 counts of murder and half had 0 reports of robbery.
- The safest cities have an average property crime rate of 8.6 incidents per 1,000 people—almost seven fewer incidents than the rest of the state and 12.5 fewer than the national average.
- Although no city reported fewer than 100 total property crimes, 100% reported fewer than 100 counts each of burglary and motor vehicle theft.
- East Providence reported the highest number of property crimes but still limited incidents to just 10.5 per 1,000—more than 50% below the national average.
How we determined the safest cities
Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Didn't find your city in the top 10?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.
NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2019.
VC per 1000
PC per 1000
Find the safest cities in each state
Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.
Related articles on SafeWise
FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.