Rhode Island’s 10 Safest Cities of 2021

SOS_Badges-2021_RhodeIsland

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 safest cities in Rhode Island for 2021

1. Bristol
2.South Kingstown
3. Smithfield
4. Cumberland
5. North Kingstown
6. North Providence
7. Westerly
8. Coventry
9. Johnston
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).

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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.

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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.
Experience with violent crime rose 50% year over year but experience with gun violence in Rhode Island fell 15%.

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%).
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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.
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The 10 Safest Cities in Rhode Island

#1
Bristol
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    22,070
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $60,988
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.7, 0.5, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    4.7, 4.0, 4.4
South Kingstown, Rhode Island
#2
South Kingstown
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    30,656
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $72,021
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.6, 0.5, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    7.0, 6.6, 6.4
Smithfield, Rhole Island
#3
Smithfield
(
+2
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    21,790
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,305
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.3, 1.0, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    8.9, 8.7, 10.9
Cumberland, Rhode Island
#4
Cumberland
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    35,206
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $74,499
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.7, 0.7, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    7.2, 8.7, 7.7
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
#5
North Kingstown
(
-2
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    26,286
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $80,506
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.9, 0.4, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    8.1, 8.9, 10.5
North Providence, Rhode Island
#6
North Providence
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    32,655
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $53,470
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.3, 1.2, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    6.4, 9.7, 9.2
Westerly, Rhode Island
#7
Westerly
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    22,475
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $62,830
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.7, 0.8, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    10.8, 12.8, 17.0
#8
Coventry
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    34,751
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $69,050
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.9, 1.0, 1.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    11.1, 13.0, 14.5
#9
Johnston
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    29,424
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $57,457
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.1, 1.4, 1.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    11.1, 11.7, 12.3
#10
East Providence
(
-3
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    47,590
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $57,384
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.3, 1.1, 1.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    10.5, 10.8, 12.2

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. Learn more about your home security options—and find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems.

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.

2021 Rank
City
Population
VC per 1000
PC per 1000
11West Warwick28.85K1.98.3
12Warwick80.75K0.915.3
13Cranston81.47K1.613.6
14Lincoln21.89K1.117.4
15Central Falls19.42K4.214.9
16Newport24.58K2.821.8
17Pawtucket72.03K4.122.8
18Woonsocket41.71K5.720.7
19Providence179.76K5.030.1

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


Sources

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.

Rebecca Edwards
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 eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.