The SafeWise team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.
Rhode Island’s 10 Safest Cities of 2023
Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Rhode Island for 2023
See if your city made the full list.
According to our 2023 State of Safety report, Rhode Islanders are more concerned about their safety than the average American, although the state boasts some of the lowest crime rates. Even better, the state’s safest cities have crime rates well below the national average for violent crime (80% lower) and property crime (61% lower).
In this report
2023 Rhode Island crime rates
Following an increase last year, Rhode Island's violent crime rate dropped this year from 2.3 incidents per 1,000 people to 2.0. Property crime in The Ocean State saw a small increase since last year, but the overall rate stayed at 12.5 incidents per 1,000 residents.
In the New England region, Rhode Island has the second-highest violent crime rate behind Massachusetts (3.0). It also has the third-highest property crime rate below Connecticut (15.1) and Vermont (13.4).
Like the rest of New England, Rhode Island’s crime rates are lower than the national average. Among the 41 states that met reporting requirements this year, Rhode Island ranks fifth-lowest for violent crime and sixth-lowest for property crime.
Violent crime in Rhode Island: Fear vs. reality
Rhode Island’s violent crime rate is 13% lower than the previous survey year and remains still one of the lowest in the country. Reports of violent crime experiences rose this survey year, and Rhode Islanders are more worried about violent crime than the rest of the country.
- 42% of survey participants in The Ocean State said their state is a safe place to live (US 50%), a drop of 22 percentage points since our last survey.
- 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 11% nationwide. Rape accounts for 32% of violent crime in the 10 safest cities.
- The raw number of violent crimes reported in the safest cities decreased by 89 since last year. Still, these cities average less than 1 crime per 1,000 people.
Attitudes about personal safety in Rhode Island
- 30% of Rhode Island survey participants say they use some form of personal protection like pepper spray or a stun gun (US 39%).
- The most common types of personal protection used by Rhode Island respondents this survey year were pocket knives and pepper spray, which tied at 37%. This is lower than the national averages for pocket knives (US 43%) and pepper spray (US 42%).
- 28% of respondents said they added or increase security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey compared to the US average of 35%.
- 55% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%) and 70% of Rhode Islanders are highly concerned about the pandemic every day. That makes Rhode Island the second-most-concerned state when it comes to COVID-19.
Attitudes about gun violence in Rhode Island
- 52% of Rhode Islanders told us they worry about gun violence—that’s 5 percentage points higher than the national average.
- More Rhode Island residents reported personal experience with gun violence in the 12 months prior to the survey (7%) than in the previous survey year (4%). This is lower than the 12% US average.
- In 2022, there were no mass shooting incidents in Rhode Island, down from 2 in 2021.
- Rhode Island is one of 11 states without any police officer shooting deaths and injuries in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive. It tied with Delaware for the lowest number of deaths and injuries among suspects.
- There were 2 self-defense shooting incidents in Rhode Island in 2022—the same as the year before.
Property crime in Rhode Island: Fear vs. reality
In line with the slight rise of property crime incidences, Rhode Islanders told us that they’re 8% more concerned about property crimes than the national average. Although 71% of Americans say crime is increasing, only 64% of Rhode Islanders agreed.
- Statewide, the property crime rate increased by less than 1% and the total number of incidents reported by the safest cities decreased by over 500 since last year.
- Burglary accounts for just 11% of property crimes in The Ocean State (and just 10% in the safest cities), which is well below the national rate of 14%.
- All 10 of the safest cities reported lower property crime rates than state and national levels.
Attitudes about property security in Rhode Island
- 72% of survey respondents in Rhode Island are proactive about property protection (US 76%).
- The top forms of property protection in Rhode Island were security cameras (39%) and dogs (32%).
- 33% of Rhode Islanders say their property security has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (US 28%).
Attitudes about package theft in Rhode Island
- 35% of survey respondents in Rhode Island reported experiencing package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey, which is just above the US average of 34%.
- 63% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft, which is 1.2 times the US average of 53%.
- The preferred methods of package protection in Rhode Island are video doorbells (26%), leaving it in a safe spot (24%), and verified delivery (23%).
- This is lower than the respective national averages for video doorbells (US 28%), safe spots (US 25%), and verified delivery (US 27%).
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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.
- 18 cities met our criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Bristol and South Kingstown held on to the top 2 spots for the fourth consecutive year.
- Warwick (population 83,968) and East Providence (population 49,064) are the only cities on our list with populations above 37,000.
- East Providence is the only new city in the top 10 this year.
Violent crime in Rhode Island's safest cities
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 0.8 incidents per 1,000 people—60% lower than the state rate (2.0). Smithfield and North Kingstown had the lowest violent crime rates (0.4).
- 9 cities reported 0 murders, and 3 cities (Bristol, South Kingstown, and North Kingstown) had 0 reports of robbery.
- 80% of the safest cities reported 41 or fewer violent crime incidents.
Property crime in Rhode Island's safest cities
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 7.6 incidents per 1,000 people—39% lower than the state rate (12.5).
- Bristol had the lowest property crime rate (2.6) in Rhode Island. As with last year, it was the only city to report fewer than 100 property crimes.
- 9 cities (90%) reported fewer than 9 property crimes per 1,000 people.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.
Find security and safety resources in your area
Didn't find your city?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state email email@example.com with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2021.
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Endnotes and sources
FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.
- 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
- Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
- 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables
FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement ." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.
SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."
- 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
- 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.