The SafeWise team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.
Virginia’s 20 Safest Cities of 2023
Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Virginia for 2023
See if your city made the full list.
According to our 2023 State of Safety report, Virginians are more worried about crime and safety than most Americans, despite having crime rates that are well below both regional and national averages. And Virginia’s safest cities have even lower crime rates than the rest of the state—violent crime is nearly cut in half in these 20 low-crime cities.
In this report
2023 Virginia crime rates
Virginia's violent crime rate saw a 10% increase over last year, moving up from 2.1 incidents per 1,000 people to 2.3. The property crime rate had a smaller increase, it rose from 14.6 incidents per 1,000 people to 14.8.
Within the South Atlantic region, Virginia has the lowest violent crime rate by a wide margin. The next-lowest states were West Virginia (3.6) and Georgia (3.9). Virginia also has the lowest property crime rate ahead of Georgia (17.5) and West Virginia (18.0). Two of the eight states in this region didn't meet state reporting requirements this year: Florida and Maryland.
Virginia's violent crime rate is nearly half that of national levels and its property crime rate is 23% lower. Among the 41 states that met reporting requirements this year, The Old Dominion State has the sixth-lowest violent crime rate and the tenth-lowest property crime rate.
Violent crime in Virginia: Fear vs. reality
Virginia saw a 10% uptick in violent crimes year over year, and personal experiences of violent crime also rose. But Virginia still boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation—coming in with the sixth-lowest statewide rate. Still, survey respondents were 15% more worried about crime and safety than the average American.
- 56% of Virginians feel safe in their state, putting Virginia above the national average of 50%.
- Virginia has 1.7 fewer crime incidents per 1,000 people than the national average.
- Virginians are 2% more concerned about violent crime than the rest of the nation.
- Murder accounts for 3% of all violent crime in Virginia, compared to 2% nationwide. Among the safest cities, murder makes up only 1% of reported violent crimes.
- Rape is over twice as common in Virginia's safest cities (24%) as in the rest of the country (US 11%).
- Aggravated assault accounts for 68% of Virginia’s violent crimes, compared to 72% across the country.
Attitudes about personal safety in Virginia
- 41% of survey participants use some kind of personal protection like a stun gun or pepper spray, compared to 39% nationally.
- The most popular types of personal protection used by Virginia respondents this survey year were pocket knives and pepper spray at 39% each. This is lower than the national averages for pocket knives (US 43%) and pepper spray (US 42%).
- 46% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Attitudes about gun violence in Virginia
- 47% said gun violence is the safety concern they worry about most on a daily basis (US 47%).
- The number of respondents with a personal gun violence experience (6%) dropped by 4 percentage points year over year (US 12%).
- Virginia saw 20 mass shooting incidents in 2022, a 25% increase over the 16 incidents in 2021.
- For every police officer killed or injured by a gun in Virginia in 2022, 5.6 suspects experienced the same.
- There were 21 self-defense shooting incidents in Virginia in 2022—5 less than the year before.
Property crime in Virginia: Fear vs. reality
Property crime in Virginia ended a multi-year decline this year, but only 44% of survey respondents still worry about it happening to them (US 50%). Reports of personal experience with property crime dropped by remained unchanged year over year—Virginians reported fewer property crime experiences than in any other state.
- Virginia reported 4.5 fewer property crime incidents per 1,000 people than the national rate.
- 18 of the 20 safest cities have property crime rates below the state, regional, and US rates.
- Virginia sees a larger proportion of larceny thefts (comprising 83% of property crime) than most of the US (72%).
- Burglaries are much less common in Virginia, making up just 8% of all property crime, compared to 14% nationwide.
Attitudes about property security in Virginia
- 77% of survey respondents use some kind of security measure on their property, with guard dogs being the most common (39%).
- 39% of Virginians said they added or increased security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 35%).
- 25% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 28%).
Attitudes about package theft in Virginia
- 25% of survey respondents in Virginia reported experiencing package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 34%).
- 51% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft (US 53%).
- The preferred methods of package protection in Virginia are video doorbells (31%) and verified delivery (26%). While Virginia's preference for video doorbells is above the national average (US 28%), it's slightly lower for verified delivery (US 27%).
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A closer look at the safest cities in Virginia
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.
- 62 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Bridgewater holds onto the number 1 spot for the second year in a row—it has the lowest violent and property crime rates in the state.
- Orange made the biggest improvement in ranking this year, moving up 18 spots to land at number 13.
- 4 cities joined our top 20 this year: Orange (13), Richlands (17), Culpeper (18), and Radford (20).
- Leesburg (population 55,794) and Blacksburg (population 44,228) are the largest cities on the list and the only cities with populations above 20,000 residents.
- While it barely missed our list this year after dropping 4 spots to number 21, Virginia Beach (population 451,938) still has impressively low crime rates for such a large city.
Violent crime in Virginia's safest cities
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.3 incidents per 1,000 people—43% lower than the state rate (2.3).
- There were 3 reported murders in the safest cities this year compared to 566 statewide.
- Bridgewater had 1 violent crime report for the lowest violent crime rate in the state (0.2 per 1,000 residents).
- 12 of the safest cities reported 10 or fewer total violent crimes this year.
Property crime in Virginia's safest cities
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 9.0 incidents per 1,000, which is 39% below the state rate (14.8).
- Bridgewater has the lowest property crime rate in The Old Dominion State at just 2.6 incidents per 1,000 people. It had a total of 16 property crimes this year—4 fewer than last year.
- Vienna saw the largest property crime rate drop compared to last year, it reported 45% fewer property crimes year over year.
- 10 of the safest cities reported fewer than 100 total property crimes this year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Related articles on SafeWise
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.