In Virginia, creating a safe environment goes beyond traditional crime fighting; it also means working to ensure no one is discriminated against based on race, religion, or other personal attributes. As Attorney General Mark R. Herring puts it, “No Virginian should be singled out for abuse, harassment, or mistreatment because of who they are, what they look like, how they worship, where they come from, or whom they love.” To that end, Herring has fought to expand the definition of hate crimes to include offenses based not only on racial, religious, or ethnic animosity but also on disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

This concern for the well-being of all citizens carries through to the twenty cities on our list, starting with Dumfries. Named the safest city in Virginia, Dumfries reported no incidents of violent crime and a mere seventy-five property crimes, according to the most recent FBI crime report. Additionally, with just seven reported burglaries, we have every reason to believe this Prince William County community is a place where neighbors look out for one another.

Several other safe cities in Virginia also deserve similar praise. An impressive 65% of these cities (including heavily populated Fairfax and Blacksburg) reported less than one violent crime per 1,000 people. What’s more, the cities cited here boast an average violent crime rate 81% lower than the national average. Virginia reports less criminal activity per 1,000 people than most states in America, so being one of its safest cities is truly an honor.

From the serene shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the dramatic Appalachian Mountains, there are safe communities found in every part of the Old Dominion state. But safe cities don’t just happen, and they aren’t likely to stay that way without the efforts of leaders, citizens, and law enforcement officers. You can contribute by consulting our Virginia Safety Directory. Here you’ll find numerous resources for crime prevention and emergency preparedness to help keep your community and family safe.

The 20 Safest Cities in Virginia

1. Dumfries
Population: 5,263
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.00
Property crimes per 1,000: 14.25
Total crime: 0% violent, 100% property

2. Bridgewater
Population: 5,939
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.17
Property crimes per 1,000: 2.86
Total crime: 5.88% violent, 94.12% property

3. Broadway
Population: 3,831
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.26
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.79
Total crime: 2.04% violent, 97.96% property

4. Purcellville
Population: 9,547
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.31
Property crimes per 1,000: 5.66
Total crime: 5.56% violent, 94.44% property

5. Vienna
Population: 16,679
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.42
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.13
Total crime: 4.14% violent, 95.86% property

6. Buena Vista
Population: 6,576
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.46
Property crimes per 1,000: 8.36
Total crime: 5.45% violent, 94.55% property

7. Luray
Population: 4,817
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.83
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.42
Total crime: 3.70% violent, 96.30% property

8. Smithfield
Population: 8,418
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.83
Property crimes per 1,000: 17.94
Total crime: 4.64% violent, 95.36% property

9. Berryville
Population: 4,323
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.93
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.18
Total crime: 9.09% violent, 90.91% property

10. Big Stone Gap
Population: 5,378
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.93
Property crimes per 1,000: 28.64
Total crime: 3.25% violent, 96.75% property

11. Salem
Population: 25,396
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.95
Property crimes per 1,000: 20.75
Total crime: 4.55% violent, 95.45% property

12. Fairfax City
Population: 24,173
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.95
Property crimes per 1,000: 16.84
Total crime: 5.65% violent, 94.35% property

13. Blacksburg
Population: 44,528
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.97
Property crimes per 1,000: 9.19
Total crime: 10.51% violent, 89.49% property

14. Altavista
Population: 3,478
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.15
Property crimes per 1,000: 29.33
Total crime: 3.92% violent, 96.08% property

15. Warrenton
Population: 9,953
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.21
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.60
Total crime: 5.58% violent, 94.42% property

16. Abingdon
Population: 8,105
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.36
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.09
Total crime: 6.15% violent, 93.85% property

17. Lexington
Population: 7,264
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.38
Property crimes per 1,000: 10.60
Total crime: 12.99% violent, 87.01% property

18. Covington
Population: 5,570
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.44
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.72
Total crime: 6.61% violent, 93.39% property

19. Blackstone
Population: 3,467
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.44
Property crimes per 1,000: 34.90
Total crime: 4.13% violent, 95.87% property

20. Richlands
Population: 5,443
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.47
Property crimes per 1,000: 20.39
Total crime: 7.21% violent, 92.79% property

How We Chose the Safest Cities in Virginia

To identify the twenty safest cities in Virginia, we reviewed the 2016 FBI crime report statistics and population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI were excluded from the ranking system.

Our evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.

Learn more about how we rank our Safest Cities reports.

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for  Best Home Security Systems of 2018.

If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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