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Virginia’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

Written by | Updated July 15, 2020
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Last Updated: Less than 6 months
We updated mass shooting information for Virginia. Since our last update in early May, there have been three new mass shooting incidents in Virginia. Details are below.

And see how the coronavirus is impacting crime in Virginia and across the country. Read our coronavirus crime update for details.

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

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Virginia for 2020. 

  1. Broadway
  2. Bridgewater
  3. Lexington
  4. Berryville
  5. Vienna
  6. Purcellville
  7. Blacksburg
  8. Buena Vista
  9. Manassas Park
  10. Falls Church

See if your city made the full list.

Virginia crime experience infographic

General concern about safety is lower in Virginia than in the rest of the country. That’s not surprising when you see how low Virginia’s crime rates are, especially in its 20 safest cities.

Find out if your town is one of Virginia’s 20 safest cities of 2020. 

Our 2020 State of Safety report found that daily concern about safety decreased by 12 percentage points year over year in the Old Dominion State. Reports of experience with violent crime also went down, dropping from 8% to 4%.

Virginia crime concern infographic
Levels of concern in Virginia dropped by 23% this year and reported violent crime experience was cut in half.

Of the Virginians we talked to, 40% indicated they feel high concern about their safety on a daily basis, compared to 46% nationwide. Virginia is also the only state to report half as much experience with violent crime over the past 12 months. Nationwide, 12% reported a recent run-in with violent crime. 

When it comes to experience with property crime, Virginia saw an increase of six percentage points, but it remained below the national average of 26%. The property crime rate in Virginia is 16.7 incidents per 1,000, compared to 22.0 across the country. Violent crime is also lower than national rates. Virginia comes in at 2.0 and the national rate is 3.7.

Violent Crime in Virginia: Fear vs. Reality 

Falling victim to a mass shooting is the violent crime concern that worries Virginians the most. But survey respondents felt that being robbed on the street was most likely to occur. 

  • 45% of Virginia respondents to the State of Safety indicated that they have high concern about mass shootings, versus 38% nationwide. 
  • 8% reported that they, or someone they know, has been personally affected by a mass shooting at some time in their life. Nationwide, that number is 7%.
  • As of July 15, there have been four mass shootings in Virginia this year, leaving 18 people injured. Three of the incidents happened since our last update on May 6.
  • Between 2014 and 2019, there have been 50 mass shootings in Virginia, resulting in 57 deaths and 199 people injured. Nationwide for the same time period, there were 2,087 mass shooting incidents. So far in 2020, the nation has seen 299 mass shootings. 
  • In 2019, 12 people lost their lives in a shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach
  • 32% named being robbed on the street as the violent crime that’s most likely to actually happen, versus 27% nationwide. 
  • There were 75 robberies reported by the safest cities, making up 22% of all violent crime in those cities. Statewide, robbery accounts for 21% reported violent crimes. 
  • Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime in the state, accounting for 53% of reported crime in the safest cities and 59% across Virginia.
Virginia crime concern infographic
Virginia crime concern infographic

Property Crime in Virginia: Fear vs. Reality

Having property stolen is the property crime that Virginians feel is most likely to happen to them, but a break-in when no one’s at home is what worries them the most.  

  • 52% of survey respondents said the most concerning property crime is a break-in when there’s no one home. Nationwide, 62% shared the same level of worry for break-ins. 
  • Burglary accounted for 8% of all property crime reported by the safest cities and 11% of all property crime in Virginia.
  • 34% felt that the most likely property crime is having property stolen, compared to 36% across the US.
  • Larceny-theft is the most common property crime in Virginia, totalling 81% of the state’s property crimes and 87% of the property crimes reported by the safest cities.
  • 27% of Virginia respondents have a home security system, which is more than the national average of 24%. 
  • The security measure used the most in Virginia is a dog or other guard animal, according to 25% of survey respondents. Nationwide, 33% said they use a guard animal to help protect their property.
  • 40% said they don’t use any extra security measures to protect their property, compared to 29% across the country.
Virginia crime concern infographic
Virginia crime concern infographic

A Closer Look at Virginia’s Safest Cities of 2020

For the purposes of this report, the terms “safest” and “dangerous” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • Broadway is the new safest city in Virginia, boasting a violent crime rate of 0.3 incidents per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 2.3—representing a total of 10 reported crimes.
  • Eleven cities (55%) improved year over year, with Smithfield and Covington tying for most improved; each moved up 27 places from our 2019 ranking.
  • Seven cities (35%) dropped in ranking this year.
  • Two new cities joined the list this year: Buena Vista and Leesburg.
  • All cities came in under both state (2.0) and national (3.7) violent crime rates, with the highest rate being 1.8 per 1,000 in both Orange and Leesburg.
  • 55% of the cities limited violent crime to less than one incident per 1,000.
  • Berryville had the lowest violent crime rate at 0.2, but an 8.3 property crime rate kept the city at number four (down from number two last year).
  • 90% of the cities had property crime rates below the state’s rate of 16.7, and all cities beat the national average of 22.0.
  • Broadway had the lowest property crime rate at 2.3, with just nine total incidents reported.
  • Eight cities (40%) reported fewer than 100 total property crimes.
Virginia safest cities heat map showing population and crime score

The 20 Safest Cities in Virginia

VC = Violent Crime
PC = Property Crime

#1

Broadway

+9

Broadway, Virginia
Population 3,908
Median Income $44,852
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.3, 1.0, 0.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.3, 3.1, 12.8

#2

Bridgewater

-1

Bridgewater, Virginia
Population 6,125
Median Income $58,625
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.2, 0.2
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.1, 2.0, 2.9

#3

Lexington

+12

Lexington, Virginia
Population 7,098
Median Income $37,309
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.4, 1.3, 1.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 5.1, 5.7, 10.6

#4

Berryville

-2

Berryville, Virginia
Population 4,361
Median Income $58,602
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, 0.2, 0.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.3, 8.8, 10.2

#5

Vienna

-2

Vienna, Virginia
Population 16,660
Median Income $150,383
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.2, 0.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.9, 8.0, 10.1

#6

Purcellville

+3

Purcellville, Virginia
Population 10,090
Median Income $128,017
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.3, 1.0, 0.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.6, 5.0, 5.7

#7

Blacksburg

-3

Blacksburg, Virginia
Population 44,853
Median Income $39,910
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.9, 0.5, 1.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 7.2, 7.5, 9.2

#8

Buena Vista

New

Buena Vista, Virginia
Population 6,272
Median Income $33,672
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, Not available, 0.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.6, Not available, 8.4

#9

Manassas Park

+5

Manassas Park, Virginia
Population 16,882
Median Income $79,131
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.5, 1.2, 1.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 6.6, 9.1, 10.1

#10

Falls Church

-4

Falls Church, Virginia
Population 14,884
Median Income $114,795
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, 0.7, 1.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 11.8, 14.1, 15.5

#11

Tazewell

-6

Tazewell, Virginia
Population 4,185
Median Income $37,647
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.4, 0.7, 2.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.4, 11.1, 18.3

#12

Poquoson

+14

Population 12,011
Median Income $88,328
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.6, 1.6, 1.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.4, 15.3, 14.3

#13

Herndon

+10

Population 24,697
Median Income $108,523
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.3, 1.5, 2.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 10.5, 11.7, 15.4

#14

Smithfield

+27

Population 8,392
Median Income $72,308
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, 2.7, 0.8
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 15.1, 10.8, 17.9

#15

Abingdon

+14

Abingdon, Virginia
Population 7,949
Median Income $38,338
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, 1.7, 1.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 16.2, 17.5, 22.1

#16

Williamsburg

+8

Williamsburg, Virginia
Population 15,191
Median Income $54,606
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.3, 1.6, 1.6
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 12.7, 11.7, 15.1

#17

Orange

+4

Population 5,016
Median Income $50,260
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.8, 1.4, 2.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 9.8, 12.9, 17.4

#18

Leesburg

New

Leesburg, Virginia
Population 56,030
Median Income $105,844
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.8, Not available, 2.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 11.2, Not available, 15.5

#19

Fairfax City

-1

Fairfax City, Virginia
Population 24,259
Median Income $100,584
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.0, 1.4, 1.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 16.7, 15.0, 16.8

#20

Covington

+27

Covington, Virginia
Population 5,462
Median Income $35,546
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 3.1, 1.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 19.6, 16.2, 21.7

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 recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Didn’t Find Your City in the Top 20?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, which is based on the median population of the state. 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 2018.

2020 RankingCityPopulationViolent Crime (per 1,000)Property Crime (per 1,000)
21Big Stone Gap5,2150.621.1
22Virginia Beach451,0011.217.2
23Dumfries5,2651.714.1
24Salem25,9420.919.4
25Alexandria162,5881.615.3
26Culpeper18,6711.715.9
27Strasburg6,6432.312.3
28Harrisonburg54,869215.2
29Wytheville7,9690.624.3
30Farmville7,7781.320.8
31Vinton8,0771.122.3
32Warrenton9,9121.221.7
33Woodstock5,2321.718.5
34Manassas41,8882.515.2
35Front Royal15,3562.118.2
36Radford17,7972.913.3
37Waynesboro22,4702.221.2
38Christiansburg22,4441.923.7
39Staunton24,5841.924.7
40Luray4,8061.528.5
41Lynchburg81,6033.419.9
42Suffolk90,8172.825.8
43Richlands5,256325.9
44South Hill4,3452.827.8
45Winchester28,1283.324.6
46Rocky Mount4,7622.530
47Charlottesville48,5853.623.9
48Bristol16,6132.530.9
49Chesapeake242,310421.4
50Pulaski8,7203.129.6
51Norton3,9142.335.3
52Bedford6,5323.130.5
53Hopewell22,5624.424.5
54Bluefield4,6241.347.1
55Ashland7,8764.725.3
56Colonial Heights17,8572.837.9
57Fredericksburg28,9193.734.5
58Franklin8,1003.143
59Martinsville13,0254.136.2
60Newport News178,7345.328.8
61Norfolk244,3474.634.6
62Marion5,6155.232.6
63South Boston7,7213.643.4
64Emporia5,184537
65Galax6,5594.144.5
66Richmond229,9275.238.3
67Roanoke100,0424.344.3
68Danville40,7815.340
69Petersburg31,5687.129
70Portsmouth94,2187.952.8

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

Click on the state image below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Sources

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “American Fact Finder
BestPlaces, “Find a Place Search Tool
Gun Violence Archive (GVA), “Mass Shootings Reports

 

Mass Shooting Definition:
SafeWise uses the GVA definition of a mass shooting: “If four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.”

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 six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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