West Virginia’s 5 Safest Cities of 2023

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The SafeWise team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 5 Safest Cities in West Virginia for 2023

See if your city made the full list.

According to our 2023 State of Safety report, West Virginia’s daily level of concern about crime and safety is 7% higher than the national average. Still, West Virginians have crime rates just below national rates, and its safest cities have remarkably low numbers of reported crimes.

In this report

2023 West Virginia crime rates

West Virginia's violent crime rate rose slightly this year, but remained at 3.6 incidents per 1,000 people overall. Property crime rates in The Mountain State increased by almost 29% more than in any other state—moving up from 14.0 incidents per 1,000 people to 18.0.

Within the South Atlantic region, West Virginia has the second-lowest violent crime rate behind Virginia (2.3). West Virginia ranks third-lowest in the region for the property crime rate, just behind Virginia (14.8) and Georgia (17.5). Two of the eight states in this region didn't meet state reporting requirements this year: Florida and Maryland.

West Virginia boasts lower crime rates than the nation at large. Among the 41 states that met reporting requirements this year, West Virginia has the nineteenth-highest violent crime rate and the nineteenth-lowest property crime rate.

West Virginia's crime rates are below the national average

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in West Virginia: Fear vs. reality

There were more violent crimes reported in West Virginia year over year and 48% of survey respondents say they worry about violent crime happening to them—about as much the average American.

  • West Virginia’s violent crime rate of 3.6 is 9% below the national rate of 4.0 incidents per 1,000.
  • Aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime in West Virginia, making up 74% of all reported incidents—2 percentage points higher than the proportion nationwide.
  • Robberies make up a surprisingly small portion of violent crimes in West Virginia at just 4% (US 15%). This is lower than every other state except Alaska.
  • Rape is more common in West Virginia’s safest cities (25%) than in the rest of the state (20%) and country (US 11%).
  • Each of the safest cities reported 17 or fewer total violent crimes.

Attitudes about personal safety in West Virginia

  • 46% of survey participants use some kind of personal protection like a stun gun or pepper spray, compared to 39% nationally.
  • The most popular type of personal protection used by West Virginia respondents this survey year was a concealed firearm (57%)—higher than the national average (US 41%).
  • 54% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in West Virginia

  • 41% 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 (13%) more than tripled since the previous survey year (US 12%).
  • West Virginia saw 0 mass shooting incidents in 2022, down from 1 in 2021.
  • For every police officer killed or injured by a gun in West Virginia in 2022, 6.3 suspects experienced the same.
  • There were 14 self-defense shooting incidents in West Virginia in 2022—6 more than the previous year.
West Virginians are most concerned about property crime.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in West Virginia: Fear vs. reality

West Virginians worry more about property crime than the rest of the country and they’re more proactive when it comes to protecting their property. The number of survey respondents who use some kind of security measure is 4% higher than the national average (79% versus 76% across the US).

  • 54% of West Virginians report feeling safe in their home state (US 50%).
  • 39% of respondents said they had a personal experience with property crime in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 27%)—only Louisiana reported more experiences. 
  • Burglaries account for 16% of all property crimes statewide, compared to 14% nationwide.
  • 3 of the safest cities (6 cities statewide) reported 0 burglaries or motor vehicle thefts this year.
  • West Virginia reports fewer car thefts (9% of statewide property crime) than most of the US (14%).

Attitudes about property security in West Virginia

  • 79% of survey respondents use some form of property protection (US 76%) with firearms on top, accounting for 50% of all security measures used.
  • 41% of West Virginians said they added or increased security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 35%).
  • 41% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 28%)—this is the second highest in the country behind Georgia.

Attitudes about package theft in West Virginia

  • 32% of survey respondents in West Virginia reported experiencing package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 34%).
  • 48% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft (US 53%).
  • The preferred methods of package protection in West Virginia are verified delivery (30%) and video doorbells (23%).

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A closer look at the safest cities in West 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.

  • 20 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
  • Oak Hill is the safest city in West Virginia for the second consecutive year, reporting a grand total of just 18 crimes.
  • Buckhannon (ranked 3) is new to the ranking this year.
  • Weirton, the number 2 city, is the most populous on the list (population 17,911)—it reported lower crime rates than cities with less than half the population.

Violent crime in West Virginia's safest cities

  • The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1 incident per 1,000 people, 71% lower than the state rate (3.6).
  • Each of the safest cities had fewer than 17 violent crimes this year, with 3 reporting single-digit totals: Buckhannon, Oak Hill, and Charles Town.
  • Buckhannon (3) has the lowest violent crime rate in the state—it reported 1 violent crime for a rate of 0.2 incidents per 1,000 people.

Property crime in West Virginia's safest cities

  • The property crime rate in the safest cities is 6.1 incidents per 1,000 people, 66% lower than the state rate (18.0).
  • Oak Hill has the lowest property crime rate in safest cities, but the lowest property crime rate in the state belongs to Bluefield, rank 13, at 0.7 incidents per 1,000 residents. It didn't make our top 5 because it has the highest violent crime rate of any city that qualified for ranking.
  • 3 of the safest cities reported 0 burglaries or motor vehicle thefts this year: Oak Hill, Weirton, and Buckhannon.
Oak Hill is the safest city in West Virginia

Image: SafeWise

The 5 safest cities in West Virginia

Oak Hill, West Virginia
#1
Oak Hill
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    7,948
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $45,460
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.5, 0.5, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.8, 0.9, 1.7
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Weirton, West Virginia
#2
Weirton
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    17,911
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $52,775
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.9, 0.7, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.3, 1.3, 4.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Buckhannon, West Virginia
#3
Buckhannon
(
New
)
  • bullet
    Population
    5,376
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $46,602
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.2, 0.9, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    11.7, 16.9, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Charles Town, West Virginia
#4
Charles Town
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    6,098
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $79,158
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.5, 1.5, 1.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.3, 8.8, 12.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Bridgeport, West Virginia
#5
Bridgeport
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    8,853
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $87,936
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.9, 2.2, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    12.3, 8.2, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

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. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

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 info@safewise.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.

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


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 [2019]." 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.
John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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