The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the eighth annual Safest Cities report.
West Virginia’s 5 Safest Cities of 2022
Here are the 5 Safest Cities in West Virginia for 2022
See if your city made the full list.
West Virginians enjoy lower crime rates than many other states, and its safest cities have remarkably low numbers of reported crimes. That said, we weren’t surprised to see that West Virginia’s daily level of concern about crime and safety is 9% lower than the national average.
In this report
2022 West Virginia crime rates
West Virginia's violent crime rate climbed higher for the second consecutive year from 3.2 incidents per 1,000 people to 3.6—an 11% gain. Rising statewide violent crime rates may be why 73% of West Virginians think crime is increasing in general—11% higher than the national average. Property crime rates in The Mountain State trended in the opposite direction with a 9% drop year over year, moving down from 15.2 incidents per 1,000 people to 14.0.
Within the South Atlantic region, West Virginia has the second-lowest violent crime rate behind Virginia (2.1). It leads the region with the lowest property crime rate, with Virginia claiming second place (14.6).
West Virginia boasts lower crimes than the nation at large. Across all 50 states, West Virginia has the seventeenth-lowest violent crime rate and the eighth-lowest property crime rate.
Level of concern and experience with crime in West Virginia
Despite lower overall concern about crime and safety, fewer West Virginians feel safe in their state than those who live in other states (52% compared to 55% nationwide).
State of Safety survey respondents claimed higher violent and property crime experiences than national averages, but property crime experience fell by four percentage points year over year. On the other hand, 12% of respondents told us they experienced a violent crime in the 12 months preceding the survey—an increase of four percentage points year over year.
When it comes to the crimes that West Virginians fear may happen to them, property crime is the most concerning at 41%, but that’s still below the rest of the US (42%). Only 31% worry about gun violence happening to them (US 38%), and 5% had a personal experience with gun violence in the survey year (US 8%).
Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.
Crime concerns in West Virginia
We asked West Virginia residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if West Virginians are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in West Virginia: Fear vs. reality
There were more violent crimes reported in West Virginia year over year, but just 35% of survey respondents say they worry about violent crime happening to them—15% lower than most Americans.
- West Virginia’s violent crime rate of 3.6 is 10% below the national rate of 4.0 incidents per 1,000.
- With West Virginia’s rising violent crime rate this year, it returned to its 2019 rate of 3.6.
- Aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime in West Virginia, making up 79% of all reported incidents—9 percentage points higher than the proportion nationwide.
- Robberies make up a surprisingly small portion of violent crimes in West Virginia at just 6% (US 19%). This is lower than every other state except Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
- Each of the safest cities reported 21 or fewer total violent crimes.
- Despite low daily concern, 42% of survey respondents use some form of personal protection like pepper spray (US 34%).
- 47% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Attitudes about gun violence in West Virginia
- 31% are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%).
- 38% of respondents named gun violence their top safety concern (US 53%).
- West Virginia saw 1 mass shooting incident in 2021, down from 3 in 2020.
- 57% of residents have confidence in law enforcement (US 56%) and just 37% worry about police violence daily (US 40%).
Property crime in West Virginia: Fear vs. reality
West Virginians aren’t as worried about property crime as the rest of the country, but they’re more proactive when it comes to protecting their property. The number of survey respondents who use some kind of security measure is 14% higher than the national average (72% versus 60% across the US).
- The property crime rate in West Virginia dropped 9% year over year and is the lowest in the South Atlantic region.
- Burglaries account for 20% of all property crimes statewide, compared to 16% nationwide.
- 3 of the safest cities (4 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 (13%).
- 72% of residents use some form of property protection (US 60%) with firearms on top, accounting for 42% of all security measures used.
- 31% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
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.
- 19 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Oak Hill moved up to claim the top spot—it has the lowest crime rates in the state, reporting a grand total of just 11 crimes.
- Bridgeport (ranked 4) is new to the ranking this year.
- Weirton, the number 2 city, is the most populous on the list (population 18,111)—it reported lower crime rates than cities with less than half the population.
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.3 incidents per 1,000 people, just over a third of the state rate (3.6).
- Each of the safest cities had fewer than 22 violent crimes this year, with 2 reporting single-digit totals: Oak Hill and Charles Town.
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 5.0 incidents per 1,000 people, 64% lower than the state rate (14.0).
- 3 of the safest cities reported 0 burglaries or motor vehicle thefts this year: Oak Hill, Weirton, and Moundsville.
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.
Find security and safety resources in your area
Didn't find your city in the top 5?
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, sign up for our email newsletter (we make it easy in a quick form below!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
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 2020.
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
FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.