The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report.
West Virginia’s 20 Safest Cities of 2021
Here are the 5 Safest Cities in West Virginia for 2021
1. New Martinsville
2. Oak Hill
5. Charles Town
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.
2021 West Virginia crime rates
Although West Virginia reports fewer crimes per capita than the national average, the state ticked upwards this year for both violent and property crime. Year over year, violent crime jumped 10% and property crime inched up 6%.
Both crime rates still fall below national crime rates, but West Virginia is one of the only states to see increases across the board. In the South Atlantic region, West Virginia has the lowest property crime rate at 15.8 incidents per 1,000 people—a rise from 14.9 last year.
The Mountain State boasts the second-lowest violent crime rate in the region at 3.2, behind Virginia with 2.1 incidents per 1,000. Rising statewide crime rates may be why 73% of West Virginians think crime is increasing in general—11% higher than the national average.
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).
Reports of violent and property crime experiences are higher than national averages, but property crime experience fell by four percentage points year over year. On the other hand, 12% of survey respondents told us they experienced a violent crime in the past 12 months—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% reported a personal experience with gun violence in the past year (US 8%).
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 2021 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 3.2 is 14% below the national rate of 3.7 incidents per 1,000.
- Even though West Virginia’s violent crime rose this year, it’s still below its 2019 rate of 3.6.
- Aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime in West Virginia, making up 79% of all reported incidents—11 percentage points higher than the proportion nationwide.
- 31% are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%).
- West Virginia saw only 2 mass shooting incidents in 2020, but there were none in 2019.
- Officer-involved shootings decreased year over year from 30 in 2019 to 20 in 2020.
- 57% of residents have confidence in law enforcement (US 56%).
- 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%).
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 62% across the US).
- Property crime rose by nearly one incident per capita in West Virginia, but the state’s rate of 15.8 per 1,000 people remains 25% lower than the national rate of 21.1.
- Although the property crime rate increased this year, it’s still more than 2 incidents fewer per capita than in 2019 (15.8 compared to 17.9).
- Burglaries account for 21% of all property crimes statewide, compared to 16% nationwide.
- West Virginia reports fewer car thefts than most of the US.
- 72% use some form of property protection (US 62%) 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.
- 11 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- New Martinsville is the new number 1 safest city in West Virginia.
- Weirton, last year’s top city, dropped to number 4 this year even though its reported property crimes were cut nearly in half.
- Oak Hill jumped from the fourth spot last year to claim number 2 this year. Remarkably, its property crime rate plummeted from 17.8 incidents per 1,000 last year to 1.7.
- Weston debuts on the list this year as the third-safest city in West Virginia.
- Charles Town rounds out the top 5, despite doubling its property crime rate year over year—from 6.1 to 12.2.
- The average violent crime rate among the safest cities is 0.8 incidents per 1,000 people, compared to the statewide rate of 3.2.
- The average property crime rate among the safest cities is 4.4 incidents per 1,000 people, compared to the statewide rate of 15.8.
How we determined the safest cities
Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.
How to make a safe home anywhere
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. 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 2019.
VC per 1,000
PC per 1000
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: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.