The 50 Safest College Towns in America for 2022

With admission season in full swing, you’ve probably given plenty of thought to on-campus life. But you won’t spend all of your time there. Check our list of this year’s safest college towns to see if your top schools are nestled in communities that meet your safety expectations.  

In addition to stats on violent crime and property crime in college towns across America, our report also contains information about the ubiquitous Red Zone, plus actionable tips to help you stay safe anywhere.

See the full list of America's 50 safest college towns. 

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.

In this report

Interesting findings

  • Niceville, FL, Amherst, MA, and Princeton, NJ landed on the list of top 10 safest college towns for the first time this year. 
  • Montclair, NJ improved its year-over-year rank by 41 places—more than any other town on our top 50 list—to become 2022’s 15th-safest college town.
  • The average violent crime rate in this year’s safest college towns is 1.0 incident per 1,000 people—the same rate as last year and lower than the national average of 4.0.
  • The average property crime rate in this year’s safest college towns increased slightly from 8.2 last year to 9.0 this year. The national average property crime rate is 19.6 incidents per 1,000 people—a decrease from 21.1 the previous year. 
  • In-state tuition at universities located in this year’s safest college towns averages $24,652. In this year’s college towns with the highest crime rates, the average in-state tuition is $9,119.
  • Massachusetts has 9 college towns on our top 50 list—more than any other state—while California has 6 and Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin each have 4.  

The most dangerous college town in America

America’s most dangerous college town for 2022 is Monroe, LA, which is home to the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). 

Monroe scored an 8.6 out of 100 in our data analysis. The town’s violent crime rate is 29.7 incidents per 1,000 people—the highest rate on our list. Only two other college towns have violent crime rates above 20—Memphis, TN (23.5) and Detroit, MI (21.8).

Property crime in Monroe is the 8th-highest in our rankings, with 61.2 incidents recorded for every 1,000 people. The college town with the highest property crime rate is Salt Lake City, UT, which recorded 73.5 incidents per 1,000 people.

College town safety vs. campus safety

We looked at ULM’s police reports to see how often students experience crime compared to the overall population of Monroe. ULM’s nearly 8,500 students reported no homicides, robberies, or aggravated assaults on- or off-campus in 2020. There were five reported sex offenses, four reported incidents of dating violence, and two reports of stalking.1

We compared ULM’s crime stats to those of Roger Williams University (RWU) in Bristol, RI—this year’s safest college town. As it turns out, RWU reported a similar number of incidents among a student population about half the size of ULM: four sex offenses, one incident of dating violence, and four reports of stalking.2

So while the surrounding community in Bristol, RI may have the lowest crime rate, RWU’s campus crime stats serve as an important reminder for any college student to be mindful of their safety. 

On that note, let’s talk about something that affects virtually every campus in the nation: the Red Zone. 

What is the Red Zone?

The Red Zone refers to the first 14 weeks of the fall semester when more than 50% of campus sexual assaults occur.3

According to PAVE, sexual assaults happen at such a high rate during this time period partially due to party culture and rape culture. 

  • Party culture is associated with drug use and underage drinking, which increase the risk of sexual assault. It also decreases the likelihood of victims reporting the assault due to fear of being punished for drug or alcohol use. 
  • Rape culture refers to the attitudes that normalize sexual assault. Victim-blaming, a “boys will be boys” attitude, catcalling, and stalking are like the embers of rape culture—if allowed to continue, they can escalate into groping or rape. 

A study by the Association of American Universities found that around 13% of all college students experience sexual assault, and the percentage differs based on gender identity:

  • 25.9% of undergraduate women and 9.7% of graduate women
  • 22.8% of transgender, genderqueer, or nonconforming (TGQN) undergraduates and 14.5% of TGQN graduates
  • 6.8% of undergraduate men and 2.5% of graduate men

Male college students are 78% more likely to experience sexual assault than men of the same age who don’t attend college. Women are 20% less likely to experience sexual assault by attending college. 

Nearly 42% of all college students experience sexual harassment and nearly 6% experience stalking. Among college students in relationships, about 10% experience intimate partner violence.

The top 50 safest college towns

Bristol, RI
#1
Bristol, Rhode Island
(
7
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.23 | Property: 3.17
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Roger Williams University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    4,224
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $38,274
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @Roger Williams University

Durham, NH
#2
Durham, New Hampshire
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.55 | Property: 2.54
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    University of New Hampshire
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    11,663
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $18,938
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: Facebook @University of New Hampshire

#3
Rexburg, Idaho
(
2
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.30 | Property: 3.38
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Brigham Young University-Idaho
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    43,660
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $4,300
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: Facebook @BYU-Idaho

#4
Niceville, Florida
(
36
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.55 | Property: 2.94
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Northwest Florida State College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    3,465
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $3,133
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: nwfsc.edu

#5
Milton, Massachusetts
(
4
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.29 | Property: 3.80
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Curry College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,164
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $42,425
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram @currycollege

Wellesley, MA
#6
Wellesley, Massachusetts
(
1
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.35 | Property: 3.83
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Babson College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,435
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $54,144
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @Wellesley College

North Andover, MA
#7
North Andover, Massachusetts
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.89 | Property: 3.41
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Merrimack College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    4,058
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $45,074
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram (@merrimackcollege)

Rochester Hills, MI
#8
Rochester Hills, Michigan
(
2
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.68 | Property: 4.42
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Oakland University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    14,837
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $13,934
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram (@oaklandu)

#9
Amherst, Massachusetts
(
30
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.68 | Property: 4.42
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Oakland University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    14,837
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $13,934
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: oakland.edu

Princeton, NJ
#10
Princeton, New Jersey
(
1
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.35 | Property: 6.23
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Princeton University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    4,688
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $48,502
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @Princeton University

Beverly, MA
#11
Beverly, Massachusetts
(
2
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.42 | Property: 3.86
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Endicott College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    3,003
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $35,320
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram (@endicottcollege)

#12
Madison, New Jersey
(
9
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.00 | Property: 8.52
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,586
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $44,740
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram @fduwhatsnew

Blacksburg, VA
#13
Blacksburg, Virginia
(
6
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.65 | Property: 6.98
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    29,893
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $13,749
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: Facebook @Virginia Tech

Smithfield, RI
#14
Smithfield, Rhode Island
(
2
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.96 | Property: 6.53
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Bryant University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    3,275
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $46,863
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @Bryant University

#15
Montclair, New Jersey
(
41
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.98 | Property: 6.91
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Montclair State University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    16,262
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $13,073
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: montclair.edu

#16
Waltham, Massachusetts
(
20
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.36 | Property: 6.18
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Bentley University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    4,059
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $53,790
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @Bentley University

Mequon, WI
#17
Mequon, Wisconsin
(
5
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.49 | Property: 8.36
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Concordia University-Wisconsin
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,744
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $31,182
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: Instagram (@cuwisconsin)

#18
Moraga, California
(
4
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.83 | Property: 7.95
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Saint Mary's College of California
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,461
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $50,660
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @StMarysCAbooks 

#19
Easton, Massachusetts
(
7
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.19 | Property: 7.15
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Stonehill College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,421
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $46,642
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: stonehill.edu

Northfield, MN
#20
Northfield, Minnesota
(
6
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.86 | Property: 8.07
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    St. Olaf College
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,928
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $51,450
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Instagram (@stolafcollege)

#21
Canyon, Texas
(
3
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 0.86 | Property: 8.12
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    West Texas A & M University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    7,326
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $8,456
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: wtamu.edu

Berea, OH
#22
Berea, Ohio
(
16
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.29 | Property: 7.55
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Baldwin Wallace University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,843
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $34,504
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: Facebook @Baldwin Wallace University

#23
Midland, Michigan
(
12
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.49 | Property: 7.89
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Northwood University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    2,218
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $29,480
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    No

Image source: northwood.edu

#24
Willimantic, Connecticut
(
3
Down
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.18 | Property: 8.68
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    4,104
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $12,304
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: easternct.edu

#25
Bowie, Maryland
(
34
Up
)
  • Icon Violent Crime  Dark
    Crime rates (per 1,000)
    Violent: 1.03 | Property: 9.29
  • Icon Property Crime  Dark
    Largest school
    Bowie State University
  • Icon Population  Dark
    Undergrad population
    5,286
  • Icon Income  Dark
    In-state tuition/year
    $8,444
  • Info
    COVID vaccine required
    Yes

Image source: Facebook @bowiestate 

The rest of the top 50 safest college towns

2022 ranking
City
State
Largest school
Violent crime rate per 1,000
Property crime rate per 1,000
In-state tuition per year
2021 ranking
26Thousand OaksCACalifornia Lutheran University0.6010.37$45,98229
27MarquetteMINorthern Michigan University2.196.97$12,40231
28DanburyCTWestern Connecticut State University1.159.47$11,78146
29WaukeshaWICarroll University1.708.22$34,01028
30MedfordMATufts University1.269.40$60,86249
31WestfieldMAWestfield State University2.057.89$11,13951
32Stevens PointWIUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens Point1.329.77$8,30058
33BrookingsSDSouth Dakota State University1.549.40$9,20068
34CamarilloCACalifornia State University-Channel Islands0.7511.60$6,80237
35San MarcosCACalifornia State University-San Marcos1.989.89$7,71250
36Bowling GreenOHBowling Green State University0.4413.79$11,57369
37MiddletownCTWesleyan University0.8212.95$59,68643
38WilliamsburgVAWilliam & Mary1.3912.13$23,628New
39MoscowIDUniversity of Idaho0.3915.09$8,30430
40LoganUTUtah State University1.9311.41$8,76471
41IrvineCAUniversity of California-Irvine0.5114.99$13,75341
42BooneNCAppalachian State University1.1513.47$7,41053
43RadfordVARadford University2.4410.62$11,41662
44River FallsWIUniversity of Wisconsin-River Falls0.8114.75$8,06334
45Mount PleasantMICentral Michigan University1.8612.81$12,96077
46KentOHKent State University at Kent0.9115.20$11,00948
47Virginia BeachVARegent University0.9915.12$18,72075
48HobokenNJStevens Institute of Technology1.2514.63$55,95255
49CypressCACypress College1.2214.80$1,14642
50North CantonOHKent State University at Stark1.2314.82$6,229New
Light Bulb
More safe cities

These college towns sure are smart when it comes to safety. A lot of the cities on this list also landed on our 100 Safest Cities in America list.

10 most dangerous college towns in America

2022 ranking
City
State
Largest school
Violent crime rate per 1,000
Property crime rate per 1,000
In-state tuition per year
1MonroeLAUniversity of Louisiana Monroe29.761.2$9,070
2AlexandriaLALouisiana State University-Alexandria18.572.1$6,638
3MemphisTNUniversity of Memphis23.555.6$9,912
4SpringfieldMOMissouri State University-Springfield15.169.5$7,938
5FlorenceSCFrancis Marion University14.661.9$11,160
6ChattanoogaTNThe University of Tennessee-Chattanooga13.663.6$9,656
7Salt Lake CityUTUniversity of Utah9.273.5$8,615
8SpartanburgSCUniversity of South Carolina-Upstate14.361.0$11,583
9Little RockARUniversity of Arkansas at Little Rock18.548.6$8,366
10Pine BluffARUniversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff18.348.9$8,248

Memphis and Springfield also ranked among the top 10 most dangerous metro areas for 2021.

How to be safe at college

  • Get to know your campus police department. In addition to stopping by the police department’s office to learn about their services and programs, search online for your college’s annual Clery Act report. This document outlines all safety and crime-reporting procedures and lists crime statistics for the last three years. The Clery Act also requires colleges to publicize their daily crime logs. Note which addresses appear repeatedly and do your best to stay away. 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Campus police can escort you any time you feel unsafe. Put their number in your phone and become familiar with the location of “blue light” stations around campus. You can also use safety apps with virtual “walk with me” features
  • Sign up for your campus’s emergency alert system. You may need to shelter in place or seek a safer location during severe weather or a hostile event. These text-based alerts will tell you what to do.
  • Be ready to make a scene. Check out our recommended personal safety gadgets for college students and don’t hesitate to use them. 

How we picked the safest college towns in America

To identify our top 50 safest college towns for 2022, we analyzed the most recent crime report statistics and population data from the FBI for each city that met our criteria. To be in the running, cities needed to exceed a population of 15,000 residents and be home to an accredited college that offered four-year degrees. We excluded for-profit institutions, technical and vocational schools, schools that offer only two-year degrees, and those with fewer than 2,000 students enrolled annually.

To rank each city, 50% of the score was determined by the number of violent crimes per 1,000 and 50% of the score was determined by the number of property crimes per 1,000.

Each measurement was normalized on a 0-1 scale with 1 corresponding to the measurement that would most positively affect the final score. These adjusted measurements were then added together with the weights mentioned above to get a score of 100.

For more information, read our full methodology.

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.

Read our guides for more college safety tips

Sources

  1. The University of Louisiana Monroe, “Crime Statistics.” Accessed August 9, 2022.
  2. Roger Williams University, “2021 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report.” Accessed August 9, 2022.
  3. Matthew Kimble, Ph.D., et al., Journal of American College Health, “Risk of Unwanted Sex for College Women: Evidence for a Red Zone,” November 2008. Accessed August 9, 2022. 
Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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