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The 10 Safest Metro Cities in America for 2020

Written by | Updated July 14, 2020

Find out which metro areas reported the most crimes in our Dangerous Metro Areas report .

map showing the 10 most dangerous and 10 safest metro areas in America

We all want a safe place to call home, but how can you tell if your city or neighborhood is a safe one?

For years, we’ve been trying to answer that question—and today the answers seem more elusive than ever. In our quest to provide the most useful and timely information in our reports, we’ve changed things up this year.

Read on for a deeper dive into the metro areas that report the lowest numbers of crime incidents—including demographic information and other community insights.

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.

Here are the 10 safest metro areas in America for 2020

  1. Provo-Orem, Utah
  2. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  3. Portland-South Portland, Maine
  4. Green Bay, Wisconsin
  5. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, New York
  6. Naples-Marco Island, Florida
  7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
  8. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania-New Jersey
  9. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  10. Reading, Pennsylvania

Find out the statistics for every metro area that made our list.

What these rankings mean

To start with the most level playing field, we used FBI crime statistics to determine the rankings for the “safest” metro areas in the country. This data isn’t perfect—it’s self-reported by law enforcement agencies each year—but it’s the most comprehensive crime data available.

We looked at both violent and property crime, and we calculated the rate of each per 1,000 people. That’s where the ranking list comes from—if a metro area reported the lowest collective violent and property crime rates per 1,000 residents, it landed at the top of the list. Those with higher crime rates fell to the bottom.

Read our complete safest cities reporting methodology.

A snapshot of the safest metro cities in America

Crime statistics don’t tell us everything about whether or not a community is “safe” or “dangerous.”To help deliver a broader picture of each metro area that ranked in the top 10, we researched a number of additional factors.

  • Median income and poverty data¹
  • High school graduation rates¹
  • Redlining practices²
  • Household access to high-speed internet³
  • City budget allocations⁴
  • Unemployment rates⁵

We selected these data points because we’ve observed that socioeconomic factors often correlate to reported crime rates. To see how accurate that observation is, we dug into metrics that reflect the general socioeconomic climate of each metro area we ranked—things like income data, city budget allocations, and access to resources like internet service.

This additional data wasn’t used for ranking purposes. Rather, it provides more holistic insight into each metro area.

And while it doesn’t tell us everything about these communities, it gives us a place to start comparing and contrasting trends in cities that consistently report low or high crime numbers.

Graphic with violent crime rate statistics for the safest metro areas, 1.9 crimes/1,000 people vs. 3.7/1,000 across the country
Graphic with property crime rate stats for the safest metros, 12.6 crimes/1,000 people vs. 22/1,000 in the rest of America

Interesting findings

  • Median income: 80% of the safest metros report a median household income above the national average of $61,937. In fact, the average median income among the safest metro cities is 108% higher than the national average, landing at $66,895 annually.
  • Poverty line: 90% of the safest metro areas are below the national average (13.1%) for people who live beneath the poverty line.
  • An outlier: The Poughkeepsie-Newburg-Middletown, New York metro area is the only one among the top 10 that is both below the national average for median income and above the national average for households that live below the poverty line.
Graphic with median income data for the safest and most dangerous metros vs. the national average.
  • Redlining: About half the metro areas on our list have a known history of redlining—an action that directly impacts the economic growth and development of people who live in what are deemed “bad neighborhoods.” That’s on par with how prevalent the practice is in the metro areas that landed at the bottom of our list.
  • Internet access: Only one city—Green Bay, Wisconsin—has less internet access than the national average. Nationwide, 69.6% of households have high speed internet access, compared to 67.3% in Green Bay.
  • Graduation rates: 40% of the safest metro cities produce fewer high school graduates than the national average of 88.3%. Among the most dangerous metros, that number jumps to 60%.
  • Free and reduced lunch:⁶ 90% of the safest metros report a higher number of economically disadvantaged students than the national average—that’s identical to the most dangerous cities.
Graphic showing city budget allocations for police vs. community services in the safest and most dangerous metros
  • City budgets: On average, the safest metro cities allocate about 31% of city budgets to public safety and police, compared to just 23% among the most dangerous cities. The safest cities dedicate around 9% to community services—that’s 300% higher than the average among the most dangerous cities. Those metros allocate about 3% to community services.
  • Violent crime rates: All of the safest metro areas reported crime rates that are below the national averages for both property and violent crime. On average, the safest metros saw around 2 violent crime incidents per 1,000 residents, versus 3.7 nationwide.
  • Property crime rates: Every safest metro city had fewer property crimes per 1,000 people than the national average of 22.0. On average, the metros that made our list reported 12.6 property crimes per 1,000—that’s about 43% below the rest of the country.

The 10 safest metro areas in America

We’ve compiled the data we discovered in our research into three tables below. For easy comparison among the cities, we grouped together similar factors such as crime rates, economic information, and access to resources.

Every safest metro area on our list is new to our rankings this year. This is due to the addition of property crime as a weighted factor and the focus on metro areas instead of single metro cities.

Crime rates in the safest metros

2020 rankMetro areaMetro populationViolent crime per 1,000Property crime per 1,0002019 rank
National average888,5423.722.0
1Provo-Orem, UT633,1130.913.6New
2Lancaster, PA545,6571.811.2New
3Portland-South Portland, ME535,2241.213.3New
4Green Bay, WI322,1462.111.5New
5Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY666,0322.012.2New
6Naples-Marco Island, FL380,4292.411.1New
7Bridgeport-Stamford, Norwalk, CT936,6671.913.4New
8Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ841,0391.614.4New
9Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA574,5202.612.2New
10Reading, PA418,2752.413.0New

Crime rates in the most dangerous metros

2020 rankMetro areaMetro populationViolent crime per 1,000Property crime per 1,0002019 rank
National average 888,542 3.7 22.0
1Anchorage, AK309,91712.650.2New
2Albuquerque, NM915,46810.945.38
3Memphis, TN1,343,00211.442.74

Compare to the full list of dangerous metro areas.

Income and education in the safest metros

2020 rankMetro areaMedian income% below poverty lineAnnual unemployment rate (BLS) 2018% high school graduates% economically disadvantaged students
National average$61,93713.1%3.9%88.3%52.1%
1Provo-Orem, UT$75,3449.3%2.8%94.4%39.2%
2Lancaster, PA$66,2777.6%3.4%84.9%90.9%
3Portland-South Portland, ME$69,9808.4%Insufficient data95.2%53.0%
4Green Bay, WI$61,4008.3%2.8%92.5%59.4%
5Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY$42,29620.2%4.0%82.2%73.0%
6Naples-Marco Island, FL$69,86710.6%3.5%87.1%64.3%
7Bridgeport-Stamford, Norwalk, CT$91,09710.2%Insufficient data90.1%57.2%
8Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$65,92910.8%4.4%90.3%76.6%
9Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA$64,21310.5%3.6%91.0%88.3%
10Reading, PA$62,56411.6%4.1%86.4%96.1%

Income and education in the most dangerous metros

2020 rankMetro areaMedian income% below poverty lineAnnual unemployment rate (BLS) 2018% high school graduates% economically disadvantaged students
National average$61,93713.1%3.9%88.3%52.1%
1Anchorage, AK$81,0379.6%5.9%94.2%53.0%
2Albuquerque, NM$51,13416.3%4.6%88.4%68.2%
3Memphis, TN$50,33818.8%4.2%88.0%58.9%

Compare to the full list of dangerous metro areas.

City budget and resources in the safest cities

2020 rankMetro area% households with high-speed internet access% city budget for public safety/police% city budget for community services
National average69.6%Not availableNot available
1Provo-Orem, UT78.4%27.3%2.6%
2Lancaster, PA69.8%42.9%6.6%
3Portland-South Portland, ME79.1%17.4%15.3%
4Green Bay, WI67.3%24.9%2.6%
5Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY75.2%16.6%0.9%
6Naples-Marco Island, FL75.6%34.6%24.7%
7Bridgeport-Stamford, Norwalk, CT80.9%31.0%1.0%
8Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ73.6%33.8%8.8%
9Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA72.6%39.5%23.5%
10Reading, PA69.8%39.8%4.8%

City budget and resources in the most dangerous metros

2020 rankMetro area% households with high-speed internet access% city budget for public safety/police% city budget for community services
National average69.6%Not availableNot available
1Anchorage, AK77.1%22.6%2.1%
2Albuquerque, NM64.6%18.5%8.2%
3Memphis, TN57.8%38.3%0.7%

Compare to the full list of dangerous metro areas.

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 our picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image below to check out the safest cities for each state—and find out how people in your state feel about crime and safety in our 2020 State of Safety report.

Endnotes

Note: In most cases, data represented is for the most populous city within the metro area. We selected the largest city within the area as a representative sample of the entire metro area and refer to these as “anchor” cities.

1. Median income, poverty line, and high school graduation statistics

US Census Bureau (2018), “American Community Survey 1-year estimates,” Retrieved from Census Reporter Profile page for each metro area or anchor city. Accessed July 7, 2020.

2. Redlining statistics

Mapping Inequality, “Redlining in New Deal America,” Retrieved from Mapping Inequality search page for the anchor city in each metro area. Accessed July 7, 2020.

3. Household access to high speed internet

US Census Bureau (2018), “American Community Survey 1-year estimates,” Retrieved from QuickFacts page for each metro area or anchor city. Accessed July 7, 2020.

4. City budget allocations

Provo City Corporation, “Provo City Adopted Budget FY 2021,” Retrieved from General Fund Summary, page 32, line items “Police” and “Comm & Neighborhood Srvcs” for FY2021. Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Lancaster, “Adopted 2019 Budget,” Retrieved from General Fund Expenditure Summary, pages 2–3, line items “Public Safety” and “Economic Development & Neighborhood Revitalization for 2019 budget. Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Portland, “Municipal Budget July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020,” Retrieved from FY20 General Fund Expenditures graph, page 23, line items “Public Safety” and “Health & Human Services.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Green Bay, “2020 City of Green Bay Budget,” Retrieved from City of Green Bay Expenditures by Department, page 2, line items “Police Department” and “Community & ED Dept.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Poughkeepsie, “City of Poughkeepsie Adopted Budget with Schedule A Changes,” Retrieved from Expense Budget Worksheet Report, page 112, 2020 Mayor’s Preliminary, line item “Police Totals” and Expense Budget Worksheet Report on page 146, 2020 Mayor’s Preliminary, “Development Services Totals.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Naples, “Adopted Budget Fiscal Year 2019–2020,” Retrieved from General Fund Financial Summary, page 21, line items “Police Department” and “Community Services.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Bridgeport, “Annual Operating Budget Fiscal Year 2019–2020,” Retrieved from General Fund by Agency Category graphic, page 39, lin items “Public Safety” and “Health & Social Services.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

Allentownpa.gov, “2020 Final City Budget,” Retrieved from Department of Police, 2020 Budget, page 116 and Community and Economic Development, 2020 Budget, page 190. Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Harrisburg, “2020 Approved Budget,” Retrieved from General Fund Expenditure Analysis Summary graphic, page 29, line item “Public Safety” and Bureau of Neighborhood Services, page 142. Accessed July 7, 2020.

City of Reading, “2019 Department Budget Summaries,” Retrieved from Police Department Share of 2019 General Fund Budget graphic and Department of Community Development Share of 2019 General Fund Budget graphic.

City of Anchorage, “2019 Proposed General Governmental Operating Budget,” Retrieved from Table 1 on page 11 – 4, line items “Police” and “Economic & Community Development.” Accessed July 8, 2020.

City of Albuquerque, “Fiscal Year 2020 Approved Budget,” Retrieved from FY/20 Approved Budget graph on second page, line items “Public Safety” and “Community and Cultural Engagement.” Accessed July 8, 2020.

City of Memphis, “FY2020 Adopted Operating Budget,” Retrieved from General Fund Expenditures, FY2020 Adopted Budget Expenditures graph, page 114, line items “Police” and “Housing & Community Development.” Accessed July 8, 2020.

5. Unemployment rates

US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for Metropolitan Areas, Annual Averages,” 2018. Accessed July 7, 2020.

6. Free and reduced lunch statistics

National Center for Education Statistics, “Concentration of Public School Students Eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch,” May 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020. 

Provo.edu, “UTREx Report–School Summary,” Provo District LEA Totals, page 43. July 2019. Accessed July 7, 2020.

Pennsylvania Department of Education, “Public Schools Percent of Low-Income Reports,” Retrieved from 2018–2019 Public Schools Percent Low Income, 1819 LIP by LEA, Lancaster SD Percentage of Low Income Families. Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Portland Public Schools, “District Fast Facts 2019–2020.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

Green Bay Area Public School District, “Fact Sheet 2019–20.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

Data.nysed.gov, “Poughkeepsie City School District Enrollment 2018–19.” Accessed July 7, 2020.

Collier County Public Schools, “District Profile.” July 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020.

Connecticut Data Collaborative, “Student Enrollment by Meal Eligibility 2017–2018, Bridgeport School District” Accessed July 7, 2020.

Pennsylvania Department of Education, “Public Schools Percent of Low-Income Reports,” Retrieved from 2018–2019 Public Schools Percent Low Income, 1819 LIP by LEA, Allentown City SD Percentage of Low Income Families. Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Pennsylvania Department of Education, “Public Schools Percent of Low-Income Reports,” Retrieved from 2018–2019 Public Schools Percent Low Income, 1819 LIP by LEA, Harrisburg City SD Percentage of Low Income Families. Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Pennsylvania Department of Education, “Public Schools Percent of Low-Income Reports,” Retrieved from 2018–2019 Public Schools Percent Low Income, 1819 LIP by LEA, Reading SD Percentage of Low Income Families. Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Anchorage School District, “Current Verified Student Enrollment for 2019-2020,” Retrieved from Detailed Enrollment, Current verified student enrollment by subgroup, May 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020.

Albuquerque Public Schools, “About APS,” retrieved from Student Statistics. Accessed July 8, 2020.  

Shelby County Schools, “District Budget Fiscal Year 2019–2020,” Retrieved from Executive Summary, page 4. Accessed July 8, 2020.

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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  • ICantThinkOfAUsername

    This is Liberal BS, Bridgeport is a Safe City?