By CIC Staff
Ask any person what they value most about the place they call home and we guarantee safety will be at the top of the list. Affecting everything from insurance rates to property values, a town’s safety record often becomes one of the things for which they are best known or associated.
For our list of the 30 safest small towns in America, we began by considering only those towns with populations of fewer than 30,000 people. Then, we referenced sites like Movoto, Sperling’s Best Places, and Area Vibes to access statistics about crime rates and the likeliness of any town resident falling victim to a crime. While we know there are many more safe places in the United States than what we have listed, the towns we have included are some of the safest of the safe, and offer their residents one of the most valuable things any resident can ask for: peace of mind.
Brandon, South Dakota
Located 20 minutes from Sioux Falls, tiny Brandon, South Dakota seems to know the trick to keeping their town one of the safest in America. There were no violent crimes reported in Brandon last year, and only 25 instances of property crime. Such low statistics mean Brandon residents have a minuscule 1 in 400 chance of becoming a victim of a crime, giving them peace of mind to enjoy their town’s many hiking trails, a public pool, and a municipal golf course.
Campton Hills, Illinois
One’s own piece of this beautiful, charming, and spacious small town does not come cheap, but the higher cost of living definitely comes with peace of mind. The residents of Campton Hills, Illinois have a 1 in 285 chance of falling prey to a crime. Of the 40 total crimes reported in 2015, only four of them were violent crimes, while the remaining crimes were instances of burglary and petty theft. The town of Campton Hills partly credits its active community programs for its fantastic safety reputation. One such program, “Leave No Child Inside,” aims to promote community involvement and outdoor socialization in order to keep crime rates low.
Cecil Township, Pennsylvania
This Pittsburgh suburb is both safe and affordable, making it an appealing place for those looking to live in one of America’s safest towns. Indeed, Cecil Township is safer than 83% of places in the United States. Since fewer than two crimes occur each day in this small town, none of which were violent crimes according to last year’s reports, residents of Cecil Township have a minuscule 1 in 156 chance of falling victim to a crime, and an even slighter chance of falling victim to a violent crime.
Chatham Township, New Jersey
Chatham Township, located near New Jersey’s Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, is an affluent community of 11,000 people. There were not any violent crimes reported in Chatham in 2016, and of the 49 total crimes reported, 39 were instances of petty theft. Such statistics make Chatham’s overall crime rate 81% lower than the national average, and give Chatham residents a 0.5% chance of becoming victim to a crime.
Clinton, Massachusetts takes the safety of its residents very seriously. Besides offering programs such as English language and adult education courses, Clinton’s Housing Improvement Program offers financial support to those in the community who are financially unable to make improvements to their homes. Keeping everything neat and tidy is said to help prevent crime, and a look at Clinton’s crime rates seems to support that theory. Only three violent crimes were reported in 2016 (two robberies and an assault), plus 43 instances of property crime (38 of which were petty theft).
There’s nothing eery about Erie, Colorado, at least when it comes to crime. This small Boulder suburb has some of the lowest crimes rates of any place in the country, giving Erie residents a minuscule 1 in 162 chance of becoming victim to a crime. Reported murders, rapes, and assaults are few and far between here, and only 571 instances of property crime occurred for every 100,000 people.
In recent years, Farmington, Utah has been included on a number of lists of the best places to live. Reasons given are the town’s excellent school system, affordable cost of living, and of course, its barely-there crime rate. Fewer than 16 violent crimes were reported in Farmington in 2016, though none of those were murders and only one was a robbery. Residents here have a 1 in 60 chance of falling victim to a crime, making Farmington’s crime rate 41% lower than the national average.
Safety and natural beauty? Residents of Firestone, Colorado have both! Those in Firestone have less than a 1% chance of experiencing a crime. In the last year, only 86 total incidents were reported, with no murders, no robberies, and only three instances of assault. Such a safe reputation must bring peace of mind to a community so well known for its active lifestyle and dozens of pretty public parks.
Floral Park Village, New York
This “rosy” little town enjoys a well-established reputation as a great place to raise a family, not least because of its impressive safety programs. For example, Floral Park Village is part of the nationwide “I-Safe Program” which teaches every child in the community how to use the internet responsibly and remain safe online. Fewer than three property crimes per 1,000 people were reported in 2016, while violent crimes were a minuscule .57 per 1,000 people.
Glen Cove, New York
Recognizing that drug use is often the cause of crime, the small town of Glen Cove, New York employs the S.A.F.E. (Substance Abuse Free Environment) model for keeping the town safe. The town works closely with non-profit organizations, programs, and businesses to raise awareness about substance abuse and keep its residents safe and healthy. All of this seems to be effective; Glen Cove residents have only a 1 in 178 chance of becoming the victim of a crime.
Highland Village, Texas
The next of our 30 safest small towns in America is Highland Village, Texas, an affluent small town where the overall crime rate is a whopping 70% lower than the national average. While crime has increased only slightly in the last year, Highland Village residents are still some of the safest in America, with only a 1 in 115 chance of becoming a victim of any crime. Only 14 violent crimes were reported in 2016, 12 of which were deemed assaults.
Hillsdale, New Jersey
The affluent coastal small town of Hillsdale, New Jersey employs a high-tech emergency notification system to keep its residents safe. Hillsdale locals have a 1 in 277 chance of experiencing a crime, and crime has even been decreasing in recent years. In 2016, only one violent crime was reported (an assault). That same year saw only 37 instances of property crime, 29 of which were petty theft.
Residents of beautiful Hillsborough, California have a mere 1 in 127 chance of becoming victim to a crime — some of the best odds of any town in the country. No rapes, assaults, or murders were reported here in the last year, and just nine robberies and 777 instances of property crime occurred (per 100,000 people). That’s pretty impressive. With such a safe reputation, Hillsborough residents are better able to enjoy their upscale, coastal Bay Area town.
Located within running distance of Boston (literally — it’s the official starting line of the Boston Marathon), Hopkinton, Massachusetts is a friendly small town known for its active community members, myriad mom-and-pop shops, and full schedule of annual events. With such an involved community, it’s no wonder Hopkinton is one of the safest places in America. Of the 53 total crimes reported in 2016, none of those were violent, and 52 of them were incidents of minor theft. That means that the 15,000 residents of Hopkinton have only a 1 in 315 chance of experiencing a crime.
The next place in our collection of the 30 safest small towns in America is Imperial, California, a secluded desert town located in the southernmost part of the Golden State. With only 59 crimes reported in 2016, 54 of which were property related, Imperial residents have only a 1 in 294 chance of experiencing a crime first-hand. To help keep their town one of the safest in the country, the Imperial police department employs a unique “E-Policing” program that allows residents to sign up to receive alerts when emergencies occur in their area. Imperial residents do their part too, and have organized a very effective Neighborhood Watch program.
Lewisboro, New York
If you are surprised that Lewisboro, a town located just 50 miles from New York City, has repeatedly been named the safest place in America, consider this: Lewisboro city leaders have worked hard to create a successful “Complete Streets” program, which does a number of things including helping students find safe walking routes to school, educating pedestrians, and cyclists, and maintaining the town’s many parks, trails, and nature preserves. It has been more than two years since a violent crime was reported in Lewisboro, while property crimes hover at about one per 1,000 people.
Los Altos Hills, California
One of a few San Francisco Bay Area cities to make our list, Los Altos Hills is another one of the 30 safest small towns in America. In 2016, only 61 crimes were reported. Of these, only one was an instance of violent crime (a robbery), while everything else was property crime like burglary or vehicle theft. The affluent residents of Los Altos Hills have a minuscule 1 in 163 chance of becoming a victim of a crime, and an even slimmer chance of falling victim to violence.
The pretty small town of Moraga, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, claims one of the lowest crime rates of any place in the U.S. Only 209 crimes were reported in Moraga last year, nearly all of which were non-violent instances of theft. There were no reports of murder, but one and four reports of rape and assault, respectively. Overall, Moraga residents live in one of the safest towns in the nation, and have only a 1 in 104 chance of falling victim to a crime.
Mt. Arlington, New Jersey
In 2016, there were zero reports of violent crimes in the affluent lakeside community of Mt. Arlington, New Jersey. In fact, all of Mt. Arlington’s 27 reported incidents were property related: one vehicle theft, three burglaries, and 23 instances of petty theft. And side-by-side comparisons of crime rates for the past two years suggests that crime in Mt. Arlington is decreasing! That’s good news for residents, who already have a slim 1 in 195 chance of becoming victim to a crime. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder Mt. Arlington, New Jersey is one of the 30 safest small towns in America.
Nolensville, Tennessee’s 6,000 people are fortunate to be living in one of America’s safest small towns. Nolensville has a very low rate of violent crime, with only four assaults (and even fewer murders, rapes, and robberies) being reported over the course of the last year. Even more impressive is Nolensville’s low rate of property crime. Only 66 instances were reported last year, one of the lowest in the country and far below the averages for both the nation and Tennessee.
Norfolk, Massachusetts is a charming historic town with a number of public safety programs that have proven effective. Most notably, drug use prevention programs are brought to children very early, which seems to cut down not only the number of drug users in town, but also the number of crimes. Last year, only 0.17 violent crimes per 1,000 people were reported, while reported property crimes hovered just under two per 1,000 people. Fun fact: Rumor has it that George Washington once enjoyed spending time in Norfolk’s taverns.
The affluent community of Purcellville, Virginia can sleep well at night knowing they live in one of America’s safest small towns. Of the 56 total reported incidents last year, the overwhelming majority of those were instances of theft, and none were cases of murder or rape. Indeed, Purcellville has gone multiple years without any murders reported within their town limits. All together, these respectable crime rates mean that Purcellville residents have only a 1 in 129 chance of experiencing a crime.
Bloomberg Businessweek recently named Rogers the best place in Minnesota to raise a family, and it’s easy to see why. Besides its excellent schools and affordable median home price, Rogers is one of the safest places in America. Fewer than five crimes are reported each day in Rogers, nearly all of which are instances of theft. In 2016, only nine violent crimes were reported, giving the town an overall crime rate 41% lower than the national average. And according to last year’s statistics, Rogers is getting safer! The 2016 crime rate was a whole 30% lower than the year previous.
Rye, New York
Rye, New York, a pretty and affluent town located along the Long Island Sound, is another of the United States’ safest towns. Only one violent crime, a robbery, was reported in 2016, along with 48 other property crimes. With such a low number of instances, the 16,000 residents of Rye have a 1 in 328 chance of being a victim of a crime. That makes Rye’s overall crime rate 89% lower than the national average.
Signal Mountain, Tennessee
With so many hiking trails running through and around this small town, it’s no wonder that safety is an important part of life for residents of tiny Signal Mountain, Tennessee. Only 33 crimes were reported last year, every single one of which was an instance of property crime. That means it’s likely that zero rapes, zero assaults, and zero murders occurred in this charming Chattanooga suburb in all of 2016. All in all, a Signal Mountain resident has a 1 in 110 chance of experiencing a crime.
Trophy Club, Texas
Residents of Trophy Club, Texas pay a pretty penny to live here, but it’s worth it for the safety that comes with it. Those living in Trophy Club have only a 1 in 102 chance of falling victim to a crime, and the chances of that being a violent crime are even lower. Furthermore, this small town has gone years without a single report of murder, robbery, assault, or vehicle theft.
Villa Hills, Kentucky
This Cincinnati suburb is well-known for its family-friendly environment, affordable cost of living, excellent school system, and low crime rate. Indeed, with no violent crimes reported in 2016, Villa Hills is about as safe a small town as they come. Only 69 crimes were reported last year total, all of which were property related crimes of theft. Because fewer than 2.5 crimes occur daily, Villa Hills residents have a mere 1 in 109 chance of being the target of a crime. With statistics like these, no wonder Villa Hills is one of the most desirable addresses in the greater Cincinnati area.
Western Springs, Illinois
There is good reason why Western Springs, Illinois is so frequently billed as one of the best places near Chicago to raise a family: it’s one of the safest cities in America. Only one violent crime was reported to the Western Springs police department in all of 2016, and that was an instance of assault. The other 42 reported crimes were all related to property damage and included 31 instances of theft and 10 of burglary. Such statistics add up to Western Springs residents having a 1 in 311 chance of becoming a victim of a crime — making them some of the least likeliest on our entire list.
There is no doubt that Weston, Connecticut is one of the safest small towns in America. Weston experienced only 0.19 violent crimes per 1,000 people in 2015, while property crime was slightly higher at 3,17 crimes per 1,000 people. Either way, chances are slim that a Weston resident will fall victim to a crime. Interestingly, the Weston police department employs a number of high-tech systems that are able to alert nearby residents about emergencies just moments after they are reported.
Zionsville, Indiana is a beautiful and charming small town complete with brick streets, lots of Victorian architecture, and a packed community events calendar that includes popular and crowd-drawing festivals. Zionsville residents are able to enjoy their small town knowing it is one of the safest in America. Violence just doesn’t happen here, and Zionsville has gone multiple years without any reported murders, rapes, robberies, or assaults. According to movoto.com, Zionsville residents have a measly 0.19% chance of experiencing a crime.