How Safe is your Neighborhood? Crime Rate in the U.S.

how safe is your neighborhood

Public safety and the national crime rate is an important topic on the minds of most Americans, especially those with children. It can make going to sleep at night much easier if you know that you live in a safe neighborhood. Crime rates vary widely however from rural areas to cities, but overall violent crime is going down across the country. Americans might rest more comfortably knowing that crime is not on the rise but actually decreasing overall.

Despite the fear of shooter incidents, home invasions and crimes splashed all over the news, the majority of America’s cities are safe for families. Cities always present more danger than rural areas, due to many factors. Overall, suburban and rural areas are the safest to live in.

Neighborhood Safety in the U.S.

According to data collected from FBI reports, the twenty safest cities in America are:

  1. Ridgefield, CT.
  2. Bergenfield, NJ.
  3. Franklin, MA.
  4. Lexington, MA.
  5. Shrewsbury, MA.
  6. Zionsville, IN.
  7. Buffalo Grove, IL.
  8. Weston, FL.
  9. Lake in the Hills, IL.
  10. Billerica, MA.
  11. Colleyville, TX.
  12. Needham, MA.
  13. North Ridge, OH.
  14. Marshfield, MA.
  15. Parkland, FL.
  16. Keller, TX.
  17. Arlington, MA.
  18. Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
  19. Independence, KY.
  20. Harrison, NY.

This list was prepared after reviewing and analyzing FBI and property data, based on property and violent crimes per 1,000 people. The full list is comprised of the safest 100 neighborhoods in America. The criteria for the report only included cities or towns with at least 25,000 people in them. The crimes included in the data focused on burglary, murder, rape, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. The research that went into this report was based on “final and accurate figures” not any preliminary data, which might be subject to change.

When evaluating your neighborhood for safety it doesn’t hurt to consult public records and check on property ownership, values, sex offender registries, and arrest and criminal records. Just knowing who your neighbors are, might help ease any fears about the national crime rate.

After moving into a new neighborhood, try joining NextDoor for your new area. You can gauge the vibe of connected neighbors using this social media tool and get a sense of whom you are living around. Neighborhoods use this tool and public records to warn each other about dangers and share socially responsible information and suggestions.

Crime Rates and Analysis for the Past 10 Years

crime rate in the US

Just as you cannot judge a book by its cover, you cannot judge the country’s crime rate by what you see on TV. Over the past ten years, the national crime rate has actually dropped considerably even though it seems that all we see in the news are reports of violent crime. The overall national crime rate in the largest cities in America has dropped by 65%.

In 1991 crime levels spiked to 5,856 per every 100,000 people but every other year since 1990 crime rates have dropped significantly. Interestingly, the crime rate today is about half of what it was in 1990. Although violent crime and murder, in some cities have risen, overall they have dropped for the fifteenth year in a row.

Despite small increases, during some years the overall average is half what it was ten years ago. Murder rates fell and rose over the same period, but the three cities with the highest rates, accounting for almost 50% of the nation’s total were Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Las Vegas is also a hotbed of criminal activity and drives the average up.

In these and other large cities across America, violent crime rates have spiked for the past two years driving the national average up. However, if you remove those areas from the equation, the overall crime rate spread out over the country is quite low. Law enforcement is at a loss as to why crime has spiked in these areas, and it is difficult to tell if it is merely an anomaly or a trend, which is just starting.

Certain cities carry a lot of weight with the national average. For example, the murder rate for 2017 was 2.5% lower than in previous years, and that was due to a 25.6% decrease in Detroit, a drop of 20.5% in Houston and 19.1% in New York. So those three cities big reductions skew the entire nation’s total. Another anomaly is that during the first half of 2017, Charlotte North Carolina’s murder rate more than doubled.

Violent Crime and the Media

Nothing makes as good a story as a mass shooting. So whenever there is a major violent crime event, the media blows it way out of proportion to sell advertising. Unfortunately, this makes Americans nervous and implies a rise in crime, only because they can’t escape seeing a new story of something awful on the news each day. Even if the actual crime rate is dropping for the majority of neighborhoods across the country, these isolated incidents are emphasized fanning the flame of fear. Sometimes this is done for political reasons and sometimes just to sell newspapers. Either way, it propagates incorrect information and causes public panic.

Except for some volatile cities, most parts of America are relatively safe.