There’s a common denominator that all safe small cities have.
They are the places where people sleep safer at night, where shootings and beatings don’t dominate the local news. The best small towns in America to raise kids, and awesome places to retire.
Because if crime is really low, everyone wants to be there (crummy weather aside).
The small cities below all share those qualities. There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against. We had more than 10 million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.
So we know what we’re talking about.
After analyzing every small town in America, here is our list of the safest small cities to live in the United States:
- Lewisboro, NY
- Ridgefield, CT
- Hopkinton, MA
- Sudbury, MA
- Wilton, CT
- Sharon, MA
- Brecksville, OH
- Franklin, MA
- Western Springs, IL
- Norfolk, MA
You might be surprised to see some of the small towns on this list. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’ and community involvement), there aren’t safer options in America for making a place home.
The most dangerous small city to live in America? College Park, GA. More on that later.
How do you decide if a place is safe or not?
In order to rank the safest small American cities, we had to determine what makes a place dangerous. It isn’t a stretch to assume that states where people are being killed and beaten up on a weekly basis are a pretty bad place to be.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, this is the criteria we used:
- Number of murders per year per state
- Number of robberies per year per state
- Number of car thefts per year per state
- Number of assaults per year per state
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a chart of the top 250 small cities. We kept the population to cities under 100,000 for this ranking.
Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.
1. Lewisboro, NY
Property crime: 10th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: Lowest in the nation
If you’re looking for the absolute safest small city to live in America, than look no further than Lewisboro, NY. In fact, most of the cities on this list are in the northeast region of the United States.
Lewisboro, located right along the Connecticut state line, has the lowest violent crime rate in the state. In fact, there were none for the last reporting year. That’s right. Zero. Zilch.
Some of the cities on this list can’t go an hour without some type of violent crime.
2. Ridgefield, CT
Property crime: 16th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 10th lowest in the nation
Right next door to Lewisboro, on the Connecticut side of the border, is the small, cute city of Ridgefield, where things are also pretty peachy keen when you look at the data.
Ridgefield is in the bottom 20 in the nation for both property and violent crimes, according to the FBI. Plus, Ridgefield has all sorts of festivals and artsy things happening throughout the year, including the annual Nutmeg Festival.
3. Hopkinton, MA
Property crime: 18th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 17th lowest in the nation
Just a short drive outside of Boston, right along the 495 Beltline is the small city of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where you don’t have to worry about crime very often.
The starting point for the Boston Marathon, Hopkinton’s population is doing pretty well financially. Only 1% of the population lives in poverty.
Money Magazine and other larger publications have called Hopkinton as one of the best places to live in America for good reason.
4. Sudbury, MA
Property crime: 24th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 13th lowest in the nation
Just a short bike ride from Hopkinton is the small Boston suburb of Sudbury, which ranks really low for number of violent crimes per capita each year. In fact, there was only one violent crime reported here last year.
To make things even better, there were only about 5 property crimes here a month, on average. That’s just absurd.
5. Wilton, CT
Property crime: 26th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 12th lowest in the nation
Continuing our trend of cities in the northeast, we come to Wilton, a small city along the New York State line. Wilton is a suburb of the larger cities in Connecticut such as Norwalk, Bridgeport and Fairfield, but many residents undoubtedly commute into NYC.
CNN once called this one of the top 10 places to live in the country, citing the household income levels which average about $300,000 each.
6. Sharon, MA
Property crime: 51st lowest in the nation
Violent crime: Tied, lowest in the nation
There are very few small towns and cities in America where a violent crime doesn’t occur each year, and Sharon, Massachusetts is one of them. If you work in Boston and you’re lucky enough to commute in from this awesome, safe suburb, then you’ve got it made.
For perspective, Alexandria Louisiana saw 858 violent crimes in a single year. And the cities are almost the same size, population wise.
7. Brecksville, OH
Property crime: 73rd lowest in the nation
Violent crime: Tied, lowest in the nation
Brecksville is also one of a few small cities and towns where a property crime didn’t happen last year. And it’s also the most safe small city or town in the entire midwest (and the first on this list that isn’t in the northeast).
Brecksville is a Cleveland ‘burb, and where most of the wealthier, more successful Cleveland-area business owners and executives call home. Brecksville’s great schools, amenities, proximity to nature, and closeness to Cleveland underscores its desirability.
8. Franklin, MA
Property crime: 25th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 40th lowest in the nation
Another Boston suburb, Franklin is down near the Rhode Island state line. Here, crime is a bit higher than the other cities on this list, but for a city of 33,000, a total of 5 violent crimes a year is still very impressive.
Downtown, on Main Street and Union Street, there are lots of smaller, quaint, cute shops and restaurants, adding to this small town’s desirability.
9. Western Springs, IL
Property crime: 27th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 54th lowest in the nation
Western Springs is one of the wealthier, quieter Chicago suburbs where crime is just simply something that happens in other places. In fact, Western Springs only saw two violent crimes last year, but because it’s so small, it ranks ‘only’ 54th on the violent crime ranking list.
BusinessWeek called Western Springs one of the top 50 places to live in America at one point. The rankings were based on school test scores, cost of living, activities, number of schools and safety.
10. Norfolk, MA
Property crime: 14th lowest in the nation
Violent crime: 70th lowest in the nation
Rounding out our tour of the safest small cities and towns to live in America, we come to Norfolk, Massachusetts, which is not surprisingly, in the northeast. Sure, it’s a small town that had a couple of violent crimes last year, but overall, you could find much more dangerous places to live.
Norfolk only saw 22 property crimes for the entire year, which is less than one a month. Does that make you jealous of where you live?
There You Have It
If you’re looking at small American cities and towns where murders, rapes and robberies happen at a much lower rate than average, this is an accurate list.
If you’re also curious enough, here are the most dangerous small cities and towns to live in America, according to science.
- College Park, Georgia
- Gallup, New Mexico
- Florida City, Florida
- Bellmead, Texas
- Lumberton, North Carolina
|Lewisboro Town||New York||1.000000000||12,712|
|Chatham Township||New Jersey||7.000000000||10,698|
|Grosse Ile Township||Michigan||8.000000000||10,150|
|Clinton Township||New Jersey||13.000000000||13,257|
|Upper Providence Township, Delaware County||Pennsylvania||18.000000000||10,354|
|New Milford||New Jersey||19.000000000||16,650|
|Montgomery Township||New Jersey||20.000000000||22,547|
|Wyckoff Township||New Jersey||23.000000000||17,011|
|Woolwich Township||New Jersey||26.000000000||11,523|
|Harrison Town||New York||27.000000000||28,130|
|Glen Cove||New York||28.000000000||27,241|
|South Fayette Township||Pennsylvania||30.000000000||15,317|
|Branchburg Township||New Jersey||31.000000000||14,581|
|North Castle Town||New York||32.000000000||12,224|
|Brunswick Hills Township||Ohio||40.000000000||10,202|
|Cedar Grove Township||New Jersey||42.000000000||12,501|
|Kent Town||New York||42.000000000||13,401|
|New Britain Township||Pennsylvania||45.000000000||11,034|
|Warren Township||New Jersey||46.000000000||16,021|
|River Edge||New Jersey||47.000000000||11,573|
|South Park Township||Pennsylvania||48.000000000||13,571|