10 Safest Small Towns in America

By on July 10, 2015

Big city living really isn’t for everyone, and there are some good reasons for that. All that hustle and bustle can be nice, but it can be stressful for some who want a more low-key lifestyle. Meanwhile, smaller towns often offer a stronger sense of community, peace, relaxation, and of course, safety.

That last factor is what we here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog decided to focus on today. In particular, we wanted to know where the best small towns were across the country for people who want to feel secure in their smaller communities.

So we crunched some numbers, kept ourselves low-stress, and got this list of the top 10 safest small towns in America:

1. Zionsville, IN
2. Hillsborough, CA
3. Trophy Club, TX
4. Erie, CO
5. Nolensville, TN
6. Firestone, CO
7. Moraga, CA
8. Purcellville, VA (Tie)
8. Los Altos Hills, CA (Tie)
10. Signal Mountain, TN

If you’re looking for your small town and you don’t find it here, you can also check the chart at the bottom of this article to see the top 50 places we looked at. Alternatively, you can also take a look at our very next section to find out how we made this ranking.

How We Created This Ranking

There’s safety in numbers, and that’s how we did everything here: by the numbers.

To start with, we looked at only small towns in the U.S. with populations between 5,000 and 25,000 people. We then used the FBI Uniform Crime Report (2012) to gather data on specific types of crime, and any place that did not have reported crime data was omitted from our list.

The types of crime we looked at were:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Vehicle theft

From there, we put these crimes into four categories:

  • Murders
  • Violent crimes
  • Property crimes
  • Total crimes

After that, we took the 164 towns that reported data and we calculated the crime per 100,000 residents in order to fairly compare towns of all sizes (a common statistical practice).

We then ranked each place in each of the four crime types from one to 164, with rankings closer to one being safer.

Because certain crimes are more severe than others, such as murder, the categories were weighted so that murder, violent crime, and property crime would each comprise 30 percent of the overall score, where the total number of crimes would make up 10 percent.

Lastly, we averaged each place’s rankings into one Big Deal Score, and the place with the lowest number for that score was our safest small town. Why don’t we take a moment to look at each of our top 10 in more detail, so you can see exactly what makes each of these towns so special and safe?

1. Zionsville, IN

Safest Small Towns in America

Not only Zionsville the safest spot in the state, it’s also the safest small town we looked at in the entire country.

On top of that, this town manages to be simply beautiful, with brick streets, a Victorian style downtown, and festivals that will knock your socks off.

Let’s just start by saying that violence isn’t a problem. To be frank, it just doesn’t happen. In 2012, there were no murders, rapes, robberies, or assaults reported. That easily ranked put Zionsville at No. 1 for lowest violent crime on our list.

The rest of the crime was very low as well, with merely 42 burglaries, 147 thefts, and four vehicle thefts per 100,000 people.

All that meant that Zionsville ranked No. 1 in every possible category, and offered residents a 1 in 518 chance of being the victim of a crime. If you want safety, there’s no small town better than this.

2. Hillsborough, CA

Safest Small Towns in America

Although it couldn’t quite keep up with Zionsville’s impressive scores, Hillsborough was still amazingly safe.

This 11,060 resident California locale had no murders, rapes, or assaults in 2012, and only nine robberies per 100,000 people. Like we said, that’s pretty impressive.

As far as other sorts of crime, this town did well at keeping it minimal. It ranked seventh for property crime, with only 777 crimes of that type per 100,000 people.

That meant a total of 786 total crimes per 100,000, and a very safe 1 in 127 chance of being the victim of a crime.

3. Trophy Club, TX

Safest Small Towns in America

If you want a place with a very small, safe, tight-knit community, a little more on the upscale side of things, Trophy Club is for you.

True, you’ll have to pay big bucks to live here, but for the safety it’s certainly worth it. There were no murders, robberies, assaults, or vehicle thefts reported in 2012, and only 12 rapes per 100,000 people.

More than that, it had only 130 burglaries and 842 thefts per 100,000 people, giving Trophy Club a very low property crime rate along with the fourth lowest violent crime rate.

This Texas town also offered locals a comfortable 1 in 102 chance of being the victim of any crime, with it being even less likely that they’d be the victim of a violent crime.

4. Erie, CO

Safest Small Towns in America

To start, there were no rapes or murders reported here in 2012, and only five robberies and 43 assaults per 100,000 people.

This was one of the lowest violent crime ranks on our list, and for one of the biggest towns we looked at, too, with a population of 18,761.

The standout for this Boulder, CO neighbor, though, was the very low property crime.

The third lowest on our list, this town had only 571 property crimes per 100,000 reported that year. That also helped give it the third lowest total crime and gave locals a 1 in 162 chance of being the victim of crime.

5. Nolensville, TN

Safest Small Towns in America

This tiny town was easily the smallest in our top 10, with only 6,086 proud people living there. However, it came up with some big safety numbers across the board.

To start, there were no murders, rapes, or robberies here, and only 49 assaults per 100,000 people, meaning Nolensville had very low violent crime.

Its property crime was impressively low as well. Nolensville residents had a 1 in 149 chance of being a victim of a crime, thanks to the fourth lowest property crime on our list, with only 49 burglaries, 559 thefts, and 16 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people in 2012

6. Firestone, CO

Safest Small Towns in America

If you want some natural beauty and seriously nice views with your safety, this town is the one you’ve been looking for.

Along with the plethora of lovely parks to relax in, Firestone had the 12th lowest violent crime on our list, including no murders or robberies reported in 2012.

Locals were also lucky enough to have a 1 in 104 chance of being the victim of a crime, due to the fact that this town had merely 921 property crimes as well.

This came out to Firestone having the 12th lowest property crime on our list, as well as the 12th lowest total crime. Top that off with a very caring community and you’ve pretty much got it made.

7. Moraga, CA

Safest Small Towns in America

Moraga had the 11th lowest violent crime on our list, with no murders or robberies reported in 2012, and merely six rapes and 30 assaults per 100,000 people that year.

This town also had the 13th lowest property crime and the 13th lowest total crime, with only 963 crimes per 100,000 being reported in 2012.

The added perk for these locals: A low 1 in 104 chance of being the victim of any sort of crime, with it being very unlikely to be of the violent variety.

8. Purcellville, VA

Safest Small Towns in America

This little town was an above all safe haven for your stuff. Locals were able to enjoy the sixth lowest property crime, with only 726 crimes of that type per 100,000 people being reported in 2012.

The violent crime was also very low,with no robberies or murders in 2012. That means residents had a respectably low 1 in 129 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Hats off to the folks at the Purcellville Police Department—you’re obviously doing a fine job.

8. Los Altos Hills, CA

Safest Small Towns in America

Tied with Purcellville, this town had a similar population size and similar scores. That means it’s definitely a safe bet.

There were no murders rapes reported here in 2012, and this town had only 12 robberies and 49 assaults per 100,000 people.

The most impressive number, however, was in property crime. Los Altos Hills had the second best rank for crimes of that type, with only 554 crimes of that type per 100,000 people.

Read more at Movoto Real Estate

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