There’s a common denominator that all safe states have.
They are the places where people sleep safer at night, where shootings and beatings don’t dominate the local news. The best states 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 states 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.
What is the safest state in America for 2020? The safest state in America is New Hampshire according to the most recent FBI data based on an index of property and violent crimes per capita.
You might be surprised to see some of the states 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 state to live in America? Alaska More on that later.
How do you decide if a place is safe or not?
In order to rank the safest American states, 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 the most recent 2018 FBI crime data, this is the criteria we used:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
We then ranked each state from 1 to 50 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the safest for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Safe Index”.
Finally, we ranked every state on the “Safe Index” with the lowest index being the safest in America for 2020.
Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.
1. New Hampshire
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 173 (3rd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,248 (1st safest)
If you’re looking for the absolute safest state to live in America, than look no further than New Hampshire. In fact, most of the entire New England area north of New York State is actually a really safe place to be.
In the last reporting year, there were only 21 murders for the entire year, which is astoundingly low. The leading state, California, saw nearly 100 times that number.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 112 (1st safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,357 (4th safest)
Maine is the place to be if you want to avoid murder, rape, and other violent crimes. Maybe the colder weather chills people out.
In Maine, there were less than .001121 violent crimes per capita in the last reporting year. To put that into perspective, in Alaska, there were .00885 violent crimes per person. Just wow.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 171 (2nd safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,283 (3rd safest)
Continuing our trend of the northeast being the safe haven in America, we come to Vermont.
It is the lowest in the country for violent crime this year, but took a slight tumble down the rankings due to an increase in its property crime ranking. In fact, there were only 10(!) murders in the entire state of Vermont for the entire year in the last reporting year.
Some large cities in America see that in a bad weekend.
4. New Jersey
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 208 (6th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,404 (5th safest)
New Jersey? No way. Yes, that’s correct. This goes to show that just because people are packed on top of one another doesn’t mean they have to act uncivilized.
You might be shocked to learn that Jersey has the fifth lowest property crime rate in the country. And, as you can imagine, most of that is packed into places like Camden and Newark. Take those two cities out of the equation, and you’ve got a really safe place to live.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 199 (4th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,665 (13th safest)
This might come as a surprise (or maybe not), but Virginia is a really safe place to live. Seeing as how the population is really high, you might think there would be lots of crime. You’d be wrong.
The Commonwealth is actually the 4th safest when it comes to violent crimes. You’d have to drive pretty far north to see a place where there are less violent crimes per capita than here.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 227 (11th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,461 (7th safest)
Idaho might get a knock for being a relatively boring place, but talk to the people that live there – when it’s quiet, it’s safe.
Idaho saw only about 3 murders a month, on average, which is far less than the national average. Additionally, there were only 4,900 burglaries in the last reporting year, which might sound like a lot, but only averages to about 95 a week for the entire state.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 207 (5th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,680 (14th safest)
Most Americans might think of Connecticut as a wealthy place, and for the most part, they’d be right. Does a relatively rich group of people commit less crime? Apparently so.
There were only 2,194 reported robberies in Connecticut for the entire last reporting year, which is well below the national average. Additionally, Connecticut saw 840 reported rapes that same year, too.
8. Rhode Island
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 219 (9th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,660 (12th safest)
Now we arrive in Rhode Island, which is not surprisingly, in the northeast. Sure, it’s a small state, and the number of property crimes is higher than the other states on this list, but overall, you could find much more dangerous places to live.
Rhode Island only saw 454 robberies for the entire year, which is about 1.3 a day. Does that make you jealous of where you live?
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 212 (8th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,785 (17th safest)
Sure, there are only about a half million people in the Cowboy State, and people are spaced out a lot more than they are in places like Florida and Minnesota. But look at New Mexico. There’s some wide open spaces there, too, and that’s one of the most dangerous states in the nation.
Only 870 people were the victim of an aggravated assault in Wyoming. Meaning there’s a really good chance you can walk around at night here without having to watch you back. In fact, you might have a better chance of being trampled by a bison than beaten by a mugger.
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 211 (7th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,962 (19th safest)
Rounding out our tour of the safest states to live in America for 2020, we come to Kentucky.
You’d have to drive all the way to Iowa or Pennsylvania to get to a safer place outside of Kentucky (save Virginia, which we already talked about.) Kentuckians are a pretty chill group of people, seeing as how they rank 7th for number of robberies, car thefts and identity thefts each year.
Only 10,261 cars were stolen in the state, and only 2,457 robberies occurred here in the last reporting year. While it’s sad that is a low number, for America, it is.
There You Have It — The Safest States To Live In America
If you’re looking at American states 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 states to live in America, according to science.
Here’s a quick look at the 3 most dangerous states for 2020:
- New Mexico
For more reading check out:
Detailed List Of The Safest States In America For 2020