Crime sells if you are in the news business, but not if you are in retail or real estate. Most people want to live and work somewhere that is safe and crime tends to scare people away and drive down property values. City leaders understand this issue well with some going so far as to fake crime records to make the city appear safer than it really is.
Large cities are often thought of as being dangerous just because they are big, but sometimes smaller cities are also plagued by crime. The small cities (population less than 200,000) with the highest crime rates are all located in the southern part of the country.
Topeka, KS has the distinction of being the small city with the highest crime rate in the country. Pine Bluff, AR, Monroe, LA, Alexandria, LA, and Florence, SC all make the top five list for the worst small city crime.
Topeka’s crime rates per 100,000 people are:
To put Topeka’s crime level into perspective, State College, Pennsylvania is on the other end of the spectrum for small city crime.
State College’s rates per 100,000 people are:
While State College enjoys the lowest overall rate on average, other small cities score better in certain categories. In some cases, larger cities are actually safer than smaller cities. The Nassau-Suffolk Metropolitan Statistical Area, for example, has a lower overall crime rate than Topeka.
Nassau-Suffolk has fewer incidences of crime in every major category than Topeka. Where should you live to be safe from crime? If you are concerned with the overall crime rate, the five safest small cities include College Station, PA; Steubenville, OH; Weirton, WV; Wheeling, WV; Pittsfield, MA; and Wausau, WI. The safest large cities or metropolitan areas include Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ; Ventura, CA; Monmouth Ocean, NJ; Bergen-Passaic-Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazelton, PA; and Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, PA.
Of course, anyone can be a victim of crime in any city or town. Some cities, large and small, have a lot more crime than others though. If you are thinking about moving it is certainly worth considering the crime rate while thinking about income, housing, and the many other things that are considered in a move to a new city.
Why do you think some small cities have more crime than some other large cities? What is crime like in your city?