2015 Safest Places in Oregon Study

Contents

When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. We analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities in Oregon. These 77 ranged in a crime score from 380 to 4,284, with an average of 1,423. Sure, most of Oregon’s cities and towns lie west of the state’s expansive national forests, but it’s worth noting that each of the five safest places were within a reasonable drive to the coastline.

Salem, the state capital, fell near the bottom of our rankings with a crime score of 2,913 but still slotted above other highly populated cities like Portland and Eugene. This was true despite the fact that we adjusted our crime score metric for population size. The score also took into account both the amount of violent and property-related crimes per 100,000 people (more on our methodology below).

5 Safest Places in Oregon

These cities have an average crime score of 357, 75% lower than their typical peer in Oregon. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state. 

1. Brookings, OR

A beach town about six miles north of the Oregon-California border, Brookings reported two violent crimes to the FBI for 2013. Its crime score of 380 is unparalleled in the state, and location would seem to be helping. The place is best described by doing your own Google image search, but here’s an attempt anyway: Brookings enjoys a seven-mile Pacific Ocean shoreline, plus access to two rivers ripe for fishing. Additionally, the older, retired residents are balanced by the student population at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Factor Value
Population 6,313
Crime Score 380

2. Hubbard, OR

The city with the lowest population on our list, Hubbard has a crime score of 482, 66 percent lower than that of a given Oregon city. With a police department staff comprising a chief and six officers, it reported four violent crimes and 28 property-related crimes; the latter figure was an all-state best. Hubbard itself, which is situated as an unofficial halfway point between the more sizable Salem and Portland, values its lesser-known history. 

Factor Value
Population 3,203
Crime Score 482

3. West Linn, OR

About 15 miles south of Portland, West Linn has the highest population of any city on our list but still managed to crack the top three. Its residents are well above the state’s averages in median household income ($87,233 vs $49,161) and median home value ($349,781 vs $223,900), according to 2012 data. This is reflected in the amount of property crime that West Linn reported two years ago, with 279 infractions. Money Magazine, in its annual rankings, has placed the city among the country’s best places to live.

Factor Value
Population 25,744
Crime Score 519

4. Philomath, OR

About six miles from Corvallis, the home of Oregon State University, Philomath recorded just two violent crimes for all of 2013. The city borrowed its name from the Greek phrase meaning “love of learning,” also the name of its original Philomath College, which is now the home of the Benton County Historical Museum. Beyond education, Philomath takes pride in its proximity to the fine wineries in its county and throughout the Willamette Valley. 

Factor Value
Population 4,598
Crime Score 620

5. Coquille, OR

With not a single violent crime to report in the FBI’s latest findings, Coquille earned its spot in the top five despite its low population. The small town traces its roots to the 1890s, when the Coquille River began serving as a commercial waterway for its impressive steamboats. Nowadays, the locals are just a half-hour’s drive from the coastline, where a tourist town called Bandon brings visitors from Highway 101.

Factor Value
Population 3,826
Crime Score 627

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 3,000 and 9,000, midsize cities with populations between 9,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:

Full List of Places in Oregon

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Oregon” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 3,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores. 

Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank City Population Violent Crime Property Crime Crime Score
53 Albany 51,645 40 2,019 1,987
44 Ashland 20,455 33 674 1,698
63 Astoria 9,543 33 445 2,407
16 Aumsville 3,738 6 82 1,014
52 Baker City 9,660 27 370 1,973
19 Bandon 3,039 1 88 1,055
17 Beaverton 93,551 124 1,471 1,046
49 Bend 79,926 182 2,267 1,838
24 Boardman 3,369 8 84 1,214
1 Brookings 6,313 2 55 380
13 Canby 16,031 13 298 918
46 Central Point 17,485 33 601 1,779
71 Coos Bay 15,816 60 965 3,198
5 Coquille 3,826 0 67 627
31 Cornelius 12,231 18 351 1,413
38 Corvallis 55,218 64 1,587 1,583
61 Cottage Grove 9,795 18 509 2,368
28 Dallas 14,803 41 315 1,350
54 Eagle Point 8,669 24 344 1,999
69 Eugene 158,499 402 7,920 3,127
26 Fairview 9,225 14 248 1,307
48 Florence 8,489 6 372 1,833
47 Forest Grove 22,239 76 613 1,793
29 Gladstone 11,699 23 298 1,357
74 Grants Pass 34,865 110 2,557 3,906
72 Gresham 109,965 611 4,553 3,208
39 Hermiston 17,214 18 575 1,593
30 Hillsboro 96,313 141 2,160 1,409
2 Hubbard 3,203 4 28 482
27 Independence 8,661 11 247 1,323
6 Junction City 5,605 3 87 663
32 Keizer 37,018 61 907 1,421
8 King City 3,389 4 56 750
64 Klamath Falls 21,043 76 917 2,508
41 La Grande 13,034 28 404 1,630
11 Lake Oswego 37,428 22 615 859
57 Lebanon 15,810 30 701 2,181
66 Lincoln City 7,976 34 388 2,563
43 McMinnville 32,642 68 955 1,696
77 Medford 76,949 483 4,813 4,284
50 Milton-Freewater 7,126 7 316 1,859
34 Milwaukie 20,480 30 574 1,460
35 Molalla 8,282 11 268 1,476
21 Monmouth 9,792 13 231 1,154
14 Mount Angel 3,405 8 60 954
10 Newberg-Dundee 25,647 22 379 803
70 Newport 10,029 46 602 3,137
58 North Bend 9,605 7 510 2,231
76 Ontario 11,069 65 832 3,989
37 Oregon City 33,025 33 1,008 1,560
65 Pendleton 16,902 54 801 2,543
4 Philomath 4,598 2 70 620
22 Phoenix 4,600 9 112 1,179
75 Portland 609,136 2,941 29,633 3,932
42 Prineville 9,161 24 295 1,691
60 Redmond 27,153 87 1,067 2,310
68 Salem 158,234 520 6,782 2,913
7 Scappoose 6,677 11 82 722
73 Seaside 6,475 8 554 3,450
9 Sherwood 18,932 8 301 752
18 Silverton 9,380 10 207 1,047
67 Springfield 60,024 98 3,198 2,857
25 St. Helens 12,917 9 353 1,239
56 Stayton 7,733 23 337 2,156
62 Sweet Home 9,035 10 501 2,369
15 Talent 6,191 7 131 974
59 The Dalles 13,831 14 692 2,239
45 Tigard 50,311 57 1,626 1,732
40 Tillamook 4,932 10 177 1,625
55 Toledo 3,461 16 145 2,137
36 Troutdale 16,566 22 509 1,521
33 Tualatin 26,925 24 783 1,446
12 Umatilla 7,040 13 107 870
23 Warrenton 5,146 0 167 1,204
3 West Linn 25,744 6 279 519
20 Wilsonville 20,819 17 461 1,098
51 Woodburn 24,263 82 733 1,918

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