2015 Safest Places in Oregon Study

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

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

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

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

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

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:

List of the Safest Places in Oregon

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.

Full list of safest places in Pregon

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!

Table

Rank

CityPopulationViolent CrimeProperty CrimeCrime Score

53

Albany51,645402,0191,987

44

Ashland20,455336741,698

63

Astoria9,543334452,407

16

Aumsville3,7386821,014

52

Baker City9,660273701,973

19

Bandon3,0391881,055

17

Beaverton93,5511241,4711,046

49

Bend79,9261822,2671,838

24

Boardman3,3698841,214

1

Brookings6,313255380

13

Canby16,03113298918

46

Central Point17,485336011,779

71

Coos Bay15,816609653,198

5

Coquille3,826067627

31

Cornelius12,231183511,413

38

Corvallis55,218641,5871,583

61

Cottage Grove9,795185092,368

28

Dallas14,803413151,350

54

Eagle Point8,669243441,999

69

Eugene158,4994027,9203,127

26

Fairview9,225142481,307

48

Florence8,48963721,833

47

Forest Grove22,239766131,793

29

Gladstone11,699232981,357

74

Grants Pass34,8651102,5573,906

72

Gresham109,9656114,5533,208

39

Hermiston17,214185751,593

30

Hillsboro96,3131412,1601,409

2

Hubbard3,203428482

27

Independence8,661112471,323

6

Junction City5,605387663

32

Keizer37,018619071,421

8

King City3,389456750

64

Klamath Falls21,043769172,508

41

La Grande13,034284041,630

11

Lake Oswego37,42822615859

57

Lebanon15,810307012,181

66

Lincoln City7,976343882,563

43

McMinnville32,642689551,696

77

Medford76,9494834,8134,284

50

Milton-Freewater7,12673161,859

34

Milwaukie20,480305741,460

35

Molalla8,282112681,476

21

Monmouth9,792132311,154

14

Mount Angel3,405860954

10

Newberg-Dundee25,64722379803

70

Newport10,029466023,137

58

North Bend9,60575102,231

76

Ontario11,069658323,989

37

Oregon City33,025331,0081,560

65

Pendleton16,902548012,543

4

Philomath4,598270620

22

Phoenix4,60091121,179

75

Portland609,1362,94129,6333,932

42

Prineville9,161242951,691

60

Redmond27,153871,0672,310

68

Salem158,2345206,7822,913

7

Scappoose6,6771182722

73

Seaside6,47585543,450

9

Sherwood18,9328301752

18

Silverton9,380102071,047

67

Springfield60,024983,1982,857

25

St. Helens12,91793531,239

56

Stayton7,733233372,156

62

Sweet Home9,035105012,369

15

Talent6,1917131974

59

The Dalles13,831146922,239

45

Tigard50,311571,6261,732

40

Tillamook4,932101771,625

55

Toledo3,461161452,137

36

Troutdale16,566225091,521

33

Tualatin26,925247831,446

12

Umatilla7,04013107870

23

Warrenton5,14601671,204

3

West Linn25,7446279519

20

Wilsonville20,819174611,098

51

Woodburn24,263827331,918

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