by Susan Gulliford
The safety of Arkansas cities varies widely. That is the major takeaway from the ValuePenguin team’s analysis of the FBI Crime Report for The Natural State. These 54 cities with populations of at least 5,000 have crime scores that range from 71 to 6,758. The average crime score for the state of Arkansas is 2,710.
There are safe places to live in Arkansas to suit a wide variety of budgets and tastes. Cities from the small, mid-size and large categories made it into the top five. Also, while all of the safest places had median household incomes above Arkansas’ median, only two were affluent (defined as having a median household income at least 50% higher than the state’s median). For more information, you can read the full report here.
5 Safest Places in Arkansas
These cities have an average final crime score of 498, which is 82% lower than their typical peer in the state. These five are the safest places in the state.
This small city (population 5,209) calls itself The Place to Live, Learn, Work & Play, and it is also the place to be safe. Greenbrier had the lowest rate of violent crime and the lowest rate of property crime of any city in this research. It is approximately 45 minutes north of Little Rock. Greenbrier is a fast-growing community; its population grew 12.4% from the 2010 census to July 2015. The median household income for Greenbrier is 31% higher than the median household income in Arkansas, and less than 10% of the city’s residents live below the poverty line.
2. Bella Vista
The largest community in the top five (population 27,913), Bella Vista earns second place. It is in northwest Arkansas, 17 minutes from Bentonville (home to the headquarters of Walmart). Bella Vista achieved the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime and the third-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income is 51% higher than the median household income for the state and less than 5% of Bella Vista’s residents live in poverty.
In addition to a low amount of violent crime, Greenwood had the second-lowest rate of property crime. The police department offers extra patrols to keep the crime rate low. Law enforcement, even in the safest communities, comes in contact with criminals. The median household income is close to the state’s median ($46,673 for Greenwood versus $41,264 for Arkansas), and Greenwood has a lower percentage of people in poverty than Arkansas overall (12.3% for Greenwood versus 18.9% for Arkansas).
4. White Hall
This small city 38 minutes south of Little Rock is the fourth-safest place. It had the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. In addition to patrolling the area, School Resource Officers are at the elementary, middle and high schools to keep kids safe. The median household income for this city is 53% higher than the state’s median and the percentage of people living in poverty is noticeably lower (11.5% for White Hall versus 18.9% for Arkansas).
This rapidly growing city (26% growth since the 2010 census) in northwest Arkansas rounds out the top five. It is approximately 12 minutes to Bentonville. Centerton is no stranger to accolades; it ranked number five in the nation in a 2012 study by Bloomberg.com for the best places to raise kids. The 18 full-time officers and two police clerks work hard to keep crime low. In addition to a low amount of violent crime, Centerton had the fourth-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income is 41% higher than the median for Arkansas, and less than 6% of the residents live in poverty.
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 5,000 and 8,000, midsize cities with populations between 8,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Arkansas
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Arkansas” 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.
|38||North Little Rock||3,276|
There was a major change to the top five in 2016. The safest place, Greenbrier, was not in the 2015 study. Due to its fast growth, it only recently crossed the 5,000 population milestone; therefore, the ValuePenguin team cannot perform an exact year-over-year analysis for this city.
There was some consistency between the 2015 and 2016 results. Bella Vista, Greenwood and Centerton made the top five in both years. In fact, Bella Vista was the safest large city for both 2015 and 2016.
The size categories changed slightly from 2015 to 2016, and it affected the rankings. Greenwood, the second safest community in the small category last year, became the safest mid-size city this year. Also, Lowell the fourth-safest small city for 2015, was the third-safest mid-size city in 2016.
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 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 5,000 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 per 100K||Property Crime per 100K||Crime Score|
|38||North Little Rock||67,031||636||4,246||3,276|