2016 Safest Places in Arkansas

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.

1. Greenbrier

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.

3. Greenwood

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).

5. Centerton

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.

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 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.

RankCityCrime Score
1Greenbrier 71
2Bella Vista 514
3Greenwood 535
4White Hall 595
5Centerton 776
6Lowell 951
7Maumelle 1,133
8Warren 1,197
9De Queen 1,197
10Pea Ridge 1,459
11Cabot 1,635
12Magnolia 1,742
13Clarksville 1,765
14Arkadelphia 1,789
15Mountain Home 1,790
16Siloam Springs 1,874
17Van Buren 2,029
18Pocahontas 2,032
19Rogers 2,050
20Monticello 2,071
21Morrilton 2,185
22Berryville 2,221
23Mena 2,228
24Heber Springs 2,286
25Farmington 2,390
26Beebe 2,418
27Stuttgart 2,524
28Marion 2,555
29Sherwood 2,623
30Russellville 2,624
31Benton 2,635
32Alma 2,637
33Camden 2,785
34Conway 2,993
35Fayetteville 3,049
36Jonesboro 3,143
37Hope 3,188
38North Little Rock 3,276
39Harrison 3,288
40Jacksonville 3,305
41Crossett 3,400
42El Dorado 3,656
43Paragould 4,007
44Texarkana 4,050
45Fort Smith 4,116
46Trumann 4,149
47Wynne 4,392
48Osceola 4,397
49Newport 4,613
50Helena-West Helena 4,697
51West Memphis 5,066
52Pine Bluff 5,088
53Blytheville 6,383
54Little Rock 6,758

Year-over-year Change

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.

Methodology

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!

RankCityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score
32Alma 5,535 452 5,239 2,637
14Arkadelphia 10,721 382 2,910 1,789
26Beebe 8,045 385 4,649 2,418
2Bella Vista 27,913 140 598 514
31Benton 33,758 376 4,313 2,635
22Berryville 5,488 401 4,337 2,221
53Blytheville 15,009 1,732 8,355 6,383
11Cabot 25,819 209 2,870 1,635
33Camden 11,552 623 4,363 2,785
5Centerton 10,815 259 888 776
13Clarksville 9,359 160 3,804 1,765
34Conway 64,895 396 4,635 2,993
41Crossett 5,339 524 7,024 3,400
9De Queen 6,748 222 2,238 1,197
42El Dorado 18,461 959 4,734 3,656
25Farmington 6,384 157 5,655 2,390
35Fayetteville 80,263 497 4,229 3,049
45Fort Smith 87,989 754 5,310 4,116
1Greenbrier 5,209 19 115 71
3Greenwood 9,358 203 534 535
39Harrison 13,296 760 4,934 3,288
24Heber Springs 7,148 350 4,533 2,286
50Helena-West Helena 11,411 1,350 6,178 4,697
37Hope 10,100 693 5,188 3,188
40Jacksonville 28,836 732 4,484 3,305
36Jonesboro 72,569 524 4,371 3,143
54Little Rock 198,217 1,392 7,191 6,758
6Lowell 8,096 222 1,544 951
12Magnolia 11,519 356 2,865 1,742
28Marion 12,309 471 4,363 2,555
7Maumelle 17,859 106 2,240 1,133
23Mena 5,717 297 4,740 2,228
20Monticello 9,876 314 3,929 2,071
21Morrilton 6,808 220 4,818 2,185
15Mountain Home 12,240 106 3,954 1,790
49Newport 7,729 1,139 7,310 4,613
38North Little Rock 67,031 636 4,246 3,276
48Osceola 7,332 1,568 5,101 4,397
43Paragould 27,301 432 7,304 4,007
10Pea Ridge 5,079 315 2,678 1,459
52Pine Bluff 45,402 1,269 5,850 5,088
18Pocahontas 6,514 215 4,467 2,032
19Rogers 61,105 344 2,908 2,050
30Russellville 28,620 321 4,602 2,624
29Sherwood 30,159 497 3,866 2,623
16Siloam Springs 16,047 330 3,135 1,874
27Stuttgart 9,219 575 4,068 2,524
44Texarkana 30,027 749 6,048 4,050
46Trumann 7,122 758 7,737 4,149
17Van Buren 23,117 290 3,491 2,029
8Warren 5,855 393 1,605 1,197
51West Memphis 25,370 1,431 5,778 5,066
4White Hall 5,254 76 1,294 595
47Wynne 8,279 1,196 6,426 4,392

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