2016 Safest Places in Louisiana

by Susan Gulliford

Nearly 29 million people visited Louisiana in 2015, a new record for the state. These tourists, along with the state’s 4.7 million residents, are interested in safety. That is why the team at ValuePenguin analyzed the FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in Louisiana.

These 46 cities with populations of over 5,000 have crime scores that range from 465 to 7,029. The average crime score for The Pelican State is 3,057.

Only one of the five safest places is an affluent city (defined as having a median household income at least 50% higher than the state’s median household income). The other four cities are middle and working class communities with median household incomes slightly above or even below the benchmark for Louisiana. Several communities work hard to attract tourists to see their natural beauty. For more information, you can review the full report here.

5 Safest Places in Louisiana

These cities have an average final crime score of 927, which is 70% lower than their typical peer in the state. These five are the safest places in Louisiana.

1. Patterson

Patterson takes pride in being a “Sportsman’s Paradise” because of its fishing and hunting. Visitors and residents alike can take comfort in the fact that the city is very safe. Patterson had the lowest rate of violent crime rate and the lowest rate of property crime. In fact, it was the only city in this study to achieve a crime score below 500. Patterson is a middle-class community with a median household income and per capita income close very close to the median and average for Louisiana.

2. Harahan

This city of approximately 9,300 people is a 28-minute drive from New Orleans. The police department offers classes on safety and self-defense to help its citizens. Harahan has the fourth-lowest rate of violent crime and the third-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income is 39% greater that the median for Louisiana.

3. St. Gabriel

This small city 17 miles south of Baton Rouge earns the number three spot. Incorporated in 1994, this young city has the oldest surviving church in the Mississippi Valley. St. Gabriel had the second-lowest rate of property crime and the overall crime score is 65% lower than the average for Louisiana. It has a median household income similar to Louisiana as a whole ($47,917 for St. Gabriel; $44,991 for Louisiana).

4. Mandeville

This city of over 12,200 is a 41-minute drive from New Orleans. Mandeville has a full-service police department, and it offers resources so residents can fight fraud. Mandeville achieved the third-lowest rate of violent crime and the fourth-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income is 54% higher than the state’s median and the poverty level is low in this beautiful community on Lake Pontchartrain.

5. Minden

The largest city in the top five, Minden has just under 13,000 residents. It is approximately 30 miles from Shreveport in northwest Louisiana. The police department has 37 full-time police officers and staff, and they keep people and their property safe. Minden has the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the fifth-lowest rate of property crime in Louisiana. The mayor calls the city “...one of the best kept secrets in the South.” With these low crime rates, it shouldn’t be.

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 9,000, midsize cities with populations between 9,000 and 15,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 15,000. Here are our findings:

Full List of Places in Louisiana

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Louisiana” 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
1Patterson 465
2Harahan 865
3St. Gabriel 1,082
4Mandeville 1,105
5Minden 1,120
6Scott 1,187
7Baker 1,442
8De Ridder 1,516
9Gretna 1,591
10Westwego 1,778
11Jennings 1,837
12Springhill 1,865
13Carencro 1,897
14Broussard 1,907
15Morgan City 1,911
16Zachary 1,949
17Port Allen 2,018
18Kenner 2,197
19Covington 2,316
20Thibodaux 2,653
21Tallulah 2,694
22Walker 2,758
23Franklin 2,779
24Slidell 2,897
25Houma 2,967
26Mansfield 3,059
27Rayne 3,305
28Abbeville 3,461
29Bossier City 3,533
30Gonzales 3,546
31Pineville 3,639
32Bogalusa 3,737
33Leesville 3,786
34Ponchatoula 3,833
35Shreveport 3,967
36Lafayette 4,097
37Baton Rouge 4,382
38Denham Springs 4,401
39Eunice 4,477
40New Orleans 4,541
41Natchitoches 4,647
42Marksville 4,927
43Opelousas 5,939
44Hammond 6,570
45Alexandria 6,934
46Bastrop 7,029

Year-over-year Change

People look for consistently safe cities to live and visit. Patterson, Harahan, St. Gabriel and Mandeville were in the top five safest places for both 2015 and 2016. The newcomer to the top five for 2016, Minden, made it there because of low rates of violent and property crime.

There was consistency among the least safest places. Four of the cities in the bottom five for 2015 were in the bottom five for 2016. New Orleans, the state’s largest city and most famous city, was not in the bottom five for either year.

There were fewer cities in the 2016 study than in the 2015 research. Therefore, it is difficult to do exact year-over-year comparisons because the size categories changed accordingly. For instance, the ValuePenguin team removed Sulphur, the sixth safest large city in 2015, because the FBI determined that the agency’s data were underreported.

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. In order for readers to make good decisions about where to live and visit, we must remove cities that have questionable data quality. The ValuePenguin team eliminated Sulphur because the FBI determined that the agency’s data were underreported. Monroe, West Monroe, and Ferriday were also removed because the FBI determined that the agency’s data were overreported.

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
28Abbeville12,489 1,033 4,316 3,461
45Alexandria48,618 1,765 7,736 6,934
7Baker13,811 181 2,759 1,442
46Bastrop10,857 1,299 12,223 7,029
37Baton Rouge229,387 924 4,477 4,382
32Bogalusa11,960 886 5,619 3,737
29Bossier City67,469 642 4,749 3,533
14Broussard9,653 290 3,626 1,907
13Carencro8,466 425 3,130 1,897
19Covington9,496 442 4,054 2,316
8De Ridder10,830 277 2,650 1,516
38Denham Springs10,131 809 7,748 4,401
39Eunice10,328 1,191 6,390 4,477
23Franklin7,407 729 4,266 2,779
30Gonzales10,426 499 6,829 3,546
9Gretna17,818 236 2,801 1,591
44Hammond20,416 1,176 10,541 6,570
2Harahan9,319 161 1,534 865
25Houma34,129 618 4,073 2,967
11Jennings10,138 424 2,890 1,837
18Kenner67,037 236 3,608 2,197
36Lafayette125,122 651 5,435 4,097
33Leesville6,632 603 7,494 3,786
4Mandeville12,251 155 2,081 1,105
26Mansfield5,061 652 5,651 3,059
42Marksville5,565 1,617 6,685 4,927
5Minden12,922 139 2,167 1,120
15Morgan City12,020 324 3,386 1,911
41Natchitoches18,248 1,030 6,784 4,647
40New Orleans387,113 974 4,232 4,541
43Opelousas16,455 1,738 7,135 5,939
1Patterson6,111 33 1,096 465
31Pineville14,464 657 6,119 3,639
34Ponchatoula6,901 667 7,318 3,833
17Port Allen5,128 468 3,569 2,018
27Rayne8,048 907 4,833 3,305
6Scott8,805 170 2,328 1,187
35Shreveport200,184 721 4,598 3,967
24Slidell27,624 300 5,321 2,897
12Springhill5,200 596 2,635 1,865
3St. Gabriel6,918 405 1,200 1,082
21Tallulah7,185 640 4,426 2,694
20Thibodaux14,565 542 4,202 2,653
22Walker6,187 727 4,364 2,758
10Westwego8,534 445 2,742 1,778
16Zachary16,125 403 3,020 1,949

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