2016 Safest Places in New Hampshire

by Susan Gulliford

New Hampshire’s safest places are economically prosperous places. That is the major takeaway from the ValuePenguin team’s analysis of the FBI Crime Report for The Granite State. They are in one of two counties (Rockingham and Hillsborough) with unemployment rates of less than 3%. These communities also have strong median household incomes and low rates of poverty.

Overall, the 60 cities in this study with populations of over 5,000 residents have crime scores that range from 151 to 3,075. The average crime score for a community in New Hampshire is 972. For more information on the safest cities and towns in New Hampshire, you can read the full report here.

5 Safest Places in New Hampshire

These cities have an average final crime score of 297, which is 69% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in New Hampshire.

1. Atkinson

This top-ranked town of approximately 6,800 residents is 39 miles north of Boston, Mass. The police department offers services such as a Vacation Watch for when people are away from home and free gun locks to residents. Atkinson has the lowest rate of violent crime and the lowest rate of property crime of any community in this research. In fact, Atkinson’s crime score is 84% lower than its typical peer in New Hampshire. The median household income is 44% higher than the New Hampshire median, and the percentage of people in poverty is much lower than the overall percentage for the state (3.1% for Atkinson versus 9.2% for New Hampshire.

2. Sandown

Sandown is another town from the small category (population 6,239). It reported a total of three violent crimes for 2014, and Sandown has the sixth-lowest rate of property crime. The police department offers helpful crime prevention tips, and it also posts notices of reported phone scams on its website to keep residents safe. The median household income is approximately $13,000 higher than the median income for the state and the percentage of people in poverty, 7.3%, is slightly lower than the 9.2% for New Hampshire.

3. New Boston

The smallest city in the top five (population 5,432) comes in at number three. New Boston is approximately 15 miles from Manchester. Despite its small size, New Boston has a police department of six full-time and four part-time sworn officers to keep crime low. In addition to a low amount of violent crime, this town has the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. New Boston is affluent; the median household income is 52% higher than the median household income for New Hampshire and less than 2% of New Boston’s residents live in poverty.

4. Windham

The safest community from the mid-size category earns fourth place in this research. It is approximately 37 miles north of Boston, Mass., and 19 miles southeast of Manchester in Rockingham County. The police department has 20 full-time officers to keep crime in check. It has the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime and the eighth-lowest rate of property crime. Windham is another town with a high median household income (70% higher than New Hampshire’s median household income) and a high percentage college graduates (50%).

5. Merrimack

With over 25,000 residents, Merrimack is the largest place in the top five. The police department promotes community involvement in fighting crime by offering an anonymous internet tip line. Its website even has a kids page featuring videos and games with McGruff the Crime Dog. The result of these efforts is that Merrimack has the third-lowest rate of violent crime. Merrimack has a median household income 39% higher than the state’s median and a lower level of poverty (3.8% for Merrimack versus 9.2% for New Hampshire).

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 7,000, midsize cities with populations between 7,000 and 15,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 15,000. Here are our findings:

Full List of Places in New Hampshire

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in New Hampshire” 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
1Atkinson 151
2Sandown 322
3New Boston 323
4Windham 335
5Merrimack 353
6Hampstead 376
7Weare 377
8Litchfield 389
9Hopkinton 402
10New Ipswich 405
11Auburn 406
12Durham 409
13Stratham 415
14Kingston 427
15Bow 439
16Rye 460
17Jaffrey 505
18Exeter 547
19Pelham 552
20Barrington 600
21Wolfeboro 612
22Alton 612
23Peterborough 615
24Londonderry 615
25Loudon 634
26Pembroke 643
27Bedford 715
28Rindge 726
29Raymond 771
30Amherst 809
31Goffstown 851
32Milford 881
33Hillsborough 903
34Dover 915
35Hanover 930
36Plaistow 931
37Berlin 949
38Meredith 950
39Hudson 993
40Hampton 1,002
41Derry 1,132
42Gilford 1,201
43Farmington 1,240
44Plymouth 1,260
45Portsmouth 1,297
46Belmont 1,330
47Newport 1,413
48Concord 1,430
49Epping 1,431
50Hooksett 1,471
51Salem 1,502
52Nashua 1,508
53Claremont 1,594
54Lebanon 1,749
55Conway 1,868
56Keene 2,212
57Laconia 2,257
58Somersworth 2,528
59Rochester 2,564
60Manchester 3,075

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
22Alton 5,295 57 1,416 612
30Amherst 11,275 80 1,676 809
1Atkinson 6,844 - 395 151
11Auburn 5,216 38 939 406
20Barrington 8,736 11 1,477 600
27Bedford 21,709 32 1,520 715
46Belmont 7,257 179 2,728 1,330
37Berlin 9,513 221 1,503 949
15Bow 7,694 52 923 439
53Claremont 12,981 293 2,704 1,594
48Concord 42,358 201 2,288 1,430
55Conway 10,002 270 3,589 1,868
41Derry 33,329 162 1,854 1,132
34Dover 30,633 134 1,505 915
12Durham 15,571 77 668 409
49Epping 6,714 238 2,785 1,431
18Exeter 14,607 130 794 547
43Farmington 6,800 324 1,941 1,240
42Gilford 7,122 126 2,612 1,201
31Goffstown 17,835 123 1,508 851
6Hampstead 8,587 93 582 376
40Hampton 15,245 118 1,922 1,002
35Hanover 11,337 203 1,482 930
33Hillsborough 6,031 182 1,658 903
50Hooksett 13,784 181 2,829 1,471
9Hopkinton 5,597 107 643 402
39Hudson 24,685 130 1,742 993
17Jaffrey 5,392 93 983 505
56Keene 23,408 269 3,986 2,212
14Kingston 6,114 98 736 427
57Laconia 16,043 405 3,746 2,257
54Lebanon 13,716 262 3,179 1,749
8Litchfield 8,363 60 753 389
24Londonderry 24,380 86 1,058 615
25Loudon 5,349 37 1,552 634
60Manchester 110,571 618 3,626 3,075
38Meredith 6,318 127 1,994 950
5Merrimack 25,620 16 738 353
32Milford 15,141 152 1,499 881
52Nashua 87,279 231 2,125 1,508
3New Boston 5,432 55 644 323
10New Ipswich 5,135 97 701 405
47Newport 6,352 189 2,960 1,413
19Pelham 13,133 61 1,096 552
26Pembroke 7,125 140 1,109 643
23Peterborough 6,442 155 993 615
36Plaistow 7,636 26 2,292 931
44Plymouth 6,989 143 2,704 1,260
45Portsmouth 21,521 167 2,323 1,297
29Raymond 10,247 156 1,298 771
28Rindge 5,865 102 1,517 726
59Rochester 29,746 387 4,185 2,564
16Rye 5,344 37 1,085 460
51Salem 28,921 194 2,593 1,502
2Sandown 6,239 48 657 322
58Somersworth 11,736 562 3,962 2,528
13Stratham 7,367 54 855 415
7Weare 8,916 101 550 377
4Windham 14,259 28 694 335
21Wolfeboro 6,202 32 1,483 612

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