by Susan Gulliford
Washington has seen its population grow by over 6% since the 2010 census. With so many people, flocking to the Evergreen State, the ValuePenguin team analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine its safest places.
These 117 cities had populations of at least 5,000 people, and the crime scores ranged from 284 to an outlier of 8,533. This score takes into account violent and property crime and adjusts it for population size. The major takeaway from this research is that a community can experience rapid population growth without sacrificing safety. You can review the complete report below.
5 Safest Places in Washington
These cities had an average final crime score of 408, which was 81% lower than their typical peer in the state. The team at ValuePenguin determined that these five are the safest cities in the Washington.
This small community earns the number one spot in this ranking. Dupont’s population grew over 14% from the 2010 census to 2015, yet it has not compromised on safety. In addition to a low rate of violent crime, it had the lowest rate of property crime for any city in this study. The police department’s philosophy of being “...proactive, sensitive, and responsive to the needs of the community” pays dividends for residents. DuPont is slightly over 18 miles from Tacoma.
Sammamish is the largest community (population of 51,016) in the top five. It had the second-lowest level of violent crime and the third-lowest rate of property crime. The city’s police officers are King County Sherrif’s Office deputies. Like the smaller communities in this research, this Seattle suburb has experienced strong population growth (more than 12%) since the 2010 census. It is a very affluent city with a median household income 2.4 times the state’s median household income and 73% of the adult population has at least a bachelor’s degree.
The police department fulfills its goal of maintaining a high quality of life for residents. Duvall had the lowest rate of violent crime of any city in this research. It also had the fourth-lowest rate of property crime. Duvall is a fast-growing city (population up 14.3% from 2010 to 2015) approximately 25 miles from Seattle. The median household income is 75% higher than Washington state’s median household income.
The police department in this community is 24 miles north of Portland, Ore., and fosters a good relationship with the community. The result is a safe community with rapid population growth (35% from 2010 to 2015). Only four violent crimes were reported in 2014, and the city has the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income in Ridgefield was 51% above Washington state’s median household income.
Connell is the smallest city in the top five with a population of only 5,746 residents. Like the other safe communities, it experienced rapid population growth (plus 30%) in the last five years. However, this city in southeastern Washington is different from other communities because it has a median household income below Washington’s, and residents are less likely to hold a bachelor’s degree. The police department prides itself on having strong community orientation. The result is Connell achieved the second-lowest rate of property crime for any Washington city.
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 15,000, midsize cities with populations between 15,000 and 30,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 30,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Washington
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Washington” 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.
|29||Lake Forest Park||1,167|
There was a great deal of consistency in the results for 2015 and 2016. Three of this year’s safest places were repeats from 2015. Interestingly, the bottom five of the safest city’s study was exactly the same for 2015 and 2016.
Small communities dominated the top five in 2015 and 2016. In both years, Sammamish was the lone big community to make the top five. No communities from the middle category made the top five either year.
There are notably safe places for people who want a mid-size community. Bainbridge Island was this year’s champion of the mid-size category with the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime overall. Mercer Island, 2015’s number one and 2016’s number two in the mid-size category, achieved the third-lowest rate of violent crime in the whole state.
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!
Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K
|29||Lake Forest Park||13,209||68||2,559||1,167|