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2016 Safest Places in Washington

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.

1. DuPont

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.

2. Sammamish 

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. 

3. Duvall

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.  

4. Ridgefield

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. 

5. Connell

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.  

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 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.

Rank City Crime Score
1 Dupont  284
2 Sammamish  386
3 Duvall  396
4 Ridgefield  483
5 Connell  491
6 Selah  515
7 Lynden  540
8 Brier  563
9 Snoqualmie  642
10 Bainbridge Island  705
11 Mercer Island  713
12 Liberty Lake  721
13 Maple Valley  727
14 Camas  730
15 Kenmore  750
16 Steilacoom  775
17 Pullman  849
18 West Richland  857
19 Normandy Park  919
20 Battle Ground  964
21 Oak Harbor  1,037
22 Pacific  1,041
23 Ocean Shores  1,054
24 College Place  1,080
25 Grandview  1,094
26 Wapato  1,106
27 Fircrest  1,145
28 Orting  1,162
29 Lake Forest Park  1,167
30 Mill Creek  1,211
31 Poulsbo  1,269
32 Edgewood  1,272
33 Washougal  1,277
34 Anacortes  1,318
35 East Wenatchee  1,321
36 Newcastle  1,338
37 Mukilteo  1,338
38 Kirkland  1,359
39 Bonney Lake  1,362
40 University Place  1,375
41 Milton  1,381
42 Richland  1,388
43 Sunnyside  1,413
44 Prosser  1,419
45 Cheney  1,443
46 Lake Stevens  1,444
47 Stanwood  1,497
48 Bothell  1,515
49 Issaquah  1,519
50 Enumclaw  1,521
51 Redmond  1,524
52 Pasco  1,530
53 Ferndale  1,536
54 Edmonds  1,572
55 Woodland  1,624
56 Woodinville  1,672
57 Ellensburg  1,700
58 Lacey  1,764
59 Shoreline  1,769
60 Mountlake Terrace  1,799
61 North Bend  1,799
62 Wenatchee  1,937
63 Toppenish  1,955
64 Bellevue  1,963
65 Kennewick  2,008
66 Covington  2,008
67 Ephrata  2,024
68 Tumwater  2,051
69 Airway Heights  2,053
70 Sedro Woolley  2,067
71 Yelm  2,167
72 Monroe  2,256
73 Sequim  2,290
74 Vancouver  2,345
75 Des Moines  2,377
76 Marysville  2,426
77 Port Townsend  2,487
78 Mount Vernon  2,540
79 Centralia  2,582
80 Quincy  2,639
81 Othello  2,677
82 Gig Harbor  2,719
83 Kelso  2,757
84 Port Angeles  2,761
85 Snohomish  2,787
86 Walla Walla  2,795
87 Arlington  2,823
88 Olympia  2,848
89 Clarkston  3,044
90 Bremerton  3,089
91 Sumner  3,099
92 Renton  3,112
93 Kent  3,114
94 Chehalis  3,181
95 Burien  3,182
96 Lakewood  3,207
97 Bellingham  3,305
98 Yakima  3,316
99 Spokane Valley  3,492
100 Aberdeen  3,507
101 SeaTac  3,513
102 Burlington  3,518
103 Longview  3,550
104 Port Orchard  3,644
105 Union Gap  3,653
106 Lynnwood  3,680
107 Auburn  3,707
108 Moses Lake  3,719
109 Federal Way  3,724
110 Puyallup  3,784
111 Shelton  3,982
112 Everett  3,987
113 Fife  4,548
114 Seattle  4,972
115 Tacoma  4,987
116 Spokane  5,724
117 Tukwila  8,533

Year-over-year Change

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.

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!

Rank City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
100 Aberdeen  16,243  634  5,793  3,507
69 Airway Heights  6,502  92  5,014  2,053
34 Anacortes  16,119  143  2,562  1,318
87 Arlington  18,836  181  5,882  2,823
107 Auburn  76,020  393  6,022  3,707
10 Bainbridge Island  23,228  39  1,459  705
20 Battle Ground  18,449  125  1,762  964
64 Bellevue  135,449  106  3,401  1,963
97 Bellingham  83,048  265  5,658  3,305
39 Bonney Lake  18,519  108  2,759  1,362
48 Bothell  36,087  72  3,037  1,515
90 Bremerton  39,359  531  4,599  3,089
8 Brier  6,425  78  1,167  563
95 Burien  50,284  511  4,723  3,182
102 Burlington  8,524  141  8,388  3,518
14 Camas  21,275  75  1,387  730
79 Centralia  16,677  486  4,173  2,582
94 Chehalis  7,271  151  7,633  3,181
45 Cheney  11,387  246  2,573  1,443
89 Clarkston  7,382  474  5,974  3,044
24 College Place  9,012  44  2,552  1,080
5 Connell  5,746  157  679  491
66 Covington  19,146  214  3,834  2,008
75 Des Moines  30,926  391  3,728  2,377
1 Dupont  9,537  52  503  284
3 Duvall  7,658  13  966  396
35 East Wenatchee  13,539  111  2,755  1,321
32 Edgewood  9,645  249  2,198  1,272
54 Edmonds  40,972  134  2,870  1,572
57 Ellensburg  18,382  136  3,444  1,700
50 Enumclaw  11,571  156  3,120  1,521
67 Ephrata  8,024  162  4,536  2,024
112 Everett  105,911  344  6,559  3,987
109 Federal Way  93,551  385  5,953  3,724
53 Ferndale  12,568  215  2,888  1,536
113 Fife  9,479  1,108  7,005  4,548
27 Fircrest  6,644  166  2,333  1,145
82 Gig Harbor  7,978  213  6,117  2,719
25 Grandview  11,172  125  2,202  1,094
49 Issaquah  34,372  52  3,139  1,519
83 Kelso  11,783  272  5,686  2,757
15 Kenmore  21,886  87  1,380  750
65 Kennewick  77,381  246  3,126  2,008
93 Kent  125,837  286  4,961  3,114
38 Kirkland  85,352  98  2,363  1,359
58 Lacey  45,525  176  3,084  1,764
29 Lake Forest Park  13,209  68  2,559  1,167
46 Lake Stevens  30,387  165  2,564  1,444
96 Lakewood  59,313  641  4,156  3,207
12 Liberty Lake  8,436  47  1,648  721
103 Longview  36,459  365  6,322  3,550
7 Lynden  13,127  61  1,067  540
106 Lynnwood  36,630  273  6,972  3,680
13 Maple Valley  25,331  51  1,445  727
76 Marysville  64,063  175  4,347  2,426
11 Mercer Island  24,446  25  1,526  713
30 Mill Creek  18,970  127  2,325  1,211
41 Milton  7,268  248  2,587  1,381
72 Monroe  17,826  348  3,916  2,256
108 Moses Lake  21,580  459  6,747  3,719
78 Mount Vernon  32,805  259  4,588  2,540
60 Mountlake Terrace  20,871  192  3,397  1,799
37 Mukilteo  21,002  124  2,600  1,338
36 Newcastle  11,235  62  3,053  1,338
19 Normandy Park  6,610  91  2,042  919
61 North Bend  6,340  189  3,975  1,799
21 Oak Harbor  22,123  167  1,718  1,037
23 Ocean Shores  5,622  125  2,312  1,054
88 Olympia  48,763  406  4,450  2,848
28 Orting  7,093  113  2,566  1,162
81 Othello  7,693  507  4,862  2,677
22 Pacific  7,142  126  2,198  1,041
52 Pasco  69,115  255  2,143  1,530
84 Port Angeles  19,220  515  4,386  2,761
104 Port Orchard  13,145  601  6,444  3,644
77 Port Townsend  9,231  628  3,759  2,487
31 Poulsbo  9,566  157  2,561  1,269
44 Prosser  5,809  362  2,324  1,419
17 Pullman  31,810  157  1,257  849
110 Puyallup  39,016  279  7,125  3,784
80 Quincy  7,355  381  5,303  2,639
51 Redmond  58,311  51  2,993  1,524
92 Renton  98,240  233  5,300  3,112
42 Richland  53,445  168  2,262  1,388
4 Ridgefield  5,856  68  1,008  483
2 Sammamish  51,016  16  757  386
101 SeaTac  28,102  637  5,348  3,513
114 Seattle  663,410  603  6,127  4,972
70 Sedro Woolley  10,659  159  4,494  2,067
6 Selah  7,447  27  1,222  515
73 Sequim  6,682  120  5,507  2,290
111 Shelton  9,724  401  8,381  3,982
59 Shoreline  55,206  170  3,050  1,769
85 Snohomish  9,459  254  5,994  2,787
9 Snoqualmie  12,359  81  1,246  642
116 Spokane  211,025  548  8,559  5,724
99 Spokane Valley  91,382  325  5,740  3,492
47 Stanwood  6,665  210  3,076  1,497
16 Steilacoom  6,157  97  1,657  775
91 Sumner  9,627  405  6,160  3,099
43 Sunnyside  16,105  130  2,838  1,413
115 Tacoma  204,722  794  6,214  4,987
63 Toppenish  9,024  233  4,012  1,955
117 Tukwila  19,921  818  16,575  8,533
68 Tumwater  18,800  309  3,564  2,051
105 Union Gap  6,010  333  8,336  3,653
40 University Place  32,270  211  2,206  1,375
74 Vancouver  168,688  342  3,118  2,345
86 Walla Walla  31,833  327  4,901  2,795
26 Wapato  5,059  158  2,352  1,106
33 Washougal  14,904  127  2,550  1,277
62 Wenatchee  32,820  192  3,522  1,937
18 West Richland  13,272  113  1,627  857
56 Woodinville  11,408  70  3,839  1,672
55 Woodland  5,557  288  3,185  1,624
98 Yakima  93,667  436  4,928  3,316
71 Yelm  7,836  370  4,084  2,167

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