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These are the safest and most dangerous cities in the US – you might want to avoid St. Louis, Fort Lauderdale and San Bernardino while Nashua takes top spot

The safest and most dangerous cities in the United States have been revealed, with the Northeast dominating the list of where people can feel most relaxed. 

In compiling their data, Wallethub assessed more than 180 cities across 41 indicators of safety. 

This ranged from traffic fatalities and assaults per capita as well as levels of unemployment and the number of citizens that are uninsured. 

The company compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated areas in each state. 

According to the WalletHub website, the ratings were based on 41 key metrics where Americans ‘feel most protected against life’s hazards, including nonphysical forms of danger.’ 

Every city was graded on three key areas, home and community safety, natural-disaster risk, and financial safety. 

Coming out on top as the safest place in the states was Nashua, New Hampshire, while St. Louis, Missouri, was considered the most dangerous. 

Wallethub then determined each city’s average across all metrics to calculate an overall score, ranking the cities with the lowest 

Below, has broken down the top five safest cities in the United States, and what are considered the five most dangerous. 

The Top Five Safest Cities in the Country  1. Nashua, New Hampshire 

With a population of just over 91,000, Nashua is the second largest city in northern New England. 

Overall, the findings gave the city a score of 86.00, less than a point higher than second place with the city being ranked low for its home and community safety. 

In an annual police report filed last year by the Nashua Police Department, they reported an six percent decrease in crimes against people from the year previously. 

In 2021, there had been 1,019 cases of crimes against people, which includes crimes including assaults, homicide, and sexual offences. 

New Hampshire was revealed to be the safest city, according to the data 

Last year, this number had dropped to 961 instances, with large drops in the number of forcible sex offences which well 28 percent. 

Property crime also decreased six percent between 2021 to 2022,  from 1,745 cases in 2021 to 1,635 in 2022.

While crimes against society, which include drug offenses, DUI, and trespassing fell an astonishing 29 percent from the previous year. 

2. Columbia, Maryland  

Situated between Baltimore and Washington DC, Columbia is built up of 10 self-contained villages and forms part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. 

Wallethub have ranked the city as having the lowest Home and Community Safety ranking.

Despite this, the number of violent crimes being reported in the county jumped last year from 419 cases in 2021 to 527 cases in 2022. 

This represents a rise of 25 percent in violent crime in the area, with property crime again increasing by a dramatic amount. 

Aerial panorama of single family homes and town house neighborhoods around Lake Elkhorn, a manmade lake in Owen Brown village in Columbia Maryland USA

Last year, there was 4,511 reports of property crime while there was 3,637 reports in 2021, increasing 24 percent in one year. 

Earlier this year, the city was ranked as one of the best cities to raise a family in by Wallethub.

At the time, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said: ‘It is humbling to be ranked Maryland’s best place to raise a family and best place to live. 

‘These distinctions are a testament to our continued investment in our families, community, and overall quality of life.’

3. South Burlington, Vermont 

Continuing the trend of cities on the East Coast of the country making up the safest cities is South Burlington in Vermont. 

Known as being the headquarters for famed ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, the city was ranked as having a worse community safety ranking than the first two cities.

Despite this, its financial safety ranking is the lowest in the country according to the findings.

The view of fall foliage and Adirondack Mountains in New York from Overlook Park in South Burlington, Vermont

In a report by NBC5 last year, they said that crime had skyrocketed in the city, which has a population of just over 20,000. 

Since 2020 until 2022, the amount of stolen vehicles has climbed dramatically, according to the outlet. 

Shawn Burke, South Burlington’s police chief, at the time said: ‘We’re not seeing a stolen car being parted out.

‘They’re being used in other crimes like retail theft and burglary. We’ll get a lead on a video of a car, but the lead does not belong to the suspect.’

4.  Gilbert, Arizona

Moving away from the East Coast, Gilbert in Arizona, located southeast of Phoenix, was once known as the ‘Hay Shipping Capital of the World’. 

Originally a agriculture-based community, the town has since undergone rapid urbanization – with the population climbing from 5,717 in 1980 to over 281,000 in 2022. 

With a total score of 84.24, Wallethub ranked the city as having a great home and community safety and a low risk of natural disaster. 

Despite this, the company opted to rank the city with a financial safety score of 56 – placing it amongst other cities like Lubbock, Texas, and Worcester, Massachusetts.

The high ranking on the list comes after a warning in a recovery plan published last year following the Covid-19 pandemic which talked of an ‘uptick’ in violent crime. 

Street view of downtown Gilbert, Arizona, which has been included in the survey as one of the safest places to stay

Originally a agriculture-based community, the town has since undergone rapid urbanization

According to the report, total violent crime increased by eight percent in 2021, with homicides increasing a worrying 125 percent, and rapes rising eight percent. 

To combat this rising crime, the Gilbert Police Department expanded their staff and facilities to assist victims of crime. 

The city has been frequently recognized as among the best places to live in the country.

In 2014, Time’s Money Magazine ranked Gilbert as the 22nd most livable small city in America. 

At the time, then Mayor John Lewis said: ‘We are honored to receive this recognition from Money Magazine. 

‘For a community of Gilbert’s size to be recognized as one of the most livable is an incredible achievement and is a reflection of our great residents, businesses, and schools.’ 

5. Warwick, Rhode Island 

Rounding out the top five safest cities in America is Warwick in Rhode Island, which holds on to its ranking after being labelled the fifth safest in 2022 also. 

The city had previously been ranked the country’s seventh safest city in 2021 and the 12th safest in 2020.

According to the study, the Rhode Island city has the third fewest amount of assaults per capita.

Warwick, in Rhode Island, rounded out the top five safest places to stay in America, with the Warwick Neck Lighthouse pictured here

According to the study, the Rhode Island city has the third fewest amount of assaults per capita

In an annual report last year, the Warwick Police Department said they had arrested 2,308 people, an increase of 5.2 percent on the previous year. 

According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, the city had just 60 violent crime incidents, with a further 1,012 incidents of property crime reported in 2021. 

Police Chief Col. Bradford Connor told Warwick Online: ‘Traditionally the city scores fairly high in this report. It’s a testament to the city as a whole. 

‘Our professional public safety entities which are supported by our elected officials and citizens alike contribute to the great success of Warwick and its high ratings.’

The Five Most Dangerous Cities in the Country1. St Louis, Missouri  

Consistently ranked amongst the most dangerous cities in the US, St Louis, Missouri, had long been labelled the murder capital until last year when it was dethroned. 

After being leapfrogged by New Orleans, Louisiana, last year which now has the highest murder rate, St Louis now has the second highest number of murders. 

Last year, there was 200 murders in the city, which was a decrease on the year previous – dropping from 201 in 2021. 

Wallethub gave the city an overall score of 44.88, a few points below the next worst in the city. 

According to the study, the city was tied with several others as having the worst assaults per capita rate in the county – being 86 times worse than the city with the least, Irvine in California.

People look into a damaged business following overnight riots and looting on June 2, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri

Despite this, the city has one of the lowest numbers of hate crimes per capita in the nation. Ranking third best according to Wallethub. 

According to Spectrum Local News, the city had 2,228 incidents in 2022 involving aggravated assaults with a firearm which had dropped seven percent from 2021. 

Motor thefts skyrocketed last year, increasing 78 percent to 7,366 reported thefts in the city. 

Last year, Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis said: ‘There is a long way to go to reduce homicides in St. Louis to levels that are comparable to other cities like ours, but what is heartening is that we didn’t see an increase in 2022.

‘We have a real crime problem and we have a crime perception problem. 

‘What people tend to do is assume that what is happening in the areas of the city where violence is exceptionally high, to use that to kind of paint a broad brush over the entire city, as if all areas had violent crime levels that high.’ 

Last year, Rosenfeld said the biggest overcome for policing to reduce crime is to reduce firearm violence.  

So far this year, there have been 127 homicides in the city with the large number of them being committed using firearms. 

2.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Situated just thirty miles outside of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is known as the ‘Venice of America’ with over 165 miles of inland waterways across the city. 

While a popular tourist destination, the south Florida city was ranked as having one of the worst home and community safety measures in the country in the study. 

In crime figures from 2021,  the total number of violent crime reported to police, which includes homicide, climbed 9 percent on the previous year to 1,074 instances. 

Property crime meanwhile remained around the same, with 7,586 cases in 2020 and 7,575 instances in 2021. 

In August, residents inside a luxury apartment complex, which charges rent upwards of $3,000 per month, woke to find numerous vehicles stolen from their car lot. 

Seven cars were stolen overnight at the Society Las Olas complex, with police confirming to NBC that a group of people managed to gain entry to the garage overnight. 

One resident told the outlet: ‘For a gated building, we should have higher security and more of a trust not to have a six-car break-in and the following night have another car break in.’

According to the unnamed resident, this had happened between three and four times in the last year. 

Police said a group of people confronted another in the courtyard area of the complex, where gunfire ensued

In July, five people had to be taken to hospital after a gunman opened fire at another apartment complex in the city. 

Police said a group of people confronted another in the courtyard area, where gunfire ensued. 

Two minors were among the victims, police said. Officials didn’t release the ages or identities of the injured. 

3. San Bernardino, California

Located in Southern California, the city of San Bernardino is considered the third most dangerous city in the country according to the study. 

With a high natural risk disaster due to the San Andreas fault line, coupled with a poor home and community safety rating and financial score, the city scored 55.

The beleaguered city has struggled in recent times and at the start of this year declared an emergency on their homeless issues. 

Crime figures for 2022 show how the number of homicides in the city had risen 13 percent  from 2021 to 2022, with 72 murders in the city last year. 

Meanwhile the number of rapes reported dropped 25 percent, from 150 recorded in 2021 to 112 in 2022. 

Property crime and overall crime both increased one percent from 2021 to 2022, with the total number of crimes reaching 9,218 in 2022.

Crime Scene Investigators search the suspected assailants’ SUV on San Bernardino Ave. December 4, 2015 in San Bernardino

Earlier this year, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner said he would be addressing violent crime head on and asked the state and federal legislators to help combat the issue. 

In an op-ed, Shannon Dicus said: ‘We’ve been watching our California dream degrade with increased crime, homelessness, and substance abuse.

‘We’ve seen violent crime increase throughout California and the Inland Empire.  Many of these issues are related to misguided legislative priorities from our politicians in Sacramento. 

‘Earlier this year, I reviewed data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and found that California currently has 6,987 parolees at large as of December 2022. 

‘More specifically, we have 552 parolees at large in San Bernardino County. These at-large parolees are felons who do not comply with their parole agreements’ terms and conditions and are wandering our communities’ streets.

‘These numbers are concerning because these are parolees and likely the culprits of violent crime. 

‘Many of these criminals don’t report addresses. They are either part of the homeless population or live with others because they have warrants for their arrest.

‘When you see nearly 7,000 criminals roaming the streets, I think the public can understand why we see violent crime spike.’

4. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Coming at what the study considers to be the fourth most dangerous place in the U.S. was Louisiana state capital Baton Rouge. 

With a lower natural disaster risk than San Bernardino, Baton Rouge favored worse in terms of home safety and for financial safety.  

According to end of year dispatch statistics for the Baton Rouge Police Department, the force responded to 8,643 violent cases last year. 

This was a decrease of just over one percent on the year previously, with violent crime call outs totaling 8,739. 

The city was also tied as having the worst traffic fatalities per capita also, according to Wallethub which gave the city a score 56.72.

In a mid year report by the department, they also said there had been 52 total homicides. 

In 2022, there had been 54 homicides, putting this year well on track to overtake this alarming figure. 

Police officers gather near the scene of the crime where three police officers were killed on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Police officers stand guard near the scene of where three police officers were killed on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Police also said in the report that at the mid point of the year they had confiscated 639 firearms in connection with crimes. 

In a previous report by Reuters, they reported that tensions between police and locals had gone back years and made minorities in the city wary of officers. 

This has been exacerbated in recent weeks after a lawsuit filed against the Baton Rouge Police Department shined a light on a string of misconduct and abuse claims against the department’s officers. 

Due to the lawsuit, which was filed last month, the FBI and the Civil Right’s Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced they would be investigating the allegations. 

So far, fourteen police officers had their positions terminated due to the department’s own investigation, while a further eight resigned from their post.  

5.  Detroit, Michigan 

Previous reports of the years had labelled Detroit, Michigan, as being the worst city in the country but has now dropped to fifth. 

At its peak in the 1950s, the city was home to 1.8 million residents, but now that has dwindled to 632,000 in 2021. 

Now, the embattled city is dealing with violent crime, abandoned homes, and a high poverty after the automotive industry the city was renowned for tanked. 

According to Wallethub, Detroit has one of the worse home and community safety issues in the country, as well as serious financial problems for its citizens.

In a survey in March by the University of Michigan, they found that sixteen percent of Detroit residents in the labor force were unemployed.

According to the University, Detroit has a poverty rate of nearly three time higher than the national average, with roughly 30 percent of residents living in poverty.  

US Detroit police officers detain a man during a demonstration in the city of Detroit, Michigan, on May 29, 2020

Detroit Police Sgt. Andrew Guntzviller with the department’s Homicide Division investigates the crime scene of a fatal shooting with Forensic Technicians and his team at a house located on Andover St early morning on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, in Detroit, MI

Despite the poor ratings and reputation Police1 reported last month that a 12 point plan implemented by Chief James White in April was working in driving down crime. 

The outlet reported that crime had taken a fall citywide after the chief implemented ‘Casper Units’, undercover cops in crowds, and enforcing noise and alcohol curfews.

White told the outlet: ‘We’ve seen significant drops, not just downtown but all around town.

‘We’re certainly not celebrating just yet, (but) we do feel our efforts this summer to balance patrols downtown with the rest of the city have been successful, and it gives us a template to work from moving forward.’

Chief White continued: ‘We’re seeing record lows in carjackings, and that’s thanks to the hard work of our officers and utilizing technology like license plate readers.’

The move to crackdown on crime came after a bloody weekend in April which saw six shootings in the downtown area of the city.  

From January 1 up until September 22, homicides stood at 144, which was down ten percent from the 160 killings during the same time last year. 

There was 5,579 aggravated assaults citywide through the same time period, representing a three percent drop from 5,741 last year, while sexual assaults declined from 360 to 349 during the period, another three percent decline.

Robberies climbed two percent however, from 729 in 2022, to 742 from January until September 22. 

The move to crackdown on crime came after a bloody weekend in April which saw six shootings in the downtown area of the city.  

In analyzing the study ,Robert W. Allen Faculty, MPS in Emergency Management, School of Professional Advancement at Tulane University, said: ‘The law enforcement community is struggling with its identity within the community. 

‘The rise in crime is a concern throughout the country. Unfortunately, the cops can’t ‘arrest’ our way out of this problem. 

‘The judicial system needs work, and nothing will get accomplished until a solution involves all members of public service and the public.

‘Nothing can change until the police and the public start working together. The police officer can only do so much, but it is a moot point if they do not get any help from the public. 

‘The police must be involved at a grassroots level to help build rapport with the public. Also, the public must be willing to help law enforcement when the time comes.’

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