Safest States in America: Top Picks for Secure Living

Vermont safe
Sean Pavone /

Safety is a top priority for many individuals and families when considering where to live. The United States offers a diverse array of states, each with unique features that can impact their safety levels. Analyzing various factors such as crime rates, law enforcement presence, and road safety can provide a clearer understanding of which states carry the lowest risk.

This article will explore the safest states in America, focusing on the characteristics that contribute to their high safety rankings. By taking a closer look at these factors, prospective residents and travelers can make more informed decisions about where to settle down or visit, with the assurance that their chosen destination prioritizes safety and security.

Understanding Safety Statistics

When evaluating the safety of states in America, it is crucial to examine the data and statistics that reflect crime rates, public safety, and residents’ perceptions. By interpreting these statistics accurately, one can gain a better understanding of the overall safety of each state.

Crime rates are measured by considering both property and violent crimes. Property crimes include incidents such as burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Violent crimes encompass cases such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. These occurrences are usually reported as rates per 100,000 residents, allowing for an equal comparison between states of different sizes.

Public safety is another important factor to consider when assessing the safety of a state. Public safety incorporates the effectiveness of law enforcement, as well as emergency management services and the availability of essential resources like mental health care and rehabilitation facilities. High-quality public safety institutions can contribute to lower crime rates and increased overall well-being of a state’s residents.

Residents’ perceptions of safety also play a role in determining the safest states in America. Surveys, such as the State of Safety survey conducted by SafeWise, allow individuals to express their concerns and experiences regarding crime, emergencies, and other safety issues within their region. By analyzing the results of these surveys, researchers can compare attitudes and concerns across states, to identify patterns and trends that may impact crime rates and public safety.

When interpreting safety statistics, it is essential to maintain a balanced and critical perspective, acknowledging that no single metric can entirely encapsulate a state’s safety level. By considering a range of factors and data sources, one can develop a comprehensive understanding of the safest states in America while maintaining a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone of voice.

Top Safest States in America


Vermont holds the title for the safest state in the US as of 2022. With a total safety score of 69.49, it boasts an excellent track record in personal & residential safety and road safety. The state’s low crime rates and stable infrastructure make it an attractive destination for those seeking a secure and serene environment.


Maine is not far behind Vermont in terms of safety, with the lowest violent crime rate per capita in the nation. The state is characterized by its close-knit communities, picturesque landscapes, and low population density. Maine’s commitment to public safety and emphasis on community engagement contribute to the overall sense of security experienced by its residents.


While not among the top two, Minnesota also ranks high in safety in the US. With a strong focus on community development and a well-funded law enforcement system, Minnesota offers a sense of safety and stability for its citizens. The state’s vibrant economy, coupled with a relatively low crime rate, attests to its position among the safest states in America.

Factors Contributing to Safety

When determining the safest states in America, several factors contribute to the overall safety of the state. These factors include low crime rates, effective law enforcement, and strong community engagement. In this section, we’ll discuss each of these factors and their role in creating a safe environment.

Low Crime Rates

The presence of low crime rates is a significant factor in a state’s safety. This includes both violent and property crime rates. States such as Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Hawaii have been found to have lower crime rates compared to other states, making them among the safest in the country. Lower crime rates can be attributed to various factors, including a stable economy, quality education system, and adequate resources for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Effective Law Enforcement

Effective law enforcement is crucial in maintaining safety within a state. Properly trained, well-funded, and transparent law enforcement agencies can act as a strong deterrent against criminal activity. Additionally, their ability to respond quickly and effectively to incidents reduces the fear of crime in communities. Some methods of measuring effective law enforcement include crime clearance rates and proactive community policing programs.

Strong Community Engagement

Strong community engagement is another essential factor in promoting safety within a state. Engaged communities are more likely to report crimes, support law enforcement initiatives, and invest in programs that foster safety and wellbeing. Some examples of community engagement efforts include neighborhood watch programs, community policing partnerships, and local outreach programs. Building trust and fostering communication between citizens, law enforcement, and local government can contribute significantly to the safety of a state.

Safety Comparisons Between States

Urban vs Rural

When comparing the safety of states in America, it is evident that urban and rural areas often show significant differences in crime rates. Generally, urban areas with higher population densities tend to have higher crime rates than rural areas with less population density. This is partly due to the fact that urban areas have more opportunities for crime and more anonymity, making it easier for criminals to blend in.

In contrast, rural areas often exhibit a strong sense of community and connection among residents, which can potentially deter crime. Furthermore, the lower population density of rural areas results in fewer opportunities for criminal activity. However, it is important to acknowledge that crime still exists in rural areas, albeit at lower levels compared to urban environments.

North vs South

The distinction between the safety of states in the North and South of America also presents interesting findings. While there is no concrete rule, some studies have shown that the Northern states generally have lower crime rates compared to their Southern counterparts. This could be attributed to several factors, such as differences in economic development, educational opportunities, and social norms.

For example, states like Maine, which is situated in the Northern region of the U.S., has been ranked as one of the safest states. On the other hand, some Southern states have been noted for having higher rates of crime in comparison.

East vs West

An East-West comparison of states’ safety shows that there is no consistent pattern when it comes to crime rates. Some Western states have made the list of the safest states in America, while others have high crime rates. The same can be said for the Eastern states.

Factors such as population growth, economic development, and state-specific policies play a crucial role in determining crime rates and overall safety in individual states, regardless of their geographical location. In conclusion, it is essential to evaluate each state on its own merits for a fair comparison and better understanding of the safety landscape.

The Role of Education in State Safety

Education plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of students, staff, and communities in the United States. A safe learning environment is essential for students’ growth, development, and overall well-being. This section will focus on the various aspects of education that contribute to state safety.

School safety entities and plans: At least 32 states have established a school safety entity, including centers, boards, or offices, concentrating on providing a secure environment for education. These entities cooperate with federal, state, and local education agencies to shape and implement legislation, policies, practices, and programs focused on improving school safety. Moreover, at least 44 states and the District of Columbia require a school safety plan in statute or regulation to set guidelines and procedures that can prevent and address incidents in schools.

Collaboration with government agencies: States work closely with federal and local entities to improve safety in educational institutions. School Safety State Coordinators (SSSCs) often collaborate with government organizations to develop policies, practices, and programs that promote school safety. Sharing information and building partnerships allow educational institutions to leverage resources and expertise from different stakeholders.

Health and safety priorities: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been encouraged to prioritize the health and safety of students, staff, and families. This involves implementing guidelines and measures such as mask mandates, social distancing, vaccination campaigns, and remote learning options to minimize the spread of the virus and maintain a healthy learning environment.

Data-driven approach: States and schools utilize data and research to debunk common myths and misconceptions around school safety. Evidence-based practices and informed decisions allow for more targeted interventions and strategies that address specific safety concerns in schools.

By focusing on these aspects, states can help create a safe and secure educational environment that contributes to overall public safety. The commitment to enhancing school safety through collaboration, planning, and evidence-based practices is essential to ensure student well-being and promote a healthy, stable community.

Effect of Economic Stability on State Safety

Economic stability plays a crucial role in determining the safety of a state. A healthy and robust economy provides the necessary resources and infrastructure for effective law enforcement, education, and social services. These factors contribute directly to the overall safety and well-being of the population.

A fiscally stable state can allocate adequate funds for public safety services, such as maintaining an efficient police force and emergency response systems. Properly funded law enforcement agencies are better equipped to address crime and maintain order, resulting in a safer environment for residents.

Moreover, a stable economy enables states to invest in education and workforce development programs. Higher education levels and skilled workers contribute to a more resilient economy and a safer society. Educated individuals are more likely to be employed and less likely to engage in criminal activities.

Additionally, states with economic stability can afford to invest in social services that foster community engagement and provide aid to those in need. Programs such as job training, food assistance, and homelessness prevention can contribute significantly to overall public safety by reducing income disparities and poverty rates. These social safety nets have a ripple effect on the well-being of the community, as they reduce stress and improve mental health, factors that can lead to criminal behavior.

Lastly, secure funding for infrastructure development and maintenance is essential for state safety. Well-maintained roads, bridges, and public spaces reduce the likelihood of accidents and improve overall quality of life. Investments in public transportation and urban planning can also create more connected and safer communities.

In conclusion, economic stability has a direct impact on the safety of a state. Ensuring a stable fiscal environment allows states to provide essential services, invest in infrastructure, and foster an educated and healthy populace, ultimately contributing to a safer society for all.


In summary, determining the safest states in America involves analyzing various factors such as crime rates, public safety, and overall living conditions. Some of the top contenders for the safest states include New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Hawaii. This information offers valuable insights for those looking to relocate or learn more about the safety of their current state.

It is important to remember that safety can vary within states and even within individual cities. Therefore, while considering the overall safety of a state, it is equally essential to research local communities and neighborhoods. Factors such as property crime rates, natural disaster risks, and access to emergency services should not be overlooked.

Moreover, safety can be subjective, and personal preferences, along with one’s lifestyle, play a crucial role in one’s perception of their surroundings. It is highly recommended that individuals visit different states and cities to gain a first-hand understanding of the environment before deciding on the best place for them.

Lastly, it is worth noting that safety rankings and statistics may change over time due to various factors, such as changes in population, economic growth, and law enforcement initiatives. As a result, staying informed about current trends is necessary for making informed decisions regarding personal safety and living conditions.