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Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.Owner of CrimeInAmerica.net
Jesse Bruhn
Jesse BruhnAssistant Professor of Economics
Geoffrey T. Dancy
Geoffrey T. DancyAssociate Professor of Political Science
Megan Ranney
Megan RanneyEmergency Physician and Researcher
Angela P. Christiana
Angela P. ChristianaMassachusetts Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
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Safety has taken on new significance in 2020, amid record infections and deaths from COVID-19 and a summer of intense and pervasive social protests over police brutality and structural racism.

Despite progress overall, crime still impacts America’s communities. Crime and safety are intertwined with prosperity, income and economic opportunity. Crime is costly to individual victims, perpetrators, communities and society at large.

MoneyGeek analyzed crime statistics and applied research findings to estimate the cost of crime in over 300 cities across the United States. We found the safest and most dangerous cities in America and estimated the societal cost of crime in these cities to be $176 billion in 2019.

Safety and the Cost of Crime

The direct economic costs of crime to individuals and society include medical and mental health care needs of victims, damage to and loss of property and police and corrections costs. Aside from the imminent danger of crime, people living in higher crime areas see depressed home values and pay higher prices for crucial needs, including home, renters and auto insurance.

To assess the safest cities, MoneyGeek analyzed crime data, including violent crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault and property crimes such as home burglary and motor vehicle theft. MoneyGeek calculated each city's cost of crime and ranked the cities based on the cost of crime per capita. Additionally, researchers have quantified how much more violent crimes cost a community than property crimes.

While perceptions of safety are vital, crime statistics do not capture any city or community's whole story.

"Behind all these averages that people like to cite about the crime rates in different communities are individual people and their decisions about how they choose to engage in their community," says Jesse Bruhn, Annenberg assistant professor of education and economics at Brown University who researches education issues and inner-city gang violence. "There's a lot more heterogeneity in these patterns that we just can't measure."

Despite genuine threats, Bruhn says, it may be surprising how safe people can feel in neighborhoods with high crime rates.

The Safest Cities in America

MoneyGeek Safest Cities in America Badge

We ranked 303 cities with populations over 100,000 people from most to least safe in this analysis. The following summaries show the safest cities overall, the safest large cities, and the most dangerous cities from the analysis and their total cost of crime. The full data set including the city's population, cost of crime, and crime rates by type of crime are included at the end of this study.

There's an ongoing stereotype that larger cities are more dangerous. While no larger cities (population of 300,000 or more) made the overall safest list, fewer than half of the 15 least-safe cities in the U.S. were large cities. Four of the cities that are least safe also rank in the top 15 best cities to buy a home during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that even cities that are not among the safest places to live can be attractive markets for homeowners.

20 Safest Cities in America

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Crime Cost per Capita
1. Arlington, VA
2. Thousand Oaks, CA
3. Allen, TX
4. Cary, NC
5. Irvine, CA

15 Safest Large Cities

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Crime Cost per Capita
1. Raleigh, NC
2. Henderson, NV
3. Anaheim, CA
4. Honolulu, HI
5. Mesa, AZ

15 Most Dangerous Cities

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Crime Cost per Capita
1. St. Louis, MO
2. Baltimore, MD
3. Detroit, MI
4. Jackson, MS
5. Memphis, TN

Mass Shootings

Mass shootings are a particular scourge on American life. According to Gun Violence Archive, which defines mass shootings as any single incident in which four or more people are shot, there were 417 mass shootings in 2019 and 588 as of December 2020.

Mass shooting events are included in the safest and most dangerous cities rankings. Though they are relatively rare, we did not adjust our rankings for these events. The emotional impact of mass shootings is incalculable, traumatizing families and entire communities. To quantify the economic impact; however, MoneyGeek calculated the total cost of mass shootings in 2019 to be $5.7 billion, which is 3% of the total cost of crime in the cities included in this analysis.

El Paso and Virginia Beach had the two largest mass shooting events in terms of social cost in our study, yet they still made the safest large cities list. El Paso's Walmart shooting represented 30% of El Paso's social cost of crime this last year. That one mass shooting event increased El Paso's cost of crime by 42%. Despite these horrific events, these cities remain relatively safe.

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Societal Cost
1. El Paso, Texas
2. Virginia Beach, Virginia
3. Dayton, Ohio
4. Odessa and Midland, Texas
5. Aurora, Illinois

Expert Panel: The Impact of Crime on Communities

Though the relationship between crime rates and poverty levels is well established, experts caution against oversimplifying the relationship between socioeconomic indicators and real or perceived safety in communities.

"We live in an unequal society," said Geoffrey T. Dancy, associate professor of political science at Tulane University. "One often overlooked indicator of that inequality is who gets to engage in the politics of safety. Those who are objectively safe often fear crime and act on it in the counterproductive policies they support. Those who are actually victimized by crime and terrorized by gun violence pay the price and are rarely heard."

  1. How do you define safety in a city or community? Are there factors beyond crime rates?

    In economics, typically we're focused on quantitative social science. So, we're always focused on, "what can we measure?" And crime is very easy to measure. There is significant data out there. There's been an explosion of amazing crime data coming out of law enforcement agencies over the last 10–15 years that have allowed people to answer questions about crime they've never been able to answer before. The implicit assumption that backs up much of this literature is that understanding crime, including what prevents it and drives it, will help people be safe and feel safe. Still, it's not completely obvious that just reducing the crime rate will actually make people feel safe in their communities. At some level, safety is a perception. It's, "Do I feel comfortable walking from my apartment to the corner store after dark? Do I feel like I need to take an Uber home from the restaurant because there's this part of the neighborhood that I have to walk through where I don't feel safe?"

    I don't think we have a lot of great research on how things like crime rates and misbehavior by law enforcement agencies translate into that core gut feeling that people have when they think about how they're going to live their lives in their community. I think it's an area where frankly, we should be trying to do more work. I think the reason you don't see it is that it's just harder to measure.

    Public safety at it’s best would be an equitable system of data driven precautions and responses to potential threats of all kinds. Speaking from the perspective of gun violence prevention, we need to carefully examine the data around firearm ownership. The research actually shows that having a gun in the home or car makes you less safe, and more likely to be harmed, than if you do not have a gun. So we should look at gun ownership rates, illegal gun seizures, and firearm sales also as indicators of community safety beyond just crime rates. In addition, public safety in cities often is not equitable, and the rates of death and injury from firearms and other causes are higher for Black and Brown people than for white people. The causes of those disparities are deep and systemic (racism, poverty, etc.) so public safety has to take into account the underlying systemic issues in defining safety. Does a city or community provide equitable housing, education, employment, food security, etc? These things all factor into the overall picture of community safety.

    As a denizen of New Orleans, I think a great deal about the concept. It's fair to say that some places are objectively less safe than others. In New Orleans, the level of safety varies by block. It is very specific geography that everyone learns. It's the same in Chicago and Minneapolis, two other cities in which I have lived. The best measure of dangerousness we have to compare one neighborhood to another, or one city to another, or one country to another, is violent crime rates. We know that Honduras is less safe than the U.S., which is less safe than every country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, based on violent crime rates. There are certain areas of New Orleans I hesitate to visit at night because I know there is an inordinately high violent crime rate.

    However, a low violent crime rate is not the whole of safety or perceptions thereof. As a country, violent crime rates in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing since the early 1990s, but fear of crime has not decreased with it. What this suggests is that safety is a social practice. It is not just an objective, measurable property of a community, city or country. Safety is an inter-subjective set of norms, beliefs, symbols and narratives. For example, I feel safe in my neighborhood, the Irish Channel; I walk down the street at night between my home and the grocery store. But if I log onto the Irish Channel neighborhood Facebook group, it is obvious that people there are on high alert, constantly identifying and responding to various perceived dangers. They are engaged in a social discourse of safety.

    Like anyone else, I worry about violent crime rates ― but perhaps unlike others, I also worry about safety as a social practice. Safety is an unreachable ideal, and the struggle to attain it informs an often-abusive, unequal and counterproductive politics.

    Let me give a concrete example. My parents live in Stonewall, Louisiana (near Shreveport). It is rural, and violent crime there is near zero. However, everyone in that town is armed to the teeth, and they worry about crime. My parents have a heavy-duty alarm system. Stonewall's politics is centered, foremost, on the private ownership and use of firearms for self-defense. Of course, because ruralities like Stonewall dominate Louisiana, this politics wins at the state level. That means gun laws stay lax, and it gets easier for young men in New Orleans to acquire firearms. Then, the knock-on effects of the obsessive social practice of safety in Stonewall is the creation of a more dangerous environment in New Orleans.

    My point is this: Violent crime is a problem, but our shared obsession with safety is too. The latter may erode trust, prevent solutions and actually make us less free.

    I think police reports of crimes are the easiest thing to measure and are assumed to serve as a proxy for other things that would make people feel unsafe. As an emergency physician and as a firearm injury researcher, we know that there is not always a direct correlation between police reports and things that are interpreted as being markers of being unsafe. The most basic thing is you want to be able to walk down the street and not be assaulted or shot at. But there's other things like racism and gender-based violence—catcalls—which contribute to a feeling of being unsafe, but may not actually be reported in crime statistics. So part of the trouble is that those crime statistics are reporting on levels of safety but for whom?

    There are going to be racial and ethnic and gender-based aspects of psychological and physical safety that may not be fully reflected in police reports because people may be afraid of calling the police or assault or verbal threats may not rise to the level that someone deemed worthy of calling the police for. Certainly crime statistics are important, but are not the full picture. The other thing is that there are some populations that are quite hesitant to report injury to the police. As an ER doctor, I take care of people that are victims of assault or domestic violence all the time. And unless it's something that I'm legally required to report to the police, a shooting or a stabbing, the majority of them don't want the police involved for various reasons. So it's not a full picture. Even that basic measurement, sometimes it has to do with community relationships with the police and mistrust. The fullness of reporting I would think of would also be an important measure because you could have one community that looks safer than another simply because people are too afraid to report it. When I think about measures of safety, good relationships between law enforcement and community, where they mutually support each other in identifying and reducing crime, to me that would be an important metric that isn't, again, fully reflected in those kinds of crime statistics.

    There is one method to define community safety, and that's data from the FBI based on crime reported to law enforcement. Just be aware that the vast majority of crime is not reported to law enforcement. Only 41% of violent crimes are reported. Lots of sources use other methods (i.e., income), but there are plenty of communities in economic distress that are low crime areas.

  2. How does the correlation between crime rates and income factor in our assessment of the safety of communities? Should it?

    It is surely the case that lower socioeconomic status areas have higher crime rates and that crime is real. The people who live in those communities are victimized at higher rates than people who live in other communities. It's not clear what direction the causation runs. It's not obvious whether there's just something endemic to being poor and living in areas that have other poor people that generates crime, or whether it's the fact that you have people who have been cut off from economic opportunity and stuck in these high crime neighborhoods that in turn leads them to be poor. And I don't think we have a great answer to that.

    There's a growing body of research in economics that is trying to understand which characteristics of neighborhoods themselves generate things like crime, low levels of social mobility and persistent inequality. When it comes to understanding the link between poverty and crime, it's another place that we don't have a definitive answer. What I can say from my research on gangs in Chicago is that if you look over the long arc of history, the same neighborhoods today where I'm trying to understand what drives violence between gangs like the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones, these are the same neighborhoods that Al Capone and the Italian and Irish mobsters were fighting over back during the Prohibition era. And you look at what those neighborhoods all have in common through this long arc of history: it's poor people, all put in the same place and cut off from the broader opportunity that America likes to believe we afford our citizens. If I had to guess based on an informed judgment, I would think that it's something about how we structure these neighborhoods, how we place these people within the broader context of society and the economy that in turn generates the crime rates we see. But that is just a guess. We don't have the kind of evidence we would need to make that strong of a claim.

    It's not low-income areas per se, but low-income urban areas that are prone to violent crime. Many poor areas in rural parts of the country have very little recorded violent crime. Because of that point, I do not think that poverty is a sufficient condition for crime. In urban areas, poverty and crime are both attributable to other, deeper factors, like former red-lining policies and other institutionalized methods for preventing the accumulation of wealth, lack of public goods provision, the funding of schools through property taxes and the dominance of rural areas over state policymaking. Trying to draw a direct connection between poverty and crime is like drawing a connection between poverty and chronic obesity. There is at times a relationship, but it's not because poor people simply eat more. It's because they do not have as many food options or as much information, and their bad habits are reinforced by social norms in their community.

    In neighborhoods that are lower socioeconomic status, it's kind of like the poverty serves as a marker of other structural factors that lead to crime and disorder. It's not poverty in and of itself that makes people violent or criminal, right? But rather that there are other things going on that are reflected both in socioeconomic opportunity and in levels of crime. To give a very basic example, if you go to communities in lower-income countries that have incomes that are a fraction of a percent of what our lowest socioeconomic status communities in the United States are, they don't have high rates of violent crime because there aren't all those other factors like isolation and lack of jobs and lack of community and substance use. It's a correlation, but not necessarily causation, of crime. It's a marker of a deeper, underlying disorder. And I'm going to give another reason why that is: there've been studies showing that you can take low-income neighborhoods with high rates of crime in general and violent crime in particular. And if you take vacant lots and you turn them into community gardens, if you green them, basically, if you plant trees and grass and give people the option to garden there, you decrease the rate of crime and violent crime in the surrounding neighborhoods. You're not changing anything about the economics of that neighborhood, all of you are changing is a structural, underlying factor.

    Income is correlated with crime, but as suggested above, there are plenty of low crime communities with economic distress.

  3. What role do social unrest, protests over structural racism, the Black Lives Matter movement or calls to defund police play into safety perceptions? How about in the actual safety of a city or community?

    It's an open question as to what extent the marginal value of a dollar spent on police work generates the kind of outcomes we'd want to see as compared to the marginal value of another dollar spent on social work. I have no idea what would have happened if you defunded the police. Suppose you just literally shut down a police department in a major U.S. city. In that case, anyone who tells you they know what will happen is not telling the truth because it's just so far from everything we've observed and from our lived experience in the modern United States that I truly believe anything is possible. Maybe a more precise way to think about this push, and something that we could use the data to answer if we had the right data, is thinking carefully about where our dollars could be best spent. If you have a fixed budget to use for public safety, how much of that belongs with the police, how much of that belongs with other agencies that can maybe respond to other kinds of social ills without necessarily needing to carry a firearm?

    I think the perception of safety is going to be very different depending on your position of power in America. As a white woman who lives in a near suburb of Boston, the protests over structural racism were something I participated in as an ally, but don’t have a direct, immediate impact on me or my family. My Black activists colleagues in Boston have a very different perspective and I think their voices need to be heard on this issue. They are the experts who live it every day.

    Social unrest, I think, drives perceptions of lack of safety, but I don't know whether protests and movements actually increase violent crime. There seems to be some initial evidence that Minneapolis is facing a carjacking spree in the wake of the George Floyd and defund protests. But part of this may be that the police have stopped doing their jobs because they feel attacked.

    That's a very complex question. Those protests both reflect a lived experience of being unsafe and then further contribute to perceptions of being unsafe, both on the part of those who perceive that they're being targeted by law enforcement — and we know that Black and brown people are disproportionately more likely to be killed by law enforcement than white people — but also in the perception of others that that community is an unsafe place to go. And those deteriorating relationships between law enforcement and the community that are just brought to the surface by the protests, again, serve as a marker of a community being unsafe. And there are two ways to deal with those protests. You can deal with them as being a legitimate expression of dissatisfaction and fear on the part of a population. And you can try to fix that, which is what some communities across the United States have done, creating greater safety, creating greater trust between law enforcement and the folks who are at risk of crime. Or you can go the other way and have law enforcement withdraw from enforcing laws. You can you go into worse relationships between community and law enforcement officers, worsening rates of reporting of crime due to fear of retribution. And then that creates a more unsafe environment. So it's a very complex question and there are complex answers.

    Data indicates that communities with sustained or significant protests are communities with current crime problems. Protests against law enforcement have caused police officers to be very cautious, thus impeding proactivity. Per data, proactivity is necessary for crime control.

  4. How does crime impact a community's economic well-being? How about individual wealth?

    We have a huge body of evidence regarding how communities value schools. It just turns out like this is just a super well-established fact — there's tons of great evidence about this — that parents are willing to pay an enormous amount of money in the form of higher home prices to gain access to schools that have higher average test scores. Now, it's not even obvious that schools with high test scores are going to generate good outcomes for your kids, right? It's just the fact that all the rich people live in the same place, so of course, they're going to have high test scores. It turns into kind of a self-reinforcing cycle, but I would be shocked if you were able to collect the same kind of data, if you didn't find that people were willing to pay similarly large amounts of money for safety improvements, to buy lower average crime rates. If you draw the analogy that way, anything that drains away the tax base, pulls wealth out of the community and makes people nervous to start a business is going to negatively affect the places where they live. And that could even potentially operate on perception. It doesn't even have to be real. That's another component of how you might think that crime could impact the community's well-being.

    The costs of violent crime are both human and financial, and they are of course intimately linked. In communities plagued by violence, the stress is constant and the pain of loss of so many young people is often just too much to bear. Stress, anxiety and depression have very real impacts on a person’s ability to focus and be productive, therefore creating a challenge to job advancement and building wealth. It costs far more to deal with the fallout of crime than it does to prevent it, so communities suffer as a whole when we don’t invest in prevention.

    I'm not sure about the evidence here. Crime and wealth disparities are what social scientists call endogenous. They both cause each other. Investment does not flow to places with terrible violent crime, but individuals resort to crime because investment does not flow to their community, so they lack prospects.

    It's a little bit of a chicken and egg or circular effect. Certainly areas of high rates of crime, you're going to see fewer families willing to stay there, fewer businesses that are willing to open, higher risk businesses. You're going to see more liquor stores and pawn shops and places that are willing to take that risk of potentially being vandalized or take the risk of potentially being robbed. You're going to see fewer people walking the street and engaging in community activities. And so it turns into a vicious cycle in which lack of economic opportunity leads to societal instability, which leads to crime. And then the crime leads to less economic opportunity, more use of illicit opportunities to get money, like substance use. And then it becomes a self-perpetuating pattern, unfortunately.

    Endless studies document that violent crime destroys cities, education, economic development, jobs, personal development and basic human rights. Violent crime is like a disease that dismantles everything it touches, including the well-being of children and residents.

  5. What programs, strategies or interventions have been shown to reduce crime or improve real or perceived safety in communities?

    Summer jobs and programs for kids turn out to effectively reduce crime among kids when they're not in school. More generally, there's a compelling consensus in the research that — I don't want to say boredom drives it, but when you are occupied, when you are doing something, when you have a job, when you have a family, you don't have as much time to get into trouble. A lot of crimes are just people doing dumb things. There are definitely awful systematic crimes, like people out there planning out burglaries and doing this kind of stuff. Still, a lot of the crime we observe are things that happen in the moment, impulsive behavior that if you just had people occupied doing something productive with their time could likely be avoided. And so summer jobs programs are one example of that.

    An emerging body of work links what happens to kids when they're in school and their tendency to commit crimes as adults. For example, there's evidence that kids who win lotteries to go to higher-quality schools are less likely to commit crimes as adults. So another way to reduce crime in your community is to get them while they're young. If you believe research by James Heckman and coauthors, the marginal value of a dollar spent on education and preschool is enormous because those early investments can make later investments more productive.

    There are also a lot of test score-based policies in schools that prevent kids from advancing to the next grade, the idea being they haven't learned the material, so we don't want to "socially promote" them into some academic environment that they're not ready to handle. It turns out that holding kids back for not meeting the standard has serious negative consequences for their later life outcomes. You've made them feel different than their peers. When they grow up, they're more likely to commit crimes, and they're more likely to drop out of school. Anything you can do to take some of these practices that are effective from the research and tweak those policy dials in your community will move the needle. Now, whether that's going to have the transformative effects that we would all like to see versus just kind of like bumping the third decimal point on the average, I can't say.

    Crimes in cities involving firearms are most often the result of personal disagreements within small social circles so first of all, understanding that what most people refer to as ‘gang violence’ is not actually organized gangs of career criminals, but rather more often, desperate young men with few options. Repeated trauma, persistent poverty, and racism have created negative cycles within families and communities. Interrupting the cycles of violence with community based solutions is a proven, effective strategy. Cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago have, at various times in the past 20 years, all deployed models of violence prevention based on direct outreach and services to violence-involved individuals and at-risk youth. This outreach could be summed up as: knowing and meeting the needs of those people, whatever those needs may be. One of the key components to this strategy is employing a community based approach because communities know what they need, and they can hold people accountable. For example, we could be paying youth to go to school to complete their high school or college degree so that they can feed their families and study at the same time, which would result in a better chance at finding employment. We could be providing comprehensive mental health services and peer mentorship programs to support at-risk youth, which would help to resolve disagreements within social circles before they resort to violence. All the while, community based organizations could be working closely with individuals and families to navigate these programs, and hold participants accountable for their behavior. Bottom line, communities know what the solutions are, and they need sustainable funding to make long-term progress.

    As a mother, and as a gun violence prevention activist, I struggle daily with our country’s love affair with and reliance on firearms. Guns for every man, woman and child in America was certainly not what the founders of our country intended. All one has to do is look at the data to know that guns everywhere do not make us safer. At nearly 40,000 lives lost per year and billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs, the price is too high.

    I hesitate to answer, not because I don't know about policy, but because I want to avoid pretending that violent crime, or gun violence specifically, has an easy solution. It's not easy, and no one policy ever works perfectly. Crime is not just an individual decision; it's a social phenomenon with structural and institutional causes. People participate in crime because of their environments. Changing an environment is hard.

    However, the places that see reductions in gun violence and other violent crimes have some things in common:

    1. Emphasis on community uplift. When we can invest in communities, rebuild homes, fix roads, establish a secure environment for business owners and provide after-school opportunities for young people, it goes a long way toward reducing crime. Community-based policies are sometimes enacted for a while, but they nearly always get defunded after a few years. They are like preventive medicine. It's hard to see their effects in the short term, so they become politically untenable.
    2. Intervention by reformed criminals. Programs like CEASEFIRE are successful because they involve people with street cred intervening in cycles of retributive violence among young people. The old guys know the rules, and they know the score. They know how to push the right buttons.
    3. Efforts that make it more difficult for domestic abusers to own firearms. This works, period. A great deal of gun violence happens in the home, and this has knock-on effects. Kids who have been traumatized at home go on to engage in violence. Making it harder for abusers to own and use firearms makes it easier for family victims to extricate themselves from problematic situations.

    I think the biggest thing is addressing those structural factors that lead to crime in the first place. Criminal activity is a reflection often both of desperation or lack of hope, whether it's selling drugs or robbing someone because there aren't other ways to get ahead and a belief that there won't be consequences or that you can get away with it, so it's also a crime of opportunity. A former New York Police Commissioner advocated for the broken windows hypothesis, which is very controversial: the idea that you need to crack down on graffiti and petty crimes that then has a knock-on effect on the larger stuff. There's better evidence behind the structural factors that I mentioned, things like greening vacant lots, providing job training opportunities, enhancing the educational system, and giving kids a sense of hope, improving community relationships with law enforcement officers so that people feel safe reporting those who are destabilizing the peace.

    There are also some really interesting studies around having the community join together to get the highest risk — the bad apples — out of a community. There are programs, for instance, in Chicago and Boston that have focused on identifying the few gang kingpins who feed a lot of unrest and instability within a community.

    The other thing that I'll add is that the economic empowerment of women is a major factor in reducing crime in general. Women are motivated to try to maintain peace and they want to, not universally, but empowering women both allows them to stand up against gender-based violence, but also allows them to push for a better tomorrow for their kids, which then increases the safety of the community. I think of crime as the expression of a failure of the social fabric. Some very basic things like getting illegal guns off the streets and reducing drug trafficking certainly have a role to play, but it's challenging to make those interventions stick unless you have something, an alternative for people to go towards.

    Arnie Duncan created a program called Cred and on the south side of Chicago. They take former gang members and enroll them in job training, mental health support, et cetera. It's had really good results in terms of the kids that are involved in his program as well as neighborhood cohesion and neighborhood measures of disorder.

    We all want to feel safe going out, walking around or sitting in our house. Those are important metrics. But it's equally important to think of them as markers of something deeper and also to remember that they are not immutable. There are plenty of communities across the United States that had high crime rates that have since improved. And I'm thinking of parts of Philadelphia, parts of the Bay Area, Chicago, New York City. And then there are other communities that were seen as bastions of safety that are now unfortunately plagued by violence and criminal activity. And one of the biggest predictors is economic opportunity and help.

Jesse Bruhn
Jesse BruhnAssistant Professor of Economics
Angela P. Christiana
Angela P. ChristianaMassachusetts Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Geoffrey T. Dancy
Geoffrey T. DancyAssociate Professor of Political Science
Megan Ranney
Megan RanneyEmergency Physician and Researcher
Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.Owner of CrimeInAmerica.net


To rank the safest cities in the United States, MoneyGeek started with standardized crime statistics reported to the FBI. The population of each city was added to the analysis to determine crime rates per 100,000 people, and this information was also accessed via data provided by the FBI. When cities with more than 200,000 people did not have data available in the FBI dataset, MoneyGeek conducted individualized research on standardized crime statistics for each specific city.

To determine the cost of crime to society, MoneyGeek relied on research by professors Kathryn McCollister and Michael French of the University of Miami and Hai Fang of the University of Colorado, Denver. We then integrated their findings into the broader dataset to better understand the societal cost of crime within individual cities. Lastly, MoneyGeek used data provided via Wikipedia on the number and nature of mass shootings in the United States in 2019.

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About the Author

Deb Gordon is the author of “The Health Care Consumer’s Manifesto” (Praeger 2020), a book about shopping for health care, based on consumer research she conducted as a senior fellow in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government between 2017 and 2019. Her research and writing have been published in JAMA Network Open, the Harvard Business Review blog, USA Today, RealClear Politics, TheHill and Managed Care Magazine. Deb previously held health care executive roles in health insurance and health care technology services. Deb is an Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow and an Eisenhower Fellow, for which she traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to explore the role of consumers in high-performing health systems. She was a 2011 Boston Business Journal 40-under-40 honoree and a volunteer in MIT’s Delta V start-up accelerator, the Fierce Healthcare Innovation Awards and in various mentorship programs. She earned a B.A. in bioethics from Brown University and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.