Following on from our discussion with women about the security concerns they have as a result of entrenched societal and cultural standards, we’ve analyzed and identified the safest cities for women in the US based on FBI/National Census statistics. The list gives a strong indication of where it is safer for women to live, as well as the kinds of common attributes these spaces share.
Find out which US-based cities are the safest places for women to live, and learn more about our methodology below.
The safest cities for women (with a population of over 100,000) in the US are characterized by several clear commonalities. Firstly, even for cities with a population over 100,000, populations tend to be far lower than the cities that are more dangerous for women. Stratifying the samples so that the data is represented per 100,000 people gives a more balanced picture of safety across locations with dramatically varying population numbers.
The other obvious link is wealth. More affluent cities with small populations had much lower crime rates, and almost all of them are known as residential commuter cities serving larger metropolitan areas. It is also evident that the safest cities are concentrated overwhelmingly in California and Texas, including all our choices for the top 5.
Check out the list below.
Top 5 Safest Cities
1. Murrieta, California
- Population: 112,941
- Rape: 19 = 16.8 per 100,000 (lowest)
- Aggravated assault: 29 = 25.67 per 100,000
- Property crimes: 1,512 = 1,338.7 per 100,000
Among the cities with smaller populations that still top 100,000, Murrieta is among the safest for women not just in the state of California, but in the country as a whole, with impressively low violent and property crime rates across the board.
It’s considered the heart of Southern California’s wine country, so it’s replete with wineries and vineyards. Murrieta’s warm mediterranean climate and natural landscapes make it an attractive place to raise a family. It’s certainly suburban, but it’s also one of the fastest growing cities in California.
2. Irvine, California
- Population: 273,157
- Rape: 52 = 19 per 100,000
- Aggravated assault: 69 = 25.26 per 100,000 (lowest)
- Property crimes: 3,823 = 1,399.56 per 100,000
With a population estimated at 273,157 in 2019, Irvine is by far the city with the most people living in it on the list, making it one of the safest cities of its scale in the country. Though the actual number of crimes is higher than other entries with smaller population sizes, the size of the city makes it considerably safer when stratifying the entries than other cities of similar size in California and around the country.
Glendale—another Californian city well regarded for safety—had a total of 117 aggravated assaults compared to just 69 in Irvine in 2019, despite being about a third smaller in size.
3. Thousand Oaks, California
- Population: 127,873
- Rape: 27 = 21.1 per 100,000
- Aggravated assault: 38 = 29.7 per 100,000
- Property crimes: 1,392 = 1,088 per 100,000 (lowest)
Named for its abundance of Oak trees, Thousand Oaks is an attractive residential city in the Greater Los Angeles area. Despite its population growth, crime rates have generally been in decline for the last three decades, and it consistently ranks as among the safest places in the country.
It’s a well-known film location of choice for Hollywood studios and TV production companies. Its beautiful wildlife does unfortunately require a word of warning: expect mountain lions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and bears, as well as occasional wildfires, which have resulted in the destruction of almost 200,000 acres since 2018.
4. Frisco, Texas
- Population: 199,445 (highest)
- Rape: 46 = 23.06 per 100,000
- Aggravated assault: 83 = 41.6 per 100,000
- Property crimes: 2,390 = 1,198 per 100,000
About 20-30 minutes outside Dallas, Frisco is known as a commuter city for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The low crime rates make it among the safest cities in Texas, a state that, much like California, seems to have more than its share of safe residential places for women and families.
It boasts a pretty balanced mix between suburb and city, with an emphasis on retail space, restaurants, the arts, and sports, as the city houses the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility. Poverty rates currently sit at around 4%.
5. Allen, Texas
- Population: 105,961 (lowest)
- Rape: 19 = 17.9 per 100,000
- Aggravated assault: 54 = 50.4 per 100,000
- Property crimes: 1,154 = 1,089 per 100,000
Surprise—another commuter suburb! Allen, Texas also happens to serve the broader Dallas area, located just north of the city. The school district is known as one of the best in the state, making it an attractive residential area for families looking for a safe space to live in.
It’s generally considered affluent, with a median household income of $113,719 and a poverty rate teetering on 4%.
Using the most recent FBI statistics on crime rates, our list emphasizes the crimes that disproportionately affect women—rape and aggravated assault.
For the list of safest cities, we have included both the total known number of crimes that occured in the year (2019) as well as a stratified sample out of 100,000 people, since the numbers are obviously much lower, as was the population.
We have also included property crime rates among our considerations. This is a much more common type of crime to occur, and it makes a strong impression on how ‘safe’ a person feels in their home, neighborhood, and city at large.
This is, however, not considered in the ranking of the cities because there is no data to suggest any firm correlation between gender and victims of property crimes in the same way there is for violent crimes.
For the sake of relevance, communities considered are only those with populations above 100,000. Naturally, communities with just a few hundred or a few thousand members have much lower crime rates.
Though the FBI’s statistics are the only crime rate statistics available in the US provided by the government, the only crime that cities are required by law to report is murder. This means the list should not be considered a completely exhaustive report on crime, because cities have great sway in what actually gets reported.
- Violent crime – includes murder, homicide, assault, battery, etc., in addition to all types of sex crimes.
- Property crime – includes burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, etc. Arson is not considered exclusively a property crime.
- Sex crime – includes statutory rape, sexual assault, prostitution, human trafficking, as well as all relevant offenses against children.
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2019 1-Year Estimates, Compiled by The Center for Community Solutions, Large U.S. cities with total population above 300,000.