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Click Here for the Complete 9th Safest/Most Dangerous City Publication



Find out all 342 cities and 271 metropolitan areas ranked in our 29-page $3.00 pdf instant version of America's Safest (and Most Dangerous) Cities document.  Order now and you can immediately download the document to your own computer and read or print using the free Acrobat Reader program.  Click here for more details and to see if your city is included.


The methodology for determining America’s Safest City and Metro Area involves a multi-step process. First, 2001 city and metro area crime rates per 100,000 population (the most recent comparable final numbers available, released by the FBI in October 2002) for six basic crime categories — murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft — were plugged into a formula that measured how a particular city or metro area compared to the national average for a given crime category. The outcome of this equation was then multiplied by a weight assigned to each of the six crime categories. For this year’s award, each of the six crimes was given equal weight. By weighting each crime equally, cities are compared based purely on their crime rates and how they stack up to the national average for a particular crime category. These weighted numbers then were added together for a city or metro area’s final score. Finally, these scores were ranked from lowest to highest to determine which cities and metropolitan areas were safest and most dangerous.

While this methodology appears rather complicated, it results in fairer treatment because a city or metro area’s crime record is measured against the national average. The farther below the national average, the higher (and better) a city or metro ranked in the final Safest Cities and Metros list; the farther above the national average, the lower (and worse) a city or metro ranked in the final list.

Like the last four years' awards, all cities of 75,000 population or more that reported data for the six categories of crime measured for the survey were included in the competition. In previous years, the population cut-off for cities was 100,000+ population. There was no population minimum for metropolitan areas.  In all, 342 cities and 271 metro areas were included in the survey.


This year, several cities of 75,000+ population did not report complete crime information and thus were not included in the Safest Cities rankings. Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, and Alexandria, VA were the largest and most significant cities for which data were not available.

Chicago and Other Illinois Cities: For several years, rape numbers submitted by cities in the state of Illinois have not met the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines. This remains the case with 2001 crime data. According to state statisticians, the state of Illinois tracks "sexual assault," which includes not only female rapes, but also offenses such as male rape, sodomy, etc. For these reasons, Chicago and other Illinois cities once again are not found in this year's Safest City rankings.  However, Chicago and other Illinois cities are included in our book City Crime Rankings for all of the other crimes.

Lynn, Massachusetts: Lynn is included in our book City Crime Rankings but is not part of our Safest City rankings.  This is because numbers were not available for aggravated assault through the uniform crime report.

Other CitiesBelow is a list of cities that the 2000 Census showed as having populations greater than 75,000 but are not included in our 9th annual Safest City rankings because statistics for all 12 months of that year were not submitted to the FBI:

Akron, OH


Lawrence, KS

Alexandria, VA


Metairie, LA

Arlington Heights, IL


Nashua, NH

Augusta, GA


Norwalk, CT

Brandon, FL


Olathe, KS

Canton, OH


Overland Park, KS

Chandler, AZ


San Francisco, CA

Charleston, SC


Sandy Springs, GA

Chesapeake, VA


Schaumburg, IL

Cicero, IL


Silver Spring, MD

Columbia, MD


Toms River, NJ

Decatur, IL


Tyler, TX

Elgin, IL


Waukegan, IL

Kansas City, KS


Westminster, CO

Kendall, FL





The metropolitan areas for which crime information is shown are those which meet two criteria.  First, at least 75% of all law enforcement agencies must have reported crime statistics, and second, the central city/cities must have submitted 12 months of data in 2001.  There are several metro areas that did not meet these criteria in 2001 and thus are not included in the report. Most notably, statistics are not available for the metro areas of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, San Francisco and St. Louis.  Also data for last year's Most Dangerous Metro Area, Pine Bluff, Arkansas were not available.