New York came in 5th and San Francisco was nowhere to be seen on the list.
Safest Big Cities for Your Wallet, Well-Being
1. San Jose, CA
|SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA|
- Violent crime % differential from median: -21%
- Total crime % differential from median: -23%
- ID Theft % differential from national average: -21%
San Jose earns the top spot because it’s the only large city in the country to fall more than 20 percent below the national benchmark in all three categories. It also holds the distinction of having the lowest incidence of violent crimes per 1,000 people among all cities with populations over 500,000 considered for these rankings.
What you may not know about San Jose: In response to budget, staff, and crime concerns of late, the city of San Jose launched the RCITI (pronounced “our city”) program in early 2013 to reaffirm the police department’s core priorities. Reducing gang-related crimes and being responsive to residents’ needs are among the program’s key goals. The city reports that gang-related crime fell 28 percent during the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
2. San Diego, CA
|SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA|
- Violent crime % differential from median: -12%
- Total crime % differential from median: -32%
- ID Theft % differential from national average: -16%
San Diego actually has a lower incidence of crime as a whole than San Jose, but it ranks behind its in-state neighbor because it has higher violent crime occurrences. Still, the statistics for San Diego are impressive considering it’s one of only three cities in the top 10 to have a population greater than 1 million.
What you may not know about San Diego: The city has promoted the concept of neighbors watching neighbors by partnering with Nextdoor.com, a San Francisco-based social network for neighborhoods. Each community has its own website that only those residents can access. They can exchange information about what they’re seeing in their neighborhood, including safety issues.
3. El Paso, TX
|EL PASO, TEXAS|
- Violent crime % differential from median: -10%
- Total crime % differential from median: -32%
- ID Theft % differential from national average: -12%
The first three cities on this list are the only ones that fall below the national benchmark in all three categories, and El Paso is the last of that group. Its violent crime and total crime differentials are third and tied for fourth best, respectively, among all the cities we considered.
What you may not know about El Paso: El Paso is right on the Mexican border, and the police department has to be especially vigilant to try to prevent Mexico’s high occurrence of drug crime from seeping across it. Of particular concern are “stash houses” that act as temporary drug warehouses to facilitate widespread distribution.
4. Los Angeles, CA
|LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA|
- Violent crime % differential from median: +3%
- Total crime % differential from median: -33%
- ID Theft % differential from national average: +21%
Fourth place goes to Los Angeles largely because it has the second best total crime differential while also having the second largest population. It’s the first city in the top 10 to have more violent crime occurrences per 1,000 people than the U.S. median, but at only +3%, it scores better than most U.S. cities including many of those on this list.
What you may not know about Los Angeles: Crime in Los Angeles has declined over the past decade, particularly the number of incidents involving gangs. The city has two programs that aim to keep youth out of trouble. The A.C.T. program (Abolish Chronic Truancy) looks to spot patterns of truancy as early as possible and coordinate the efforts of administrators, teachers, parents, and students to fix it. And the S.A.G.E program (Strategy Against Gang Environment) educates parents on recognizing signs of early involvement in gangs, improving neighborhoods, and diverting the attention of kids away from gangs.
5. New York, NY
|NEW YORK, NEW YORK|
- Violent crime % differential from median: +29%
- Total crime % differential from median: -48%
- ID Theft % differential from national average: +5%
By far the largest city in the top 10 with a population of over 8 million, New York ranks fifth because its relative total crime differential is the second most favorable among the metropolitan areas evaluated despite having a higher incidence of violent crime than all but one other city on this list (Tucson).
What you may not know about New York: Reducing crime has been a main priority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg since he took office more than a decade ago. A number of initiatives – some more controversial than others – have been launched during his tenure. Among the most recent is the Juvenile Robbery Prevention Program, which identifies at-risk youth and uses early intervention to dissuade them from committing additional crimes.