New York Is, Surprisingly, America's Safest City

Published June 8, 2009

America’s largest cities are not necessarily the most violent. In fact, according to a new listing of the safest municipalities in the United States with populations over 500,000 people, New York City tops the list.

This means that it has fewer violent crimes per capita than other major metropolises.   Violent crimes refer to murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is a property crime, but its statistics are calculated separately.

In the Big Apple, violent crime fell by 4 percent from 2007, a substantial difference between the drop nationally. That figure, according to FBI crime statistics, consists of a 9-percent decrease in assaults (the largest sub category), but is marred by a 5.4 percent increase in murder, 1.7 percent increase in rape and a 1.8 percent increase in robbery. New York City's per-capita crime rate hovers at 4.2 percent.

Nationally, violent crime fell 2.5 percent versus 2007; property crime fell 1.6 percent; and arson fell 3.5 percent. Between 2004 and 2005, violent crime skyrocketed 2.3 percent, with murders and robberies rising 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. The news about the downturn in crime is especially positive, given that times are harder than ever for most Americans. Last year saw the biggest decrease in murder, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft in the past four years.

While Arizona does have a lower crime rate than New York City, at 2.9 percent per-capita, it lacks property crime statistics and thus could not be considered for the top spot among safest cities.

Behind New York, the safest cities are: San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, El Paso, Honolulu, Denver, Boston, Las Vegas and Louisville. Memphis, Tenn., is the nation’s least safe city, with a crime rate of 18 percent per capita, followed by Atlanta (16 percent), San Antonio (15.2 percent), Detroit (13.7 percent) and Milwaukee (13.4 percent). These rates reflect the total crimes detailed in the FBI's report divided by the population of the city.

Written by BET.com Staff

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