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Safest cities in America 2023: Violent crime rate increases drive per capita cost of crime | Northwest & National News

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. The most dangerous cities were determined from the analysis by their per capita cost of crime.

  1. St. Louis, MO – $8,457 cost of crime per capita
  2. Mobile, AL – $8,014
  3. Birmingham, AL – $7,900
  4. Baltimore, MD – $7,230
  5. Memphis, TN – $7,184
  6. Detroit, MI – $6,780
  7. Cleveland, OH – $6,491
  8. New Orleans, LA – $6,444
  9. Shreveport, LA – $6,344
  10. Baton Rouge, LA – $5,739
  11. Little Rock, AR – $5,374
  12. Oakland, CA – $5,329
  13. Milwaukee, WI – $5,243
  14. Kansas City, MO – $4,884
  15. Philadelphia, PA – $4,755

Mass Shootings in American Cities Are Getting Worse

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 648 mass shootings in 2022 and 18 as of January 9, 2023.

Mass shooting events are included in our safest and most dangerous cities rankings. Though they are relatively rare, we do 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, MoneyGeek calculated the total cost of mass shootings in 2021 to be $8 billion — that’s about 4% of the total cost of crime in the approximately 263 cities analyzed and a 33% increase in costs from 2020 to 2021.


  1. Boulder, CO – $108,651,414
  2. San Jose, CA – $108,393,140
  3. Indianapolis, IN – $98,457,785
  4. Atlanta, GA – $86,843,649
  5. Colorado Springs, CO – $75,875,198

Safety and the Cost of Crime

The direct economic costs of crime to individuals and society include victim medical and mental health care needs, 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 premiums on average for home insurance, renters insurance 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. This list 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.

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