Safest Cities in Arkansas – 2021

Last Updated on December 27, 2020

Like other states in the south central region of the United States, Arkansas has an issue with crime. The state’s violent crime rate of 5.44 per 1,000 is 47% above the national rate, and it doesn’t fare much better in property crime. Yet, that isn’t to say that Arkansas is without safe communities, as a handful of the state’s cities posted admirable crime rates in 2018, irrespective of statewide rates. 

Crime rate per 1,000
Law enforcement per 1,000

Bella Vista is Arkansas’ safest city by a wide margin.  The resort/retirement community offers plenty of amenities to visitors and residents, such as golf courses, swimming pools, and tennis courts. Folks in Bella Vista always have plenty to do, which may explain why the city’s total crime rate of 8.54 per 1,000 is 32% lower than the next-lowest entry.

Arkansas 2nd safest city is Centerton, a suburban bedroom community in Benton County whose population has shot up in recent decades. Folks are drawn to northwest Arkansas’ strong, diversified economy, as well as Centerton’s low crime: the city’s 8.79 per 1,000 rate of property crime is less than one-third of the statewide rate.

Ranking 3rd is Bentonville., the largest city in the state’s top 5 with a population over 51K. Famous as the birthplace and headquarters of Walmart, Bentonville has less-than-half of the violent crime of Arkansas, on a whole.

#4 Cabot, a mid-sized suburb of state capital Little Rock, may be the best place to live for those who work in the larger city. Cabot’s violent crime rate of 1.47 per 1,000 is the lowest in the state, but the city is kept from the top spot due to its slightly higher level of property crime.

Maumelle (#5) fills out the list of Arkansas’ 5 safest cities. The Pulaski County city’s total crime rate is higher than those of preceding entries, yet Maumelle still earned violent and property crime rates below state and national averages.

Arkansas’ Safest Cities

Law enforcement
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Bella Vista2879853193492468.541.846.701.70
6Siloam Springs17102783265240423.624.5619.063.04
13North Little Rock664244942287219278141.877.4434.433.30
14Van Buren236081347716190538.335.6832.662.58
21Mountain Home12315225903561249.701.7947.912.84
25Helena-West Helena104771574713362859.9414.9944.963.15
26West Memphis246684861262108174870.8619.7051.164.38
28El Dorado17916196106968126570.6110.9459.673.80
29Pine Bluff421956792278150295770.0816.0953.993.55
32Fort Smith882907074265181497256.318.0148.312.05
33Hot Springs370061942592129278675.295.2470.043.49
34Forrest City1414413288244101471.699.3362.363.11
35Little Rock1992882882130497011593179.9414.4665.483.52


To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.