Safest Cities in Idaho – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Idaho posted significantly lower-than-average property and violent crime rates in 2018, earning it a spot in the top 10 safest states in the U.S. The Gem State is the fastest growing in the nation, and while a growing population often indicates an uptick in crime, rates in Idaho actually dropped in 2018, overall (although violent crime went up slightly). What’s more, Idaho’s 5 safest cities all recorded crime rates below the national averages in both major categories.

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

Rexburg is the safest city in Idaho. The rapidly growing Madison County city logged just 5 violent crimes in 2018, for a violent crime rate considerably lower than any other in the state. Rexburg also distinguishes itself with its low level of property crime, which is less-than-a-quarter of national levels.

Idaho’s 2nd safest city is Meridian, which, with a population of over 103K, is the 3rd largest city in the state. Though Meridian’s crime figures aren’t quite on par with #1 Rexburg’s, the city did really well in 2018, logging a violent crime rate less-than-half of the national rate.

3rd in the ranking is Moscow, a city of around 25K near the Washington border that is home to the University of Idaho. While college towns often witness elevated levels of crime, Moscow recorded a low violent crime rate of 0.51 offenses per 1,000 in 2018, the 2nd lowest in Idaho by a wide margin.

Two cities with “Falls” in their names fill out the countdown of Idaho’s 5 safest cities: Post Falls and Idaho Falls. Post Falls, a suburb of Coeur d’Alene in Kootenai County, is #4 on the list. In 2018, the city earned violent and property crime rates below statewide levels. Not far behind is Idaho Falls (#5), the commercial and cultural hub of eastern Idaho, which had crime rates slightly below national levels in 2018.

Idaho’s Safest Cities

IDCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Rexburg287655135391404.870.174.691.36
2Meridian1037741651260135142513.731.5912.141.30
3Moscow25339133944040716.060.5115.551.58
4Post Falls34144695787564718.952.0216.932.20
5Idaho Falls61643206960131116618.923.3415.572.13
6Mountain Home14220382603629820.962.6718.282.53
7Jerome11738311792021017.892.6415.251.70
8Coeur d’Alene51650188972109116022.463.6418.822.11
9Boise2292656354627376526222.952.7720.181.64
10Blackfoot11910403153035529.813.3626.452.52
11Twin Falls49908225118095140528.154.5123.641.90
12Nampa953862682424178269228.222.8125.411.87
13Caldwell55936183120280138524.763.2721.491.43
14Pocatello553172091568131177732.123.7828.352.37
15Garden City12025823543443636.266.8229.442.83
16Lewiston3294948100768105532.021.4630.562.06
17Chubbuck14998556783673348.873.6745.212.40

Methodology

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.