Safest Cities in Rhode Island – 2020

Last Updated on February 11, 2020

Rhode Island is one of the safest states in America: its violent crime rate of 2.19 offenses per 1,000 and property crime rate of 16.6 per 1,000 are significantly below national levels. What’s more, Rhode Island’s already low rate of violent crime decreased by 6.4% in 2018, a trend that shows no signs of reversing. It should be no surprise that all of Rhode Island’s safest cities recorded violent crime rates below 1 offense per 1,000 people.

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

Glocester is the safest municipality in Rhode Island. The small town of just over 10K logged a mere 5 violent crimes and 30 property crimes in 2018, resulting in crime rates that were less than 14% of national levels in each respective category.

Rhode Island’s second safest community, the Providence County town of Scituate, is not far behind. Similar in size to #1 Glocester, Scituate logged just 11 more total crimes for marginally higher, yet equally impressive rates of violent and property crime.

#3 Bristol is the first municipality on the list to record a number of violent crimes in the double digits in 2018 (it had 10). However, due to its larger size, Bristol’s violent crime rate was actually lower than those of the communities in the #1 and #2 spots. Bristol’s slightly higher property crime rate keeps it out of the top spot, yet is still less than 20% of the national rate.

Rhode Island’s 2nd oldest municipality, Portsmouth, continues the state’s safety streak, earning the #4 spot on the list. Portsmouth’s 0.4 per 1,000 violent crime rate is actually lower than all preceding entries, yet slides down the ranking by averaging 1.46 more property crime offenses than #1 Glocester.

Closing out the list of Rhode Island’s 5 safest cities is Narragansett, an oceanside community that doubles its population during the summer months. Narragansett achieved a remarkable violent crime rate of 0.52 per 1,000, although the town has a slightly higher rate of property crime relative to others on the list, perhaps owing to its status as a popular tourist destination.

Rhode Island’s Safest Cities

RICityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Glocester1015853020353.450.492.951.97
2Scituate1061783828464.330.753.582.64
3Bristol22131108947994.470.454.022.12
4Portsmouth1747477738844.810.404.412.17
5Narragansett154488123521318.480.527.963.37
6South Kingstown3081616203702197.110.526.592.27
7Burrillville167811997311166.911.135.781.85
8Barrington161128113311217.510.507.011.92
9East Greenwich1305110115401259.580.778.813.06
10North Kingstown2610110231602419.230.388.852.30
11Smithfield2174621189542109.660.978.692.48
12North Providence32475383168335410.901.179.732.56
13Tiverton15835161674118311.561.0110.552.59
14Cumberland3501823304543279.340.668.681.54
15Warren10393181142913212.701.7310.972.79
16East Providence475265051511156511.891.0510.842.34
17Johnston29317403447738413.101.3611.732.63
18Westerly22537172885930513.530.7512.782.62
19Middletown16030132094222213.850.8113.042.62
20West Warwick28464653066037113.032.2810.752.11
21Coventry34814354527248713.991.0112.982.07
22Cranston810591181140180125815.521.4614.062.22
23Warwick80380731372207144517.980.9117.072.58
24Central Falls19293832934437619.494.3015.192.28
25Lincoln21900173864340318.400.7817.631.96
26Newport24863856009868527.553.4224.133.94
27North Smithfield12469132612727421.971.0420.932.17
28Pawtucket718923211882171220330.644.4726.182.38
29Providence1801698195679505649836.074.5531.522.80

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.