Safest Cities in Washington – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Washington’s crime situation is a bit unusual: the state boasts a violent crime rate considerably below the national average, yet has a significant property crime issue, mainly in Seattle and its other large cities. Nevertheless, Washington is home to a handful of cities where neither violent nor property crime are a significant issue. Here’s a closer look at the Evergreen State’s five safest cities.

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

The safest city in Washington is Oak Harbor, a city of around 23K and the largest on Whidbey Island. Oak Harbor is a very safe community that posted a violent crime rate of just above 1 per 1K and a property crime rate below 7 per 1K in 2018.

#2 on the list is West Richland, a city of 15K in Benton County in the south central part of the state that recorded just 11 violent crimes in 2018.  West Richland is notable as the site of Manhattan Project activity in the 1940’s, when the city was run by the Federal War Department.

Washington’s #3 safest city is Camas, a city of around 24K near the state’s southern border that is part of the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Cama boasts a low violent crime rate of 0.8 per 1K, and its property crime rate is similarly impressive. 

Snoqualmie, a city of about 14,000 28 miles east of Seattle, is 4th in the ranking. Made famous as the location of many exterior shots for David Lynch’s cult classic TV series Twin Peaks, Snoqualmie logged just 3 violent crimes in 2018, good enough for the lowest rate in Washington. The city is kept out of the top spot by its 12.12 per 1K property crime rate, which is double #1 Oak Harbor’s rate.

Coming in at #5 is Bainbridge Island, the 2nd largest city in Kitsap County. Bainbridge Island has been awarded an eCity Award for its strong online business community by Google, and its low rate of crime is another remarkable characteristic of the city.

Washington’s Safest Cities

WACityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Oak Harbor23,330 24162371867.971.036.941.59
2West Richland15,012 11125231369.060.738.331.53
3Camas23,865 19219302389.970.809.181.26
4Snoqualmie13,947 31692617212.330.2212.121.86
5Bainbridge Island24,739 252422626710.791.019.781.05
6Pullman33,896 413714241212.151.2110.951.24
7Lake Stevens33,491 633564041912.511.8810.631.19
8Liberty Lake10,272 101251213513.140.9712.171.17
9Enumclaw11,882 92293023820.030.7619.272.52
10Grandview11,163 72052321218.990.6318.362.06
11Washougal15,949 252512627617.311.5715.741.63
12Lynden14,612 182051822315.261.2314.031.23
13Cheney12,715 432032324619.353.3815.971.81
14Mill Creek21,234 193332835216.580.8915.681.32
15Poulsbo10,886 192272324622.601.7520.852.11
16Mercer Island25,641 104523446218.020.3917.631.33
17Sunnyside16,468 374224845927.872.2525.632.91
18Lake Forest Park13,504 142622027620.441.0419.401.48
19Bothell46,387 65101789108223.331.4021.921.92
20Mukilteo21,638 374333647021.721.7120.011.66
21Anacortes17,130 303803341023.931.7522.181.93
22Edmonds42,565 658426390721.311.5319.781.48
23Ferndale14,439 163082332422.441.1121.331.59
24Battle Ground21,002 324042843620.761.5219.241.33
25Bonney Lake21,192 334513448422.841.5621.281.60
26Pasco74,582 166132887149420.032.2317.811.17
27Monroe19,003 694584152727.733.6324.102.16
28Kirkland89,805 1012004134210523.441.1222.321.49
29Snohomish10,227 252652029028.362.4425.911.96
30Sedro Woolley11,953 103092031926.690.8425.851.67
31Richland57,450 127128179140824.512.2122.301.38
32Mountlake Terrace21,549 395383557726.781.8124.971.62
33Marysville70,204 170154995171924.492.4222.061.35
34East Wenatchee14,097 143772439127.740.9926.741.70
35Redmond65,827 891854117194329.521.3528.161.78
36Wenatchee34,169 1008515095127.832.9324.911.46
37Edgewood11,510 152311024621.371.3020.070.87
38Kennewick82,687 1582126116228427.621.9125.711.40
39Ellensburg20,616 426013564331.192.0429.151.70
40Bellevue146,913 1944294210448830.551.3229.231.43
41Walla Walla32,906 128119477132240.183.8936.292.34
42Lacey50,844 96137462147028.911.8927.021.22
43Issaquah38,606 30135772138735.930.7835.151.86
44Tumwater23,405 847033678733.633.5930.041.54
45Lynnwood38,620 1011646105174745.242.6242.622.72
46Port Angeles19,992 1068235792946.475.3041.172.85
47Longview37,720 110135072146038.712.9235.791.91
48Kelso12,164 524863053844.234.2739.952.47
49Bellingham90,208 2043346174355039.352.2637.091.93
50Arlington19,394 606623272237.233.0934.131.65
51Olympia52,312 2462020107226643.324.7038.612.05
52Aberdeen16,404 858345391956.025.1850.843.23
53Vancouver177,580 8195852258667137.574.6132.951.45
54Mount Vernon35,550 99130857140739.582.7836.791.60
55Everett111,091 3734683230505645.513.3642.152.07
56Des Moines31,460 111109246120338.243.5334.711.46
57University Place33,743 727191779123.442.1321.310.50
58Moses Lake23,763 80104944112947.513.3744.141.85
59Centralia17,299 887943688250.995.0945.902.08
60Auburn82,381 3603334133369444.844.3740.471.61
61Seattle742,759 50523824619544329858.296.8051.492.63
62Sumner10,191 265322355854.752.5552.202.26
63Port Orchard14,269 676332470049.064.7044.361.68
64Lakewood60,694 3932818118321152.906.4846.431.94
65Spokane Valley99,020 3464165133451145.563.4942.061.34
66Kent129,870 4525953197640549.323.4845.841.52
67Federal Way97,762 4584480155493850.514.6845.831.59
68Renton102,749 3314915154524651.063.2247.841.50
69Puyallup41,572 108233780244558.812.6056.221.92
70Tacoma215,687 1869113623861323161.348.6752.681.79
71Shelton10,188 526572170969.595.1064.492.06
72Spokane218,222 1742154394101718178.737.9870.751.88
73Tukwila20,288 1483401853549174.937.29167.644.19

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.