Officially known as the "State of Rhode Island, "Providence Plantations," and nicknamed "The Ocean State," Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character and historical richness. While it's not actually an island, it's the second-most densely populated state, and it was the first colony to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown. And while Rhode Islanders might get attention for their accent—a cross between Bostonian and New Yorker—there have been plenty of famous people who hailed from the state, including authors H.P. Lovecraft and Cormac McCarthy, and actor James Woods.
College education is a big deal in Rhode Island, and the state boasts several institutions of higher education, including Brown University, University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, Bryant University, the New England Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Naval War College. This smartypants tradition can also be seen in some of the state's pioneering decisions, including enacting the first law prohibiting slavery in North America, and being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. Additionally, the state saw the country's first gaslight-illuminated street, NFL night game, woman-joined strike, nine-hole golf course, and lunch wagon. It's exactly this kind of pioneering spirit that draws people to move to Rhode Island.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
Located adjacent to Connecticut on the western border of Rhode Island is Glocester, a troublemaker-averse town. It's the safest city in the state, experiencing just 4 violent crimes and 50 property crimes last year. And if you're thinking that it sounds mighty similar to Gloucester, Massachusetts, you're right—the town voted to change its name in 1731, making things a lot less confusing in the region. Glocester also has a long and proud history, hosting the Ancient and Horribles Parade since 1927, and being home to several spots on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Harmony Chapel and Cemetery, Glocester Town Pound, and Manton-Hunt-Farnum Farm.
Rich in history while also offering access to pristine streams and unspoiled forests, Scituate is a town that also happens to be conveniently located just west of the state capital of Providence. It's also the second safest town in Rhode Island, seeing only 3 violent crimes and 84 property crimes last year. Its name is derived from the Native American word “satuit,” which means “cold river” or “cold brook.” The name is actually quite appropriate, considering that the Scituate Reservoir is the largest body of freshwater in Rhode Island. Every Columbus Day weekend, the town draws up to 350,000 visitors for the annual Scituate Art Festival, but history buffs also stick around to check out its bounty of National Historic Places and National Sites.
The second-oldest municipality in Rhode Island (after Providence), Portsmouth is a town of roughly 17,377 residents and was settled all the way back in 1638. Portsmouth is known as a safe place to live, and the town experienced a mere 8 violent crimes and 7.94 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. Visitors will probably be thrown off by the fact that most of the town is located on Aquidneck Island, as well as some smaller islands such as Prudence Island, Patience Island, Hog Island, and Hope Island. Besides its islands, the town is know for being the headquarters of US Sailing (the National Governing Body of Sailing), and the site of the Battle of Rhode Island (1778).
Located directly north of Glocester, and bordering both Connecticut and Massachusetts, lies this town of about 16,318 people. It's one of the safest towns in the state, seeing just 16 violent crimes and 7.54 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. It was originally named after United States senator James Burrill, Jr. and settled sometime around 1662, when Europeans came onto the lands of the Nipmuc.
Found on a peninsula in Mt. Hope Bay, Bristol was named after Bristol, England. Its major industries include boat building and manufacturing, and it's also one of the safest towns in the state, seeing 13 violent crimes 8.83 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. Many people recognize Bristol for being home to Roger Williams University, as well as the boat company Herreshoff, which built five America's Cup winners between 1893 and 1920. However, probably its biggest claim to fame is its Fourth of July parade, which is the oldest continuously celebrated Independence Day festivities in the United States. And if parades aren't your thing, Bristol offers plenty of notable spots and locations on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Herreshoff Marine Museum, Coggeshall Farm Museum, the America's Cup Hall of Fame, and the Bristol Ferry Lighthouse.
The Top 30 Safest Cities in Rhode Island, 2017
12. North Kingstown
13. West Greenwich
14. East Greenwich
24. West Warwick
6. South Kingstown
18. North Providence
19. East Providence
20. North Smithfield
To identify the safest cities in Rhode Island, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000. Note that our use of the word "cities" is versatile, refers to populations of 5,000 and over, and thus includes places with the words "town" and "township."
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.