Known for its natural landscape and tough winters, the state of Vermont's forests also boast more than 100 19th-century covered wooden bridges. This New England state has a small population of just over 600,000 people, making it the least-populated state after Wyoming. However, it is the leading producer of maple syrup in the country and has been ranked as the safest state in the country as recently as 2016. Also, even though the mean annual temperature in the state is 43 degrees Fahrenheit, its abundance of dairy farms helped make it home to the famous Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Vermont was one of only four states that were at some point a sovereign state, along with Texas, California, and Hawaii. It was the first state to join the original 13 colonies, and it was the first state to partially abolish slavery, later playing a big role in the Underground Railroad. Clearly, residents here are proud of their individuality and aren't afraid to speak out, which can be seen in their proclivity to vote for independent political candidates. This fierce independence, paired with the notable safety of the state, makes Vermont an attractive place to those looking to relocate.
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 in a valley in the Green Mountains, Northfield is a quaint town of 6,090 residents. Locals are proud of their community, which happens to be the safest in the state, seeing just 4 violent crimes and 38 property crimes last year. Northfield has also been home to Norwich University since 1866, just after the Civil War ended. The private university is also known as The Military College of Vermont and is the oldest private military college in the United States. It's home to more than 3,400 undergraduate and postgraduate students and is recognized as “The Birthplace of ROTC” by the United States Department of Defense. When Northfield locals aren't studying up or relaxing, they're often taking a walk through one of the nearby woods, including Northfield Village Forest and Berlin Town Forest.
This is the second-safest in Vermont, experiencing just 8 violent crimes and 69 property crimes last year. It's located on the eastern border of the state, across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire's Lebanon. Hartford also has two more rivers running through it: the White River and Ottauqechee River. Because Interstates 91 and 89 also run through it, Hartford is a regional transportation center. In fact, the rivers helped power local mills long ago, and eventually railroads also followed the path of the rivers through the valleys. Today, Hartford is composed of five unincorporated villages: Wilder, White River Junction, West Hartford, Quechee, and Hartford.
Shelburne's official size is 45.1 square miles, which is pretty gigantic for a city of about 7,890 residents. That's partially due to the fact that it sits on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, which accounts for 20.8 square miles of the city's total area. Shelburne is one of the safest cities in Vermont, seeing a mere 3 violent crimes and 69 property crimes last year. It was originally settled as a farming town and later experienced a boom in potash production, which also helps in fertilizing. These days, Shelburne residents pride themselves on being politically active, seeing a voter turnout of 89.4% in the Vermont general election of 2008.
Local legend suggests that the town of Milton was named after the famed English poet John Milton, though historians will argue that it was actually named after William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 4th Earl Fitzwilliam, a British Whig statesman who styled himself as Viscount Milton. Either way, it's well-known that this town is also one of the safest in Vermont, seeing a total of 6 violent crimes and 12.19 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. Many locals are employed by Gardener's Supply and Husky Injection Molding Systems, but when they're not clocking in, they might be checking out races at Catamount Stadium—several NASCAR racers have raced there, including local Kevin Lepage. Fun fact: the town was used as a filming location for the Farrelly brothers comedy Me, Myself & Irene.
While Williston was originally laid out as a series of farms, over the years it has boomed in population, eventually becoming a suburb of Burlington (the most-populated city in Vermont). This town of 9,346 residents is also one of the safest in Vermont, last year experiencing just 5 violent crimes and 12.95 property crimes per 1,000 people. Local residents love to shop, as evidenced by the $434 million in retail sales that Williston made in 2007—the most in the state. However, its claim to fame is probably being home to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who just happen to be the founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
The Top 20 Safest Cities in Vermont, 2017
16. South Burlington
8. Barre Town
10. St. Johnsbury
To identify the safest cities in Vermont, 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.