A little bit of south; a little bit of north— Virginia is a unique place where traditions swirl and history runs deep. The 10th state to enter the Union, Virginia is also the 14th most populated state and the 35th largest. One of its claims to fame is that it has birthed more presidents (eight, to be precise) than any other state. In 1607, the London Company established the first permanent New World English colony here. Its capital is Richmond, which served as the capital of the Confederate State of America during the Civil War. Its biggest city is the sunny town of Virginia Beach, which draws many travelers from the region.
While agriculture is prominent in the Shenandoah Valley, military facilities are a big economic engine in the Hampton Roads, and federal agencies that remain close to Washington D.C. are located in Northern Virginia, including the U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Foodies are probably most interested in the fact that Virginia is the third-biggest producer of seafood in the country, behind Alaska and Louisiana. Virginia really is a state where there's something for everyone, and that's why it makes for such an appealing place to move to.
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 northern Virginia, southeast of Harrisonburg, this town was originally founded in 1835. Since then, it's been minding its business and staying out of trouble, because these days it's the safest city in the state of Virginia, seeing just 2 violent crimes and 16 property crimes last year. Back in the late 1800s, Bridgewater was home to the longest single-span covered bridge in the world. The town is also home to Bridgewater College - private, four-year, founded in 1880, and the first college in Virginia to admit women. It's also a great town for nature lovers, considering that Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are both located nearby.
The town of Purcellville is located near the Maryland border in the northeast of the state and home to roughly 9,235 residents. Last year, it saw just 5 violent crimes and 51 property crimes, meaning that you can probably park your car with keys in the ignition— though you probably shouldn't if you prefer to live life on the edge. Purcellville has a long history that dates back to 1764. These days, it's home to Patrick Henry College, a liberal arts and government school with a focus on conservative, Evangelical Christianity.
3. BUENA VISTA
Buena Vista has had several names, “Hart's Bottom,” “Green Valley,” and “Green Forest" - finally settling on Buena Vista in 1892. Today it's one of the safest cities in Virginia, experiencing just 5 violent crimes and 42 property crimes last year. In town, you'll find Southern Virginia University, which enrolls about 800 students, as well as the former Buena Vista Hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as the main hall of Southern Virginia University. Fun fact: an old sign greeting visitors into town still reads “Welcome to Buena Vista: 6,002 happy citizens and 3 old grouches.”
Vienna has received praise from publications for its high quality of living. To start, this town of about 16,640 residents is very safe, experiencing a total of 9 violent crimes and 9.01 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. It's located in the Washington D.C. metro area, and public transit is readily available. In town, there are several highly ranked schools, a charming business district, and a hiking/biking trail that cuts through town. Locals also enjoy access to the nearby Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and most will probably tell you how Vienna was the site of one of the earliest clashes in the Civil War.
A place with plenty of history, this town of about 7,356 residents was settled all the way back in 1777. In fact, it was the first American city (of what would become many) that was named after Lexington, Massachusetts, which was where the first shot of the American Revolution was fired. These days, Lexington is a much calmer place, where only 6 violent crimes, 62 property crimes, and 0 revolutions occurred last year. It's also home to the Virginia Military Institute, which is the oldest state-supported military college in the United States. Its cadets are exposed to a physically and academically demanding environment, which leads many to call VMI the "West Point of the South.”
The Top 50 Safest Cities in Virginia, 2017
22. Virginia Beach
3. Buena Vista
13. Falls Church
43. Big Stone Gap
14. Fairfax City
44. Newport News
6. Manassas Park
29. Front Royal
To identify the safest cities in Virginia, 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.