Advisor-Smith calculated a proprietary crime score for cities in the state of Virginia to determine the safest cities in the state. To create this study, we relied upon data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics dataset. This data includes statistics on violent and property crimes reported by law enforcement agencies and cities around the country. Crimes reported in this dataset include murder, rape, robbery, assault, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and burglary.
We based our analysis on data from the calendar year 2019, which was the report’s most recent update. Cities reported data on a monthly basis, but not all cities reported a full 12 months of data. We excluded from our analysis any city which reported less than 2 months of data. For cities reporting fewer than 12 months of data, we adjusted their crime levels to reflect a proportionate amount of crime for a calendar year for comparability purposes.
To create our crime score for each Virginia city, we applied a weighted multiplier to each type of crime to reflect the severity of the crime. For example, murder received a higher multiplier than larceny. We added the weighted multiple of crimes for each city and then compared this weighted multiple to the city’s population in order to create a crime score for each city.
We divided Virginia cities into three sizes depending upon the population size of each city. Small cities were those with under 10,000 residents. Cities with between 10,000 and 50,000 residents were labeled midsize cities, and cities with over 50,000 residents were labeled large cities. We ranked each city by its crime score within its population grouping to determine the safest small, midsize, and large cities in Virginia.