America's Safest Cities
Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes.com
Oct 27th, 2009
These metros have the lowest rates of violent crime, workplace deaths, fatal crashes and natural disasters
After living five years in New York City and waiting tables while working part time as actors, Pamela Russell and her husband Todd were looking for a safer, cheaper place to put down roots--without giving up all the city perks that they so enjoyed in the Big Apple. Luckily for them, they chanced upon the Twin Cities.
"We drove into Minneapolis and fell in love almost instantly," says Russell, now 38, who settled in Minneapolis with her husband and started a theater company--as well as a family of five kids--10 years ago." Among the buzz and hum of Minneapolis, the biggest bonus of it all is that the crime rates are shockingly low. Sure, we lock our home at night, but we feel very safe living here."
Minneapolis tops our list of America's safest cities, and not just for its crime rate. In ranking the cities on our list, we looked at workplace fatalities, traffic-related deaths and natural disaster risk; the City of Lakes ranked in the top 10 of all four categories. It's also one of America's best places to live cheaply and offers easy access to some of the most scenic drives in the country.
Full List: America's Safest Cities
The Milwaukee metro area, buoyed by the lowest natural disaster risk of the cities we considered, ranks second. The Portland, Ore.,metro, which boasts the lowest crime rate, places third. Boston and Seattle are tied for fourth. Both benefit from low traffic fatality rates--Boston's is the lowest on our list, and Seattle's is the eighth-lowest. This is largely because they boast two of the most user-friendly mass transit systems in the country. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these networks provide an alternative to driving while intoxicated.
"Some cities have transit systems that penetrate more of the area," says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "The biggest factors in fatal crashes are alcohol impairment and speeding. So to the extent that communities do a good job of reducing alcohol impairment and speeding, that should show up in fatal crash rates."
To determine our list of America's safest cities, we looked at the country's 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas across four categories of danger. We considered 2008 workplace death rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2008 traffic death rates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and natural disaster risk, using rankings from green living site SustainLane.com. It devised its rankings by collecting historical data on hurricanes, major flooding, catastrophic hail, tornado super-outbreaks, and earthquakes from government agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Geological Survey, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private outfit Risk Management Solutions. We also looked at violent crime rates from the FBI's 2008 uniform crime report. The violent crime category is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. In cases where the FBI report included incomplete data on a given metro area, we used estimates from Sperling's BestPlaces.
While the strength of a metro's mass transit in some cases influenced its traffic fatality rank, the types of industry located there largely affected each city's workplace death rate. These tended to be lowest in areas like Seattle and San Jose that contain a profusion of technology and service jobs--or Detroit, where nearly one quarter of the workforce is unemployed. Dangerous jobs are more prevalent in industrial centers like Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, whose workplace death rates were five times higher than the safest, Minneapolis.
"Obviously there are some jobs that have a higher fatality rate than others," says Matt Gunter, a researcher at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "If there's a concentration of that sort of job in a certain city, there's probably going to be a higher fatality rate."
Mother nature can knock down trees, flood houses and even destroy entire neighborhoods. To gauge which cities most feel her wrath, Sustain Lane collected data from observation posts at different areas within cities. It notes that the natural disasters observed generally affect the entire metro area and greater region in which they occur. SustainLane measured the likelihood of disaster as well as the extent of damage. Miami was rated as having the highest natural disaster risk.
"There is an issue of frequency vs. severity to take into consideration," says Ken Ott, director of city rankings at SustainLane. "San FranciscoOakland are due for a 100-year quake, but these only happen every 100 or so years, while Miami is in a frequent hurricane path." and
Miami's natural disaster risk was part of another perfect storm--one composed entirely of statistics. America's southernmost metropolis ranked among the six worst in all four categories we measured, earning it the lowest overall safety ranking on our list.
Top 5 America's Safest Cities
4. Seattle, Wa. (tie)
Violent crime: 3 of 40
Workplace deaths: 2 of 40
Traffic deaths: 8 of 40
Natural disaster risk: 31 of 40
4. Boston, Mass.
Violent crime: 10 of 40
Workplace deaths: 5 of 40
Traffic deaths: 1 of 40
Natural disaster risk: 28 of 40
3. Portland, Ore.
Violent crime: 1 of 40
Workplace deaths: 10 of 40
Traffic deaths: 5 of 40
Natural disaster risk: 25 of 40
2. Milwaukee, Wis.
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
Violent crime: 24 of 40
Workplace deaths: 11 of 40
Traffic deaths: 4 of 40
Natural disaster risk: 1 of 40
1. Minneapolis, Minn.
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
Violent crime: 9 of 40
Workplace deaths: 1 of 40
Traffic deaths: 7 of 40
Natural disaster risk: 7 of 40
Click here for the full list of America's Safest Cities
美國 加拿大 中學 大學 研究所 語言學校 專業代辦服務