When it comes to raising a family, retiring, or simply enjoying a high quality of life, Virginia cities and towns offer plenty of options. But there are a few places that stand out when it comes to safety and security.
We’ve looked at results from three safety reports, all using the latest FBI Crime Report data, to determine the top-ranking “Safest Places to Live in Virginia.”
Movoto, Niche, and Safewise provide safety scores for cities and towns ranging from 3,000 to 100,000 residents. They use the rates of reported crimes, as well as the types of crime, to determine their overall scores. To get our rankings, we’ve looked at the top scorers on each list and ranked them according to where they come in on each list, offering a higher score for those that appear on more than one list.
1. Poquoson (York County)
This small waterfront city near Hampton Roads received the #1 spot on Movoto's list and #2 for Safewise. With a population of close to 12,000, residents here enjoy a pretty amazing quality of life, including good schools, safety and more than a few accolades with “Business Week” naming Poquoson the “Best Affordable Suburb” in Virginia and “CNBC” calling it one of the “10 Perfect Suburbs in America.”
2. Purcellville (Loudoun County)
Located in Loudoun County, Purcellville ranked #1 on the Niche list and #3 on Safewise. With a quaint downtown, great schools and close proximity to both the Blue Ridge Mountains and the D.C. Metropolitan area, Purcellville provides an idyllic family location. Purcellville offers a nearly perfect blend of old Victorian neighborhoods and new suburban communities with safe streets and activities to spare.
3. Broadway (Rockingham County)
The town of Broadway came in as the #1 in Safest Places in Virginia according to Safewise. This small town of just over 3,000 provides plenty of community activities, along with all of the history and beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. But should you ever need to venture out (why would you?), Broadway is also situated close to I-81, making it easy to access to hiking, shopping and events just about anywhere.
4. Blacksburg (Montgomery County)
Blacksburg ranked #3 on Movoto, # 4 on Niche and #7 on Safewise -- and is the only place to receive Top 10 rankings on all three lists. With great schools and community services, not only is it a great place to raise a family, but Forbes named Blacksburg the #1 place in the nation to retire. This quaint mountain town is home to Virginia Tech and offers a cost of living 7% below the national average, affordable housing AND low crime rates.
5. Strasburg (Shenandoah County)
While Strasburg might be known for its rich Civil War history, today it is all about peaceful living. Strasburg received the #2 Safest Place ranking by Niche and #10 by Safewise. Founded in 1761 in Shenandoah County, this pretty little town has fewer than 8,000 residents, but offers a reputation for pottery, antiques, deeply rooted history and cultural heritage.
6. Lexington (Rockbridge County)
If you're looking for a small city that pretty much has it all, look no further. Lexington was ranked #3 by Niche and #8 by Safewise as the safest place to live in Virginia. Now add 2 top colleges (Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee), all of the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, arts, culture and a thriving community and Lexington is a big win all around.
7. Vienna (Fairfax County)
With a #2 Movoto ranking and a #6 spot on Safewise, Vienna proves to be a truly safe choice when it comes to raising a family. Known for it's top schools, Vienna is also a vibrant community of just under 16,000, full of music, culture, commerce and easy access to hiking, biking and all things outdoors. In fact, in 2013, CNN Money named Vienna the #3 Best Place to Live in the U.S. All that AND safety. Well done, Vienna.
8. Herndon (Fairfax County)
Another Northern Virginia haven, Herndon comes in #5 on Movoto's list and #15 on Safewise. With a community centered on its downtown district, Herndon is a bustling community with a reputation for high-tech business. When it comes to finding the right blend of urban convenience and small town security, Herndon manages to make it work. With great schools, safe streets and a location 2 miles from Dulles International Airport and just over 20 miles from D.C., Herndon seems to have it all.
9. Smithfield (Isle of Wight County)
Best known for its world-famous hams, Smithfield is also a really, REALLY great place to live. With a #9 ranking on Niche and a #9 ranking on Safewise, Smithfield offers good schools, a vibrant community and safe streets to boot. As an added bonus, the Virginia Review called it "without a doubt, one of the prettiest towns in Virginia." Beauty, history, culture and safety combine to make this town an all-around winner.
10. Manassas Park (Prince William County)
This small city near Prince William County might be growing quickly, but it has kept safety a top priority. Manassas Park receives high marks, coming in at #7 on Movoto and #13 on Safewise. With all the amenities of a big city, Manassas Park's 15,000 residents enjoy small town closeness with a modern Community Center, a strong recreations program and amazing parks. In fact, in 2011, it was named one of the Top 100 Best Small Cities in America by CNN Money Magazine.
11. Berryville (Clarke County)
Surrounded by mountains and rolling hills, Berryville ranks at #4 for Safest Places in Virginia on Safewise. This historic Shenandoah Valley town dates back to the 18th century, but provides modern convenience, small town charm and an impressive safety record. In addition to a charming downtown and superb community services, Berryville is home to farmers' markets, theater, music and arts, making it an ideal place to raise a family or just high enjoy quality of life.
12. Colonial Beach (Westmoreland County)
Ranked #5 on Safewise, Colonial Beach provides waterfront living and security - which I think is a pretty good combination. It may be a small town with only 3,500 residents, but with an ideal location along the Potomac River, Colonial Beach offers sandy shores, boating and fishing, as well as shops, galleries and restaurants to spare.
13. Big Stone Gap (Wise County)
With fewer than 6,000 residents, Big Stone Gap is a small town with a big name. All puns aside, this town was made famous by Adriana Trigiani's book series and the movie "Big Stone Gap." But with a #5 ranking on Niche for safety, this town is more than just Hollywood credits. As a coal mining town, Big Stone Gap offers a rich Appalachian history and countless museums, historical sites and outdoor activities. To top it off, Niche also named Big Stone Gap the #1 Place to Raise a Family.
14. Richlands (Tazewell County)
Named the #6 Safest Place by Niche, Richlands is a peaceful town of nearly 6,000 in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Built on a history of agriculture, iron and coal, Richlands today is a thriving community with safe streets, a close community, historical sites and some of the state's most beautiful countryside.
15. Buena Vista (Rockbridge County)
It may be last on our list, but with an impressive #7 in Niche's rankings, Buena Vista is not to be overlooked. In addition to safety, Buena Vista offers immeasurable natural beauty. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Maury River, this small city of less than 7,000 provides strong schools, bustling commerce and historic landmarks.
Do you live in one of these cities or towns? If so, we would love to hear about your experience there. And remember, not all places report their crime data, so if you don’t see your town on the list, but believe that it’s deserving of a spot, let us know in the comments below!