The Top 10 Safest U.S. Capital Cities

Austin Texas
© iStock.com/RoschetzkyIstockPhoto

Written by Angela Underwood

Published: September 13, 2023

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You cannot price safety, but you can rank it. Safety is the number one factor when going anywhere. Whether planning a move or vacation, going as far from harm as possible is essential. Areas with high theft, assault, and gun violence are not an ideal place to end up. Unsafe cities become so based on surrounding factors. Economics, healthcare, and education are three of the most critical aspects. Adequate financial resources, medical management, and schooling provide a stable and secure environment no matter where.

However, providing the perfect combination is only sometimes possible, making some areas more dangerous. Yes, U.S. capital cities center around government and security, but it doesn’t mean they are safe. Physical and property harm is still present in any of the 10 safest capital metropolises, even if less than the national average. Ironically, where law and criminal justice rule in U.S. capital cities does not always mean it is safe which is shown in a WalletHub 2023 study.

Ranking and reviewing organizations Niche and U.S. World & News Report detail crime and safety statistics, showing how safe these U.S. capitals are with ratios, percentages, and grades. Niche provides population polls that include if residents feel “very,” “pretty,” or “somewhat” safe in the region, and also show how citizens feel about police presence and response. U.S. News & World Report gives a bottom-line crime index ratio.

Niche breaks down city crime rates by types of crime. Violent crime statistics include percentages of assault, murder, rape, and robbery. Property crime statistics include burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. Poll and survey responses vary based on hundreds or thousands of residents polled. U.S. News & World Report provides a crime index for each U.S. capital, minus Concord, NH. Niche provides a final grade for safety.

Be it a vacation or relocation, any of the top 10 U.S. safest capitals have so much to offer visitors and locals alike with notable city attractions and experiences the cities were founded on in the first place.

Read on to find out more about the top 10 safest U.S. capitals.

1. Austin, Texas

Crime Index – 7.7/10

Austin, TX skyline at sunset

Austin’s skyline is the tallest of any state capital.

©Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Up to 44% of the Austin population polled say the police presence is both visible and responsive. Up to 22% say police are not present but, when needed, respond quickly, and 20% say law enforcement is visible but responds slowly when needed. More than half feel safe, at 61%, and 31% claim to be very safe. Violent and property crime statistics are above the national average, except for physical robbery or property burglary. U.S. News & World Report gives Austin a 7.7/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C.

Trip Advisor rates the Texas state capital as the number one reason to visit. The tallest of any U.S. capital, the stunning architecture reflects the city’s respect for law and order. Other famous architectural Austin sites that draw attention in the capital city are the LBJ Presidential Library and the Driskill.

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

Crime Index – 8.1/10

Raleigh, NC is lovely in the spring.

Raleigh is known as one of the safer state capitals, with its long hiking trails and popular outdoor spaces.

©iStock.com/Mark Howard

Half of Raleigh residents say police response is very visible and responsive, at 50%, and 24% feel law enforcement is present but slow to respond. Only 26% say they feel very safe, and 65% note they are pretty safe, with some concerns. Raleigh’s violent crime statistics are lower than the national average for violent crimes, including murder, rape, and robbery, but not assault. The city ranked 322.9 compared to the U.S. average of 282.7. Property crime statistics are also below the national average for burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. U.S. News & World Report gives Raleigh an 8.1/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C.

Museums are one reason thousands flock to Raleigh, with the science, history, and art buildings filled with hours of enjoyable education, art, and culture. Rullen and Umstead Parks are two popular Raleigh spaces filled with lush green trees and long hiking trails for those who prefer outside recreation.

3. Madison, Wisconsin

Crime Index – 8.4/10

Panoramic image of Madison (Wisconsin) at twilight. This is stitched composite of 5 vertical images.

Madison boasts a violent crime rate below the national average, along with a bustling waterfront area.

©iStock.com/RudyBalasko

Only 17% of Madison locals feel very safe here compared to 70% who feel pretty safe and 13% who note somewhat safe. Up to 56% say police are very visible and responsive, and 21% feel law enforcement is visible but slow to respond. That leaves 16% who say police are only sometimes present but respond quickly when called. Unlike the two largest U.S. capitals, Madison touts below-national-average crime statistics for all violent and property crimes. U.S. News & World Report gives Madison an 8.4/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C.

Trip Advisor rates the Wisconsin State Capital as the second reason to visit and Capital Square as the seventh, giving the statehouse much respect. Madison is also famous for the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, a landscape of sunken and towered wildflowers, herbs, rock, and perennial patches.

4. Boise, Idaho

Crime Index – 9.1/10

Capital Building Peaks Out Between Structures in Boise

Boise’s capitol building is rated among the top attractions in Idaho’s capital.

©ChrisBoswell/ via Getty Images

Police are very visible and responsive, according to 71% of the population. Only 11% note law enforcement is visible but slow to respond. Boise crime rates are below the national average except for rape at 89.7% compared to the U.S. median of 40.7%. Percentages for feeling protected are 49% who reported feeling pretty safe and 44% saying very safe. U.S. News & World Report gives Boise a 9.1/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C+.

The state capital is the fourth best attraction in Boise, based on Trip Advisor, coming in behind Boise River Greenbelt, the Old Idaho Penitentiary, and the World Center for Birds of Prey. Many consider getting an up-close look at some of the most extraordinary birds of prey reason enough to visit the fourth safest U.S. capital. At the same time, some come to experience walking the Freak Alley Gallery or creating see-through sculptures at Boise Art Class.

5. Lincoln, Nebraska

Crime Index – 8.1/10

Lincoln - Nebraska, Nebraska, Urban Skyline, City, USA

Lincoln’s zoos and museums are some of the main attractions that draw people to both visit and live.

©iStock.com/Jacob Boomsma

The crime rates of Nebraska’s capital are lower than the national average except for assault and rape. Lincoln’s assault rate is 277.4% compared to the U.S. rate of 282.7%, and the crime rate is 93.6% compared to 40.7%. As for safety, 63% feel pretty safe, and 29% say they are pretty safe, leaving 7% noting somewhat safe. Police presence and protection vary. Up to 53% say police are visible and responsive, 19% say they are not present but quick to respond, and 18% feel the police are visible but slow to answer. U.S. News & World Report gives Lincoln an 8.1/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C.

Like many of the safest U.S. capitals, this Nebraska capital is on the best attraction list as the second best place to go. The 400-foot capital combines mosaic ceilings and sculptures throughout, not to mention free guided tours. Sunken gardens, museums, and zoos make this capital city a family-friendly place to visit or live.

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

Crime Index – 6.5/10

Salt Lake City rates above the national average in many crime statistics.

©Joe Guetzloff/Shutterstock.com

While 47% feel police are visible and responsive, 27% say law enforcement is visible but slow to answer. Police are not visible but quick to respond, according to 17%. Salt Lake City’s crime rates are above the national average in all violent and property crime statistics. For violent crime, assault is at 593.4 compared to the U.S. median of 282.7, and rape is nearly quadruple the national average at 154.9 compared to 40.7. Property crime is high in all areas, with motor vehicle theft the highest at 1,084.1 compared to the national average of 284. In the capital city, 56% feel pretty safe, 25% say they are very safe, and 17% say they feel somewhat safe. U.S. News & World Report gives Salt Lake City a 6.5/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C.

The Utah State Capital is on the best attraction list, preceded by more popular places, including Temple Square and Big Cottonwood Canyon. But one of the biggest attractions is the Salt Lake Temple, the original chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated in 1893. The massive gothic structure on ten acres is in downtown Salt Lake City. Utah’s strong Mormon cultural influence remains more than a century later, with more than 2 million congregants in the state.

7. Concord, New Hampshire

Crime Index – N/A

New Hampshire State House, Concord, New Hampshire, USA. New Hampshire State House is the nation's oldest state house, built in 1816 - 1819.

New Hampshire State House in Concord is among many of the spots in the capital city routed in history.

©iStock.com/jiawangkun

New Hampshire’s capital has below-average statistics for violent crimes, including assault, rape, and robbery, but not murder. This type of violent crime in Concord averages 6.8, and the national average is 6.1. Property crimes of burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft are all below the U.S. average. Pretty safe is what 69% of Concord residents feel here, while 31% feel very safe. Visible police presence and quick response are 55%, and less law enforcement visibility is 6%. Niche gives Concord a C+ grade.

This northeast U.S. capital touts less city life than others on the top safest list. Concord, notable for kayak or canoe rides down the Contoocook River, is also famed for good old-fashioned beer and history. The city’s breweries and the Pierce Manse, the residence of forgotten president U.S. President Franklin Pierce, offer a relaxing and educational time in the town boasting the Kimball Jenkins Estate, a carriage house turned public art gallery.

8. Denver, Colorado

Crime Index – 6.6/10

Denver From The Foothills

Denver sits a mile above sea level, with crime rates well above the national average.

©Sparty1711/iStock via Getty Images

Denver is the first U.S. capital on the list to have above-average violent and property crime statistics. The Mile High City boasts an alarming higher percentage of assault at 639.9 to the 282.7 national average, not to mention motor vehicle theft at 1,139.9 to the U.S. median of 284. Only 15% of the population feel very safe here, and 64% say they are pretty safe, with some concerns. While police visibility is nearly equal, 33% say law enforcement is quick to respond, and 29% note a slower answer for help. U.S. News & World Report gives Denver a 6.6/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C-.

Zoos, museums, botanic gardens, and the remarkably shaped Denver Art Museum are a few top spots. Renowned as one of the first U.S. cities to legalize marijuana, Denver is also home to the International Church of Cannabis. Lower on the Trip Advisor list, the Colorado State Capital ranks as one of the area’s top attractions, touting a bell-shaped bell arc that brightens up the Mile High City skyline.

9. Atlanta, Georgia

Crime Index – 8/10

Downtown Atlanta

Atlanta ranks above the national average in almost every category of violent crime, leaving its residents with a low rate of safety.

©photo.ua/Shutterstock.com

Only 17% of citizens feel very safe at home in Atlanta, with 60% reporting that it is pretty safe and 23% noting that it is somewhat safe. Percentages for police visibility and response vary, with 46% saying law enforcement is around and alert, 28% reporting they are there but slow to respond, and 13% feel officers are not around but appear fast to harm. Atlanta’s violent crime statistics are above average in assault, murder, and robbery, with assault the highest at 664.7 compared to the U.S. average of 282.7. Property crime theft and motor vehicle theft are also above the national median, with burglary under the U.S. average. U.S. News & World Report gives Atlanta an 8/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C-.

Home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the National Center for Civil Rights draws thousands to the region. Centennial Olympic and Piedmont Parks are also popular places on must-visit lists. And if you love Coca-Cola, this safe U.S. capital city is a good bucket list item. At the World of Coca-Cola, you can wonder about learning the history of the pop culture beverage that continues to dominate.

10. Nashville, Tennessee

Crime Index – 6.9/10

Downtown Nashville, with view of the AT&T Building

Nashville rounds out the top 10 safest capital cities, but the city boasts crime statistics well above the national average.

©2d illustrations and photos/ via Getty Images

The home to country music does not sing the best safety statistics, with all violent and property crime statistics well above the U.S. average, minus burglary, which is slightly behind. Assault is 863.5 compared to the national median, and murder is 14.3 compared to 6.1 across the country. Of property crime, motor vehicle theft is 441.9 compared to the national median of 284. A quarter of people polled say they feel very safe, and 60% report pretty safe, leaving 14% feeling somewhat safe. Almost half, 49%, state police are visible and quick to respond, and a quarter say they are around but slow to answer. U.S. News & World Report gives Nashville an 8/10 crime index, and Niche grades it C-.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum draws millions to the capital city, not to mention the Grand Ole Opry and RCA Studio B. Breweries, wineries, and top restaurants are also a draw to Nashville. Sweet-sounding songbirds in Cumberland, Percy Warner, and Centennial Parks offer some outside sounds and lush green landscapes.

Niche’s Top 10 Safest U.S. Capitals Crime Grade

CityCrime Grade
Austin, TXC
Raleigh, NCC
Madison, WIC
Boise, ID C+
Lincoln, NEC
Salt Lake City, UTC
Concord, NH C+
Denver, CO C-
Atlanta, GAC-
Nashville, TNC-


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