In my life plan, there were several cities I wanted to never live in. The Los Angeles area, where I’ve lived for the last seven years, was one of them.
That may partly explain why I love “quality-of-life rankings.” Here are some factors I take into consideration, though not necessarily in this order:
- Education – preschool to college
- Pollution – clean air
- Access to outdoors, hiking, exploring
- Access to a lake, river or ocean
- Access to arts
- Family friendliness/good neighbors
- Access to our scattered family
But one factor can make all the others collapse: safety. It doesn’t matter how much a town has to offer if parents have to worry about their kids being shot down in the street.
Take Camden, N.J., for example. While the town may be improving itself, there is no way I’d move my family to the nation’s Most Dangerous City, according to Morgan Quitno Press.
Each year this organization compiles crime reports to determine which cities are safest and which are most dangerous. Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb west of Boston, rated safest in this year’s report, which uses 2004 numbers.
“Newton outshines other cities when it comes to fighting crime,” Scott Morgan, President of Morgan Quitno Press, writes in a press release. “With no murders, as well as the lowest overall crime and motor vehicle theft rates, it ranks as the clear winner in this year’s survey.” Here are some of the results:
Overall Safest Metropolitan Areas
1. Logan, UT-ID
2. Fond du Lac, WI
3. Glens Falls, NY
4. Appleton, WI
5. Sheboygan, WI
6. Columbus, IN
7. La Crosse, WI-MN
8. Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
9. Bangor, ME
10. Bismarck, ND
My brother is going to be very happy to see that his home state of Wisconsin is represented five times on this list.
Overall Most Dangerous Metropolitan Areas
1. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI M.D.
2. New Orleans, LA
3. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
4. Sumter, SC
5. Miami-Dade County, FL M.D.
6. Stockton, CA
7. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
8. Florence, SC
9. Hot Springs, AR
10. Myrtle Beach, SC
15. Tucson, AZ
16. Modesto, CA
17. Albuquerque, NM
23. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
25. Los Angeles County, CA
I’m disturbed to see Scottsdale, where my mom lives, on this list, though I suspect Phoenix or Mesa brings down the overall rankings.
Safest Large Cities (over 500,000)
1. San Jose, CA
2. El Paso, TX
3. Honolulu, HI
4. New York, NY
5. Austin, TX
6. San Diego, CA
7. Louisville, KY
8. San Antonio, TX
9. Fort Worth, TX
10. Jacksonville, FL
I would really, really like to live in the San Diego area. Can someone lend me $5 million for a shack?
Most Dangerous Large Cities (over 500,000)
1. Detroit, MI
2. Baltimore, MD
3. Washington, DC
4. Memphis, TN
5. Dallas, TX
6. Philadelphia, PA
7. Columbus, OH
8. Nashville, TN
9. Houston, TX
10. Charlotte, NC
My wife will be sad to know that West Palm Beach, FL, is the second most dangerous city for a town of under 100,000 people.
Other California cities that placed in the top 10 safest include: Thousand Oaks, Irvine, Sunnyvale, Simi Valley, Glendale, San Jose, San Diego, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest.
Most dangerous California towns include: Richmond, Compton, San Bernardino and Oakland.
Anyone planning to move yet?