The Safest Cities in New York State

by | Feb 21, 2024

Safest Cities in New York State

As a state, New York offers so much more than the bustling big city. And if personal safety is a major concern, a quieter hometown may be calling your name. Let’s examine the safest cities in New York (both large and small) that could be a great place to call home. Plus, we’ll share a few security tips to help keep you and your family safe.

Is New York Safe?

Let’s start at a macro level and compare New York’s relative safety to other U.S. states.

Typically, when people are wondering about safety, what they’re actually thinking about are crime rates. And while crime rates aren’t a perfect predictor of how safe you’ll feel somewhere, they can at least paint a broad picture.

Statewide, the Division of Criminal Justice Services reports that NY reported 21.4 “index” crimes per 1,000 residents in 2022. Index crimes are the most commonly reported and therefore most standardized crimes—things like robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and murder. New York’s index crime rate is slightly lower than the national average of 23 per 1,000.

So, is New York safe? Relatively. Slightly more safe than your average U.S. state, if you want to think about it that way.

Of course, there are many ways to dissect this data more usefully. The nature and severity of crime matters, for example. It’s much more unnerving to live in an area with a high homicide rate compared with an area that experiences a lot of shoplifting.

Another factor is your specific location. Statewide data only tells you so much. The state’s data dashboard reveals a wide crime rate disparity from county to county, and this gap only grows as you get down to the municipal level. We need to look at a much more granular level to know where you can find the safest places to live in New York State.

The Safest Places in New York

Booming cities. Quaint villages. Luxurious retreats. Sprawling farmland. The state of New York offers a wide variety of places to settle down, depending on your preferences. But if one of those preferences is a low crime rate, here’s where you’ll find the safest places to live in New York.

Top 10 Safest Towns in New York (Any Size)

Small towns often have low crime rates. When you know your neighbors, criminal activity is (generally) less common. New York is no exception. According to NeighborhoodScout, here are the 10 safest towns in New York, regardless of population.

  • Bloomville: What is the safest city in New York? Bloomville! With a population topping 200, this tiny town rests north of the Catskills.
  • Westernville: Westernville takes pride in its storied history, which has ties with the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the invention of the telegraph.
  • Garrattsville: Come to Garrattsville and rest on the banks of the picturesquely named Butternut Creek.
  • West Kill: West Kill shares its name with an important tributary and a mountain. (The waterway is the namesake.)
  • Jefferson: Like many parts of New York, Jefferson was settled in the 1700s and has enjoyed quiet, peaceful living ever since.
  • Unionville: Although economic forces caused once-booming Unionville to shrink, the village’s website proudly declares its new most important product: “a great place to raise a family.”
  • Sag Harbor: The lone Long Island entry on this list, Sag Harbor was once a whaling port but is now a beacon for cultural elites like Julie Andrews and Billy Joel.
  • Pine Hill: Pine Hill’s claim to fame was the Crystal Springs Bottling Company, which drove tourism in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
  • Grahamsville: Grahamsville remained dry long after the repeal of Prohibition, finally serving alcohol again in 2015.
  • Altamont: This village of 1,600-some people was the hometown of Lee Wallard, who won the 1951 Indy 500.

All of the safest places in New York boast a population below 3,000—some substantially lower. That’s great if you want peace and quiet above all else. But if you’re looking for a balance between safety and size, you may need to look elsewhere.

Top 10 Safest Cities in New York (Population 25K+)

Let’s say you don’t want to live in an unincorporated village with 200 neighbors, but you still want to enjoy an area with a low crime rate. No problem! New York has options for you. According to FBI crime data, here are the top 10 safest cities in New York with populations of 25,000 people or more.

  1. Carmel: 2.5 crimes per 1,000 residents
  2. Long Beach: 2.5 per 1,000
  3. Glen Cove: 3.3 per 1,000
  4. Harrison: 5.3 per 1,000
  5. Ramapo: 5.3 per 1,000
  6. Yorktown: 6.1 per 1,000
  7. Cicero: 6.2 per 1,000
  8. Port Chester: 7.5 per 1,000
  9. Orangetown: 8.0 per 1,000
  10. Southampton: 10.2 per 1,000

There are plenty of safe places to live in New York, even for those who are looking for something with a little more hustle and bustle. In fact, even NYC is not too far from the national average crime rate.

The Most Dangerous Cities in New York (Population 25K+)

It’s just as helpful to know about high-crime areas. These can still be fine places to live! However, consider investing in extra security measures for some peace of mind if you live in one of these locations.

Because isolated incidents skew crime rates in small cities, we’re just going to look at cities of 25,000 or more. Using that same FBI data, here are the New York cities with the highest per capita crime rates.

  • Binghamton: 50.9 crimes per 1,000 residents
  • Niagara Falls: 47.6 per 1,000
  • Buffalo: 42.4 per 1,000
  • Rochester: 42.2 per 1,000
  • Watertown: 41.5 per 1,000
  • Utica: 39.4 per 1,000
  • Syracuse: 39.3 per 1,000
  • Albany: 37.6 per 1,000
  • Jamestown: 36.5 per 1,000
  • Schenectady: 35.1 per 1,000

As you can see, these cities are well above the national average crime rate. That said, there are certainly safe neighborhoods within each of these high-crime cities. Tourism also plays a big role, especially in spots like Niagara Falls.

Crime is a nuanced phenomenon. Even if you pinpoint the safest cities in New York and try to avoid the high-crime areas, you need to understand that crime can happen anywhere. Knowing this, your best plan is a good defensive security strategy.

Where Are the Safest Cities in New York?

Enough lists! It’s time to look at these locations on a map. That way, you can get a good visual of where you’ll find the safest places to live in New York—and where you should exercise more caution.

Safest Cities in New York Map

As mentioned, crime can and does happen anywhere. Whether you’re hidden away in the Catskills or loving urban life in Brooklyn, you need to protect yourself, your home, your possessions, and the people in your life.

Stay Safe in New York

No matter where you find yourself in NY, there are a few basic home security measures that can help keep you safe.

  • Install a surveillance system and engage a monitoring company. Reliable camera monitoring services like Deep Sentinel provide live security, deterring intruders before they can harm you or your property.
  • Get to know your neighbors. You can watch out for suspicious activity, pick up each other’s mail, and maybe keep a spare key for emergencies.
  • Keep your doors and windows locked at all times, including the door from the garage to your home.
  • Check if your local police department offers any community outreach or crime prevention programs. They might have resources to help you start a neighborhood watch chapter, for example.
  • Research Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which encourages property design that consciously discourages criminal behavior. Examples include planting prickly bushes or installing fences.
  • Get a dog! Although it’s not a perfect science, there’s some anecdotal evidence that your four-legged friend makes your home a less appealing target for burglars.

With these tips—and a Deep Sentinel security camera monitoring your front door—you can rest easy, no matter where you find yourself in New York.

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