The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the eighth annual Safest Cities report.
Virginia’s 20 Safest Cities of 2022
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Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Virginia for 2022
See if your city made the full list.
Virginians are significantly more worried about crime and safety than most Americans, despite having crime rates that are well below both regional and national averages. And Virginia’s safest cities have even lower crime rates than the rest of the state—violent crime is nearly cut in half in these 20 low-crime cities.
In this report
2022 Virginia crime rates
Although Virginia's total violent crimes saw a slight increase over last year (nine more incidents total), a larger population kept the overall rate at 2.1 incidents per 1,000 people. In contrast, the property crime rate had the biggest decline in three years, moving down from 16.5 incidents per 1,000 people to 14.6—that's a 12% improvement year over year.
Within the South Atlantic region, Virginia has the lowest violent crime rate by a wide margin. The next-lowest states were West Virginia (3.6) and Florida (3.8). For property crime, Virginia has the second-lowest rate behind West Virginia (14.0).
Virginia's violent crime rate is nearly half that of national levels and its property crime rate is 26% lower. Across all 50 states, The Old Dominion State has the sixth-lowest violent crime rate and the tenth-lowest property crime rate.
Level of concern and experience with crime in Virginia
Daily worry about crime and safety jumped 17 percentage points in Virginia this survey year. With 57% of State of Safety survey respondents telling us they are highly concerned about safety every day, Virginia is the seventh-most-worried state.
That high level of concern is surprising given Virginia’s solid track record of low crime rates. Despite more daily concern about crime and safety, 53% of Virginians feel safe in their state, putting Virginia just below the national average of 55%.
There was a slight rise in violent crime this year, which coincides with more survey respondents telling us they’ve had a personal experience with violent crime in the 12 months ahead of our survey (7% this survey year versus 4% in 2020).
Both reported property crimes and personal experience with property crime fell year over year. Property crime experiences dropped five percentage points between 2020 and 2021. Package theft is a big concern, though, with 51% of Virginians worrying about falling victim to porch pirates. Just 18% of survey participants reported experiencing package theft in the survey year, below the national average of 20%.
Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.
Crime concerns in Virginia
We asked Virginia residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Virginians are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in Virginia: Fear vs. reality
Virginia saw a small uptick in violent crimes year over year (fewer than 10 incidents), and personal experiences of violent crime also rose. But Virginia still boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation—coming in with the sixth-lowest statewide rate.
- Virginia has 1.9 fewer crime incidents per 1,000 people than the national average.
- Virginians are 12% more concerned about violent crime than the rest of the nation.
- Murder accounts for 3% of all violent crime in Virginia, compared to 2% nationwide. Among the safest cities, murder also makes up 3% of reported violent crimes.
- Aggravated assault makes up 68% of Virginia’s violent crimes, compared to 70% across the country.
- 33% of survey respondents in Virginia use some form of personal protection like pepper spray (US 34%).
- 50% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic—6 percentage points higher than the national average of 44%.
Attitudes about gun violence in Virginia
- 57% said gun violence is the safety concern they worry about most on a daily basis (US 53%).
- 49% are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%).
- The number of respondents with a personal gun violence experience increased by 1 percentage point year over year.
- Virginia saw 16 mass shooting incidents in 2021, a 45% increase over the 11 incidents in 2020.
- 37% of survey respondents worry about police violence daily (US 40%) and 58% have confidence in law enforcement (US 56%).
Property crime in Virginia: Fear vs. reality
Property crime has been declining in Virginia for the past several years, but 46% of survey respondents still worry about it happening to them (US 42%). Reports of personal experience with property crime dropped by 24% year over year.
- Virginia reported 5 fewer property crime incidents per 1,000 people than the national rate.
- 17 of the 20 safest cities have property crime rates below the state, regional, and US rates.
- Virginia sees a larger proportion of larceny-thefts (comprising 82% of property crime) than most of the US (71%).
- Burglaries are much less common in Virginia, making up just 9% of all property crime, compared to 16% nationwide. The safest cities do even better, with only 7% of all property crimes classified as burglaries.
- Package theft is the most-worried-about crime issue for Virginians.
- 64% use some form of property protection (US 60%) with security systems used most often.
- 37% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
A closer look at the safest cities in Virginia
For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
- 61 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Bridgewater is the new number 1 this year—it has the lowest violent crime rate in the state (0.2 incidents per 1,000).
- Bedford made the biggest improvement in ranking this year, moving up 34 spots to land at number 7.
- 4 cities kept their rankings from last year: Purcellville (3), Poquoson (12), Warrenton (13), and Leesburg (18).
- Virginia Beach (population 450,858) is the largest city on the list (and state) and the only one with a population above 56,000—it makes up more than half of the total population of the safest cities.
Violent crime in the safest cities
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.1 incidents per 1,000 people—almost half that of the state rate (2.1).
- Although the number of reported murders in the safest cities is much higher this year, most of these happened in Viriginia Beach, which has a proportionally lower violent crime rate than 10 other cities.
- 7 of the safest cities reported fewer than 10 total violent crimes this year.
Property crime in the safest cities
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 13.0 incidents per 1,000, which is 11% below the state rate (14.6).
- Virginia Beach's large population has an outsized effect that raises the overall safest cities property crime rate compared to the other 19 cities, which have a collective rate of 9.9.
- Buena Vista has the lowest property crime rate in The Old Dominion State at just 2.5 incidents per 1,000 people. It had a total of 16 property crimes this year—2 fewer than last year.
- Bedford saw the largest property crime rate drop compared to last year, it reported 65% fewer property crimes year over year.
- 8 of the safest cities reported fewer than 100 total property crimes this year.
How we determined the safest cities
Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.
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Didn't find your city in the top 20?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state, sign up for our email newsletter (we make it easy in a quick form below!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2020.
Find the safest cities in each state
Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.
Related articles on SafeWise
FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.