Rhode Island is geographically the smallest state in the U.S. and is home to more than 1 million people. From gleaming beaches, lush forests and historic mansions to lip-smacking seafood, the state has something for everyone. Rhode Island is equally famous for making silverware and fine jewelry and is also home to the Tennis Hall of Fame. However, the poverty and unemployment rate are very high in some cities of Rhode Island. Does that make them unsafe? And which cities in Rhode Island are safest? We checked that for you.
How We Determined the Safest Cities in Rhode Island
We narrowed down the safest cities in each state based on two primary categories. First, we evaluated public safety factors including violent, property and hate crimes in each area to help determine the safest areas to live. We then evaluated financial and socioeconomic factors including household income, average rent and health insurance. In addition, we evaluated each state for natural disaster safety and public health safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of our methodology and links to sources here.
Here are the public safety factors we counted for each city:
*Public safety data is based on a population of 10,000 (for example, a “2” means two incidents for every 10,000 people).
- Property crime – Number of property crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Violent crime – Number of violent crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Aggravated assaults – Number of aggravated assaults reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Hate crime – Number of hate crimes reported in the city (FBI Hate Crime Report)
- Officer-related incidents – Number of officer-involved shootings reported in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
- Mass shootings – Incidents in which four or more people are shot/killed in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
Here are the financial safety factors we counted for each city:
- Annual rent – Annualized median rent
- Unemployment rate – The average rate of unemployed residents in each city
- Cost of living – The average annual rent and household income per city
- Poverty rate – Percentage of families that reported experiencing poverty in the last 12 months
- Uninsured employed – Percentage of employed residents that reported not having health insurance
- Uninsured unemployed – Percentage of unemployed residents that reported not having health insurance
3 Safest Cities in Rhode Island
No. 1 Cumberland
Cumberland is a hilly and scenic place, located at a distance of about 8 miles from Providence and just south of the Massachusetts border. The city hosts the famous Cumberland fest every year in the Diamond Hill park, and there are plenty of hiking and biking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Compared to other safest cities in Rhode Island, Cumberland has the lowest number of hate crimes along with the highest average income and lowest unemployment rate.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 2.570107 (1st) 3.997944 (1st) 86.8125 (1st) 0.285567 (3rd) 0.285567 (3rd) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 11004 (2nd) 88199 (1st) 0.004 (3rd) 0.023 (3rd) 0.01 (3rd) 0 (3rd)
No. 2 Pawtucket
Pawtucket name is attached to industrialization. The city sits near the falls of the Blackstone River and the upper tidewaters of Narragansett Bay. The Slater Mill Museum will take you back in history to when mills were new. Pawtucket is also home to McCoy Baseball Stadium, which has served as the home field for Pawtucket Red Sox since 1970. The city also offers a lot of recreational activities. The household income of people in Pawtucket is much lower than No.1 Cumberland, and its other financial metrics, such as poverty and unemployment, are significantly lower, as well.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 14.74434 (2nd) 29.90597 (3rd) 261.7816 (2nd) 0.139098 (1st) 0.139098 (1st) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 10836 (3rd) 46938 (2nd) 0.079 (2nd) 0.162 (2nd) 0.013 (1st) 0.207 (2nd)
No. 3 Providence
In addition to being the most populous city in Rhode Island, Providence is also one of the best places to visit. The city has some grand dining places, such as the Waterman Grille and Pastiche Fine Desserts, where you can cherish some of the most mouth-watering cuisines. The picturesque city also has famous places that you can visit for sight-seeing. It’s worth noting that Providence has the highest crime rate in the state, along with the highest cost of living, compared to other safest cities. However, it scored well enough on other metrics to still make our top 3.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 20.36976 (3rd) 25.08756 (2nd) 315.2041 (3rd) 0.277517 (2nd) 0.277517 (2nd) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 11664 (1st) 42158 (3rd) 0.088 (1st) 0.225 (1st) 0.012 (2nd) 0.247 (1st)
Rhode Island State Safety
Natural Disaster Safety
The Rhode Island Department of safety reported a total of 25 major disasters that have occurred since 1953, which is lower compared to many other U.S. states. Rhode Island hasn’t experienced a lot of disasters, but it ranks high for risk due to its size. In fact, the Insurance Journal places it at second in the nation for natural disaster risk. Most frequently, the state experienced hurricanes, ice storms and severe storms. Several ice storms have affected the state dangerously in the past.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the leading cause of death in Rhode Island is heart disease, followed by cancer, accidents and other causes. In the past few years, drug-related deaths have increased in the state. Rhode Island has a high rate of primary care physicians in the city, placing it at the top of the nation in this health metric. But a smaller number of dentists are active, and more are needed. Rhode Island also has slightly higher air pollution levels compared to the national average, placing it in the middle of the pack for air quality. Overall, the state sits 13th place in America’s Health Rankings.
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Top 3 Safest Cities in Rhode Island