Crime is perhaps the easiest of place rating categories to deconstruct. Older cities in the northeast were incorporated long before the invention of the automobile and tend to be much smaller geographically than their southern and western counterparts. This post from a few months back details just how extreme these differences are. This creates a circumstance where most “cities” in the south and west include not just what might be considered the traditional urban core, but also inner and even, in the extreme cases of places like Jacksonville, Houston, Phoenix, or San Antonio, what in the New England would be outer suburban and even ex-urban communities.
The type of violent crime and property crime which place rating sites utilize to calculate are of the sort which tend to occur in areas of extreme poverty which the American push to suburbanize has often concentrated in traditional urban cores. Northeastern cities made up exclusively of nothing but “urban core” then seem to have higher rates of crime than southern and western cities because in the south and west their suburbs and ex-urbs are still considered part of “the city” and dilute their crime numbers. This becomes amazingly clear when regional crime rates are analyzed and those same areas are shown to have the highest rates of violent and property crime.
This makes the cities which in fact are among the most violent and crime ridden in the United States appear to be among the least. An apples to apples comparison shows that both cities in the northeast and their suburbs are safer than their southern and western counterparts.
Look at this list of the worst 100+ metro areas for crime in the United States. Notice, not one Metro Area from New England.