Two of the safest U.S. cities are right here in North Carolina, a new report finds.
Raleigh ranks No. 8 and Winston-Salem is No. 10 on a list of the places offering the lowest risks of crime, natural disasters and financial insecurity, according to results released this month from WalletHub.
To come up with the rankings, the personal finance website said it studied “the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state.” Using data from the federal government and other sources, analysts scored 182 cities across three categories: “home & community safety,” likelihood of natural disasters and economic security.
Raleigh ranked highest among North Carolina cities after it came in at No. 6 in the economic security category, which is a measure of jobs, debt, poverty and other money-related factors impacting residents.
But Raleigh didn’t fare as well in other categories, landing at No. 55 for natural disaster risks. It also was in the No. 19 spot for “home & community safety,” which weighed traffic deaths, COVID-19 metrics, first responders per capita and 2020 crime rates.
The figures were released as data show gun violence has increased in Raleigh this year. As of Sept. 22, the city had 600 gun crimes, up from 491 on the same date in 2020, The News & Observer reported. While experts couldn’t pinpoint why Raleigh seemed to avoid a rise in gun violence last year, the coronavirus has created health and economic concerns in recent months.
“When a pandemic comes along, it puts a lot of people out of work and disrupts life in a whole bunch of ways,” said Ronald Wright, a Wake Forest University law school professor, according to the N&O. “It wouldn’t be shocking to learn that it also produced a lot of stress and the kinds of things that lead to assaults and homicides.”
Also on WalletHub’s list, Winston-Salem made the top 10 after receiving solid scores in all three categories.
So how did other North Carolina cities fare? Durham was No. 13, Charlotte was No. 29, Greensboro was No. 63 and Fayetteville was No. 88, according to the results.
Overall, the city named the safest in the nation was Columbia, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. The lowest scoring city was St. Louis, Missouri.
This story was originally published October 13, 2021 3:20 PM.