How we picked the safest college towns in America
Our rankings are based purely on which college towns reported the fewest violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents.
We use the most recent FBI crime statistics, which include crime and population data that cities reported for 2018. This data isn’t infallible, but it’s the most consistent and comprehensive crime information available.
To be in the running, cities needed to exceed a population of 15,000 residents and be home to an accredited college that offered four-year degrees. We excluded for-profit institutions, technical and vocational schools, schools that offer only two-year degrees, and those with fewer than 2,000 students enrolled annually.
To rank each city, 50% of the score was determined by the number of violent crimes per 1,000 and 50% of the score was determined by the number of property crimes per 1,000.
Each measurement was normalized on a 0–1 scale with 1 corresponding to the measurement that would most positively affect the final score. These adjusted measurements were then added together with the weights mentioned above to get a score of 100.
For more information about how we rank cities, read our full methodology.
For the purposes of this report, the terms “safest” and “dangerous” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.