What states made 2023’s Safest States in America list?

With more than 34,000 Americans having died from gun violence this year and the country having experienced $24 billion climate disasters, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Safest States in America.

In order to determine the most secure states, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 52 key metrics. The data set ranges from assaults per capita to the total loss amount from climate disasters per capita to the unemployment rate.

Safety in California (1=Safest; 25=Avg.)

Overall rank for California: 36th

  • 26th – Murders & Non-Negligent Manslaughters per Capita
  • 38th – Assaults per Capita
  • 20th – Loss Amounts from Climate Disasters per Capita
  • 43rd – Job Security
  • 7th – Fatal Occupational Injuries per 100,000 Full-Time Workers
  • 31st – Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles of Travel
  • 12th – Law-Enforcement Employees per Capita
  • 38th – Bullying Incidence Rate
  • 25th – Sex Offenders per Capita
  • 21st – Share of Uninsured Population

Expert Commentary

What actions can the Biden administration undertake to reduce crime and improve public safety?

“It is time for the government to create national standards for local police agencies and to regulate local policing more effectively. While the tradition of local police in the United States has allowed communities to be much more connected to their police, there is just not enough regulation and standards in US policing. There are more than 16,000 independent police agencies in the US and they vary greatly in quality and procedures. The establishment of a National College of Policing would go a long way in advancing the idea of standards both in terms of what the police should do to increase public safety, and what should be done to prevent awful and illegal policing.”
— David Weisburd, Ph.D. – Distinguished Professor; Executive Director, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University

“Every administration can take action to reduce crime and improve public safety. The COPS Office under the Clinton Administration made efforts to support community policing. The executive branch can motivate changes in policing. It could be as simple as small grants to support Procedural Justice or de-escalation training. They could also work with legislators to support improvements in policing. For example, the George Floyd Bill was poorly constructed, despite its intentions. Both branches can and should work together to provide a dual front to stimulate improvements in policing.”
— Scott W. Phillips, Ph.D. – Professor, SUNY Buffalo State

There are many different potential threats to one’s safety: crime, weather, pollution, and dangerous workplaces. In choosing a place to live, how should people weigh the risks?

“An individual’s perception of the potential threats to personal safety in any given community really boils down to assessing two main risk factors: 1) Lifestyle, and 2) Sense of Place. Lifestyle centers around variables such as the geographical location and type of community one lives and works in; the activities engaged in; the relationships desired and cultivated; and the level of interaction one has with his/her external environment. For example, someone who lives in a dense urban center in a large city will have a certain set of risk factors to manage. On the other hand, a person who lives in a very rural, sparsely populated location will have a very different set of risk factors. Sense of Place refers to a person’s relationship with the surrounding environment. A person’s feeling of security will be influenced by the perception of how easily potential threats can affect one’s safety. It is important to do research and consider data about the place one is considering living in. For example, many law enforcement agencies maintain websites publishing data about criminal activity, even down to specific neighborhoods. Asking questions and seeking information ahead of time will help one establish a sense of place relative to one’s life activities.”
— Kenneth Christopher, D.P.A., C.P.P. – Professor; Program Director, B.S. and M.S., Homeland Security and Emergency Management, National University

“Being concerned with ‘crime’ as a safety issue requires a short-term approach to one’s thinking. For the most part, being the victim of a crime is fairly unpredictable. Obviously if one had a choice they would want to live in a neighborhood with little or no crime. The other factors (i.e., weather, pollution) are long-term considerations and rather predictable. Weighing the risks would depend on quality-of-life choices (e.g., warm weather year-round or seasonal changes, schools for kids, urban vs. rural).”
— Scott W. Phillips, Ph.D. – Professor, SUNY Buffalo State

What can state and local policymakers do to reduce crime in their communities?

“There is a good deal of evidence today about what police strategies reduce crime. For example, the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that hot spots policing, which focuses on the relatively small number of high-crime streets in a city, is an effective strategy to reduce crime. However, many police agencies do not pay attention to the evidence about policing, and policymakers need to make evidence-based policing a priority in their jurisdictions. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence on how we can have effective policing but also fair and respectful policing. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that you can train police to be more respectful of the public and that this is likely to lead to crime prevention gains.”
— David Weisburd, Ph.D. – Distinguished Professor; Executive Director, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason University

“States can support training grants. But they should also promote police-practitioner partnerships. Police agencies should be encouraged to work with colleges, whether criminal justice, social work, or health and wellness departments, to learn about evidence-based practices that can improve lives and reduce crime. States and local leaders should actively encourage these partnerships via research or training grants.”
— Scott W. Phillips, Ph.D. – Professor, SUNY Buffalo State

For the full report, please visit:





Image Sources

  • California Republic: Shutterstock