The FBI's crime report for 2003 named Virginia Beach as the safest big US city

Introducing Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach, where English colonists first settled in 1607, has been a popular resort destination since 1880s. Railroad service to the beach began in 1883, transporting visitors from Norfolk to the ocean beach. In 1888, the modernized Princess Anne Hotel was described in a local newspaper as a magnificent hotel, with electric lights, bath houses with a veranda, and a good ballroom. Holidaymakers and tourists are still a vital part of life in Virginia Beach, even after 120 years!

Since the merger of Princess Anne County and the resort town of Virginia Beach in 1963, the City of Virginia Beach has enjoyed a steady rate of growth in population as well as visitors. The 2000 Census indicates a Virginia Beach population of 425,257.


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This archived article was published 9 June 2004
Safest US cities:
Virginia Beach named
the safest big US city

America has become a less violent society, with big cities seeing an above average fall in reported violent crime. The FBI’s crime report for 2003 shows that across the US violent crime fell by 1.3 per cent. In cities with populations above one million the fall was 6.5 per cent, while in cities with populations of 250,000 to one million people the reduction in violent crime in 2003 amounted to more than 4.8 per cent.

On a regional basis, in the Midwest the fall in violent crime was greatest (-7.0 per cent), while violent crime level in the West fell by only 1.2 per cent. The respective figures for the Northeast and the South are -3.2 per cent and -2.7 per cent.

Property crimes remained more or less static. Nationally, the number of reported property, including burglary, larceny and car theft, fell by an insignificant 0.1 per cent. In cities with populations of more than one million property crime decreased by 0.8 per cent, while cities with populations of less than 100,000 saw property related offences all rise. The largest increase, according to the FBI report, was in communities with populations of fewer than 10,000 people. Property crime increased in the South and West but fell in the Northeast and Midwest.

New York City recorded more violent crimes than any other US city, but it is actually one of the safest big cities in the country. City Mayors used data from the FBI and the US Census Bureau to devise league tables of America’s safest big cities. (The tables include data for the 50 largest US cities. However, there are no figures for Indianapolis and Washington DC.) According to City Mayors’ calculations, Virginia Beach is the country’s safest big city with 224 reported violent crimes per 100,000 citizens. Atlanta, the most dangerous big city in the US, is credited with 2,065 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas and Baltimore complete the top five of most violent big cities. New York City recorded 750 violent crimes per 100,000 during 2003.

In 2003, more people were murdered in Chicago than in any other US city. However, based on a ratio of murders per population, the Illinois city is only in tenth place. City Mayors calculated that people in New Orleans are more likely to be murdered than in any other big US city. Per 100,000 citizens, New Orleans recorded 57 reported murders. The figure for second-placed Baltimore was 41 murders per 100,000. San Jose, Colorado Springs, Mesa, El Paso, Austin and Honolulu all have fewer than five murders per 100,000 people.

All violent crime: The safest big US cities
(Total number of reported violent crimes and violent crimes per 100,000 citizens)
Rank
City
Population
Total no
of violent crimes
Crimes per 100,000 citizens
1
Virginia Beach
425,257
951
224
2
San Jose
894,943
3,407
381
3
Colorado Springs
360,890
1,741
482
4
Austin
656,562
3,180
484
5
Mesa
396,375
2,360
595
6
San Diego
1,223,400
7,431
607
7
El Paso
563,662
3,523
625
8
San Antonio
1,144,646
7,337
641
9
Denver
554,636
3,594
648
10
Wichita
344,284
2,247
653
11
Omaha
390,007
2,662
683
12
Honolulu
371,657
2,621
705
13
Seattle
563,374
3,980
706
14
Fort Worth
534,694
3,808
712
15
San Francisco
776,733
5,794
746
16
New York City
8,008,278
60,045
750
17
Phoenix
1,321,045
9,963
754
18
Long Beach
461,522
3,628
786
19
Fresno
427,652
3,542
828
20
Portland
529,121
4,463
843
21
Sacramento
407,018
3,463
851
22
Columbus
711,470
6,324
889
23
Milwaukee
596,974
5,398
904
24
Jacksonville
735,617
6,821
927
25
Oklahoma City
506,132
4,751
939
26
Tucson
486,699
4,760
978
27
Albuquerque
448,607
4,490
1,001
28
New Orleans
484,674
4,870
1,005
29
Tulsa
393,049
4,365
1,111
30
Minneapolis
382,618
4,563
1,193
31
Boston
589,141
7,212
1,224
32
Houston
1,953,631
24,266
1,242
33
Cleveland
478,403
6,273
1,311
34
Chicago
2,896,016
38,282
1,322
35
Los Angeles
3,694,820
49,337
1,335
36
Charlotte
540,828
7,260
1,342
37
Philadelphia
1,517,550
20,968
1,382
38
Kansas City
441,545
6,233
1,412
39
Oakland
399,484
5,722
1,432
40
Dallas
1,188,580
17,091
1,438
41
Nashville
569,891
8,381
1,471
42
Memphis
650,100
10,423
1,603
43
St. Louis
348,189
6,398
1,838
44
Baltimore
651,154
12,370
1,900
45
Las Vegas
478,434
9,305
1,945
46
Miami
362,470
7,231
1,995
47
Detroit
951,270
19,090
2,007
48
Atlanta
416,474
8,600
2,065

Murder: The safest big US cities
(Total number murders and murders per 100,000 citizens)
Rank
City
Population
Total number of murders
Murders per 100,000 citizens
1
San Jose
894,943
29
3
2
Colorado Springs
360,890
12
3
3
Mesa
396,375
14
4
4
El Paso
563,662
21
4
5
Honolulu
371,657
15
4
6
Austin
656,562
27
4
7
Portland
529,121
27
5
8
Wichita
344,284
18
5
9
San Diego
1,223,400
65
5
10
Virginia Beach
425,257
24
6
11
Seattle
563,374
34
6
12
Boston
589,141
39
7
13
San Antonio
1,144,646
85
7
14
New York City
8,008,278
597
7
15
Fresno
427,652
37
9
16
San Francisco
776,733
69
9
17
Omaha
390,007
35
9
18
Tucson
486,699
49
10
19
Sacramento
407,018
43
11
20
Long Beach
461,522
49
11
21
Fort Worth
534,694
57
11
22
Denver
554,636
63
11
23
Albuquerque
448,607
51
11
24
Minneapolis
382,618
46
12
25
Charlotte
540,828
66
12
26
Jacksonville
735,617
92
13
27
Nashville
569,891
72
13
28
Los Angeles
3,694,820
514
14
29
Houston
1,953,631
278
14
30
Cleveland
478,403
73
15
31
Columbus
711,470
109
15
32
Tulsa
393,049
61
16
33
Phoenix
1,321,045
241
18
34
Milwaukee
596,974
109
18
35
Kansas City
441,545
82
19
36
Dallas
1,188,580
226
19
37
Memphis
650,100
126
19
38
Miami
362,470
74
20
39
Chicago
2,896,016
598
21
40
St. Louis
348,189
73
21
41
Oklahoma City
506,132
109
22
42
Philadelphia
1,517,550
348
23
43
Oakland
399,484
109
27
44
Las Vegas
478,434
144
30
45
Atlanta
416,474
149
36
46
Detroit
951,270
366
38
47
Baltimore
651,154
270
41
48
New Orleans
484,674
274
57






Ron Gonzales, Mayor of San José, California

Introducing Ron Gonzales, Mayor of San José
Ron Gonzales was re-elected Mayor of San José, the Capital of Silicon Valley, in the March Primary of 2002. His goals as Mayor include strengthening neighborhoods, improvement of public education, and ensuring the continuing economic vitality of the city with high quality public services and effective solutions to affordable housing and traffic congestion in the region.

Before his election as Mayor, Mr Gonzales worked as an executive with the Hewlett-Packard Company, where he led a national education initiative that established partnerships between Hewlett-Packard, local school districts, and universities.

Ron Gonzales received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He graduated from the Mayor's Leadership Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is also an American Leadership Forum Fellow.