Virginia, or officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, covers the Mid-Atlantic and Southwestern parts of the United States. It’s located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Seaboard.
The fantastic scenery, coastal towns, and mountain cities make Virginia a great place to relocate to, so if you’re thinking about moving somewhere new, take a look at this list of the safest cities in Virginia to help you make your choice. From small, secure towns to the most famous cities in the state, scroll down to see if Virginia is for you.
Virginia is among the most extensive seafood producers on the East Coast due to Chesapeake Bay’s rich wildlife. It’s the home of the largest naval base: Naval Station Norfolk, which employs many Virginia residents, and is the home of the largest government office building: the Pentagon. While the Pentagon has the Washington, D.C. mailing address, it’s actually located in one of the cities in Virginia: Arlington.
This state was the first English settlement, making it the “birthplace of the nation,” and four of the first five presidents were born in Virginia.
Named after Queen Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen, between 1649 and 1660, Virginia state was part of the English commonwealth. In 1660, Virginia became a colony before officially adopting a constitution in 1776. At that time, the term “commonwealth” was most likely reintroduced as an addition to its name to emphasize the people’s sovereignty in the state, and they never removed it.
Living in Virginia
According to the latest estimates, Virginia has 8,535,519 residents. The median household income in the state is $74,222, and per capita income amounts to $39,278. Nearly 10% of residents live in poverty.
Crimes, both property and violent, are less common in Virginia than in most other U.S. states, with a crime rate of 1,851 per 100,000 residents.
Safest Cities in Virginia 2021
Bridgewater is a town in Rockingham County and is part of the Harrisonburg Metropolitan Area. It’s the home of Bridgewater College and was once home to the world’s longest wooden covered bridge.
The first settlers came to the area in the 1740s, and they originally called it McGill’s Ford because the McGill brothers owned a large portion of the land. During that time, various families built mills along the North River and used the land as a port to ship products down the river, giving the town its official name, Bridgewater: one of the best rural places to live in Virginia.
Currently, Bridgewater has 6,145 residents. The median household income in the town is $62,870, and per capita earnings amount to $33,350. Around 6% of people live in poverty, and the median gross rent is $806, and the median house price is $228,200.
When it comes to safety, Bridgewater is a small and secure town. Its crime rate is only 373 per 100,000 residents, making it one of the 10 best places to live in Virginia. In 2019, law enforcement reported 23 property crimes and zero violent offenses.
2. Buena Vista
Buena Vista is a city in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of Virginia, and It doesn’t belong to any county. At the moment, it has a population of 6,478, with over 57% of female residents.
Buena Vista used to be known as Green Forest, Green Valley, and Hart’s Bottom. In 1890, the area officially became a town in Virginia. Upon receiving a city charter, it separated from Rockbridge County, becoming an independent city.
As far as cities in Virginia go by population, residents of Buena Vista live in a safe town. Average annual incomes, however, are relatively low. The median household income is $32,455, while per capita income amounts to $39,278. Around one-fifth of the population lives in poverty: 21.4%, but housing is relatively easy to obtain with a median house price of $112,500 and a median gross rent of $795.
Even though it’s small, Buena Vista is far from a boring city in Virginia. The townspeople worked on preserving its original condition, which is why you’ll find many historical buildings in the area. Some of the sights to visit are the Old Courthouse, Southern Seminary Main Building, and Buena Vista Colored School. You will also find Cedar Hill, Glen Maury, Old and W.N. Seay House, and the beautiful Buena Vista Downtown Historic District in this town.
Buena Vista is one of the safest cities in Virginia. It has a crime rate of 406 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported only 18 property and seven violent crimes.
Purcellville is part of Loudoun County. It’s the primary center for both the Loudoun Valley and the Western Loudoun Valley. In addition, Purcellville is the home of Patrick Henry College.
Purcellville is a town to consider for all those that wonder what the best place to live in Northern Virginia is. It is safe, has a high standard of living, and a unique appeal. The town has a rural feel with a touch of Victorian architecture.
This city has 10,178 residents. The residents enjoy a high standard of living, with per capita earnings amounting to $46,399. The median household income is $139,074, and only 3% of residents live in poverty. The average rent is around $1,428, and you can purchase a house for approximately $550,300.
As one of the safest places to live in Virginia, Purcellville has a crime rate of 435 per 100,000 residents. In 2019, residents reported 37 property offenses, and the police filed reports for a total of 8 violent crimes.
Lexington is the county seat of Rockbridge County. However, this town is officially an independent city, which means that Rockbridge County and Lexington are two separate jurisdictions. Currently, in Lexington, VA, the population is 7,446. A large portion of the residents are employees of the Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute, both of which are located in the town.
Lexington is a great place to visit. The Lexington Carriage Company organizes carriage tours around the town, where you’ll be able to see the Lee House, the University Chapel & Museum, the Stonewall Jackson House, and the Oak Grove Cemetery.
You can visit the “Unheard Vices of Black Lexington,” which documents the history of 15 different Lexington locations raising awareness of black residents’ contribution to the town. Those looking for an edgier tour of one of the towns in Virginia should try out the Haunting Tales Ghost Tour, which starts on Memorial Day weekend. During the tour, you will hear a spookier version of Lexington’s history.
The median household income is $42,632, and per capita income sits at $19,047. A large percentage of the population lives in poverty, though, with 27.4%. The median gross rent is $788, while the median home price amounts to $221,700.
Lexington has a crime rate of 478 per 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest cities in Virginia. In 2019, there were 27 property and seven violent crimes in the area.
Blacksburg is located in the northern Blue Ridge Highlands region and belongs to Montgomery County. This town is the home of Virginia Tech, which is the second-largest public university in Virginia.
The town’s population is 44,233, and the median household income is $43,173, with a per capita income of $23,234. It has a high poverty rate of 43.3% and relatively expensive housing prices. The median gross rent in this town is $1,107, and the median home price is $293,100.
Even though the Blacksburg, VA, population has a high poverty rate, it’s among the most famous places in the state. Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, one of the most well-known universities in the United States, and is a bonafide college-town.
On the university campus, you will find the Moss Arts Center, the home of Virginia’s Tech Center for the Arts. In case you want to feel the vibe of the town, you should take a stroll in downtown Blacksburg, or if you want to see something different, visit the Smithfield Plantation, built in 1773.
Violence in Blacksburg, Virginia is relatively low, with a crime rate per 100,000 residents is 723, and in 2019, residents reported 275 property offenses and 111 violent crimes.
Dumfries is a town in Prince William County, and It has only 5,922 residents, 58% of which are women. Its modern leading industry is accommodation and food services, but the town has a rich history of being a lively port.
Dumfries is one of the oldest towns in Virginia. Its history dates back to 1690 when Richard Gibson built a gristmill in the area. A few years later, he made a warehouse and a customs house which brought other residents to the land. In 1749, Dumfries officially became a town. The land was given to the city by John Graham, who named it after his birthplace, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
This town was once among the best places to live in northern Virginia, as it was a booming port in Colonial America for shipping tobacco. Still, after the Revolutionary War, shipping shifted to wheat and sugar, which led to a massive decrease in its popularity.
The earnings of Dumfries’ residents are below the state average, with a per capita income in the town of $22,408 and a median household income of $63,780. More than 18% of people live in poverty, and the median gross rent is quite high at $1,634, while the average house costs about $372,100.
As one of the best places to live in Virginia for crime rates, Dumfries is pretty safe. Its crime rate is 912 per 100,000 residents, and the police filed reports for 41 property and seven violent crimes in 2019.
Poquoson is an independent city in Virginia. It’s part of the Hampton Roads Metro Area and officially belongs to York County since 1951. In 1975, it became one of the independent Virginia cities, which means that now it isn’t part of any county. Still, the city shares the jail, courts, and the sheriff with York County.
Poquoson, which is often referred to as Bull Island, has a population of 12,271, and 5.6% of residents live in poverty. The median household income is $97,118, with a per capita income of $40,258.
Those that want to relocate to Poquoson will be interested in some property data about the town. The median gross rent there is $1,222. Moreover, the median value of a home is $305,800.
As one of the safest places to live in Virginia, Poquoson has a crime rate of 940 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 91 property offenses and 23 violent crimes.
8. Manassas Park
Manassas Park is another independent city in Virginia. It belongs to the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metro Area, and the city of Manassas and Prince William County are nearby. Manassas Park was officially incorporated in 1957, and it became a city in 1975. The town currently has 17,478 residents.
Those that are looking for the best places to retire in Virginia should consider relocating to Manassas Park. Its crime rate per 100,000 residents is 994, and in 2019, the police reported 154 property crimes and only 21 violent offenses.
Residents of Manassas Park enjoy higher incomes than most other Virginians. Per capita earnings amount to $34,326, and the median household income is $88,046. Only 6.4% of residents live in poverty, which is more than 3% lower than the state average. On the other hand, the median gross rent is around $500 higher than the state average, sitting at $1,732. The median house price is $280,500.
Manassas Park is one of the Northern Virginia cities with great historical significance. It’s the home of the Measles Fort, also known as “A” Fort and Battery Hill Redoubt-Camp Early. This was a military facility during the American Civil War.
The city is currently being renovated to build a “Village at Manassas Park” that will help the town sustain itself in the upcoming years. It will contain a restaurant, coffee shop, and an outdoor splash pad.
Vienna belongs to the Fairfax County of Virginia. It has 16,485 residents and is the site of the Battle of Vienna during the American Civil War.
Vienna is among the highest-earning cities in Virginia. The median household income there is $161,196, while per capita earnings sit at $70,962. Only 2.8% of people live in poverty, more than 7% lower than the state average. High salaries come with a more expensive lifestyle, and as such, the median gross rent in Vienna is $2,081. A typical home costs around $788,800.
Vienna is not only the best place to live in Virginia but also a great city to visit. Feel the city vibe by strolling Maple Ave, or grab a coffee on the nearby Church Street. You should also visit Freeman Store and Museum, Caboose Brewing Company, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
This city is pretty safe, with a crime rate of 1,098 per 100,000 residents, and there were 163 property offenses and 20 violent crimes reported in 2019.
Strasburg is a town in Shenandoah County and was founded by Peter Stover in 1761. With only 6,676 residents, Strasburg is considered one of the small towns in Virginia.
This town was incorporated in 1922, and it belongs to the county famous for its antiques, pottery, scenery, and significance during the American Civil War. The Strasburg Museum was built in the late 1800s, which can still be visited by tourists, and residents used it as steam pottery until 1909. Today, visitors can find displays of original pottery, antiques, Native American artifacts, Civil War articles, farm tools, and a working model railroad that resembles the Strasburg Railway.
The Strasburg, Virginia crime rate is below the state average, with a prevalence of 1,167 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 66 property and 12 violent crimes.
While they enjoy the town’s safety, residents of Strasburg have incomes lower than the Virginia average. The median household income is $54,740 annually, and per capita earnings are $25,505. More than 10% of residents live in poverty.
The cost of living in Strasburg is lower than the state average, with the median gross rent of $977 and median home value of $193,200.
Crime in Virginia: Rated Rankings
Alexandria is an independent city in Virginia, with a population of 159,428, the majority of which are females. It’s one of the largest cities in the state and gained independence from Alexandria county in 1870.
Despite being a big city, Alexandria has a crime rate of a smaller town. The crime rate of 1,729 per 100,000 residents falls below the state average. In 2019, residents reported 2,517 property and 288 violent crimes.
Just like most of the Northern Virginia cities, Alexandria is influenced by Washington D.C, and many of its residents are government officials, which is primarily why their earnings are above the state average.
The median household income in this city is $100,939, and per capita income amounts to $62,679. Still, the number of people that live in poverty is above the state average with 10.3%. The earnings reflect the property prices as the median gross rent sits at $1,747, and the median home price is around $542,100.
Alexandria is the home of the Institute for Defense Analyses, and as Alexandria is one of the biggest cities in Virginia, other important institutions are also located there. The National Science Foundation, as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office, have headquarters stationed here.
Manassas is an independent city of Virginia. It’s part of the DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan area.
This city was vital during the American Civil War and was the location of the First Battle of Manassas and the Second Battle of Manassas. In 1873, the city was incorporated, and about 20 years later, it became the county seat of Prince William County.
According to the latest available data, Manassas, VA population is 41,085. The median household income of the residents is $81,493, while per capita earnings amount to $33,082. Around 8% of people live in poverty, which is slightly below the state average.
The property prices in Manassas are slightly higher than in the rest of Virginia, with median house prices sitting around $392,200 and median gross rent sitting at $1,528.
If you’re wondering if Manassas, VA is safe, the crime rate per 100,000 residents is 1,735, which is below the state of Virginia’s average. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 623 property offenses and 103 violent crimes.
13. Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is an independent city. With a population of 449,974, it’s the most populous town in Virginia. It belongs to the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, and it’s a great place to visit and relocate to. Virginia Beach is the safest city, according to many who are looking for a populous but secure beach community.
The residents of this city earn pretty much the same as most Virginians. The per capita income in Virginia Beach is $37,776, and the median household income sits at $76,610. Only 7.3% of residents live in poverty, and property values and rents are also close to the state average. The median home value is $268,100, and the median gross rent is $1,367.
The Virginia Beach crime rate is slightly above the state average, with 1890 per 100,000 residents, and the police filed reports for 7,906 property and 581 violent crimes in 2019.
Chesapeake is another independent city in Virginia. It’s the second-most populous city in the state, and it has 244,835 residents. This city is part of the Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News metropolitan area, and is home to where many say is the safest place to live in Virginia.
The 1900s present the most exciting part of Chesapeake’s history. The area that now forms this city was primarily rural. Throughout this period, a portion near Norfolk started developing as the suburb of South Norfolk. Two rail lines nearby caused a rapid growth of the population, leading to South Norfolk becoming an independent town in 1919.
After annexation lawsuits in the 1950s by neighboring cities, Norfolk County and South Norfolk decided to merge in an attempt to resolve the ongoing issues. In 1963, these entities joined to create one of the largest cities in Virginia, the city of Chesapeake.
Resident earnings are close to the state average. The median household income amounts to $78,640, while per capita income is $35,536. Around 8.6% of people live in poverty, while the median gross rent is $1,279, and the median home value is $270,300.
The crime rate of this town is above the Virginia average, with 2,730 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police of Chesapeake reported 5,541 property crimes and 1,112 violent offenses.
15. Newport News
Newport News is another independent city among the major cities in Virginia. It rests at the point where the Chesapeake Bay meets the James River. Newport News belongs to the Hampton Roads Metro Area.
This city has 179,225 residents. The median household income there is $53,215, and per capita income sits at $28,294. Around 15% of people live in poverty, which is way above the Virginia average, and the median gross rent is $1,057, while the median home price is $181,200.
Newport News is not among the best cities in Virginia when it comes to crime rates, however. Its crime rate is 3,124 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 1,056 violent and 4,484 property crimes.
Hampton is an independent city that rests on the Chesapeake Bay. Established in 1610, it’s among the oldest towns in the United States. It’s also the home of Hampton University, NASA Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air, and Space Center, and the Langley Air Force Base in this city.
Hampton has 134,510 residents. If you want to become one of them and wonder if Hampton, VA is a safe place, know that crime is quite high. The crime rate per 100,000 residents in this town is 3,294, way above the Virginia average. Residents reported 3,994 property offenses and 393 violent crimes in 2019.
Earnings of Hampton residents are slightly below the state average. This town’s per capita income is $30,135, and the median household income sits at $56,287. About 15.2% of people live in poverty, and the median gross rent is $1,118. The median home values are around $167,500.
It’s hard to be bored in Hampton, VA, and while it may not be one of the best cities to live in Virginia, it’s a great place to visit. There is a vibrant arts community in the town, and officials organize various festivals and events during the year.
Richmond is the capital of Virginia and the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Area. Its incorporation came in 1742, and it became an independent city in 1871.
This city was important for the Powhatan Confederacy, and English colonists from Jamestown settled here during the Starving Time. After being incorporated, Richmond became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. In the Civil War, the city was the capital of the Confederacy.
The Richmond, VA population for 2021 is 230,436. Resident earnings are much lower than the Virginia average, with the median household income of just $47,250 and per capita income of $33,549. Almost a quarter of people live in poverty, even though the economy of this city is driven by finance, government, and law.
Several government agencies are located in Richmond, such as the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Court of Appeals, which explains why despite low incomes, the median home value in Richmond is $214,400, and the median gross rent is $1,025.
The Richmond, VA crime rate is exceptionally high, making this city a dangerous place to live. The crime rate per 100,000 residents is 3,962, which is over 2000 more than other cities in Virginia. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 8,074 property and 1,068 violent crimes.
Norfolk doesn’t belong to any county, also making it an independent city. It was incorporated in 1705, and it’s one of the oldest points in the Hampton Roads Metro Area. Many consider it to be a financial, cultural, and historic center of the region, and according to the latest available data, Norfolk is the third-most populated city in Virginia, with 242,742 residents.
Norfolk borders several bodies of water, and throughout history, it was a vital strategic point for both the military and transportation. The bayfront and riverfront portions of the city are what sustain the economy of Norfolk, and the city is the home of the biggest naval base in the world: Naval Station Norfolk.
Norfolk is an interesting town for tourists and potential residents with a mix of history and modern coastal architecture. If you catch yourself wondering if Norfolk, VA is safe, however, don’t get too excited. This city has a crime rate of 4,007 per 100,000 residents, and according to police reports from 2019, there were 8,405 property offenses and 1,325 violent crimes in Norfolk.
The median household income in the town is $51,590, and per capita income amounts to $29,830. Nearly 19% of residents live in poverty, and the median gross rent is $1,059, while the median house price is $185,900.
If you don’t mind the Norfolk, VA crime rate, it can be an affordable and interesting place to settle down in.
Roanoke is an independent city of Virginia. It lies in Roanoke Valley, and it’s the principal city of the Roanoke Metropolitan Area.
Roanoke has 99,143 residents, and the median household income is $44,230, and per capita income is $27,006. About 20% of people live in poverty, but Roanoke is one of the cheapest places to live in Virginia. The median gross rent is around $814, and the median home price is around $158,800.
Roanoke is considered to be a mountain city and an innovation hub. The city officials highlight its beautiful landscape as the main reason to spend time there, and Roanoke recently received the IMBA Silver-Level Mountain Biking Ride Center status. For those looking for a more urban experience, Downtown Roanoke offers plenty of things to do. You can explore various shops, restaurants, and markets there.
The Roanoke VA crime rate is exceptionally high, however. With a rate of 4800 per 100,000 residents. That’s 3000 offenses higher than the average for Virginia, and in 2019, the police filed reports for 386 violent offenses and 4,402 property crimes.
Portsmouth is another independent city located in Southwest Virginia on the Elizabeth River. It belongs to the Hampton Roads Metro Area, and Portsmouth is the home of two U.S. Navy facilities: the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Portsmouth currently has 94,398 residents and is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. Its crime rate is 6,807 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 5,509 property and 889 violent crimes.
The residents of this town earn way below the state average, with a median household income of $52,175, while per capita earnings are about $26,312. Almost 17% of residents live in poverty, but the city offers lower rent and housing prices, and the median gross rent is $1,048, and the median house price is $153,200.
While you may need to search for a Virginia home security system if you want to relocate to Portsmouth, at least you won’t be bored. This town offers plenty of things to do, especially for families. Parents love the Children’s Museum of Virginia as it provides a fun way for children to educate themselves on history.
Those that are fans of nature will enjoy various parks, with the most popular one being Portsmouth City Park. The town has multiple interesting museums, such as the Lightship Portsmouth Museum and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.
Conclusion: The Safest Cities in Virginia
Virginia has many things to offer, and it’s a perfect place to relocate to, no matter if you are a fan of mountains or want to live near the Ocean. Due to its rich history, almost every town has historical sites and buildings, and its higher education and healthcare are among the best in the nation.
We found the top 10 safest cities as well as compiled a list of the most popular ones ranked by their crime rates. If Virginia is your next destination, we hope we helped you choose the perfect place for you.