Honolulu named the third safest U.S. city


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As if you needed another reason to say, "Lucky we live Hawaii:" Honolulu was recently named one of America's safest cities by Forbes magazine. We came in third behind Plano, TX, and Henderson, NV, respectively.

To find America's 10 safest cities, Forbes looked at metropolises with populations above 250,000. Each city was ranked by the number of violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) per 100,000 residents in 2010, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since the FBI only compiles data from municipalities that submit complete reports, they were only able to look at 72 cities—and for some reason, Chicago was not included in that report.

They also ranked each city on the traffic-fatality rate per 100,000 residents based on 2009 data, which was the most recent available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Forbes then averaged the ranking for each city to arrive at final scores. In the case of ties, the city with the lower crime rate got the higher ranking.

Honolulu ranked fourth lowest for violent crime and seventh lowest for traffic fatalities. Wealth was a factor in making these places havens for safety, and they found that our city is relatively well off, with a median household income of $54,828, which is above the national average of $50,046. Interestingly enough, we have a below-average poverty rate of 10.5 percent.

They surmised that violence rates are relatively low due to our strict gun control laws, and traffic fatalities are lower than other cities due to our extremely gridlocked, congested freeways (as anyone from Ewa or Mililani can tell you).

The Forbes article noted that Henderson has lower violent crime rates than Las Vegas because violent crimes against tourists inflate the numbers. I'm not sure if Honolulu's tourism numbers—and subsequent potential higher crime rates—played a factor in our ranking.

Other cities in the top 10 were Santa Ana, CA; Lincoln, NE; San Jose, CA; Mesa, AZ; Colorado Springs, CO; Aurora, CO; and New York, NY. To see the cities and their stats, click here.

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