20 Cities in Virginia with the most Improved Crime Rate

December 9, 2014

6. Blacksburg, VA

Falling just outside the top 5 on our list of most improved cities in Virginia is Blacksburg. Most notably known for being the home of the Virginia Tech Hokies, Blacksburg has a beautiful landscape to go with the fun of being a college town. With the Radford Army Ammunition Plant just to the west and the university in the heart of the town, there are a lot of people who live in town on a semi-permanent basis. Surprisingly however, with all this traffic Blacksburg has one of the lower crime rates in the region and the local police department has worked to drive that number even lower. The biggest area of improvement and why Blacksburg made this list was their efforts to reduce violent crime, which dropped nearly 50 percent in a five year period.

2007 Crime Rate: 18.32
2012 Crime Rate: 11.93
34.85% Decrease In Crime

7. Harrisonburg, VA

Located in the northern portion of Virginia, minutes from the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park is Harrisonburg. The home of James Madison University, like a lot of small college towns Harrisonburg sees an influx of new residents yearly, as well as a large number of residents moving on once they’re done with school. With the natural attractions in the area Harrisonburg can also attract people looking for camping, hiking and hunting opportunities. While a higher crime rate than you’d like isn’t atypical of a college town, the Harrisonburg Police Department has done a wonderful job of reducing violent crime in the region, which is why they’re ranked so highly on our list.

2007 Crime Rate: 34.01
2012 Crime Rate: 23.30
31.51% Decrease In Crime

8. Staunton, VA

Located in the Shenandoah Valley just south of Harrisonburg and minutes from the George Washington National Forest is Staunton, Virginia. Recently named one of the best small towns in America, Staunton is a budding town on the ride thanks to their booming arts and culture. Coupled with the great natural attractions nearby for camping, hiking and hunting it’s easy to see why it’s become such a hot spot. Making it inside the top 10 of our list of most improved cities in Virginia, Staunton has seen both the violent and property crime rate drop just over 30 percent in a five year period according to data provided by the FBI. With a community that has seen steady growth, Staunton has bucked the trend of rising crime rates with a rising population.

2007 Crime Rate: 34.51
2012 Crime Rate: 23.68
31.39% Decrease In Crime

9. Fairfax City, VA

Just minutes to the west of Washington D.C. and Arlington is the town of Fairfax, Virginia. They sneak into the top 10 of our list of most improved cities in Virginia, partially because of the steep decline in violent crime over the past five years. Often a residence of those who work in the bigger cities and commute to work, Fairfax is a town rich in history in the development of the United States from back in colonial times to the Civil War era. There are tons of historic sites and wonderful landscapes in the area, so Fairfax can see lots of visitors year-round. The local police department wanted to make sure that it was a safe area to not only live, but visit. Through community education and involvement, with programs like the neighborhood watch, Fairfax has climbed up our list.

2007 Crime Rate: 29.13
2012 Crime Rate: 20.13
30.89% Decrease In Crime

10. Charlottesville, VA

Home to the University of Virginia and the birth place of former United States presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, Charlottesville is a historic hot spot in the state. Just a few miles from downtown is the famous Monticello plantation manor where Thomas Jefferson lived. Minutes away there is also the Great Smokey Mountains, Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Charlottesville sees an influx of residents each year because of the University, but also sees plenty of tourist traffic year-round. Even with all this influx, the local police department has seen both property and violent crime decline nearly 30 percent over a five year period according to data provided by the FBI, and is the reason they round out the top 10 in our list of most improved cities.

2007 Crime Rate: 54.91
2012 Crime Rate: 38.64
29.62% Decrease In Crime

11. Warrenton, VA

Located in the northern region of Virginia, Warrenton ranks just outside the top 10 in our list of most improved cities in the state. Near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Warrenton is like many other towns in the Piedmont region of Virginia that have some breathtaking natural sights just minutes away. From the Manassas National Battlefield Park to the Shenandoah National Park just to the west. Warrenton isn’t at a loss for spots to hike, camp or even hunt in the regional. The local police department has seen property crime take the biggest decline over the past five years, thanks to the effectiveness of programs like the neighborhood watch and the information alert system NIXLE. With some wonderful history and beautiful natural surroundings, crime in the region is on a steady decline as it becomes a more and more popular destination.

2007 Crime Rate: 30.56
2012 Crime Rate: 21.54
29.52% Decrease In Crime

12. Abingdon, VA

In the southwest portion of the state of Virginia and to the southwest of Roanoke is the town Abingdon. Officially designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark, it’s no surprise that the region is littered with sites surrounding American history, such as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. With proximity to the Appalachian Trail and the beginning of the Virginia Creeper Trail in the heart of downtown Abingdon, the town can see a lot of visitors over the year. A big reason that Abington made the list of our most improved cities in Virginia is because of the work that the police department has done in lowering property crime over the past five years.

2007 Crime Rate: 48.41
2012 Crime Rate: 34.33
29.09% Decrease In Crime

13. Emporia, VA

Located in the southern portion of Virginia and north of Lake Gaston and the North Carolina border is Emporia, VA. Emporia sits as a bit of a cross roads for those heading up I-95 North or down Route 58 across the state, so the town can see quite a bit of through traffic on a daily basis. As comes with some small towns with big cross roads, violent crime was an issue in the past for Emporia, but thanks to the hard work and effort of both the local police department and the community they have seen that number take a sharp decline according to data provided by the FBI. Not only has violent crime decreased over 50 percent, overall crime has gone down nearly 30 percent.

2007 Crime Rate: 77.76
2012 Crime Rate: 55.76
28.29% Decrease In Crime

14. Manassas, VA

The home of the first major land battle in the American Civil War, Manassas, and site of the First Battle of Manassas (aka First Battle of Bull Run) is a town located in the northeast of Virginia. With a multitude of historical sites and beautiful natural attractions such as Bull Run Regional Park and the aforementioned historical battlegrounds in the region, Manassas can see a lot of tourist traffic throughout the year. It can also be a nice destination for those looking for some wonderful scenery while hiking or camping. Manassas has seen property crime take a big dip over the past five years thanks to the local police department utilizing programs like the neighborhood watch, and is why they’ve made it inside the top 15 of our list of most improved cities.

2007 Crime Rate: 36.18
2012 Crime Rate: 26.05
28.00% Decrease In Crime

15. Christiansburg, VA

Just outside of Blacksburg is the town of Christiansburg in the eastern portion of the state of Virginia. Located minutes from Virginia Tech University, Christiansburg can see a lot of the same traffic that Blacksburg does with an influx of young people living and commuting. There’s also some beautiful natural scenery in the area between the rolling mountains and the lush forests, which can be a hot spot for hiking, camping and hunting. The local police department has seen both the violent crime and property crime rate decline over the past five years, which isn’t normal for what many would consider an adjacent college town. With programs like the neighborhood watch and a mindful community, Christianburg has been able to keep the town safe.

2007 Crime Rate: 45.32
2012 Crime Rate: 33.16
26.84% Decrease In Crime

16. Newport News, VA

One of the biggest towns on the eastern shore of the state of Virginia, Newport News doesn’t have the greatest reputation nationally and around the state for safety. With violent crime issues in the past, Newport News has done such a great job in trying to curb crime over the past five years they’ve been able to earn their way onto our list of the most improved cities in Virginia. The local police department has seen violent crime take nearly a 50 percent decline based on data provided by the FBI, as well as a big decline in property crime over the same time period. With some beautiful natural surroundings like the James and York River, as well as just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, Newport News is striving to keep their city safe.

2007 Crime Rate: 48.52
2012 Crime Rate: 35.66
26.50% Decrease In Crime

17. Martinsville, VA

In the southern portion of the state of Virginia near the border of North Carolina and on the banks of the Smith River is the town of Martinsville. Coming in just inside the top 20 of our list of most improved cities in the state of Virginia, Martinsville has a lot of history going back to the American Revolutionary War and was named after General Martin. Home to Martinsville Speedway and just miles from some national forests and beautiful scenery, Martinsville can see a lot of visitor traffic throughout the year, especially around races at the Speedway. The local police department has done a great job utilizing things like the neighborhood watch to bring down the property crime rate over the past five years.

2007 Crime Rate: 44.76
2012 Crime Rate: 32.90
26.50% Decrease In Crime

18. Manassas Park, VA

Just outside the town of Manassas, the town of Manassas Park sits on the edge of Bull Run Regional Park and the Bull Run River. Sharing a lot of the same history that the town Manassas has dating back to the American Revolutionary War, Manassas Park can see the same amount of through traffic and tourism in the region. Crime in the area wasn’t very high in the past, but the local police department has worked with the community to bring down that rate over the past five years to make it one of the safest cities in the region. The town has seen both violent and property crimes take a steady decline based on data provided to us by the FBI.

2007 Crime Rate: 22.26
2012 Crime Rate: 16.39
26.38% Decrease In Crime

19. Fredericksburg, VA

In the northeast region of the state of Virginia is the town of Fredericksburg, sitting on the banks of the Rappahannock River. During the colonial era, Fredericksburg was an important port and home to two important battles during the American Civil War. Like many towns in Virginia, Fredericksburg is steeped in history with some beautiful natural scenery and historical sites in the area. Crime was higher than you would like to see in Fredericksburg, but being the home of the University of Mary Washington, the local police department has done hard work to bring that rate down just over 25 percent over the past few years. With an influx of young people yearly, Fredericksburg has put an emphasis on lowering the crime rate and it’s why they’ve slipped into the top 20 of our most improved list.

2007 Crime Rate: 58.22
2012 Crime Rate: 43.51
25.28% Decrease In Crime

20. Herndon, VA

Located just minutes from Washington D.C. in the northern region of the state of Virginia is the town of Herndon. With Dulles Airport just outside of the city, Herndon gets a lot of traffic for those traveling to the nation’s capital. The local police department has made an effort to bring their already low crime rate down even further and have been able to bring violent crime down nearly 50 percent over the past five years according to FBI data. As a smaller town that is often a hub for those who work in D.C. and with a lot of through traffic thanks to the location to some historical sites like the Manassas National Battlefield Park, Herndon has done an amazing job keeping crime low.

2007 Crime Rate: 21.74
2012 Crime Rate: 16.48
24.20% Decrease In Crime

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20 Most Improved Cities in Virginia

Disclaimer: To improve the accuracy and usefulness of our list, we chose to exclude small communities with populations below 5,000 in our rankings.
Our rankings are determined by national crime statistics published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our rankings are only as accurate as the local population and crime statistics officially released by the FBI.

20 Most Improved Cities in Virginia

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