Study: ‘Seattle quite unsafe for its residents,’ Tacoma even lower

Oct 9, 2023, 3:51 PM

Seattle skyline...

Seattle continues to drop in a list of America's safest cities. (Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

In a study by WalletHub, a personal finance site, Seattle and Tacoma both rank near the bottom of their “Safest Cities in America” list.

“Seattle is the 158th safest city in America. The city ranks 163rd for thefts and hate crimes per capita, landing as low as 160th for home and community safety,” WalletHub senior analyst Jill Gonzalez told MyNorthwest. “Seattle has been on a downward slope since 2020 when it ranked 116th. In 2021, it went down to 133rd and then to 148th in 2022.”

Tacoma was ranked even lower than Seattle, sitting at No. 161.

More WalletHub studies: Tacoma, Seattle among the nation’s worst-run cities

The study examined threats to safety from public health crises and natural disasters to mass shootings and traffic accidents.

In order to determine the safest cities in which to live, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: Home and community safety, natural-disaster risk, and financial safety.

The safest cities in the country, according to the study are:

  1. Nashua, New Hampshire
  2. Columbia, Maryland
  3. South Burlington, Vermont
  4. Gilbert, Arizona
  5. Warwick, Rhode Island

Aside from the types of hazards that can cause bodily injury or other physical harm, taking out an unaffordable second mortgage, forgoing health insurance or even visiting unsecured websites are also ways people run into danger. One big worry for many people right now is the cost of inflation, which threatens Americans’ financial safety.

More studies: Seattle ranked No. 6 safest city for pedestrians

Seattle is also facing a high earthquake risk, which is why it ranks 141st for natural disaster safety. The Puget Sound region was hit with a 4.3 magnitude earthquake on Sunday.

“It may surprise many residents and local officials, but the best way to save money on disaster clean-up costs is to mitigate the damage upfront before it happens,” Laurie J. Holien, a member of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Faculty at Idaho State University, told MyNorthwest. “This could involve creating defensive space around structures prone to wildfires, creating berms to improve drainage and resilience to flooding, and reinforcing buildings and infrastructure to sustain earthquake shakes.”

Source: WalletHub

When it comes to money, Seattle is much stronger.

“The city is doing much better in terms of financial safety. Seattle’s median credit score is amongst the highest in the country and 75.40% of households in Seattle saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies in the past 12 months, which indicates that its residents have good financial health and manage their budget responsibly,” Gonzalez said.

The most unsafe cities in America are St. Louis, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and San Bernardino, California.

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Study: ‘Seattle quite unsafe for its residents,’ Tacoma even lower