When it comes time to decide on the college to send your son or daughter to, there are a lot of factors that are worth considering. However, one of the most important is the safety of your child. This not includes the college campus, but the neighboring town as well. This is where your student may go to take a break and explore their newfound freedom living away from home. Ideally, you would want a location that offers safe and secure locales to provide a welcome escape from the university environment (classes, studies, roommates, etc.) but strikes a balance of not becoming too distracting, diverting the students focus. Fortunately, we have done the research and put together our list of the safest college towns for 2017.
Kicking off our list is the home of Ohio University: Athens, Ohio. This college town benefits greatly from the partnership between the university and Athens. This is perfect represented in the practice of the Mayor and University President of jointly writing welcome letters to incoming students. Additionally, the police department has implemented safety programs such as Crime Prevention through Environment Design and the ALiCE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) strategy, producing an instructional video that has earned a Sliver Telly Award.
Ranked #2 on WalletHub's list of Best College Towns & Cities in America, East Lansing offers the Michigan State University's students as well as its citizens many benefits. Each year, East Lansing hosts a number of festivals. A large number of neighborhoods have local traditions and scheduled events, and cultural offerings abound through theaters and museums. General Motors, as well as four major national insurance companies call East Lansing and Lansing home. The college helps maintain a fairly educated population, with over 30 percent of residents between the ages of 25 and 64 holding at least a BA.
Home to the Washington State Cougars, Pullman, WA is a beautiful and safe place to send your college student. Located in Eastern Washington, the city of Pullman is a leader in sustainability, education and safety for its residence. Utilizing the newest technology to connect the community, such as the Nextdoor app, allows them to create and run neighborhood watch groups. Another safety initiative by the Pullman police department is the implementation of the “Safety Camera Initiative” (SCI) in the historic College Hill neighborhood, which have lead to arrest of committers of violent crimes.
With close by access to outdoor adventures, downtown area and many dining options, the University of Oregon is a great location. Known as a friendly place for politically active citizens, your student will be encouraged by the diverse, yet invested community. Whether you’re a lover of art, activist or outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find your people and places in this sweet college town. Ranked 22nd by WalletHub and 15th by American Institute for Economic Research, Eugene has a lot to offer!
Being a fairy medium sized metro area yields a perfect combination of small town familiarity with a big city's amenities for State College, PA. Having a great music scene and some of the nation's largest employers (AccuWeather, Raytheon) gives its students opportunity to get out, while providing the security of a potential career. On top of that, a quick car ride will deliver you to rolling hills of cattle and cornfields. This true college town has an obsession with the local Penn State football team, leading to amazing experiences rooting them on.
Home to the Bulldogs of the University of Georgia, Athens gives lots of reasons to choose it for the place to send your student. With its many venues, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to a lower than national average rent, residences there is a lot to like. Downtown has a a booming music scene, including R.E.M’s Michael Stipe, a former University of Georgia art student, as one of its success stories. 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre are just a couple of the places you can catch a show. While the University of Georgia is the largest employer in the town, healthcare and heavy industry feature heavily on the largest employers list.
Listed 8th on American Institute for Economic Research's rankings, Manhattan Kansas (or the Little Apple as its known locally) has a great atmosphere. Affordable living is one of the attractive features you will find in this city next to Kansas State University. From the Tuttle Creek state park (home to the annual Kicker Country Stampede) to home grown breweries, such as Tallgrass Brewing co there are features for all walks of life. In 2011, Forbes also ranked Manhattan first for “Best Small Communities for a Business and Career.”
Business Insider ranked Champaign-Urbana, Illinois the #2 best college town in America for 2017 and it's easy to see why. Home to the University of Illinois, the downtown is vibrant with its theater, film and dance scenes. Additionally, there are lots of neighboring parks and trails, giving its citizens opportunities to get out doors. The quintessential Midwestern college town. It ranks very high in diversity for its category. Thanks to city projects such as Bike Champaign! it is one of the most accessible college towns listed. The University of Illinois I-STEM initiative brings high levels of innovation.
Madison has very low crimes rates, adding a feeling of security to the parents of the students who are attending one of its many colleges. While the University of Wisconsin is the largest and most notable, you will also find Madison College, Herzing University, the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Edgewood College. To really get the feel of Madison, it’s best to start on State Streetl. Lined with boutiques, cafes, a bustling night life, and most importantly, independently-owned local businesses, State street has something for everyone, with a Wisconsin flavor. Madison has one of the most educated populaces of US cities (48.2% of residents over 25 hold a bachelor’s degree).
College Rank has Gainesville, Florida as its 3rd best college town and we can't help but agree with their assessment. As with most college towns, Gainesville’s population is well educated. Aside from University of Florida's football games, the city’s entertainment offerings include a vibrant music scene and outdoor attractions to accompany the ideal weather. As you would expect for a college town, there’s never a shortage of cheap eats and fun bars.
Whether you are a college student or not, there are a variety of activities for you to do in the beautiful town of Berkeley, California, home to the University of California at Berkeley. Offering an arts and vibrant culture, this college town has a counter-culture vibe and dedication to being green. Downtown Berkeley is totally walkable and most things you need are just a breezy bike ride away. On occasion, you may have a hankering for big-city offerings, so it’s handy that San Francisco is a mere 15 minutes away via BART, the light rail system.
Home to two former U.S. Presidents, a UNESCO world heritage site (Monticello), and tons of fun outings, Charlottesville Virginia gives the students at the University of Virginia many places and landmarks to stimulate their brain. In 2012, Lumosity gave this town the tile of Brainiest city in the US. Possessing one of the longest pedestrian malls in the nation, along with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, make Charlottesville one of the most desirable places to live while attending college.
With such rated colleges like Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge College in such close proximity, one does not have to go very far to find intelligent discussions in this cozy town. The level of highly qualified grads makes Cambridge, Massachusetts a center of tech and research activity. Currently Google, Novartis, Pfizer, IBM Research and Microsoft Research call Cambridge home. This town has plenty of nightlife of its own, but with Boston just across the river, you won’t have to stick around town all the time. Just jump onto public transportation for a 12-minute ride to big-city concerts, clubs and restaurants.
In New Hampshire and on the Atlantic Ocean, Durham is home to the main campus of the University of New Hampshire. This town offers coastal living, mountain adventure, arts and culture—all in an idyllic New England package. Durham residents benefit from programs like Police Explorers and Adopt-a-Cop. In keeping with the principles of community policing, the Durham Police reach out to marginalized groups that have traditionally suffered from fraught relationships with law enforcement through the Liaison to Community Groups. These are some of the reasons LendEDU has ranked Durham within its top 50 of the Safest College Towns in the US.
Ithaca is a naturally beautiful, very walkable town. Though the winters are brutal, and it’s a bit isolated (4 hours from NYC, and an hour away from the nearest big city), students flock to Cornell University and Ithaca College with excitement. t’s a naturally beautiful place near Cayuga Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes, and it beckons students with outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and biking. This town is mostly made up of students, and it’s downright college-centric. Not only is there an off-campus area dubbed Collegetown (it’s loaded with eateries, bars and clothing shops), but there’s Ithaca Commons, another off-campus college-friendly zone.
Iowa City boasts a storied literary scene, a community that gives back, and good dining and night life. The Iowa Writer’s Conference, and associations with writers such as Robert Frost, Flannery O’Connor, and Kurt Vonnegut help make Iowa City North America’s only UNESCO City of Literature. University of Iowa's largest student organization hosts Dance Marathon, a 24-hour dance party that has raised $14,539,000 for children patients at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. This college town also has a lively downtown scene for night owls who’d rather be out partying than at home writing the great American novel.
Orange County isn’t always the first place that springs to mind when you think of safety, but this gorgeous California city—home to a bevy of universities and colleges—defies all stereotypes. Irvine is an affluent, planned community that spares no expense to keep its residents and college students secure, allowing us to rank it 5th in our "Safest Cities to Raise a Family". Irvine is home to the University of California-Irvine, Cal-State Fullerton University, Chapman University, Concordia University-Irvine, and Vanguard University. Through public funding and private donations, Irvine provides robust public safety programs like the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Irvine Disaster Emergency Communications (IDEC), and the Trauma Intervention Program.
About half of Ann Arbor residents are students during the school year, setting the stage for a college town feel. This fun college town got plenty of things many students desire, like pubs, bars, and late-night eats—not to mention an exuberant enthusiasm for college football. University of Michigan football games are the real center of entertainment in Ann Arbor. With a high student to resident ratio, great livability, a college town feel, and an impressive mixture of employers, Ann Arbor is a fantastic college town.
With historical ties all the way back to the mid-eighteenth century, this leafy, Central New Jersey town is home to Princeton University. The police department has partnered with BAIR Analytics to provide residents with RAIDS, an online crime map that sends real-time alerts to crime activity and reports of on crime data in their neighborhood. At Princeton University, the Department of Public Safety combines tech with the personal touch. Students benefit from social media alerts and community outreach efforts like Eating Club Officers (EChOs), where officers join forces with Princeton’s famed Eating Clubs to increase community involvement in safety issues.
Home to the University of North Carolina, the Durham-Chapel Hill area ranks high for its demographics and quality-of-life factors. With over 700 acres of parks and natural areas, the town could double as a nature sanctuary, yet it’s connected worldwide. The city is part of the state’s Research Triangle, one of the largest tech and biotech research centers in the county. If that’s not enough for you, Chapel Hill was also recently hailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appetit magazine. Its downtown area, anchored by Franklin Street, is bustling with nightlife, bars, and cafes. Plus, you’ve got music stores, street performers and local breweries and distilleries.
If you’re a culture lover, philosophizer or analyzer, you may find yourself at home in Amherst, home to Amherst University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Still governed by a traditional town meeting, Amherst is a city of concerned and involved citizens. City-wide initiatives are common, like the Community Shred event, which was co-sponsored by police and SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together). The event focused on protecting vulnerable citizens from fraud and identity theft. To better educate its residents about domestic violence, the Amherst Police Department features a step-by-step, bilingual guide to domestic and sexual violence, including a section on how to obtain a restraining order. Amherst College has garnered national media attention lately because of the efforts of grassroots organizers to shed light on rape culture and better protect the community.
Boulder takes the prize for top college town this year. Home to the University of Colorado, it has the perfect mix of student life and post graduate livability. Known as a hip and healthy town with a hippy past and great views of the Flatirons, Boulder is one of the nation’s most celebrated towns – in rankings it regularly gets voted the best outdoor town, the brainiest city, one of the top cities for artists, and America’s Foodiest Town. he weather is perfect and the surrounding creeks, trails, and mountains attract those with a mad love of the outdoors. If you plant yourself in Boulder, expect lots of sunshine. You’ll likely get about 300 days per year. The temps may dip down, but that’s OK. When the air gets crisp, it simply means it’s time to swap rock climbing for skiing, snowshoeing and ice climbing.
There You Go!
Well thats it ! Our safest college towns of 2017. Is your home town on the list, or is one of your children currently attending one of the universities? Well show some love and share this page or link to it from your website or blog !
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Jason Kratt lives in Southern California with his wife and two young boys. He loves taking his Rhodesian Ridgeback out for runs and playing catch with his sons. About The Author