Study: Tacoma a safer city to live in than Seattle

Tacoma Dome (KOMO Photo)

SEATTLE -- A new study out Monday on the safest larger cities in the United States didn't shed a whole lot of love on the Puget Sound region, but between Tacoma and Seattle, it rated Tacoma just a little bit safer.

The study by WalletHub factored in not only crime safety, but other types of hazards as well, including exposure to natural disasters, financial risks such as needing to take second mortgages or foregoing health insurance, or exposure to cybercrime. In all, 39 key indicators of safety were used to compile their list of 182 cities across the U.S., including the 150 most populated cities.

Overall, Seattle came in 143rd out of 182 -- 151st in home and community safety, 141st in natural disaster risk but 2nd best overall in financial safety.

But neighbors to the south in Tacoma came in even a bit better-- 114th overall (101st in community safety, 145th in natural disaster risk but only 46th in financial safety.)

Checking in on some of the individual categories, Seattle did rank safer than Tacoma in a number of crime categories such as murders per capita (55 vs 68), forcible rapes per capita (43 vs 126), and assaults per capita (93 vs 136). They were pretty even in thefts per capita, though near the worst in rank (Seattle 144th; Tacoma 156th) and both cities fare better in sex offenders per capita (37th for Seattle; 66th for Tacoma.)

On the highways, Seattle ranked higher than Tacoma for fewer deaths via traffic accidents (18 vs 82) and via crashes involving pedestrians (18 vs. 115).

For natural disasters, both cities have similarly very high risk of earthquake damage (149th and 151st) but as you might expect were near the top of the charts for lowest risk due to severe weather (floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and wildfire risk.)

Seattle shined in the financial safety categories with Top 20 finishes in lowest share of uninsured population, median credit score, debt to income ratios and retirement plan participation. Tacoma's ratings were in the 80-110 range in those categories (except tied with Seattle at 10th for retirement plan participation). Tacoma did outrank Seattle quite a bit in employment growth (23rd for Tacoma; 153rd for Seattle.)

Which is the safest city? Columbia, Maryland, with South Burlington, Vermont and Plano, Texas rounding out the top 3. The worst? St. Louis is on the bottom, edging out Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and San Bernardino, California.

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