The annual list of America's safest cities has been updated by CQ Press and the country's most crime-free metropolitan areas have something in common: you probably haven't heard of most of them! So lets get to know these very safe cities: their history, their culture, what famous people have been there and the unique laws that keep these cities safe.
History and Geography: Logan was founded by Mormons in 1859. They were under direct orders from Brigham Young to find a good place for a fort. Instead they founded what would become a city of about 48,000 in far north Utah. It is also the home to Utah State University.
Most Notable Person: Evelyn Wood, speed-reading teacher
Stupid Law: Women are not allowed to swear in Logan.
History and Geography: Provo, located in the Utah Valley south of Salt Lake City, is known as home to Brigham Young University. It is also known as the most conservative city in America.
Most Notable Person: The Osmonds. Every. Single. One.
Stupid Law: It is illegal to throw snowballs in Provo.
We promise not all these cities are in Utah.
History and Geography: Appleton was initially settled by fur traders. It is located along the Fox River near Green Bay. It had the first residence powered by a "centrally located hydroelectric station." So good for them!
Most Notable Person: American patriot Joseph McCarthy
Stupid Law: Minors in Appleton cannot be outdoors later than 10 p.m. What a buzzkill.
History and Geography: The city was founded on the shore of Lake Michigan by a whole bunch of German people in 1846. Now there are a lot of Hmong people living there. They still eat a lot of bratwurst though.
Most Notable Person: Father of the "space opera" E. E. Smith
Stupid Law: You are not permitted to sprinkle water to the annoyance of others.
State College, Pennsylvania
History and Geography: State College, also called Happy Valley, is a college town in central Pennsylvania. It is home to the main campus of Penn State.
Most Notable Person: Jerry Sandusky, professional rapist
Stupid Law: It is illegal to sing in the tub in Pennsylvania.
History and Geography: Oshkosh-Neenah is basically Appleton except Oshkosh is named for a Menominee Indian chief whose name means "claw" so see above.
Most Notable Person: Brothers Howard, Kenneth and William Hawks all grew up in the area. All three became major players in Hollywood later.
Stupid Law: Livestock have the right of way on Wisconsin roads, so get ready to travel pretty slow.
Nassau-Suffolk, New York
History and Geography: Nassau-Suffolk refers to Long Island. Specifically, the part of Long Island that's not the Hamptons, Brooklyn or Queens.
Most Notable Person: Take your pick. My favorites are the brothers Baldwin.
Stupid Law: In Head of the Harbor in Suffolk County, it is illegal to have a picnic in public.
Edison, New Jersey
History and Geography: Edison was named in honor of Thomas Edison who had his research lab there. In 1994 the area made news when a natural gas pipeline exploded in the area, forcing 1,500 people to evacuate.
Most Notable Person: Susan Sarandon, American gem
Stupid Law: Nothing is more stupid than the law that makes it illegal to pump your own gas statewide.
History and Geography: Harrisonburg is located in the Shenandoah Valley. It was named for an early settler of the area, Thomas Harrison, and, according to Wikipedia, is sometimes called "The Burg" which is a pretty lazy nickname.
Most Notable Person: NFL linebacker Akeem Jordan
Dayton, Virginia — a part of the Harrisonburg metropolitan area — still has a law on the books that says a person of color may not be oustide or within the city limits after 7 p.m. According to Dayton's charter, there is no such law.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
History and Geography: Again, Green Bay is basically Appleton. It is one of the oldest permanent settlements in America. They like cheese. And football. A lot.
Most Notable Person:
Detective Adrian Monk Tony Shaloub
Stupid Law: Owners of leaky cars can be fined $1 per drip on the pavement.
The list also provides us the the most dangerous metropolitan areas. Any guesses where Detroit lands?
- Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Michigan
- Pine Bluff, Arkansas
- Flint, Michigan
- Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas
- Stockton, California
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Mobile, Alabama
- Jackson, Tennessee
Of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, New York City fares best at 128, followed by Washington, D.C. (192), Los Angeles (215), Boston (222), Dallas (229), Atlanta (279), Houston (300), Miami (310), and Philadelphia (311). Chicago was not ranked.
[All images via Flickr]