When it comes to assessing public safety, future senior living residents aren’t necessarily experts.
In fact, there are plenty of misconceptions among prospective senior living residents and their families about which U.S. cities are actually safe, according to A Place for Mom Data Scientist Ben Hanowell. With a new report, the Seattle-based senior living referral service is looking to put these misgivings to rest.
“You might know what amounts to rumors about different areas,” Hanowell explained to Senior Housing News. “Some cities are considered to be less safe then they really are.”
In reality, small Southern and Midwestern U.S. cities have the best blend of low crime and affordability, according to A Place for Mom’s analysis.
The company analyzed national senior living prices in conjunction with FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data to determine percentile ranks for property crime rate, violent crime rate and median senior housing costs for more than 380 U.S. cities.
Among cities with low crime rates, those with the most affordable senior housing options have low population density and are located in the South and Midwest, the analysis revealed. These cities include Bristol, Tennessee, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $2,894; Kingman, Arizona, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $3,012; and Dalton, Georgia, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $3,050.
Among cities with high crime rates, those with the least affordable senior housing options are mainly located in densely populated urban areas, particularly on the West Coast. These cities include San Jose, California, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $4,747; Worcester, Massachusetts, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $4,659; and San Francisco, California, where the average assisted living monthly rent is $4,415.
Many seniors want to live in affordable areas, but they don’t want to put themselves in danger, according to Hanowell.
“We want to let families know what affordable cities are out there for senior living, without sacrificing safety,” Hanowell said.
It’s important to realize, however, that preconceived notions about different cities’ safety can be—and often are—incorrect.
“There’s a perception that crime is on the rise [nationally],” Hanowell said. “We took a look at that and we saw that it is not on the rise.”
In fact, in the more than 300 U.S. cities where senior living communities are located, crime rates either fell between 2009 and 2015 or the trend was unclear, Hanowell said.
These cities rank highest for senior living affordability relative to local crime rates:
1. Bristol, Tennessee
2. Kingman, Arizona
3. Dalton, Georgia
4. Bristol, Virginia
5. Sebastian, Florida
6. West Lafayette, Indiana
7. North Port, Florida
8. East Lansing, Michigan
9. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
10. Fort Walton Beach, Florida
These cities rank lowest for senior living affordability relative to local crime rates:
1. San Jose, California
2. Worcester, Massachusetts
3. San Francisco, California
4. Seattle, Washington
5. Baltimore, Maryland
6. Oakland, California
7. Bridgeport, Connecticut
8. San Diego, California
9. Hayward, California
10. Aurora, Colorado
Written by Mary Kate Nelson