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Top 10 Safest Cities in America in 2012

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    What could be more important to a parent than raising children in safety? Who doesn't dream of an idyllic city where children could play in the streets, front doors could be left unlocked and you never worried about a kid getting snatched? While we can't find that utopia for you, we gauged the safety of cities by tabulating the violent crime rate, the number of sex offenders per capita and the peace index from the Institute for Economics & Peace which examined 'the absence of violence' across the U.S. including factors such as availability of small arms and the presence of police. 

    1. Burlington, Vermont
    Ranked second overall on our Best Cities list, Burlington secured the top spot on this list thanks to low violent crime and sex offenders per capita. In fact, the entire state of Vermont earned a peaceful ranking on the Institute for Economics & Peace index, third only to Maine and New Hampshire when it comes to states with low murder rates, high per capita police officers and minimal access to small arms. 

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    2. Virginia Beach, Virginia
    What’s more peaceful than life by the beach? Virginia Beach's proximity to a naval air base probably doesn't hurt either when it comes to keeping crime at bay. Either way, Virginia Beach scored highly on our list for its low violent crime rate and low numbers of sex offenders per capita.

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    3. Portland, Oregon
    With a lower than average violent crime rate and few sex offenders per capita, Portland put in a good showing on our safest cities list. It doesn't hurt that it's located in one of the most peaceful states on our list for the Institute for Economics & Peace index.

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    4. Boulder, Colorado
    Perhaps the pleasure of waking up in the morning to beautiful vistas keeps the residents of Boulder in a more peaceful state. The violent crime rate was the fourth lowest on our list and the number of sex offenders per capita was well below average. 

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    5. Seattle, Washington
    Located in one of the most peaceful states on our list, Seattle is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to safety. While it’s not without its share of violent crime, Seattle made it to this top ten list thanks to a low number of sex offenders per capita. 

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    6. Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Equidistant from Chicago, Cincinnati and Detroit, Fort Wayne is a hub for the Midwest without any of the crime associated with bigger cities. Fort Wayne has low violent crime rates and was well below average for low numbers of sex offenders per capita.

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    7. Scottsdale, Arizona
    Known as the West's "Most Western Town," Scottsdale is a desert city that manages to keep tabs on crime, boasting little violent crime and few sex offenders per capita. 

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    8. Lexington, Kentucky
    While Lexington didn't earn top billing in any of our three safety categories, it consistently scored above average for the three factors measured, thus earning it a spot on our top 10 list. As the "Horse Capital of the World," don't be surprised to see police patrolling the city on horseback.

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    9. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
    The Twin Cities made it to our list thanks to an extremely high rating when it comes to low numbers of sex offenders per capita. And while their crime rate wasn't a high contender for the list, the state of Minnesota helped nudge them onto our safety top 10 thanks to a high ranking on the Institute for Economics & Peace index.

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    10. Spokane, Washington
    Like Seattle, this second Washington State-situated city on our list is located in one of the most peaceful states according to the Institute for Economics & Peace. Spokane also scored above average when it comes to low numbers of sex offenders per capita and violent crime.

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