The 15 safest places to live in the U.S.

What is it that makes us feel safe? Perhaps it’s a neighborhood with minimal crime. Perhaps it’s a region that’s environmentally clean. Or maybe it’s a city that's economically sound. More often than not, your sense of safety is a combination of many factors, making certain communities more secure than others.

To break down the distinction, Farmers Insurance released its eighth annual “Most Secure Places to Live in the U.S.” study, which ranked 379 areas across the country.

The rankings are concerned with much more than just crime. Compiled by database experts at BestPlaces.net, the study also took into account weather, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, terrorist threats, environmental hazards, life expectancy, death rates from cancer and car crashes, and job-loss figures.

The study was divided into three categories: large cities with 500,000 or more residents, midsize cities with populations between 150,000 and 500,000, and small cities with fewer than 150,000 residents. Pittsburgh took the top spot for large cities, the Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, Wash., area was the most secure midsize city, and Ithaca, N.Y., came in first for small cities.

“Since we started in 2004, this has evolved into a major comprehensive and holistic study,” says Jerry Davies, a spokesman for Farmers. “Not only is this good information for the cities and the people who live there, but it also helps our agents who live and work in these communities better serve the population.”

The following slideshow breaks down the top five geographic areas in each category, looking at what makes them so secure and how a region’s overall safety can affect consumers’ insurance rates.

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