Crime study puts Utah in top 5 ‘most peaceful’ states; county rankings

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A recent report ranking states “most peaceful” to “most violent” identified Utah as the most peaceful state in the Western U.S. and one of the top 5 most peaceful states in the country. Applying similar formulae, Utah’s crime indexes reveal Washington and Iron counties at Nos. 16 and 22, respectively, among its 29 counties – No. 1 being the most peaceful and therefore least violent.

The report from 24/7 Wall St. LLC was released on Thursday. A methodology inspired by the 2012 United States Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace was used to come up with the index. Five measurements were included with varying weights used for calculation.

  • Number of murders per 100,000 people – full weight.
  • Number of violent crimes (excluding murder) per 100,000 people – full weight.
  • Law enforcement personnel, including dispatchers and administrators – three-quarter weight.
  • State prison incarceration rates – three-quarter weight.
  • Firearm suicides as a percent of total suicides – one-quarter weight.

The murder and violent crime statistics came from the FBI’s 2014 Uniform Crime Report. Law enforcement personnel data also came from the FBI, and the incarceration rates are from the Bureau of Justice.

Firearm suicide statistics came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and cover the period ranging from 2010-2014 to adjust for outliers. According to 24/7 Wall St.:

In the absence of accurate counts of small arms in U.S. households, this measure is closely correlated to and widely used as an approximation of small arms possession because firearms used in suicides are disproportionately small arms. These data sets are frequently based on disparate and inconsistent population totals, so all rates for the purposes of this index were calculated based on 2013 ACS (U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey) population counts.

While not part of the indexed measures, 24/7 Wall St. also reviewed a gun-ownership study published in 2015 from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and examined poverty rates, median household incomes and education levels per the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey.

Taking all these considerations into account, 24/7 Wall St. ranked Utah as the fourth most peaceful state in the country, with the following details:

  • Violent crime rate: 215.6 per 100,000 (eighth lowest in the country)
  • Murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate: 2.3 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
  • Median household income: $60,922 (13th highest)
  • June unemployment: 4 percent (15th lowest)

For the complete listing of states and their rankings, click here.

Southern Utah index crimes

Photo by JaysonPhotography/Getty images; St. George News
Photo by JaysonPhotography/Getty images; St. George News

Each year, the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Identification compiles a report of crime in Utah under the guidelines of the national Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Data is collected in two formats: summary based reporting and incident based reporting. In the 2014 Crime in Utah report, 75 agencies submitted incident based reporting, while 66 agencies submitted summary based data or did not submit any data.

For summary based reporting, if a crime is committed involving several offenses, only the most serious offense – per the FBI’s Hierarchy Rule – is counted for statistical purposes. As an example from the report:

(D)uring a convenience store robbery the store clerk is killed, a customer assaulted, merchandise stolen, and a customer’s car stolen …  In the example above, only the murder of the clerk would be counted in the agency’s UCR statistics, and for statistical reporting purposes it would be as if the other crimes did not occur.

However, agencies that report using the incident based method of reporting include all criminal events in an incident statistically.

As of 2014, agencies in Southern Utah using this method included:

  • Hurricane City Police Department
  • Kanab City Police Department
  • Kane County Sheriff’s Office
  • Moab City Police Department
  • Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department
  • Southern Utah University Police
  • St. George Police Department
  • Washington City Police Department
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

While more of Utah is covered by agencies using incident based reporting – approximately 53 percent of the agencies covering 79 percent of the population – the FBI still uses one of the two categories of summary based reporting to track the nation’s crime statistics. This is the report’s Part I Crimes category.

The Part I Crimes category includes criminal homicide (murder, non-negligent manslaughter and manslaughter by negligence), forcible rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. With the exception of manslaughter by negligence, these crimes make up the “crime index” used by the FBI.

The Index Crimes by Agency in the 2014 Crime in Utah report was created with statistics as if all agencies were reporting using summary based format and, per the report, represent “the number of offenses that became known to them (agencies).”

When examining the crime rate per 1,000 residents, of the 29 counties in Utah, Southern Utah counties rank as follows:


“Peaceful” ranking among 29 counties     

Number of crimes per 1,000 residents     













San Juan












Morgan County is the lowest, with 1.32 crimes per 1,000 residents. Salt Lake County is the highest, with 45.4 crimes per 1,000 residents.

Breaking down these numbers and specifically examining two of the factors used by 24/7 Wall St. – number of murders and number of violent crimes – produces the following results:


Number of murders                                          

Number of violent crimes other than murder     



one (rape)



one (aggravated assault)



one (aggravated assault)



18 (aggravated assault)

San Juan


14 (five rapes, nine aggravated assaults)



one (aggravated assault)



158 (39 rapes, 119 aggravated assaults)



110 (20 rapes, 90 aggravated assaults)

The incident based statistics for the state agencies that report in that manner are included in the full 2014 Crime in Utah report.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • Bob August 3, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    less “diversity” always equals less crime. it’s not rocket science, it’s actually very simple, but liberals, and a lot of you diversity-loving LDS’ers just can’t grasp it

    • Utahguns August 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Well said and smack on point.

  • Utahguns August 3, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    It’s no surprise that sanctuary cities throughout the U.S. hold the highest crime rates.
    Thanks democrats….

    • Bob August 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      i’d say the right thing to do is stop all 3rd world immigration. That’s why when I hear about some rich mormon orthodontist hauling over a pack of somali boys i find it so disgusting. ‘Diversity’ and globalism will be the downfall of this country.

  • .... August 3, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    And we have the ultimate weapon in Utah it’s the 》》》》LADYBUGAVENGER 《《《《 GO RAIDERS !!! ♡♡♡♡♡

  • Michael August 28, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Crime rate reports are good for the Authories to talk about to the media ? The crime rate means nothing to an unarmed citizen ? The Armed citizen can fight back but many think that a low crime means they are safe until that criminal confronts them . Yeah the crime rate numbers are still going to be low but you are now counted in that low number and dead ?

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