Vermont, the land of Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road-ish, isn’t just known for its creamy, chunky ice cream. It’s also got its own share of rocky terrains, and we’re not talking about the mountains.
We’re referring to some of its cities that are a bit too adventurous for comfort, with danger levels that could give you more chills than a pint of their famous ice cream.
Are you nestled in one of Vermont’s most perilous cities? If you’re scratching your head, wondering if your hometown made the list, then you might want to take a gander at RoadSnacks’ compilation of the top ten most treacherous places in Vermont for 2023.
And no, we didn’t just pull these names out of a hat. We crunched the numbers, analyzed 22 cities, and pored over the FBI’s latest crime report for every locale with over 5,000 residents.
While Vermont’s overall crime stats are a tad higher than the national average, the figures in these danger zones could definitely use some improvement.
Most Vermonters would proudly declare their little slice of this eastern state as the best. But for those residing in the state’s riskiest areas, life isn’t all maple syrup and fall foliage.
They’re not just spectators to high crime rates, but also grappling with unemployment, meager wages, and a dearth of rehabilitation programs.
This is quite a paradox, considering Vermont’s status as one of the nation’s wealthiest states. Does this mean the state needs to reassess their income and sales tax to better address these issues?
We can’t say for sure, but it seems like the wealth isn’t trickling down as it should, stopping short after Vermont’s more prosperous cities get their share.
Curious about the spots in The Green Mountain State where jobs are as rare as a warm winter day, wages are lower than the valley floors, and crime rates are higher than the mountain peaks? Keep reading, and brace yourself for some rocky revelations.
10 Riskiest Places 2023
|City||Population (2021)||Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)||Property Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)|
1. Barre (Washington County)
- Population – 8,457 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 6.74 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 19.63 per 1,000 residents.
Home to 8,457 people (as of 2021), Barre, a quaint city nestled in the heart of Vermont near the state capital, Montpelier, is more than just the self-proclaimed ‘Granite Center of the World.’
With a violent crime rate of 6.74 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 19.63 per 1,000 residents, Barre’s crime statistics are as hard as its granite.
The city’s violent crime rate is nearly quadruple the state average and 50% more than the national average. Living in Barre means you’re ten times more likely to fall victim to crime (per square mile) than anywhere else in the state.
2. St. Albans (Franklin County)
- Population – 6,940 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 4.90 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 31.99 per 1,000 residents.
St. Albans, a small town in northern Vermont that kisses the edge of Lake Champlain’s St. Albans Bay, is home to 6,940 people (2021). About 38% of the town is covered by water, but it’s not just the lake that’s deep here.
The town’s violent crime rate stands at 4.90 per 1,000 residents, three times the state average. The property crime rate is 31.99 per 1,000 residents, making it 2.5 times more likely than the state average. This puts St. Alban’s crime per square mile statistic at 25 times the state’s average.
3. Rutland (Rutland County)
- Population – 15,851 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 4.73 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 35.39 per 1,000 residents.
Rutland, a city in the south-central part of the Green Mountain State, founded in the 1760s, is home to 15,851 residents (2021). Its entire downtown is a registered National historic district, but its crime rates are far from historic.
With a violent crime rate of 4.73 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 35.39 per 1,000 residents, Rutland’s crime rates far exceed the state average.
With more than 80 crimes per square mile, it’s a stark contrast to the Vermont average of 5. Downtown Rutland is particularly risky, so tread carefully.
4. Winooski (Chittenden County)
- Population –8,330 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 3.48 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 24.49 per 1,000 residents.
Winooski, a small city on the Winooski River, also known as Onion City, is home to 8,330 people (2021). Despite being the smallest city within Vermont’s state boundaries at only 1.5 square miles, its crime rates are anything but small.
The violent crime rate is 3.48 per 1,000 residents, about 60% higher than Vermont’s state average. The property crime rate is 24.49 per 1,000 residents.
The most dangerous areas are between Route 89 and Route 27, with a crime per square mile statistic of 154, 30 times the Vermont average.
5. Burlington (Chittenden County)
- Population – 44,781 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 3.44 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 36.38 per 1,000 residents.
Burlington, Vermont’s largest city with a population of 44,781 (2021), is known for more than just being the birthplace of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Situated along Lake Champlain, it’s about 40 miles from the Canadian border and 90 miles from Montreal.
The city’s violent crime rate is 3.44 per 1,000 residents, almost twice the state average but still below the national average. The property crime rate is 36.38 per 1,000 residents, nearly triple the state level.
The crime per square mile is 22 times more likely in Burlington than in the rest of the state.
6. St. Johnsbury (Caledonia County)
- Population – 7,380 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 3.25 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 23.58 per 1,000 residents.
St. Johnsbury, a quaint town of 7,380 residents (2021), is nestled about 50 miles south of the Canadian border, along the Passumpsic River and near the northern parts of the Connecticut River. Despite its small size, it serves as the regional commercial hub for this part of Vermont.
With a violent crime rate of 3.25 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 23.58 per 1,000 residents, St. Johnsbury’s crime rates exceed the state’s averages by about 50%. The areas around Route 91 and west of the highway are considered less safe.
7. Brattleboro (Windham County)
- Population – 12,215 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 3.11 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 39.62 per 1,000 residents.
Brattleboro, a vibrant arts city with a population of 12,215 (2021), is located in southern Vermont near the New Hampshire border along the Connecticut River. Often considered the gateway to Vermont, it’s also just ten miles from the Massachusetts border.
The city’s violent crime rate is 3.11 per 1,000 residents, and the property crime rate is a staggering 39.62 per 1,000 residents. While violent crime exceeds state and national averages, Brattleboro’s more significant issue is property crime, which is three times the state average and twice the national median.
The neighborhoods in South Brattleboro are considered rougher than those to the north.
8. Bennington (Bennington County)
- Population – 15,303 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 2.48 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 15.36 per 1,000 residents.
Bennington, home to 15,303 residents (2021) and the prestigious Bennington College, is a city in southern Vermont. It sits close to the Massachusetts and New York state borders on the edge of the Green Mountains.
The city’s violent crime rate is 2.48 per 1,000 residents, and the property crime rate is 15.36 per 1,000 residents. While these rates are low compared to national averages, they fall above state averages. The northern parts of the city are considered less safe, and the crime per square mile in Bennington exceeds Vermont’s state average.
9. South Burlington (Chittenden County)
- Population – 20,282 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 2.12 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 22.34 per 1,000 residents.
South Burlington, a city in northern Vermont with a population of 20,282 (2021), is home to the state’s largest mall. It boasts various parks and outdoor amenities, including beaches along Lake Champlain and Overlook Park, which offers views of the Adirondacks.
The city’s violent crime rate is 2.12 per 1,000 residents, and the property crime rate is 22.34 per 1,000 residents. Property crime is nearly twice the rate for Vermont, and the crime per square mile for residents of South Burlington is more than three times the state average.
10. Montpelier (Washington County)
- Population – 8,002 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 1.50 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 17.87 per 1,000 residents.
Montpelier, Vermont’s state capital and the country’s least-populated state capital, is home to 8,002 residents (2021). It’s centrally located and home to the New England Culinary Institute.
During the day, its population swells to more than 20,000 due to state workers descending on the capital.
The city’s violent crime rate is 1.50 per 1,000 residents, and the property crime rate is 17.87 per 1,000 residents. The less safe neighborhoods of Montpelier are in the southern parts near Highway 89. Despite these figures, Vermont’s state capital offers a safer city than most capital cities nationwide.
5 Safety Tips
1. Depending on the time of year, Vermont may have intense snowstorms and cold weather
Vermont is recognized as the 7th coldest state.
The coldest Vermont month is January when temps can average 10 degrees.
The average snowfall in this state exceeds 91 inches, which significantly exceeds the national average of the nation – 25 inches.
2. Stay aware of your surroundings and remain alert
The easiest and most direct way to avoid becoming a target of scammers or thieves in Vermont is to NOT look or act like a target.
Project confidence as you walk, as this sends a subliminal message to would-be targets.
3. Consider purchasing travel insurance in the event of a cancellation, delay, or disaster
Depending on the policy, travel insurance reimburses policyholders for defined losses.
It varies widely but is a great way to create peace of mind while traveling, especially considering the costs of traveling in the 21st century.
4. Stay in touch with friends/family, so no one will worry while you are gone
Most of Vermont has a cell signal, but there are mountains and rural areas throughout the state.
Send an update when you are traveling through an area with cell service.
5. Carry emergency cash
Life is unexpected – even when on vacation.
Having a bit of cash hidden somewhere unusual can be incredibly helpful if faced with an unexpected event or emergency.
What are some safety measures I can take when visiting these high-crime areas in Vermont?
It’s essential to stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Lock your car and accommodations, and don’t leave valuables visible in your vehicle. If possible, travel with a group and stay in well-lit, populated areas. It’s also a good idea to let someone know your itinerary and check in regularly.
How can I protect my property from theft in these areas?
Secure your property by locking doors and windows when you leave your home or car. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and consider investing in a home security system or a safe for valuable items.
If you’re going away for an extended period, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property, or consider hiring a house-sitter.
Are there any community programs in Vermont aimed at reducing crime rates?
Yes, there are several community programs in Vermont aimed at reducing crime rates. These include neighborhood watch programs, community policing initiatives, and various outreach programs aimed at providing resources and support to at-risk individuals.
The Vermont Department of Public Safety also provides resources and information on crime prevention.
What resources are available for victims of crime in Vermont?
The Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services provides a range of resources for crime victims, including financial compensation, counseling services, and legal advocacy.
The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Are there specific times of the year when crime rates are higher in Vermont?
Crime rates can fluctuate throughout the year for various reasons, including changes in weather, holidays, and local events.
However, it’s important to note that crime can occur at any time, and it’s always important to take precautions to protect yourself and your property. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, consider checking with local law enforcement agencies.
In conclusion, while Vermont is generally known for its picturesque landscapes, charming small towns, and a laid-back lifestyle, it’s important to remember that no place is entirely free from crime.
The cities listed above have been identified as having higher crime rates compared to other areas in the state. However, it’s crucial to note that these statistics don’t necessarily mean that these cities are inherently dangerous or unsafe.
Many factors contribute to crime rates, including socioeconomic conditions, population density, and local law enforcement practices.
The key to staying safe, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, is to stay informed and take sensible precautions. This includes staying aware of your surroundings, securing your property, and knowing who to contact in case of an emergency.
It’s also beneficial to get involved in community efforts to reduce crime and improve safety.: