Are you thinking about moving to Vancouver, Washington? Whether you’re relocating with kids, on your own, or even retiring, one of many questions you may have is this: Is Vancouver, WA a safe city?
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly high crime rate – Vancouver, WA is the safest city in Washington and one of America’s safest mid-sized cities. Here’s everything you want to know about the Vancouver crime rate plus the most dangerous and safest places to live in the city.
Understanding the Vancouver, WA Crime Rate
One way to understand your risk of crime in a city is by checking the crime rates. Crime rates are created using FBI crime data and tell you the number of crimes per 100,000 people. You can compare this rate of crime to the national average, the state average, or where you live now.
You will see three types of crime rates: total crime, property crime, and violent crime. However, only eight index crimes are used to create crime rates under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. This program, retired in 2022, has been replaced by the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) which reports data on 52 crimes categorized as Group A offenses.
Below, we will explore Vancouver, WA crime rates based on UCR data.
What is the Vancouver crime rate?
- 3,722 total crimes per 100,000 people
- 480 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 3,242 property crimes per 100,000 people
You have a 1 in 27 chance of being the victim of crime.
The national average crime rate is:
- 2,580 total crimes per 100,000 people
- 382 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 people
Remember that crime is usually concentrated in small neighborhoods. You can better understand crime in the city by using this Vancouver, WA crime map from the police department. You can explore crime in Vancouver by neighborhood and offense type. You can also use the Vancouver Police Department sex offender page to search for registered offenders in the area.
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Crime in Vancouver, WA vs Portland, OR and Other Cities in the Pacific Northwest
Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly high crime rate in Vancouver, Washington. It’s actually one of the safest places to live in the Pacific Northwest! Here’s how it compares to other cities in the region.
- 56% higher crime rate in Tacoma vs Vancouver with 333% more homicides
- 41% more crime in Spokane with a 3x higher murder rate
- 35% more crime in Seattle compared to Vancouver
- 29% more crime in Portland, OR vs Vancouver, WA with a 167% higher murder rate
- 52% less crime in Boise, ID with a comparable homicide rate
Violent Crime in Vancouver
There were 889 violent crimes in Vancouver in 2019 which included:
- 495 aggravated assaults
- 206 rapes
- 185 robberies
- 3 homicides
The Vancouver violent crime rate is 480 per 100,000 people. The Vancouver murder rate is 2 homicides per 100,000 people –far below the national average of 5 murders per 100,000.
You have a 1 in 208 chance of being the victim of violent crime.
It’s important to put crime in Vancouver in context. While the violent crime rate is higher than the national average, it’s far lower than most major cities and Vancouver’s homicide rate is very low for a city and below the national average. Nearby Portland, for example, has a homicide rate of 8 murder per 100,000!
Like many U.S. cities, Vancouver and other Washington cities experienced a crime surge in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide, homicides rose 30% between 2019 and 2020 but they climbed 46% in Washington State.
Property Crime in Vancouver
There were 5,998 property crimes in Vancouver in 2019 which included:
- 4,302 larcenies/thefts
- 888 burglaries
- 808 car thefts
- 36 arsons
The Vancouver property crime rate is 3,242 per 100,000. You have a 1 in 31 chance of being the victim of property crime.
Dangerous Areas of Vancouver, WA
As a general rule, the most dangerous areas of Vancouver are to the west of I-5 with some exceptions. By contrast, the east side of Vancouver is usually the safest place to live.
Of course, “dangerous” is subjective. Most Vancouver residents consider their city very safe, especially compared to other cities in the region, and most say they feel comfortable walking in their neighborhood at night as long as they are vigilant. It may also help to remember that most violent crime is easy to avoid and targeted rather than random.
Here are the areas usually called the bad areas of Vancouver, WA with the highest violent crime rates. Keep in mind the Vancouver violent crime rate of 480 per 100,000 as you review this list.
- Central Park (pop. 2,000) has 275% more crime than the city average with 1,777 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
- Shumway (pop. 1,000) has 133% more crime with 1,107 violent crimes per 100k.
- Bagley Downs (pop. 5,500) has 124% more crime than the city average with 1,064 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
- Fruit Valley (pop. 2,000) has 119% more crime and 1,038 violent crimes per 100k people.
- Rose Village (pop. 5,000) has 105% more crime and 972 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
- Van Mall (pop. 5,000) has 962 violent crimes per 100k people.
- Kevanna Park (pop. 2,000) has 756 violent crimes per 100k.
- North Garrison Heights (pop. 3,000) has 754 violent crimes per 100k.
- Fircrest (pop. 6,000) has 747 violent crimes per 100k.
There are a few other areas where crime may be a concern. Fourth Plain Village is one of the lower-cost areas of the city with many apartment buildings. The neighborhood has a large rate of property crime including home and car break-ins. The Hazel Dell area, an unincorporated community outside the city limits, also has a high crime rate.
Safest Neighborhoods in Vancouver
Most people agree that Vancouver is a safe place to live. The crime rate may be higher than average for the country and the state of Washington, but it’s very low compared to most Pacific Northwest cities. Most neighborhoods in the city have very little violent crime.
If you are still concerned about your risk of crime, here are the safest areas of Vancouver to live for singles, families, and retirees. All of these neighborhoods have at least 45% less crime than the Vancouver average!
- Wildwood (pop. 900) which is part of the Cascade Park Development with single-family homes built in the 1960s and 1970s. This quiet residential neighborhood is home to the Riverview Elementary School.
- Riveridge (pop. 2,000) in the same development and adjacent to Wildwood.
- Village at Fisher’s Landing (pop. 1,000) is a desirable subdivision for families with very low crime, great schools, children’s programs, and excellent outdoor activities.
- Columbia Way (pop. 700) is a riverfront neighborhood right outside downtown with many beautiful parks and trails.
- Cascade Southeast (pop. 900) which is next to the Fairway Village Golf Course and offers several multi-family housing options.
- Hearthwood (pop. 2,200) is one of the largest and safest Vancouver neighborhoods with family-friendly amenities and great parks.
- Old Evergreen Highway (pop. 2,800) is a beautiful riverfront community home to several subdivisions and adjacent to convenient shopping and major highways.
- Northwest (pop. 3,300) is a large neighborhood of single-family homes known for its older but well-maintained homes, many with views of Vancouver Lake.
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Vancouver Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Vancouver
Burglary is one of the most common serious crimes in Vancouver. To reduce your risk of burglary, make sure all exterior doors and windows are locked. Install deadbolts and window locks and secure sliding doors with a special security bar or steel rod. The Vancouver Police Department offers useful burglary prevention tips.
Car theft is almost as common as burglary. Do not keep valuables in your car and make sure it is locked and never left running unattended, including to warm up during the winter. Install a simple theft deterrent and always park somewhere secure and well-lit.
Clark College students can use the Guardian Mobile Safety App to discreetly contact college security, send anonymous tips, call 911, or use a virtual safety timer while walking alone.
Vancouver Police Department
- Chief of Police: James McElvain
- Officers: 234 sworn officers (63 civilian staff)
- Non-emergency number: (360) 487-7400
- Address: Vancouver Police Department, 605 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661
The Vancouver Police Department was founded in 1883 and, by 1900, had three officers and a Marshal serving a population of 3,100. The department added a motorcycle in 1911 and horses in 1915.
Today, the department has several specialty units to serve the community including a Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit (DECU), Domestic Violence Unit, Evidence Unit, K9 Unit, Safe Streets Task Force (Gang Unit), and Traffic Unit.
In 2022, the Vancouver Community Task Force on Policing reported that the city’s police department was already close to fulfilling all 84 recommendations from a 2020 report to improve policies and culture surrounding use of force. The implementation of a body camera program is scheduled to begin in early 2022.
Vancouver Crime Rate FAQ
Is Vancouver a safe city?
Vancouver is a safe place to live with minimal violent crime that is concentrated in a handful of areas. It is far safer than other large cities in the region like Seattle and Portland.
What are the safest neighborhoods in Vancouver, WA?
The safest areas of Vancouver are usually on the east side and include neighborhoods like Wildwood, Riveridge, Fisher’s Landing, Columbia Way, Hearthwood, and Old Evergreen Highway.
What is the crime rate in Vancouver, Washington?
The Vancouver, WA crime rate is 3,722 total crimes per 100,000 people with 3,242 property crimes and 480 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
If you’re looking for a safe place to live in Washington with excellent family-friendly amenities, low crime, and plenty of job opportunities and recreation, Vancouver is a great choice! Families and millennials love Vancouver, WA for its low crime and relative affordability, especially compared to other cities in the region.
If you have decided to relocate to the Vancouver area, PDX Movers is ready to help you. Give us a call today to request a free estimate and discuss what we can do to help you settle into your new neighborhood without the stress.