Which is the safest state in the USA? Vermont. But the big news is the #4 state...

The 4th safest state in the nation is Minnesota! Why do we rank so high? I'll get to that in a second. First, let's start off with how WalletHub figured it out.

In order to determine the safest states in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across 37 key safety indicators grouped into five different categories. Our data set ranges from assaults per capita to unemployment rate to total loss amounts from climate disasters per capita.

Sound solid. Here's their map.

Source: WalletHub

Now, on to where Minnesota kicked butt. Again, WalletHubs findings show:

  • Fewest fatalities on the road - we come in #3
  • Lowest share of population lacking health insurance - We're #4
  • Highest percent of adults with rainy-day funds - We're #3

Well, that must mean the states around us do pretty well, too. Nope. We're basically an island of safe compared to the states around us.

  • North Dakota ranked 39th
  • South Dakota came in at 34
  • Iowa #18
  • Wisconsin #20

How 'bout within Minnesota? How safe is Rochester?

YIKES! According to SafeWise.com, Rochester, MN comes in 79th safest city out of 100. The number one is Thomson Township with 0 violent crimes and 0 property crimes per 1,000 people.

On other sites, Rochester came in higher, some it didn't appear, and some it came in lower. Sounds like a bunch o'bologna to me (especially on the lists that had Twin Cities suburbs ranked safer than Rochester...no..cussin...way).

I don't mean to make it sound like Rochester is perfect, but I just can't believe we're THAT low. On the other hand, we do feel like we're seeing more violent crime and discontent, don't we?

So what do we do about it?  Obviously, making sure area law enforcement is properly funded is huge. Are they?

We have a very very good police department. I've lived many places, and I think they're top notch. But is the force big enough? In all those places I've lived, there was never enough money to have all the staff needed to get the job done with certainty. That seems to be a reality of cities and policing.

Well, I'm willing to pay more in taxes to make sure there's more coverage.

But, it's not just paying for a bigger force that will cut down on the violent crimes. It's up to us, too. i talk a lot about "love" being the answer, and I get laughed at some. "Love won't stop a bullet, James!"

And they're correct. But it might stop a child from growing up to pull that weapon. In the 22+ years I've volunteered teaching leadership to students, there's been one constant.

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When a child grows up without the community supporting them, trouble is more likely to happen. Maybe that's volunteering to watch kids while mom and dad are working three jobs. Maybe that's reading stories to kids at the library, maybe it's being with the little ones when parents take parenting classes and go to parent/teacher conferences.

That's just scratching the surface, really. Showing each other love, kindness, and respect, even when it's hard to do, is a real-time model for kids to follow. Their eyes are always watching. Their ears are always listening.

It's hard to do all the time, but it's one of the easiest things we can do to lead children to a healthy, productive, powerfully interactive future.