Home to RWU, Bristol Named Safest College Town in America

Bristol, R.I., jumped seven spots from last year to become #1, according to the latest SafeWise report.

By Melanie Thibeault
Two students sitting outside on campus in the fall.
Bristol, R.I., home to Roger Williams University, was named the safest college town in America, according to a new report.

BRISTOL, R.I. – The coastal town of Bristol, R.I., has a long-standing reputation for being a family-friendly and safe community – the type of place that generations of families are proud to call home, says Town Administrator Steven Contente.

Also home to Roger Williams University, Bristol has been named the safest college town in America, according to the latest report by SafeWise, which analyzes violent and property crime statistics in college towns across the U.S. 

Rankings are based on 2020 FBI crime report statistics (the most recent report at the time of ranking) and population data. The town of Bristol had 0.23 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 3.17 property crimes per 1,000 people, according to the 2020 stats.

A scene of downtown Bristol, R.I.
A scene of downtown Bristol, R.I. 

RWU and the Town of Bristol have had a mutually positive relationship on services and safety for many years, Contente said.

“Students and their parents feel comforted that Bristol is a safe place to live,” he said, “and the University works with the town and law enforcement to ensure that part of college life means being a good neighbor.” 

To be considered for the SafeWise rankings, towns need to have a population of 15,000 or more residents and be home to an accredited college that offers four-year degrees. Bristol jumped seven places from last year to make it to the top spot.