About the State of Rhode Island
How does one of the most densely populated states in the country manage to also be one of its safest? We took a better look at the cities and towns in the state of Rhode Island that help make it a top place to live when it comes to being safe. Here’s what we learned.
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Rhode Island’s Safest Cities
Glocester, Rhode Island’s Safest City
Originally part of Providence and now containing the villages of Chepachet and Harmony, Glocester became an independent town in 1731 though it was originally settled in 1639. The town has a thriving business community and is popular with tourists looking for antiques and collectables as well as for unique and fine dining.
Separated from Providence in 1730, the town of Scituate was originally settled in 1710 by emigrates from Scituate, Massachusetts.
Bordered by Connecticut on the west and Providence to the east the boundaries of the town were set in 1781 after a large parcel of woodlands was annexed to create Foster. The town is popular with residents for its close proximity to the city of Providence and bucolic setting of unspoiled forests and crystal clear streams and ponds.
Located almost entirely on Conanicut Island, the second largest island in Narragansett Bay, Jamestown is part of Newport County.
The town was incorporated in 1678 shortly after ferries began to operate between the island and Newport after first being used as land
for English settlers to let their sheep graze. A notable historic landmark, the Jamestown Windmill was built in 1728 to grind corn.
Split off from part of Scituate in 1781, Foster was originally settled in the 17th century by British colonists. Interested in building a farming community, they purchased the land from the Indians in what was is now referred to as the West Quanaug Purchase. The town is named after former U.S. Senator Theodore Foster who gave the town a library.
First settled in the mid-seventeenth century the town of Burrillville was originally part of Glocester. It was made independent in 1806 when the Rhode Island General Assembly incorporated the town and authorized residents to elect their own officials. The town was named after then state Attorney General James Burrill, Jr.
Located in southern Rhode Island, the town of South Kingstown is part of Washington County and is recognized as not only the largest town in the county but also for the entire state of Rhode Island. South Kingstown was formed in 1722 when the original Kingstown was split north and south. The town was incorporated a year later.
Smithfield is located in Providence County and includes the villages of Esmond, Georgiaville, Mountaindale, Hanton City, Stillwater and Greenville. First settled by British colonists in 1636, the farming community was named after Smithfield, London. In 1731 it was incorporated as a separate town from Providence.
Part of Washington County in the southwest corner of Rhode Island, Richmond was originally part of Westerly, Rhode Island an area that was in dispute among colonists from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode island for several years. In 1665, the King of England dissolved the charters and took over the area for several years until the General Assembly of Rhode Island organized the county into the town of Westerly.
Bristol is the historic county seat for Bristol County. The deep-water seaport is famous for maintaining the oldest continuously running celebration of Independence Day having first celebrated it in 1777 according to a British officer who heard sounds coming across the Naragansett Bay.
The second oldest town in Rhode Island behind Providence, Portsmouth is part of Newport County and was originally settled in 1638 by religious dissenters from Boston Colony who were actually planning to go to New Jersey before being convinced to stop by Roger Williams. British Commander General Richard Prescott was captured in Portsmouth during the American War for Independence.
Named after King Charles II, Charlestown is part of Washington County and was incorporated from parts of Westerly in 1738. Later in the year 1747, the area of land north of the Pawcatuck River was split off to become the town of Richmond. Today, the town is governed by a 5-member town council.
East Greenwich was formed in 1677 and is the county seat of Kent County. East Greenwich has the notable distinction of being the wealthiest municipality in the state and was one of the five state capitals of Rhode Island until 1854. The town is noted for its waterfront and downtown areas.
Located in Kent County, West Greenwich was separated from East Greenwich in 1741. One of the least densely populated communities in the state over 47% of its land is town preserved. As one of the smallest and most bucolic towns, West Greenwich also features a vibrant business community.
Found in the northeastern corner of Rhode Island, Cumberland is part of Providence County. The town was originally settled as part of Massachusetts and was later transferred to Rhode Island in an effort to settle a long-standing border dispute between the states. The first settler to the area was William Blackstone after he originally arrived in Boston but left due to religious disagreements.
Part of the Providence Metropolitan Area, North Kingstown is located in Washington County. The town began as a trading post along two major Native American trails by Roger Williams after he had been banished from the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637. IN 1742, the town of Exeter was annexed from the western portion of North Kingstown.
Located in Bristol County, Barrington was incorporated in 1711 after being founded by religious separatists from nearby Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1711 after being ceded to the state of Rhode Island. Originally an undeveloped agricultural community, brickmaking companies arrived in the mid nineteenth century bringing employment and industry.
Found in Washington County, Narragansett is a major tourist destination in the summer and doubles in population during prime vacation months. Running along the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River to the shore of Narragansett Bay. The town was incorporated in 1901 after being separated from South Kingstown in 1888.
Johnston is a town in Providence County and was originally settled as a farming community in the seventeenth century. The town officially separated from Providence in 1759. The town was named after colonial attorney general Augustus Johnston who was burned in effigy in 1765 and later fled the state during the American Revolution.
Incorporated as a town in 1765, North Providence in found in Providence County and was originally part of the cities of Providence and Pawtucket. The earlier settlers build stone-ender homes, some of which are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The town did not elect its first mayor until 1974.
Incorporated in 1682 by the Plymouth Colony the town of Little Compton secured its own royal decree in 1747 and was annexed to Newport County as a part of Rhode Island. The only town common in Rhode Island is found in Little Compton. Designated in 1677, the common has been used as both a religious and civic center for social activities.
The fifth largest city in the state of Rhode Island, East Providence is part of Providence County. The land that makes up East Providence comes from three land purchases, the first of which occurred in 1641 when the Plymouth Colony purchased a large tract of land. Four years later, a second parcel of land was purchased from the Indians by John Brown of Plymouth. The last occurred twenty years later and was known as the North Purchase.
Coventry is found in Kent County and was originally settled by English colonists in what was then Warwick, Rhode Island. Located far from the center of town, Coventry grew slowly and in 1741 about one hundred families had settled in the area to farm and petitioned the General Assembly to be recognized as their own town which was granted.
Named after Stephen Hopkins, governor of the Rhode Island colony and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The town was incorporated in 1757 after being partitioned from Westerly. Several industrial villages with mills made up the town which was also once a major stagecoach hub.
Incorporated in 1913, West Warwick is part of Kent County. It is the youngest town in the state. Located by the Pawtuxet River along its western bank the town was a population and industrial center of the larger town of Warwick. The town was eventually split along political lines by Democratic politicians looking to consolidate their power.
Found in Providence County, North Springfield began as a farming community in 166 and incorporated in 1871. The settled area was originally part of Smithfield before being incorporated as its own town. Today, the town of North Smithfield is part of the John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. It is part of the oldest industrialized region in the country.
Located along the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, much of the town of Tiverton is located along a granite ridge. Disconnected from the mainland of Rhode Island, Tiverton is located on Mount Hope Bay. 19% of the town’s total area is water. The northernmost part of Tiverton is also referred to as North Tiverton, Rhode Island.
South of Portsmouth and north of Newport on Aquidneck Island, Middletown came into being when it was separated from Newport in 1731 when freeholders in Newport who were upset about unjust taxation petitioned the general assembly for independence. Middletown was incorporated more than a decade later in 1743.
Formerly known as Pawtuxet, the city of Cranston is part of the Providence Metropolitan Area. The city was named among the 100 best places to live according to Money magazine in 2006. The town was created from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River and was recognized as an independent city in 1910.
Originally part of Smithfield, in 1871, the area split off and was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Located along the Blackstone River, the area was an industrial center with textile factories running along the river and a large limestone quarrying industry. Lincoln is part of the John H. Chafee, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
A small town in Bristol County, Warren was originally the site of a village of Sowams Indians on the Pokanoket peninsula. In 1622, the Plymouth Colony established a trading post in the area. Several years later after more permanent English settlers, the land was sold to the settlers in 1653. Later relations between the Indian village and settlers would sour and result in the King Philip’s War in 1675.
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Don’t See Your City?
Your city or town may not have been included in our top thirty rankings of the safest places to live in Rhode Island or in our list below because the population may not have met our minimum requirement or we were unable to locate complete data in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
6. South Kingstown
12. East Greenwich
13. West Greenwich
15. North Kingstown
19. North Providence
21. East Providence
24. West Warwick
25. North Smithfield
35. Central Falls