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Forget the deadbolt, residents of these trusting towns say

Publish Date: December 07, 2023

Written by Lillian Dickerson

- Originally published at Inman News - Lillian Dickerson

People who live in Hollister, California, feel most confident about leaving their doors unlocked at night, according to a survey by Automatelife.net, because of low property and violent crime rates.

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Would you ever not lock your door at night?

Residents in some of America’s most trusting towns say it’s probably not necessary where they live, according to a survey of 3,000 adults conducted in November by Automatelife.net.

“Through our comprehensive study, we’ve uncovered that the spirit of community trust is still very much alive in certain American towns,” Marty Spargo of AutomateLife.net said in a statement. “These places stand as testaments to the possibility of a society where people feel secure enough to leave their doors unlocked. It’s a remarkable reflection of the local commitment to safety and neighborliness in today’s fast-paced world.”

The online smart home and tech resource found that residents of Hollister, California; Madison, Mississippi; New Braunfels, Texas; Owatonna, Minnesota; and Barnstable, Massachusetts; felt most comfortable potentially not locking their doors at night. Here’s why.

1. Hollister, California

People who live in Hollister, California, feel most confident about leaving their doors unlocked at night, according to Automatelife.net’s survey.

The city is one of the safest in the Golden State, according to a 2021 Safewise study that ranked it as the 30th safest in all of California. Hollister has low property and violent crime rates, which have been steadily declining in recent years. In 2020, violent crime rates were estimated at 2.8 per 1,000 residents and property crime rates at 7.7 per 1,000 residents, likely contributing to residents’ confidence in their city’s safety.

2. Madison, Mississippi

Madison, a city with a population of about 27,000 people, according to Census Bureau estimates, is also one of low crime and high resident confidence.

Ranked second in terms of resident comfort level in leaving doors unlocked at night, the city’s overall crime rate is 54 percent lower than the national average, Automatelife.net reported. Meanwhile, the property crime rate is 47 percent lower than the national average, with residents having a 1 in 92 chance of becoming victim to a property crime.

3. New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels, which is near San Antonio and known for its German heritage, has made lists of best places to live in the country, including SmartAsset’s Most Livable Small Cities in America in 2022.

Located at the edge of Texas Hill Country and along the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, New Braunfels is affordable, scenic and community-centered. The city’s overall crime rate is 35 percent lower than the national average and the property crime rate is 34 percent lower than the national average, Automatelife.net said.

4. Owatonna, Minnesota

Owatonna’s crime rate is near the average for most U.S. cities at a rate of 12 per 1,000 residents, but compared to other towns in Minnesota, the crime rate is lower than about 32 percent of the state’s communities, Automatelife.net reported. For its size, with a population of about 26,000, the city also has much lower crime rates than comparably sized cities across the U.S.

Located about one hour south of Minneapolis, the city is known for hosting the Steele County Free Fair every August. It is also home to the only known Orphanage Museum in the country, in a building that housed over 10,000 children between 1886 and 1945.

5. Barnstable, Massachusetts

Barnstable is the largest community on picturesque Cape Cod with a population of about 49,000, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates. The town is bordered by Cape Cod Bay to the north and Nantucket Sound to the south, and is comprised of seven different villages.

The chance of becoming a victim to crime in Barnstable is only 1 in 94, according to FBI crime data. Compared to other similarly sized communities throughout the U.S., the town’s crime rate is also much lower than the average.

Other cities that filled out the list of top ten places where residents would feel most confident leaving their doors unlocked at night included Middletown Township, New Jersey; West Des Moines, Iowa; Bristol, Rhode Island; Brookings, South Dakota; and Concord, North Carolina.

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