This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont, the least populous state capital in the United States, earned the title of the murder capital of Vermont in a recent report.

The report, utilizing 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data, ranked Vermont cities by murder rates per 100,000 population. Montpelier claimed the top spot with a murder rate of 12.4, followed by Rutland at 9.8 and Burlington at 7.6.

How Reliable Is the Report?

Despite this designation, some experts and officials have questioned the report’s methodology and validity. They emphasize the limitations of relying on murder rates to gauge crime and safety, especially in small cities with low populations.

The volatility of murder rates, influenced by random factors, becomes evident in places like Montpelier, where a single homicide significantly skewed the rate. In 2020, Montpelier’s population was only 8,074, and its murder rate was based on a singular domestic dispute resulting in a fatal stabbing. This isolated incident does not accurately represent the overall crime situation, as Montpelier reported no murders in 2019 and 2021.

Moreover, experts argue that murder rates alone do not provide a comprehensive understanding of a city’s crime and safety levels. Other indicators, such as violent crime rates, property crime rates, and victimization surveys, offer a more nuanced and accurate portrayal. According to these alternative metrics, Montpelier emerges as one of the safest cities in Vermont.

How Does Montpelier Compare to Other Cities?

In terms of violent crime, encompassing murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, Montpelier boasts a relatively low rate. In 2020, Montpelier’s violent crime rate stood at 113.9 per 100,000 population, below both the state average of 158.4 and the national average of 366.7.

The city also maintains a lower property crime rate, including burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft, compared to most Vermont cities. In 2020, Montpelier’s property crime rate was 1,434.9 per 100,000 population, beneath the state average of 1,620.9 and the national average of 2,109.9.

Additionally, the National Crime Victimization Survey underscores Vermont’s overall safety, with the state reporting some of the lowest rates of violent and property victimization nationwide.

What Are the Factors Behind Montpelier’s Low Crime and High Safety?

Several factors contribute to Montpelier’s favorable crime and safety profile. The city’s residents exhibit high levels of education and income, factors associated with lower crime rates. In 2020, 95.7% of Montpelier’s population held a high school diploma or higher, with 51.9% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher—both surpassing state averages. The city’s median household income of $66,667 also exceeds the state median.

Montpelier’s strong sense of community and civic engagement further enhances social capital and lowers crime rates. The city’s vibrant cultural and political scene, coupled with high voter turnout, exemplifies civic involvement and awareness.

Additionally, Montpelier’s natural and scenic environment, featuring hills, forests, and rivers, contributes to residents’ well-being and is linked to lower crime rates. The city’s clean and green cityscape, encompassing parks, gardens, and historic buildings, has earned it recognition as one of the most livable and beautiful small cities in America.


While Montpelier earned the designation of the murder capital of Vermont in a recent report, this title does not align with the broader reality of the city’s crime and safety situation. The 2020 murder rate was an anomaly based on a single isolated incident.

When considering various indicators and measures, Montpelier emerges as a city with low crime and high safety levels compared to others in Vermont and the nation. The positive and peaceful atmosphere in Montpelier is attributed to demographic, economic, social, and environmental factors, making it not the murder capital but a safe and livable capital city in Vermont.


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