Just a comment, but one I think others may find interesting. Places with small populations often have "higher crime rates" than more densly populated areas simply because of the economy of scale.
A given area with a population of 50,000 only needs to experience 1 crime in a year to have a rate 2 per 100,000 (the common ratio refered to in these types of studies), where as a city with the same area but a population of 2 million can experience 40 crimes before it reaches the 2 per 100,000 crime ratio.
So which area is "safer", the less populated area where only 1 crime is commited per year, or the larger population area where 40 crimes are committed per year?
It may be more descriptive to discuss these statistics in tems of area, rather than population. Example: 1 crime per 30 square miles vs. 40 crimes per 30 square miles.
Just some thoughts.