The 6 Safest Neighborhoods In Waco, TX
A thriving, exciting community of nearly 140,000 residents, Waco, Texas is located almost directly in the center of the state. While the population of Waco is smaller when compared to its sister cities — Austin and Dallas — Waco is big on Texas charm.
Waco remains a desirable location with continuously slow but steady population growth. The metropolitan area is expected to grow by as much as 22.4% within the next 20 years. A report by The Perryman Group shows that the Waco economy could double within that time frame. There are so many promising aspects to living in Waco.
What Makes Waco Great?
Waco offers great job opportunities with a cost of living much lower than most other Texas cities. Its crime rate has been continually dropping over the last decade. The city’s higher education opportunities and downtown revitalization are very attractive to many new residents. And there are many safe neighborhoods within the metropolitan area.
The violent crime rate in Waco is 25.7 out of 100, only slightly higher than the U.S. average of 22.7. The property crime is 40.8%, again, only marginally higher than the U.S. average of 35.4.
Vibrant Downtown Scene
Like many U.S. cities, Downtown Waco has seen a recent revitalization, bringing more tourists and residents to the town. Cameron Park covers 416-acres of downtown. Its beautiful landscape is home to many parties, festivals, and sporting events. But, day-to-day visitors will love to picnic, visit the park zoo, and stroll along the river at Lover’s Leap.
The big flavor of Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco by pharmacist Charles Alderton in the 1880s. A museum dedicated to this tasty drink opened in downtown Waco in 1991. Other local museums include the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Great Growth in Waco
Waco’s future job growth is 38.3%, almost .5% higher than the national average. And best yet, the average commute time to work for Waco is under 20 minutes, about 7 minutes shorter than the U.S. average.
Companies like Curves International and Allen Samuels Auto Group are among the largest employers in Waco. Those with careers in higher education can also find excellent job opportunities at Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, and Waco High School.
Waco Cost of Living
Waco’s cost of living is generally lower than the national average and that of other Texas cities. On a scale of 1-100 (with 100 being the national average), the overall cost of living in Waco and surrounding areas is 77 versus 93.9 for Texas overall.
Waco is also located about an hour and a half south of Dallas and 2 hours north of Austin. This central location makes it possible to easily enjoy the larger city attractions without the hassle that comes with living in the bigger cities (including the costs!).
Waco Crime rate
Safety is always a concern when moving to a new location. Waco does have a 51% high crime rate than the national average. On average, you have a 1 in 26 chance of falling victim to a crime in Waco.
But there is good news! Waco has seen a steady decrease in the crime rate year after year. The overall crime rate has fallen from 8,063 per 100,000 residents to 7,439 in the last two years. The number of murders has dropped from 29 to 9 while the number of robbery crimes has been cut almost in half. Even theft and fraud crimes have dropped over the past decade.
What are the Safest Neighborhoods in Waco?
Those moving to a new location will always look for certain essential city features: cost of living, great job opportunities, good schools, and affordable housing. But, the crime rate should also be a consideration when choosing a neighborhood.
Despite Waco crime rates dropping in recent years, an unwarranted stigma remains, similar to many cities which experience a spike then drop in crime. Every city has areas where crime is more likely to occur. The critical part of staying safe no matter where you live or visit is to remain aware of your surroundings.
The neighborhoods listed below are considered to be among the safest in Waco based on crime statistics. Unfortunately, the FBI does not keep crime statistics for Waco as it does for larger Texas cities such as Dallas. But there are plenty of reliable online crime sources with statistics.
The following listing is based on the neighborhood’s crime rate per 100K residents in 2020. Each of these neighborhoods lies within the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area, which lies within two counties (McLennan and Falls).
Woodway is a lovely suburb located in McLennan County and only 5 miles outside Waco. With a population of fewer than 9,000 residents, this community has a homey feel to it, but is just minutes away from the city.
Residents of Woodway enjoy the local wine tastings, public parks, concerts at the Arboretum, picnic areas, and movie nights.
Listed #4 of 413 for Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Texas, Woodway is also #12 of 702 for Best Places to Retire in Texas. The violent crime rate per 100,000 people in Woodway is 177, and property crime is 1,007 for 2020.
Lorena is a 3.2 square mile suburb with 1,691 citizens. It is located about 12 miles from Waco. Established in part due to the MKT Railroad in 1854, the city was named after founder Daniel Aerl’s oldest daughter.
Despite being a smaller community, Lorena hosts a number of yearly festivals, including a Christmas in the Country and Harvest fall festival. Tourists still enjoy visiting the for historic buildings and speciality shops of the Olde Town area.
A young mother from Lorena gained national attention when her letter, stating how she felt forgotten by party leadership, was read at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.
The violent crime rate per 100,000 people in Lorena is 619, and property crime is 1,802 for 2020.
Robinson is another Waco suburb that is only a 16-minute drive from Waco. The town was established in the 1850s by brothers John and Levi Robinson.
Robinson is listed as the #154 Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Texas (out of 415). Robinson’s 12,000 residents have an average age of 39.7 years old, making it one of the younger suburbs of those in this list.
Located just 12 miles from Baylor, Robinson is an excellent place for young students and professionals as well as families. The median home value is $165,300, and the median rent is $1,244. Almost 80% of all residents own their homes.
In Robinson, the violent crime rate per 100,000 people is 212, and property crime is 1,325 for 2020.
Approximately 30-40% of the 3,391 residents of Clifton are of Norwegian descent. This distinction gives it the nickname of the Norwegian Capital of Texas.
Known more as a retirement community, those 55+ in age make up 43% of the population. This conservative town was listed as #48 out of 413 for the Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Texas.
The median home value is $87,000, while you can rent for $834. All this sounds good, but if you are looking for entertainment, you will have to venture into Waco as reviews of Clifton mention that it becomes a “ghost town” after 10 pm.
The violent crime rate per 100,000 people in Clifton is 29, and property crime is 695 for 2020.
Eighteen miles southwest of Waco is McGregor, with 5,144 residents. Counties lines split McGregor, so most of it resides in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area, while a minor portion is part of the Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area.
McGregor is one of Waco’s more age diverse suburbs, with the largest percentage falling in the 35-44 age bracket. Housing and rent are very affordable for families, with the median home value being $116,100 and a median rent of $952.
The violent crime rate per 100,000 people in McGregor is 398, and property crime is 439 for 2020.
If you are looking for a rural suburb of Waco, look no further than West! With only 2,860 residents, West is a mere 25-minute drive from Waco.
West is known as the “Czech Heritage Capital of Texas” for its strong Czech heritage. Many Czechs migrated to this region of Texas after the Revolution of 1848.
On Labor Day, West hosts Westfest, a Czech/Polka festival featuring music, arts and crafts, baking contests, and a Taroky tournament.
In West, the violent crime rate per 100,000 people is 167, and property crime is 1,505 for 2020.
Is Waco, Texas conservative?
As with most areas, there is a mix of political views in Waco. But, Waco, as with many other locations in Texas, is considered to be strongly conservative, especially in the suburbs.
Is Waco, Texas a good place to retire?
Yes! This is due in part to Waco having a lower cost of living than many Texas towns.
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