Hank Silverberg, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Institute for Economics and Peace has put together a list of the most peaceful places to live.
The results are based on homicides, violent crime, incarceration rates, police force size and availability of small arms. The institute calls the findings the "Peace Index."
Maine is ranked No. 1 as the most peaceful state. Louisiana was ranked 50th -- the most violent state.
Virginia is 25th on the index. Maryland is 38th.
IEP founder Steve Killelea says, overall, the statistics have improved since last year.
"The homicide rates decreased by 3.78 percent," Killelea says. "Violent crimes have fallen by about 6 percent and the number of people locked up in state prisons is down by about 0.6 percent."
The survey also ranked 61 metropolitan areas across the country.
Washington, which for this survey includes Alexandria and Arlington, ranks 40th. New York City is 44th, and Baltimore, which includes Towson, is 58th.
Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass. is the most peaceful community in the country.
Detroit is the most violent.
Killelea says the information is more than just a list and if all states were on the same level as Maine, there would be an extra $270 billion in the U.S. economy.
The Institute says violence and its containment cost the average taxpayer $3,257 each year but in Maine that figure is $1,281.
This is the 11th year that Maine has been the most peaceful state in the annual survey and the 11th straight year Louisiana has been the most violent.
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