Seems to me that you put them in perfect order. Any larger city is going to normally have more crime than smaller ones (I believe that is the norm all over the world). If you are set on the highland cities Quito would be my completely last choice, not only for crime, but for it being a big city with a lot of traffic and pollution. Cuenca and Cotacachi are much less crowded and both have great expat communitites. If you want the coastal area or want to look at that, you might want to try Bahia. Good luck with your travels.
hi,i bought a house in cotacachi cose its the most peaceful place in all over equador...statistics cant deny it....hope meet u one day there,why not neighbors...and the prices are soooo extremely cheap....leo