Some folks have been asking me about the recent posting by a Utah-based home security company of the Top 50 safest cities in Ohio. According to their calculation Kent made the top 50, coming in 41st.
Safewise Company Rankings for Ohio: http://www.safewise.com/blog/50-safest-cities-ohio/
In case this comes up in casual conversation around town I thought it was worth sharing my perspective on the ranking.
The City is committed to protecting public safety (it’s our largest day to day operating expense) so I’m always glad to see validation of our efforts and to see Kent’s name on a list of best practice cities.
However there are so many different ways of measuring public safety and interpreting safety data that we’ve learned to not read too much into these lists — they offer an interesting perspective but each list maker develops their own calculation methodology and makes assumptions that can swing the data fairly dramatically so it’s not exactly hard science.
It’s a great conversation piece and we always try to learn something from results like this to push us to be better but we don’t over-invest in the findings.
There are many categories of crime statistics that we use to measure our success in keeping crime in check and keeping people safe in Kent. We’re proud of the fact that Kent’s “serious” crime statistics measure up very well against any community in the country. People feel safe living, visiting and doing business in Kent and that’s a testament to the level of professionalism that our Police Department provides in our community.
I don’t think people necessarily realize that serious crime tries to make it’s way here in Kent but our Police do a remarkable job at intervening and intercepting it before it gets started. Our heaviest workload tends to center around problems with underage drinking, drunk and disorderly conduct, and late night bar fights.
We’d like to see those number of incidents reduced but it’s not unusual in a college town with an active night life. The good news is we have a great relationship with Kent State University and they are equally committed to keeping students safe so we are always evaluating new ways of partnering to enhance public safety.
We meet monthly with Kent State staff to review trends, compare notes, and plan for upcoming events — always with a singular focus of keeping everyone safe in Kent.
Interestingly, we find that much of the criminal activity is a result of outsiders that come to Kent looking for parties, bars, or other opportunities to create trouble so we remind local residents and students to be vigilant about being aware of their surroundings and knowing the people that are around them.
Staying safe takes commitment across all levels of a community and I’m proud of the way this community has rallied around safety. Kent City Council has made safety a top priority and our Police personnel work 24/7 to live up to that expectation.
The voters approval of the construction of a new police station during the last election in November 2013 ensures that the Kent Police will have the modern facilities and technology necessary to ensure public safety for decades to come.