How safe do you feel in your community?
That question is appropriate in light of criminal statistics released last week listing the 255, out of the 351, safest cities and towns in the state. The company that compiled the data, Security Baron, calls itself “a consumer-focused website dealing in matters of security — home security, property security, cyber security.”
George Rhodes’ story in Friday’s Sun Chronicle detailed how the ratings were calculated. The company used the number of violent crimes, police officers and property crimes per 1,000 residents. Trends in violent and property crimes were also factored, as were murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, vehicle thefts and arson. Median income was also calculated into the equation.
The data was from the FBI’s 2017 and 2016 Uniform Crime Reporting data.
I love statistics, so please bear with me.
Wayland was ranked the safest community in the state. The town of 13,976 residents had 0.14 violent crimes, 0.64 property crimes and 1.65 police officers per 1,000 residents.
I was surprised that a local community was No. 2, especially that the town was Norton. Nothing against Norton, but I would have thought the numbers should have been higher since it is the only local town with a college; Wheaton’s enrollment is more than 1,700 students and apparently doesn’t compare to Faber College in the 1978 film “Animal House.”
Norton has a population of 19,654 residents. The data revealed that the town had 0.05 violent crimes, 0.92 property crimes and a citizen-to-officer ratio of 1.58 per 1,000 residents.
Rehoboth was the next local community checking in at No. 31. The website shows 0.82 violent crimes, 5.18 property crimes and 1.97 police officers per 1,000 residents. Population is listed at 12,153.
I had to scroll all the way down to 107 to find the next local town. Mansfield had 1.64 violent crimes, 10.44 property crimes and a citizen-to-officer ratio of 1.55 police officers per 1,000 residents. The home of the Hornets has a population of 23,847.
Foxboro, with a population of 17,636, had 2.55 violent crimes, 10.89 property crimes and 1.98 police officers per 1,000 residents.
It’s possible that the Xfinity Center and Gillette Stadium inflated the numbers for Mansfield and Foxboro.
I wasn’t surprised that the only city in our area was more than halfway down the list at No. 145. Attleboro’s rates were 2.69 violent crimes, 13.29 property crimes and a citizen-to-officer ratio of 1.84 police officers per 1,000 residents.
What did surprise me was that Attleboro was ranked safer than Wrentham. Perhaps the figures are skewed because of the outlets, but the town of 11,838 residents ranked No. 151 with 0.68 violent crimes, 16.73 property crimes and 1.77 police officers per 1,000 residents.
North Attleboro residents will probably be shocked that Security Baron deemed their town not as safe as rival Attleboro, ranking No. 153. They shouldn’t, I can name three murders within miles of each other in the last six months alone, although those deaths were not part of the ratings released last week. The town of 29,158 had 0.93 violent crimes in 2017 and 2016, 16.29 property crimes and only 1.37 police officers per 1,000 residents.
As you can see, the number of police officers North Attleboro employed at the time was drastically lower than surrounding communities, but it’s important to note that the total was before the town passed a Proposition 2½ override last year and hired additional officers.
Seekonk is last among the local communities, listed at No. 158. The town of 15,521 had 1.55 violent crimes, 17.01 property crimes and a citizen-to-police ratio of 2.45 per 1,000 residents.
Being a huge fan of high school sports, I like to see how towns compare to others in their respective leagues.
The majority of teams in this area are members of the Hockomock League, so let’s take a look. Security Baron ranks league members in this order: 1. Franklin (No. 5), 2. Sharon (No.11), 3. Easton (No. 71), 4. Canton (No. 92), 5. Mansfield, 6. Milford (No. 116), 7. Taunton (No. 117), 8. Foxboro, 9. Attleboro, 10. Wrentham, 11. North Attleboro and 12. Stoughton (No. 157). Plainville was among the 96 communities not listed in the report.
Does the report make you feel less safe?
Probably not, but I do hope it will give you some perspective the next time your community is facing a budget shortfall and someone proposes reducing police personnel.