|By Carley Dangona|
AGAWAM – The town is one of the nation’s most secure places to live, according to a recent report.
Each year, NeighborhoodScout names the top 100 safest cities in the United States. This year, Agawam ranked 11th, up from the 25th spot last year. The report can be viewed at www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100safest/.
“I believe we have the best public safety, second to none. People don’t hesitate to call and we don’t hesitate to respond. I’m extremely pleased and proud [of the recognition,” Mayor Richard Cohen said.
The mayor attributed the safety of the town to the cooperation among the Police, Fire and Emergency Management departments. He said that he makes sure that the departments are “100 percent fully funded” in the municipal budget.
Cohen added that all three are “very effective in obtaining grants” to supplement any additional costs for training and equipment. Cohen cited an example of cost savings from fiscal year 2013 where the unused funds from the overtime account of the Fire Department were used to purchase safety equipment.
The report stated, “According to NeighborhoodScout’s analysis of FBI crime statistics, Agawam is safer than 86 percent of the cities and towns in the U.S. of all population sizes. In Massachusetts, only on the order of 13 percent of the communities have a lower crime rate than Agawam.
“If you live in Agawam, your chance of becoming a victim of crime in the community is 1 in 119. The U.S. average across communities from the largest to the smallest is one in 30. It is for these reasons that Agawam is ranked as one of the top 100 safest cities in the U.S.A.
“Additionally, NeighborhoodScout analyzed all cities and towns in America with a similar population size to Agawam, and we found that the crime rate in Agawam is one of the lowest in the nation for its size. This means Agawam is one of the safest places in America in which to live for its size, a very important finding,” it concluded.
Cities with populations of 25,000 or more are ranked based on a total number of property and violent crimes per 1,000 residents such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, forcible rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault. Population statistics from the 2011 U.S. Bureau of the Census were used.
According to NeighborhoodScout, it complies the list of rankings “by collecting raw crime data from all 17,000 law enforcement agencies in America. Then, we use a relational database built from the ground up to assign reported crimes from each agency to the city where it has law enforcement responsibility. This method provides an accurate representation of the complete number and types of crimes that truly occur within any city or town, not just crimes reported by a single municipal agency. We do this same process for every city in the United States.”
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