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National ranking uses crime data to once again rank city best in Oregon, top 10% in U.S.



Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Beaverton ranks among America's safest cities, according to a recent ranking use crime data.Beaverton is the safest larger city in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, according to the latest annual rankings by a national data publisher.

CQ Press crunched crime statistics from 442 cities across the U.S. and placed Beaverton at 39th safest on its national index list, a measure that uses population and law enforcement data to rank cities with at least 75,000 people.

Beaverton's ranking rose slightly from 42nd in last year's report, when the city also ranked at the top among all larger cities in Oregon. Overall crime levels in Beaverton were relatively flat from 2012 to 2013, the years represented in the past two rankings.

“That’s great news,” Mayor Denny Doyle said Friday. “I’m really proud of the women and men of the police department.”

Neighboring Hillsboro was second-safest among Oregon’s largest cities and ranked 70th nationally, while Portland and two of its other large suburbs landed in the bottom half of the rankings.

Doyle noted that a survey of Beaverton residents released last July found that 94 percent of respondents were satisfied with their police department.

The mayor said the Beaverton Police Department takes “an unrelenting approach to being proactive” in preventing and investigating crime. He added that citizens and business people also do their parts by quickly notifying police with concerns.

Police Chief Geoff Spalding agreed that his officers, city leaders, residents and business people all play roles in keeping crime levels low in the city.

"I think a lot of it is because we have the ability to be very proactive because we're given the resources ... to stay on top of the little things," Spalding said Monday. "We take our job seriously to go out there and fight crimes."

In many cases, the resources that a city devotes to law enforcement are closely aligned with crime statistics.

In a 2012 report by Governing, Beaverton had 14.8 police officers for every 10,000 residents, the second-highest ratio in Oregon. On the other end of the spectrum, Gresham has just 11.1 officers for every 10,000 residents and tallied the worst crime rate in the state.

Portland was the anomoly among Oregon's larger cities with a high of 16.2 officers per 10,000 residents but relatively high crime rates nonetheless.

Spalding said Beaverton "is just a good place to live."

In order, the other six Oregon cities included in the most recent rankings are Bend (85th), Eugene (206th), Salem (219th), Medford (251st), Portland (271st) and Gresham (307th). Vancouver, Wash., ranked 248th.

The national crime rate rose slightly since the previous study year. The Midwest and California each have cities that ranked among the best and worst on the list.

Nationwide, CQ Press determined that the five safest larger cities, statistically, are Fishers, Ind., in first place, followed by Carmel, Ind., Naperville, Ill., Arlington Heights, Ill., and Mission Viejo, Calif.

On the flip side, the company’s data found the most crime-ridden city in America to be Detroit, Mich., followed by Gary, Ind., Flint, Mich., Oakland, Calif., and St. Louis, Mo.

Chicago was included among the 442 cities but could not be fully ranked due to lack of data.

CQ Press, part of SAGE Publications, considered only per-capita occurrences of the following crimes in determining rankings: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. This report was released in January but based on 2013 data; newer data has not been compiled.

More information is available on the SAGE Publications website. Note that the rankings list cities in order from most to least crime, putting Beaverton at 403rd among the 442. Conversely, Michigan’s Motor City ranked No. 1 for having the most crime (highest index number).

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