Safety first: Cary makes list of top 10 safest cities in U.S.

The News & Observer - - Triangle & N.c. - BY JOE JOHN­SON jjohn­[email protected]­ald­sun.com

When Chris Hus­sell moved to Cary more than a decade ago, liv­ing in a safe city was one of the fac­tors he con­sid­ered.

This week he said he’s glad Cary has proven him right.

“Crime seems low be­cause I haven’t been hear­ing of it,” he said. “We moved here be­cause of that, and so has ev­ery­one else. The growth we’re see­ing in Cary is be­cause ev­ery­one is com­ing for the same rea­son.”

Cary shows up on reg­u­larly on top-10 lists that mea­sure af­ford­abil­ity and qual­ity of life.

This month, Cary made a list of the top-10 safest cities in Amer­ica for 2018. It’s the only town in North Carolina or South Carolina on the list, com­piled by SmartAs­set.

“When fam­i­lies are look­ing to move to a new area, they of­ten con­sider the af­ford­abil­ity of a new city, their new com­mutes and the qual­ity of lo­cal schools,” the re­port said. “But one fac­tor they can over­look is safety.”

Cary came in at No. 9, but that’s down four spots from last year’s sur­vey. The drop is re­lated more to traf­fic safety than crime, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

“More than just be­ing crime­free, a safe city also has care­ful driv­ers and clean air,” the re­port said. “Com­muters and high ve­hi­cle mor­tal­ity rates make Cary less safe than it could be.”

SmartAs­set cited Cary’s low rates of prop­erty and vi­o­lent crime. The town was in the top three in both cat­e­gories among the cities SmartAs­set ranked.

In­terim Po­lice Chief Toni De­zomits said her depart­ment takes the town’s safety record se­ri­ously.

“It’s an honor to be named one of Amer­ica’s safest cities, and it’s one we share with our ci­ti­zens,” she said. “Keep­ing Cary not only safe, but one of the best places in Amer­ica to live, work and raise a fam­ily is a direct re­sult of the part­ner­ship our tal­ented and ded­i­cated of­fi­cers and our com­mu­nity.”

Cities were ranked in seven cat­e­gories.

Crime was judged on data from the FBI’s 2017 Uni­form Crime Re­port­ing Data­base. Traf­fic and drug-poi­son­ing deaths were mea­sured per 100,000 res­i­dents from govern­ment data sources. The sur­vey in­cluded data on ex­ces­sive drink­ing by res­i­dents and used Air Qual­ity In­dex data from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

Cary’s vi­o­lent crime rate in 2017 FBI re­port was 90 in­ci­dents per 100,000 res­i­dents. The ve­hic­u­lar mor­tal­ity rate was 7.9 per 100,000 res­i­dents, while the drug poi­son­ing mor­tal­ity rate was 8.1 per 100,000 res­i­dents.

The sur­vey found 17.6 per­cent of Cary’s pop­u­la­tion en­gaged in ex­ces­sive drink­ing, which coun­ty­healthrank­ings.org de­fined as con­sum­ing more than four drinks (for a wo­man) or five drinks (for a man) on a sin­gle oc­ca­sion in the past 30 days, or heavy drink­ing, de­fined as more than one drink per wo­man or two drinks per man per day on av­er­age.

The EPA gave Cary a 45 (zero to 50 is con­sid­ered good) on its Air Qual­ity In­dex in 2017.

So what other towns were on the list?

Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia, topped it again. It was in the top half of ev­ery met­ric with crime be­ing al­most nonex­is­tent, the sur­vey said. It also had a low ve­hi­cle mor­tal­ity rate of six per 100,000 res­i­dents. Sun­ny­vale has about 153,000 peo­ple com­pared to Cary’s es­ti­mated 160,000 res­i­dents.

The cities on the list tended to be sub­urbs in larger met­ro­pol­i­tan area – Cary to nearby Raleigh, Sun­ny­vale to San Fran­cisco, Alexan­dria, Virginia to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Alexan­dria was No. 2 on the list.

Honolulu, Hawaii, with its clean, fresh air and a very low traf­fic mor­tal­ity rate, came in at No. 4.

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