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Moving? We're a pretty safe bet

Survey ranks area as among nation's safest
By Ed Culhane
December 27, 2001

For a second year in a row, a study of crime statistics shows that the metropolitan area of Appleton, Neenah and Oshkosh is the safest place in the nation.

Wisconsin overall fared well in the safety ratings, with six metro areas among the nation's 25 safest. The ranking is produced annually by Morgan Quitno Press, an independent research and publishing company in Lawrence, Kansas.

Appleton-Neenah-Oshkosh received the Safest Metropolitan Area Award based on rates of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and vehicle theft that are far below the national average.

"Yeah, this is the safest place," said Appleton police officer John DeLong, "but we don't deserve the credit. The quality of people that live here makes our job easy. We don't have people who hide behind curtains when a crime is happening. They report crimes. They are willing to get involved."

DeLong said time after time Appleton residents will report a crime and then stay on the scene until police arrive.

In Oshkosh, Amy Meyers said she doesn't need a report to tell her about her community.

"My brother and I always joke that I can leave all the doors open and not worry," she said. "I feel really safe here."

Morgan Quinto based its ranking on the FBI's 2000 uniform crime reports.

Metropolitan areas are regions established by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of counting. The areas are populated regions, which include suburbs and other communities that exist beyond the borders of particular cities.

The company took per capita rates for murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries and car thefts in metropolitan areas. Rates in each category were then compared with national averages.

The Morgan Quitno report listed safety rankings for 254 American metropolitan areas. Pine Bluff, Ark., was listed as the most dangerous metropolitan area in the country. Memphis, Tenn. came in with the second worst ranking.

Wisconsin's worst rankings include Milwaukee at 188 and Racine at 91.

Other Wisconsin areas listed in the report include second-place Wausau, fifth place La Crosse and sixth Sheboygan. Nearby Green Bay ranked 21st safest in the country, Morgan Quitno reports.

Ranking No. 1 in terms of safety is much more than a pat on the back, said John Casper, executive director of the Oshkosh Area Chamber of Commerce.

Such recognitions are positive tools for bringing jobs and residents to the area, he said.

“With everything that's going on in the world, safety is something that people are looking for,” Casper said. "This is going to be very helpful for our community."

The Top 10 safest U.S. metropolitan areas:
  1. Appleton
  2. Wausau
  3. Bismarck, N.D.
  4. Danbury, Conn.
  5. La Crosse
  6. Sheboygan
  7. Binghampton, N.Y.
  8. State College, Penn.
  9. Johnstown, Penn.
  10. Monmouth-Ocean, N.J.

This article may not be reproduced by others without permission of the Appleton Post-Crescent. The writer can be reached at eculhane@appleton.gannett.com

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