Howard County Executive Calvin Ball attributed the diligent work of the county’s first responders to Columbia, a suburban-planned community, being ranked as America’s safest city for the third year in a row in a recent study by the personal financial website WalletHub.
“Throughout this year, despite the challenging circumstances, our first responders have worked tirelessly to uphold a standard of excellence and keep our community safe,” Ball told MarylandReporter.com in a statement on Monday.
He added: “We all want to be and feel safe in our neighborhoods, and this recognition exemplifies why Columbia and Howard County continue to be the best places to live, work, and play for people of all ages. Public safety will always be a top priority and an area of constant adjustment and improvement to ensure all our residents are able to feel safe, secure, and a part of an inclusive community.”
The study was released on Monday. It said that Columbia’s overall safety score is 84.52. Columbia ranked 4th nationwide in ‘Home and Community Safety’ and 7th in ‘Financial Safety.’ South Burlington, Vt., which is ranked as America’s second safest city, has an overall safety score of 83.99. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. is ranked as America’s least safe city and has overall safety score of 38.96. Baltimore ranked as America’s’ 155th safest city, with an overall safety score of 62.28.
The rankings are determined by three criteria: Home & Community Safety, Natural-Disaster Risk, and Financial Safety. The criteria are assessed across 42 metrics. Each metric is graded on a scale of 0-100. WalletHub used data compiled by U.S. government agencies such as the Census Bureau, the FBI, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Howard County’s elected officials and community leaders celebrated news of the study on Monday.
“I’m delighted that that happened. And I think it does well for Howard County. So, I think that primarily it’s a good thing,” Del. Trent Kittleman (R-Carroll and Howard), who previously lived in Columbia for more than a decade, told MarylandReporter.com.
“This is great news,” Howard County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leonardo McClarty told MarylandReporter.com. “Howard County and Columbia in particular has always been thought of as a great place to live, work, and play. One of the reasons is public safety. I believe this is a testament to the entire community working together – public officials investing is appropriate lighting and sidewalks, etc., public safety having an appropriate presence- visible but not overbearing, and overall mutual respect for one another by residents and business professionals.”
“This designation is a testament to our residents and how they embrace a safe and engaged community plan featuring preparedness and prevention,” Fire Chief William Anuszewski said in a statement.“Our emergency responders credit the community partnership to maintaining Columbia as a safe city.”
“In Howard County, we have a philosophy and commitment to community policing, which impacts overall crime in our communities,” Police Chief Lisa Myers said in a statement. “We will continue to work on behalf of all the people we serve to keep Columbia and all areas of Howard County safe.”
“Over the past two years, my main goal was to increase community involvement within the Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Marcus Harris said in a statement. “I have developed a great working relationship with the Howard County Police Department that has enabled us to work together to keep the citizens of Howard County safe. This strong relationship has no doubt led to Columbia being named the safest city in America”
“You can’t have a thriving community without a strong sense of safety,” Milton Matthews, Columbia Association President/CEO, said in a statement. “This latest national ranking further proves that everyone living and working in Columbia is committed to creating a place where physical and mental health, financial opportunities and emergency response are an ongoing priority. Columbia Association (CA) is proud to provide services that promote the safety and wellbeing of this community, and we look forward to building on that in the future.”