The Philomath Police Department had to deal with a little mini-crime spree earlier this month that included 12 vehicle break-ins, a stolen car and a burglarized First Baptist Church. So, a press release I received from an organization called SafeWise seemed untimely. The group had just released its third annual "Safest Cities in Oregon" report.
I could just envision a "crime spree" headline on one page and a "Philomath safe city" headline on another.
Of course, Philomath actually is a very safe city, I'm not saying otherwise. It was unfortunate about what unfolded recently with the crime spree. I suppose the "law of averages" caught up with our community.
Anyway, Philomath should be recognized as a safe city and on this year's Safewise Report ranks 12th, down one spot from last year. To compile this report, SafeWise analysts considered the most recent FBI crime data from 2015 to rank the cities, which all have a minimum population of 3,000 people.
Hubbard held down the No. 1 position.
"This close-knit community reported zero violent crimes and just 30 total property crimes, as noted in the most recent FBI crime data," SafeWise's Rebbeca Edwards reported. "There was only one murder reported among all 20 cities, and a full 75 percent reported fewer than 25 total violent crimes."
Philomath's numbers came in at 0.66 violent crimes and 22.16 property crimes per 1,000 people.
"Over 50 percent of Oregon’s safest cities experienced fewer than 140 property crimes, with 90 percent reporting fewer than 45 burglaries," Edwards wrote. "In addition, 17 cities kept motor vehicle thefts below 25 incidents, and 85 percent reported fewer than three counts or fewer of arson."
The full top 20 safest cities list: Hubbard, Bandon, Brookings, Aumsville, Umatilla, Mount Angel, Newberg-Dundee, Toledo, Boardman, Silverton, Talent, Philomath, Keizer, Monmouth, Hood River, Pendleton, Sutherlin, Dallas, Winston and Central Point.
Edwards summed up the statewide picture this way:
"Whether you live on the breathtaking coast or among its fertile farmlands, Oregon is an exceptional place to call home," she wrote. "The cherry on top is the peace of mind that comes from living in a state with such a low violent crime rate."
Nationally, Oregon ranks 14th for low violent crime.