Peoria is in the top 15 “safest cities in America,” according to WalletHub,
“I think Peoria is overall an extremely safe city,” said Brandon Sheffert, spokesman for the Peoria Police Department.
According to WalletHub, Peoria had an overall ranking of 81.86, sandwiched between Burlington, Vermont, and Madison, Wisconsin.
Columbia, Maryland, was ranked as the safest American city, with Gilbert the fourth-safest, Chandler ninth and Scottsdale 12th. Glendale came in at 55 on the safe cities list.
The least-safe of 182 cities, according to WalletHub, is St. Louis, Missouri.
More important to Sheffert are local comparisons.
“Our crime rate is generally lower in Peoria than a lot of other cities around us,” he said.
Peoria and other cities report crime statistics annually to the FBI. Statistics for this year will not be released for months.
Analyzing 2018 FBI statistics, Peoria can be called one of the safest cities in the West Valley.
At the end of September, the FBI stated violent crime in the U.S. in 2018 was down 3.3 percent from 2017. Property crimes also dropped 6.3 percent, marking the 16th consecutive year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.
According to the FBI, the national rate of violent crime was 368.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
Peoria, with an estimated population of 170,177, recorded 388 violent crimes. Peoria’s violent crime rate of 227 per 100,000 is 38% lower than the national average.
Peoria’s violent crime rate was less than half Glendale’s which had a violent crime rate of 467 per 100,000.
The violent crime rate in Phoenix was 732 per 100,000, almost twice the national average.
Peoria’s neighbors also were far safer, statistically, than Phoenix and national averages. The rates of violent crime per 100,000: Surprise, 120; El Mirage, 215; Goodyear, 247; Avondale, 335.
Peoria is near the middle of its West Valley neighbors.
“It’s a good community,” said Sheffert.
“We partner well with the community. Our officers go out to prevent crime.
“It’s a place where people feel safe.”
In a publication titled “Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: Their Proper Use,” the FBI warns of “pitfalls of ranking.”
“UCR data are sometimes used to compile rankings of individual jurisdictions and institutions of higher learning,” said the FBI explanation.
“These incomplete analyses have often created misleading perceptions, which adversely affect geographic entities and their residents. For this reason, the FBI has a longstanding policy against ranking participating law enforcement agencies on the basis of crime data alone. Despite repeated warnings against these practices, some data users continue to challenge and misunderstand this position. Data users should not rank locales because there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place.”
Though the FBI strongly advises against it, these “rankings” are not likely to stop.
The WalletHub study seems to support the notion Peoria is relatively safe.
According to its website, “WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: 1) Home & Community Safety, 2) Natural-Disaster Risk, and 3) Financial Safety.
“We evaluated those dimensions using 41 relevant metrics. Every metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety.”
For more information, see crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/explorer/agency/AZ0071300/crime or wallethub.com/edu/safest-cities-in-america/41926/.