Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blog names Ottawa one of state’s safest cities

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/8/2014

Safety in numbers has taken on a new meaning.

Movoto Real Estate Blog, a site that collects demographic information and real estate listings on any given market across the country, has put together its list of safest places to live in Kansas and Ottawa finds itself fifth on the list of communities with more than 10,000 residents.

Safety in numbers has taken on a new meaning.

Movoto Real Estate Blog, a site that collects demographic information and real estate listings on any given market across the country, has put together its list of safest places to live in Kansas and Ottawa finds itself fifth on the list of communities with more than 10,000 residents.

Movoto came up with its list of safest communities based on its analysis of a 2012 Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report.

“It’s one more great reason to live in Ottawa,” Linda Reed, Ottawa mayor, said. “I think public safety plays a big role in why people choose live here. I think sometimes we might take it for granted, but after you travel to some larger cities, it makes you grateful to come back to Ottawa.”

Prairie Village topped the list of safest places in Kansas, followed by Andover, Lansing, Haysville, Ottawa, Gardner, Derby, Atchison, El Dorado and Parsons.

Movoto representatives said the company looked at the most populated places in the state with populations of more than 10,000, which came to 35 communities. Then it gathered data from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report in the areas of murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and vehicle theft. Then it divided those types of crimes into four categories: murders, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes.

Movoto calculated each of these crime rates based on crimes per 100,000 people, so it could compare large and small communities like Wichita and Ottawa equally. The company ranked each community in each category from one to 35, with one being the safest. Lastly, it weighted the rankings so murders, violent crimes and property crimes each made up 30 percent of the overall score, with the fourth category — total number of crimes — accounting for 10 percent.

In Ottawa, residents had a 1 in 239 chance of being the victim of a crime, and it likely would be a nonviolent one, Movoto’s results showed. No murders were reported within the city limits of Ottawa in 2012. Based on the weighted rankings, the city would have recorded nine rapes, two robberies and 26 assaults per 100,000 people. In other words, if Ottawa had a population of 100,000 that is how many violent crimes it could expect to have in a given year.

The property crime in Ottawa was the fifth lowest on Movoto’s list, with only 304 crimes of that type per 100,000 people occurring in 2012.

When comparing Ottawa’s low property crime rate to Topeka, which had 7,613 property crimes per 100,000 people, Movoto representatives said the numbers showed why Ottawa was “worthy of a top five safety ranking.”

To see the full list, go to http://www.movoto.com/ks/safest-places-in-kansas/

Gaining national attention for its merits is not new for Ottawa.

In fall 2012, Ottawa was among the five small towns on CNNMoney magazine’s list of the 25 best places in the United States to retire.

Like the CNNMoney recognition, Movoto’s safest places list is yet another example of Ottawa being recognized as one of the best small communities in America, John Coen, president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

“This kind of recognition is not something you can buy — you have to earn it,” Coen said. “I think it speaks volumes about the type of people who live and work here and to the quality of all those who work for the police department, the sheriff’s department and the fire department to make this a safe community. Ottawa is a place where you can be comfortable being outside and being around neighbors. That’s not true of every city.”

Mayor Reed echoed Coen’s sentiments that Ottawa’s designation as one of the top five safest places in the Sunflower State speaks well of all those who work in public safety and to the individuals who call Ottawa home.

Reed is hopeful the designation will attract the attention of businesses that might be thinking about relocating here and bringing new employees and their families into the community.

“I think businesses look a lot of factors like quality of life, health services, schools — and I think public safety is high on that list too,” Reed said. “We have a lot to be proud of [in Ottawa].”

comments powered by Disqus