Crime statistics show McCook ranks as safe city

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Gazette has covered its share of crime over the years, but concentrating on the crimes ignores the factor that makes them newsworthy — serious crime is rare in Southwest Nebraska.

Yes, our history has its share of murders — several unsolved and recent enough that we’re still hoping to find more information to share with our readers.

But the fact that readers are interested in crime illustrates the unusual nature that makes it worthy of discussion. A mugging in Chicago is likely to be relegated to a mere mention if that much; we don’t remember the last armed robbery we heard about in these parts.

The SafeWise organization confirms our belief that we live in a safe community.

Its recent Safe Cities report lists McCook as No. 9 of the top 10 Safest Cities in Nebraska.

Using FBI crime statistics and population data, SafeWise looked at the reported violent crimes of aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery in each city per 1,000 people. In the case of a tie, they factored in the number of property crimes such as burglary, arson, larceny-theft and car theft.

With a population of 7,557, McCook listed 1.32 violent crimes per 1,000 and 27.66 property crimes, 95.22 percent of crimes against property and 4.78 percent violent crimes against people.

York, population 7,885, was judged safest, with 100 percent of its crimes against property.

Others, in descending order, were Seward, Plattsmouth, Columbus, Nebraska City, La Vista, Blair, McCook and Holdrege.

“In addition to low unemployment and high quality of life, Nebraska earns kudos for its safety record,” SafeWise security analyst Alexia Chianis said.

“Based on the most recent FBI crime statistics, Nebraska’s violent crime rate was lower than the national average, and incidents of murder dropped 21 percent since our last report. Among the 10 safety cities in the state, violent crim was even less prolific,” he said. On average, these cities reported no more than one violent crime for every 1,000 people.

The fact that we live in a safe area is no reason to become complacent or careless about security, and all of us have been victims of crime at some level, even in Southwest Nebraska.

But it’s nice to know local crime is still the exception rather than the rule.

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