Upper Saucon Township has been ranked as the 27th safest city in the country according to a new annual report by the company SafeWise ranking the 100 safest cities in America.
Though technically not a city–as Pennsylvania defines them–Upper Saucon Township was referred to as one for purposes of the report, which was formulated by analyzing crime statistics from communities with at least 15,000 residents.
To be eligible to be ranked by SafeWise the municipality must have also submitted a complete crime report to the FBI in 2018.
SafeWise uses up-to-date FBI crime data to assemble its reports. The 2020 list uses 2018 FBI crime report statistics, because that was the most current data available at the time of ranking.
The list compares violent crime rates per 1,000 people and property crime rates per 1,000 people in each eligible city in order to determine its rank.
Upper Saucon Township, which has a population of 17,139 according to 2018 U.S. Census data and a median income of $102,880, boasted a remarkably low 0.1 violent crime rate per 1,000 residents in 2018. The average violent crime rate for cities in the Top 100 was 0.3.
“No cities reported zero violent crimes, but seven had only one,” the SafeWise 100 Safest Cities in America report said. “No city reported more than 29 total violent crimes.”
Upper Saucon Township’s property crime rate per 1,000 residents was a moderate 4.6.
For Thomas Beil, Township Manager for Upper Saucon, the ranking is an honor, but also recognition of something the township’s police department works hard to maintain.
“Upper Saucon Township is thrilled to be ranked as one of the top 50 safest cities in the U.S.,” Beil said.
“This achievement is further proof that our police officers do a great job in keeping our community safe,” he continued. “We couldn’t be more proud of the Upper Saucon Township Police Department.”
The department currently has 21 full-time officers, who are under the command of Chief Thomas Nicoletti.
In addition to 24-hour patrol services and crime investigation, the Upper Saucon Township Police Department participates in a regional DUI task force, sponsors a local D.A.R.E. program and oversees a community service program for first-time juvenile offenders, the township website notes.
Many of the cities included on the list are located in the northeastern portion of the country, however only two Pennsylvania communities, Buckingham Township, Bucks County, and Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County, ranked higher than Upper Saucon, which narrowly missed being in the top 25 safest cities.
Upper Saucon Township was ranked 27th safest city, Silver Spring Township was ranked 21st and Buckingham Township was ranked 11th by the survey.
The honor of being named safest city in America this year went to the community of Broadview Heights, Ohio, according to the SafeWise Top 100.
SafeWise said it has been conducting a comprehensive study of safety in the U.S. for six years, and constantly working to improve the methodologies it uses to increase the accuracy of their reports.
“Crime data, on its own, misses many nuances that contribute to safety—or the lack thereof—including persistent systemic issues of police violence, economic disparity and racism,” the SafeWise website reads. “Simple counts of violent and property crime incidents don’t reflect important realities that impact both the perception and the reality of safety in neighborhoods and cities.”
Future SafeWise reports will take into consideration a few additional data points to increase their context and accuracy. New factors will include: high school graduation rates, redlining practices, household access to high-speed internet, city budget allocations, unemployment rates and poverty data.
Thanks to the hard work of the Upper Saucon Township Police Department and the township’s officials, as well as the residents who help keep the community safe, Upper Saucon Township will look to continue being one of America’s safest cities.