The FBI issued preliminary crime statistics for 2007 today, and...(drum roll)...CONGRATULATIONS, Thousand Oaks! We are back to the Number 1 spot on the list among the 257 U.S. cities with populations over 100,000. Our total crime rate in 2007 was 1.668%, or 16.68 crimes per 1,000 people. This very slightly edged out the city of Irvine, California which was at a crime rate of 1.684% (not bad at all, Irvine!). Irvine could have beat us if we had just another 25 reported crimes last year, so that was quite close. Amherst Town in New York was 3rd place at a crime rate of 1.742%.
CLARIFICATION: My "Safest City" designation was based on the "total" crime rate. News reports today have ranked Irvine as the Safest City for 4 years in a row based on having the lowest "violent" crime rate, not "total" crime rate (see below). As it stands, T.O. ranks 2nd among California cities for lowest violent crime rate and 1st for lowest property and total crime rates. Irvine ranks 14th in terms of property crime rates among California cities.
The FBI groups two main categories of crimes; violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assualt) and property crimes (burglary, larceny/theft, auto theft). Thousand Oaks reported 182 violent crimes (70% of which were assault) and 1,942 property crimes. While it feels good to be #1, we still have room for improvement. Our overall crime rate actually grew by 6% in 2007 vs 2006. However, our violent crime rate dropped by 19% while property crimes grew by 8%.
At the bottom of the list was St. Louis, Missouri, Orlando, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas, at rates of 11.93%, 10.45% and 10.35%, respectively. What this means is that you are 7 times less likely to be the victim of a crime in Thousand Oaks than in St. Louis. The dubious honor of highest violent crime rate belongs to Flint, Michigan. In 2007, 24 out of every 1,000 Flint residents were the victim of a violent crime.
Simi Valley ranked as the 9th safest U.S. city at a total crime rate of 2.09% (4th safest in California, after T.O., Irvine and Glendale). Oxnard's crime rate was 2.747%, which was a slight drop from 2006. This earned Oxnard recognition as the 12th most crime-free large city in California out of 65 cities. Ventura was lower on the list, at #45.
Keep up the great work, fellow Conejo Valley residents! For more information, visit www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm.