(WPRI) — A new study found two local cities are some of the safest in Massachusetts. Fall River ranked at 21st safest and Taunton ranked at 6th safest, according to security group SafeHome.org.
Taunton, ranked high on cities considered safe? About a dozen residents on Thursday told Eyewitness News it seemed a little surprising.
“There just seems like there’s always something,” Danielle Briggs said. “I know Taunton’s a city, so there’s always something in any city, but I was surprised to hear it.”
The city’s police department, however, wasn’t surprised. Taunton isn’t as dangerous as some people think, according to Lt. Eric Nichols.
“I think it’s always been a very diverse and blue-collar city,” he said. “It’s also very large in geographic size, so I think you would find that some of our issues are concentrated in a small part of the city. I think generally most of the city, everybody would think of as very safe.”
In conducting the study, SafeHome.org analyzed cities with a population of at least 44,000 people.
- Safest cities in Massachusetts »
- Safest cities in Rhode Island »
- SafeHome.org’s Nationwide Rankings of Safest Cities »
The group looked at several factors, including data from annual FBI reports and the number of violent and property crimes in a year, as well as the ratio of police officers to citizens.
“Back in the early 2000s, we had a very, very limited amount of police officers on the streets,” Lt. Nichols said. “The chief’s been very progressive in doing some more hiring.”
The Taunton Police Department currently has a force of 118, which breaks down to approximately 1 officer for every 480 residents.
Lt. Nichols hopes the public’s perception of the city improves with the report’s findings.
“We work really hard in this city to keep it safe,” he said. “We can be proud of the city, that we’ve made some improvements over the years.”
Taunton ranked in the top 25th percentile for safety.
The safest city in Massachusetts is Newton, the study found, while Portsmouth was named the safest city in Rhode Island.
Nationally, the safest city of the top 101 is Greenwich, Conn., and Newton ranks at number 16 nationally.