Morgantown has been named one of the top 20 Safest Cities in the state of West Virginia for 2018.
SafeWise Security compiled a list based on 2016 FBI crime report statistics and population data to determine the safest cities in each state.
The evaluation was based on the number of reported violent crimes in each city.
“During the past several years we’ve been very concentrated on trying to change the culture of Morgantown and West Virginia University,” said Chief Ed Preston of the Morgantown Police Department. “In result of that, we’ve taken great strides and steps to try to reduce the amount of alcohol violations, which in turn have reduced the number of fights, it has reduced the number of injuries and other types of crimes.”
Morgantown ranked 16th in the report. Violent crimes make up just over 13 percent and property crimes add up to nearly 87 percent, which are overall lower than the state average.
Morgantown was the most populated city to make the list.
“I think it’s more significant that we were able to show up as a very safe place with the number of people that we have. Because Morgantown isn’t just the 35,000 people that live here. It’s the 35,000 residents, it’s the 30 plus thousand students, and it’s all of the other tens of thousands of people that are in Morgantown on a daily basis,” said Preston.
A number of initiatives that have been put into effect over the past several years have helped, including Safe Communities, which is a combination of WVU, Morgantown, and Monongalia County.
The Morgantown City Police have also worked with the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Coalition and the Monongalia County Crime Prevention Coalition. A strong Teen Court and Drug Court also help this safe city.
“All of those things working together, have helped combine the community into the safe community concept. It’s not any one thing the police department is doing. It’s a combination of everything the community itself if doing,” said Preston.