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Warrenton designated top 20 safest city in Virginia

Wednesday, Jun. 29 | By Craig Macho
Downtown Warrenton shows why the town was named one of the 20 safest cities in Virginia. Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
An organization that tracks crimes statistics in Virginia has named the Town of Warrenton as one of the 20 safest cities in the state.
Safewise, a safety and security company that annually prepares reports identifying the safest cities across the country, ranked Warrenton as the 15th safest city in Virginia, up from the town’s previous ranking of 19 from a year ago.
“It's common knowledge in our profession that police departments are successful because of the community that supports them,” said Warrenton Police Chief Louis Battle. “We rely on all sectors of the community for input and feedback, so we can address where we want to go with our efforts.”
Safewise, in a press release detailing their findings, said in order to identify the safest cities in Virginia they reviewed the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2014, along with population data.
They also eliminated all cities with fewer than 3,000 residents as well as any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.
Of the remaining Virginian cities, they narrowed down the list based on the number of reported violent crimes such as aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery as well as property crimes such as burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft in each city.
To further level the playing field, Safewise calculated the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 people in each city, according to their study.
Warrenton Town Manager Brannon Godfrey said the size of a town can contribute to a safe feeling among residents.
“A lot of it is the nature of small-town living,” said Godfrey. “It's a cliche, but people recognize each other and are accountable to one another.”
Both Battle and Godfrey noted the Warrenton Town Council has made public safety a priority during their budgeting sessions.
Council member Robert Kravetz, who is the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, credited Chief Battle for the Safewise award.
“I'll give you two words; Lou Battle,” he said when asked about the various factors that contributed to Warrenton’s recognition. “He's got so much experience, we're lucky to have him.”
Kravetz described police department employees as innovative and especially attentive to the community.
“We have a young but very qualified police force,” he said.
Safewise noted the recognition of Virginia’s safest cities makes for an even more impressive record when measured against other U.S. cities, as Virginia’s overall crime rate is 30 percent less than the national average.
But Kravetz said the quality of life in a town can be summed up by one important point.
“When people are invested in their community, they will become involved,” Kravetz said.
For more information on Safewise’s safest city report, visit http://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-virginia-2016/.

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