Mission Viejo has gained recognition based on annual FBI crime statistics that crowned the city the safest in the nation.
The study entitled “City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan American,” released Nov.16 for the 14th consecutive year.
According to the O.C. Register, the study observed around 400 cities in the U.S. with at least 75,000 people. It studied per-capita rates for homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft.
Many locals feel proud to call their hometown the No. 1 city in the nation and believe statistics of this study to be true.
“If they tell us it is safe then I have no way of countermanding it. My experience of 37 years in the city indicate it is,” said Saddleback President Richard McCullough. “People are extremely pleasant and I’m very pleased with the police force. There is a presence there that is a deterrent.”
Chief of Police at Saddleback, Harry Parmer, agrees that Mission Viejo is a safe place to live and work due to its highly educated population with high income levels.
“Each law enforcement agency in the country must report their annual crime statistics to the FBI for the purpose of assessing crime trends and activity,”Parmer said. “Mission Viejo was selected the ‘safest city’ because they had less reported crime than any other city of comparable size and population.”
Parmer also attributes this safety to having a very professional law enforcement agency the Orange County Sheriff’s Department which works closely with the city and its citizens in preventing and suppressing criminal activity.
“Community Policing is an organizational wide philosophy and management approach that promotes community, government and police partnerships. This includes proactive problem solving and community engagement to address the causes of crime, fear of crime and other community quality of life issues,”Parmer said. “Two of the core components of community policing are community partnerships and problem solving.”
Student John-Paul Lasker, 19, undecided, also believes that Mission Viejo is the top safest city in the nation.
“I’m pretty sure Mission Viejo is safe,” Lasker said. “Lots of cops are cracking down to keep it that way.”
As far as the college campus is concerned, McCullough assures that safety extends to the college as well as to the city.
The report also held that Irvine, which held the top spot in 2005, has now slipped into the 11th position following Lake Forest at 10th.
This decline questions whether the city is as “cookie cutter” as it appears.
“IVC appears to be a safe location, but the policing on campus is not done by the city of Irvine, it is done by the campus police,” said geology instructor George Brogan. “Crime on campus has been very low since I came to IVC 10 years ago. I don’t believe the crime rate in Irvine necessarily translate to the campus.”
IVC president Glenn Roquemore assured that IVC, like Saddleback, is a safe campus to attend and claims that Irvine’s fall is nothing new.
“Irvine falls in and out of the top position for a city of its size regularly. I believe Mission Viejo has been there before as well,” Roquemore said. “I think what it represents is that the entire region is relatively safe.”