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Town, county crime rates drop

A recent ConsumerAffairs report has ranked Virginia as the ninth safest place to live.

Each state was ranked based on violent crime, property crime, number of law enforcement officers and law enforcement spending using FBI and Census Bureau data.

In addition, The top 10 safest states were also broken down by safest small towns, midsize towns and large cities.

In the commonwealth, the safest small town was Cape Charles, the safest midsize Town was Purcellville, and the safest large city was Virginia Beach.

Although the Town of Farmville or Prince Edward County as a whole did not make a list individually, Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington said the town’s violent crime rate has continued to drop for the past four years.

“I most certainly would like to contribute that to a progressive police department, with a special operations unit with a high clearance rate and a department that contributes lots of time and energy in community policing,” Ellington said. “We also have been very aggressive with our drug enforcement over the past 25 years, working with both state and federal authorities.” 

According to Ellington, another huge benefit/deterrent is the amount of exposure of police vehicles that pass through Farmville every day.

“There is no better deterrent than marked vehicles,” Ellington said. “Being as we are centrally located, and Piedmont Jail is located just outside of town, marked police cruisers from multiple jurisdictions are passing through Farmville on a routine basis. We also have Longwood University, Prince Edward Sheriff’s Office, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Hampden Sydney Police, Virginia State Police, High Bridge Trails Park Police and Cumberland Sheriff’s Office. All that really magnifies the number of police vehicles traveling through a small-town daily.”

According to a 2020 Gallup poll, 78% of Americans perceive crime to be on the rise nationally, while only 38% perceive crime to be up in their local area.

According to the Pew Research Center, the wide gap exists when, in reality, violent and property crime rates have actually dropped dramatically since the 1990s.

In Prince Edward County, according to Crime Grade, the county receives a B grade when it comes to overall crime.

The B grade means the rate of crime is slightly lower than the average U.S. county.

Prince Edward County is in the 66th percentile for safety, meaning 34% of counties are safer and 66% of counties are more dangerous.

When it comes to violent crime, Crime Grade gives the county an A grade, meaning the rate of violent crime is much lower than the average U.S. county.

Prince Edward County is in the 85th percentile for safety, meaning 15% of counties are safer and 85% of counties are more dangerous.

“Even though we are short staffed, we are still patrolling all areas of the county,” Prince Edward County Sheriff L. A. “Tony” Epps said. “We contribute that to the low crime rate, and also, our neighborhood watch programs are a big factor in keeping the crime rate low.”

In addition to Virginia, The top 10 safest places to live in the U.S. are:

New Jersey

New Hampshire

Rhode Island

Maine

Vermont

Connecticut

Ohio

New York

Massachusetts

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team used 2020 data from the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer and 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances to determine the safest states and cities in the country.