Ada, Shawnee Township rank among top 50 safest cities in Ohio

LIMA — Shawnee Township and the village of Ada are among the safest cities in Ohio, according to a study by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

Ada was named the 16th safest city in the state for 2017, with Shawnee Township coming in at 45. The list of Ohio’s top 50 safest cities refers to populations of 5,000 or more.

The council reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics, along with its own population data and internal research, to formulate and rank each city. The report does not include cities that fail to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.

Cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery), and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70 percent of the total and property crimes accounting for 30 percent.

The ranking comes a day after Shawnee police officer Ben Trowbridge won the Safety Person of the Year Award from the West Central Ohio Safety Council. Shawnee Township Police Chief Michael Keith echoed Trowbridge’s acceptance speech, saying the advancements in safety were a group effort.

“There’s no question that this is not a one-man show,” Keith said. “I don’t take credit for any of it. It’s everybody. It’s the guys who are out there every day. Everyone has the same responsibilities to provide service to the best of their ability, and that’s what we try to do here.”

Ada Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger credited the entire village for being “civic minded and engaged for a safer community,” saying it was a “major component” in receiving this distinction. He mentioned the award-winning S.A.F.E.R. (Seeking Aid From Every Resident) initiative as an example of a community effort toward improved safety. Project S.A.F.E.R. encourages engagement and recognizes individuals who contribute to a safer Ada.

“It says a lot for the makeup of our community that folks get so involved with the police,” Harnishfeger said. “We have awesome folks in the village who aren’t afraid to say something to us if they see something. That’s critically important for any police agency to be successful.”

The safest city in Ohio, according to the report, is Russell Township. It is located in Geauga County in northeast Ohio. Coming in 50th place was Uhrichsville, which is located in Tuscarawas County in western Ohio.

By John Bush

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Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.