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Church Hill again named Tennessee's safest city by home security website

Jeff Bobo • Jun 3, 2020 at 12:00 PM

CHURCH HILL — For the second year in a row, Church Hill has been determined to be the safest city in Tennessee, an honor that Police Chief Chad Mosley attributes more to high-quality residents than to policing.

Last year, the New York-based consumer review website Security Baron released a report ranking Church Hill as the safest city in Tennessee based on FBI crime statistics from 2016 and 2017.

Last week, Church Hill was named the Volunteer State’s safest city by home security product research and review website SafeWise, based on FBI property and violent crime statistics from 2018.

Meanwhile, Church Hill’s neighbor to the east, Mount Carmel, which was listed fifth safest in the 2016-17 Security Baron study, dropped to 16th safest in the 2018 SafeWise study.

The SafeWise study determined that Church Hill, with a population of 6,664, had a violent crime rate (VCR) of 1.8 per thousand in 2018, and a property crime rate (PCR) of 4.2 per thousand in 2018.

That edged out SafeWise’s No. 2 safest Tennessee city, Coopertown, population 4,552, which matched Church Hill’s 1.8 VCR, but surpassed Church Hill with a 5.4 PCR.

“It’s nice to be recognized, and it’s nice to live and work in a safe place,” Mosley told the Times News Tuesday. “I think it’s attributed to our residents. The residents we have here abide by the law themselves, so those stats can be attributed to them. A lot of those violent statistics are domestic-related, so if our residents aren’t fighting with each other, that also helps.”

Mosley added, “Violent crimes and property crimes are low here, and we hope they stay that way. It’s a good area to work and live in.”

The SafeWise study showed Mount Carmel, with a population of 5,345, had a VCR at 1.9 and a PCR at 6.8 in 2018 — good enough for 16th safest in Tennessee.

Mount Carmel Police Department Chief Ken Lunsford Jr. said a ranking in the state’s Top 20 is still “a great place to be,” although 16th was a step in the wrong direction.

“Now we must work even harder to meet our goals of staying in the Top 5,” Lunsford told the Times News Tuesday. “The reason for the increase I must place on property crimes, which so many cities have experienced. I believe the problem comes down to being complacent. When you live in a nice, low-crime area, you never expect to become a victim of a crime, as many of our citizens have not.”

Lunsford added, “But by having this feeling, we tend to leave our car doors unlocked and the keys in the vehicle. Then the car gets stolen. Many people ignore the locks on their house, come home later and find their television gone. There is a risk of crime even in a low-crime area. A lot of crime is acted on and based solely upon opportunity. We must remember that and act accordingly.”

The only other Northeast Tennessee city in the Top 20 was Bean Station in fourth.

The Top 10 on the SafeWise list included Church Hill, Coopertown, Signal Mountain, Bean Station, Belle Meade, Loudon, Oakland, Brentwood, Atoka, and Pleasantview.

Last year the Security Baron study listed 92 Tennessee cities on its safest list. Northeast Tennessee cities that made the Security Baron rankings included Erwin, 17th; Jonesborough, 26th; Greeneville, 46th; Morristown, 70th; and Elizabethton, 78th.

SafeWise ranked 121 cities based on the 2018 crime stats. In Northeast Tennessee, Erwin was 31st, Bristol was 71st, Johnson City 74th, Greeneville 83rd; Elizabethton 91st; Rogersville 99th; Morristown 102nd; and Kingsport 106th.

Click here to see the complete SafeWise study.

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