Amherst, a Buffalo suburb with 107,000 residents, had thenation's lowest rates for overall violent crime and burglary.Amherst Police Chief John Askey attributed the safety to the city'ssuburban setting and affluent, well-educated population.
``Most cities with populations of more than 100,000 are urbansettings where there is street crime, crowded living conditions andhigh levels of poverty,'' Askey told the magazine. ``Amherst ismore like a big quiet suburb than a city, so we don't have thoseproblems.''
Amherst had 79 violent crimes and 201 burglaries per 100,000residents, 88 percent and 80 percent below the national average.
Its police strength, 140 officers per 100,000 residents, wasless than a third that of Newark, which had 446 officers per100,000 residents. But Newark, a city of 260,000, had the nation'shighest violent-crime rate, with one in 25 residents a victim.
All of the 10 safest cities on the list had police-residentratios at least 25 percent below the national average.
The magazine asked a statistics firm to rank the cities byadjusting the FBI's 1995 crime statistics to give greater emphasisto crimes that a poll of 501 respondents found most likely to beconsidered a threat.
Burglary ranked highest in this survey, with 66 percent ofrespondents saying they considered it a serious or somewhat seriousthreat to themselves and their families. Other crimes were cited bysmaller percentages of respondents. They were not limited to citingone type of crime as a threat.
The survey, appearing in the magazine's Dec. 2 issue, rankedThousand Oaks, Calif., behind Amherst on the safe cities list,followed by Irvine, Calif.; Simi Valley, Calif.; and Sunnyvale,Calif.
The most dangerous cities were Newark, Atlanta, St. Louis, NewOrleans and Detroit.
The magazine said data were not available for Albuquerque,N.M.;Aurora, Ill.; Chicago; Rockford, Ill.; and Springfield, Ill.
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