KIRKLAND — The Town of Kirkland has been ranked No. 3 among the top 20 safest cities and towns in New York by SafeWise.
Town of Kirkland Police Special Administrative Officer Shawn Occhipinti said he attributes the ranking in part to a diligent police force as well as a solid community effort to work with law enforcement.
“In Kirkland we have the benefit of knowing a lot of people, Occhipinti said. “What I mean to say is everyone knows each other and knows if something is out of place or looks wrong. If so, they call us and we investigate. That’s the basis of community policing.”
SafeWise has been conducting a comprehensive study of safety in the U.S. for six years. Its team has become the leading experts in everything safety and security — from product reviews and crime data analysis, to actionable safety tips and guidance.
Communications Manager Sage Singleton said SafeWise’s 2020 State of Safety survey revealed that 55 percent of the New Yorkers who participated experience high concern about their safety every day. That’s almost ten points higher than the national average of 46 percent.
According to its State of Safety report, across the board, New York’s levels of concern don’t match up with the reality of crime in the Empire State. Both violent and property crime rates in New York are lower than national rates.
New York has a violent crime rate of 3.5, compared to 3.7 nationwide, and the property crime rate is 14.4, compared to 22.0 across the country.
“Despite the lower violent crime rate, New Yorkers reported a slightly higher rate of personal experience with violent crime — 13 percent — versus the national average of 12 percent,” the report said. “But they do better when it comes to property crime, coming in 12 points below the national average of 26 percent.”
Other SafeWise findings:
• The Town of Lewisboro is the number one safest city in New York for the third consecutive year, reporting zero crimes to the FBI in 2018.
• The top three cities (Lewisboro, Sleepy Hollow Village, and the Town of Kirkland) all reported no violent crime, so rankings came down to each city’s property crime rate.
• Eight cities total reported no violent crimes.
• Eleven cities (55 percent) improved their rankings year over year, with the Town of Plattekill making the biggest jump — 57 spots — from 65 to 8.
• Four cities (20 percent) dropped in rank this year.
• Two new cities joined the list this year — The Village of Sleepy Hollow and the Town of New Castle.
• Every city on the list beat both state (3.5) and national (3.7) violent crime rates and every city kept violent crime to fewer than 0.5 incidents per 1,000.
• There were only 30 total violent crimes reported by the safest cities.
• All cities are below both state (14.4) and national (22.0) property crime rates and no city reported more than 4.4 incidents per 1,000.
• Fifteen cities (75 percent) reported fewer than 50 total property crimes.
The Town of Whitestown was the only other municipality in Oneida County to rank in the top 20, ranking No. 15.
Occhipinti said they are there to protect Kirkland whether it be from crime, helping the fire department at fires, or performing well being checks, even on wildlife.
“Like I said, we at the KPD do our best to protect this community from all types of hazards, even the owls and baby racoons that get lost in the road. Protect and serve-that’s us,” he said.