Amanda Wistuba | Northwest Missourian
The National Council for Home Safety and Security named Maryville as the ninth safest city in Missouri for 2019.
To determine this rank, 7,639 cities were factored in and reviewed from the 2018 FBI Uniform Crime Report Statistics. Maryville had 24 violent crimes and 151 property crimes, making its violent crime rate 2.030 and property crime rate 12.775 per 1,000 population.
City Manager Greg McDanel attributes the city’s high safety ranking to Maryville Public Safety, city police, Nodaway County Sheriff’s Office, UPD and Missouri Highway Patrol, all of which perform law enforcement actions in the community.
“To be in the top 10 is fantastic,” McDanel said. “It shows exceptional performance from multiple law enforcement agencies.”
Maryville has 22 officers and the Nodaway County Sheriff’s office has 14 sworn deputies. Nodaway County Sheriff Randy Strong said this law enforcement presence plays a role in keeping Maryville ranked as one of the safest cities.
“I hope everybody realizes that the law enforcement we have in the county and the city are invested in this for the long haul because our families live here,” Strong said. “We’re committed to protecting.”
Strong said Maryville has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Missouri, which can also be attributed to the low crime rates. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Nodaway County had an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent in December.
“In the county we have a rural area that is predominately family oriented and hardworking, and then you have the University people that are hardworking and highly educated that makes a good melting pot, a very culturally diverse area and it just works well together,” Strong said.
At the top of the list for safest cities is Ballwin followed by Webster Groves. Typically college towns have added difficulty in keeping crime rates down. However, Webster Groves – college town to Webster Groves University – and Maryville seem to be the exception. Columbia, college town to the University of Missouri, falls 62 on the list. Rolla, college town to Missouri Science and Technology is ranked 42 on the list.
Last year, Maryville was ranked as the sixth safest city in Missouri. According to Alarms.org, which published the list, Missouri is the 36th safest state for property crime, and the violent crime rate is above the national average with 3.9 crimes per 1,000 population. The national average is 3.47 crimes per 1,000.
“It’s just a matter of things that happen throughout the year,” McDanel said. “I think whether we are ranked sixth, ninth or 20th I think to be in the top 25 safest cities is phenomenal and where we are at ranking each year on that will vary.”
Moving forward for the future safety of Maryville, Strong said he would like to see Maryville city government paying attention to the needs of law enforcement.
“We are trying to get our 911 center put together, it’s had financial issues and troubles in the past and now the equipment is worn out,” Strong said. “They have put a lot into the infrastructure.”
Strong said some in law enforcement feel that it has not been funded as well as it could be.
“I hope they don’t forget us because we are an important part of keeping our image up in the community,” Strong said.
McDanel said that being ranked as one of the safest cities is a great thing but worries sometimes crimes are not reported to maintain the image of the city.
“We would rather have those crimes reported than any sort of ranking that we would have,” McDanel said. “We encourage anybody who has been a victim of an assault, a sexual assault, drug activity, we encourage people to seek those services and seek law enforcement assistance when necessary.”
By Rachel Adamson | Northwest Missourian