News

Somerton, San Luis Among State’s Safest Cities, Firm Finds

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 3:57 pm | Updated: 9:02 am, Mon Mar 31, 2014.

By Cesar Neyoy

SOMERTON – Police had a lot to do with Somerton and San Luis ranking in the top 10 of a list of the state’s safest cities.

But so did the residents.

That’s the conclusion of the officials from both communities this week, following the release by Movoto Real Estate of its list that ranked Somerton as No. 6 and San Luis at No. 7 among 42 Arizona cities with populations of 10,000 or more. Yuma ranked 33rd.

To arrive at the rankings in its Safest Places in Arizona list, the nationwide real estate company used FBI statistics for violent and property crimes in the cities for the year 2012, the most recent for which numbers are available.

In Somerton, with 14,687 residents, the probability of a person becoming a victim of crime is one in 61, Movato said on its website, www.movoto.com/az/safest-places-in-arizona. In 2012, there were 242 reported crimes, with 18 of them being classified as violent crimes. The remaining crimes were mainly thefts.

“We are pleased to be on that list and that they recognize us as the safe city that we are,” Somerton City Administrator Bill Lee said. “Our residents know that Somerton is a safe city. If you walk or drive through the city, you can see people walking with their children or walking their pets. There are some communities where you wouldn’t be able to do that.

Lee conceded that theft is an issue of concern, one that was raised by residents when city officials held neighborhood meetings around Somerton.

“The police department is actively patrolling” the streets. “Of course they can’t be everywhere at the same time, so what is important is the assistance of the people in reporting the incidents and suspicious activity.”

But, as reflected in the FBI statistics, violent crimes – such as murder, rape, assault – are very infrequent, he said. “Fortunately we haven’t seen many serious crimes for a long time, not like what is being seen in other cities.”

Ahead of Somerton on the list were the city of Sahuarita, ranked as the most safest in the state, followed in order by Oro Valley, Gilbert, Florence and Paradise. After San Luis as No. 7, were Maricopa, Surprise and Lake Havasu City.

In San Luis, with 28,168 residents, the probability of someone being the victim of a violent crime was 1 in 971, with 29 offense involving violence being reported in 2012. There were 528 non-violent crimes reported that year, most of them thefts of one type or another.

San Luis Police Lt. Victor Figueroa said one of the principal factors in San Luis being a safe city is the willingness of residents to get involved in preventing crime.

“More and more people are reporting any suspicious activity they see in their area,” he said. “There is very good communication with the community, in that respect.

“Fortunately,” he added, “people are taking advantage of all means to report crime, from the telephone to the internet, and they know they can do it 24 hours a day.”

He added that the presence of U.S. Border Patrol and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office in and around San Luis have helped the understaffed police department to provide effective law enforcement.