ROCKINGHAM — Two Rockingham County towns continue to rank among the safest in Virginia.
SafeWise, a safety-focused community organization, released its list of the state’s 20 safest cities and towns this week. Bridgewater ranked No. 2, and Broadway followed at No. 3.
Bridgewater had been ranked No. 1 for the last two years. It was replaced by Dumfries.
“We were excited to see we were listed again,” said Alex Wilmer, assistant town manager. “We’re fortunate to live in a very safe place in the Shenandoah Valley.”
Bridgewater had 0.17 violent crimes reported per 1,000 people in 2016, the most recent data available for the survey. SafeWise classifies violent crimes as aggravated assault, rape, murder and robbery.
The town also had 2.86 property crimes — burglary, arson, larceny and motor vehicle theft — reported per 1,000 people.
“It speaks well to our police department and the work that they do,” Wilmer said. “Our police department is very proactive. They work with the local schools. They work hard to keep the community safe.”
Chief Joseph Simmons said the combination of talented officers and cooperative residents is the key to success.
“We have a great community,” he said. “When they see something, they say something. A great partnership with the community is always a plus.”
SafeWise compiled its list using data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program, with the most recent statistics from 2016. Cities and towns that don’t use the program or have a population of less than 3,000 were not considered for SafeWise’s list.
Broadway also has been consistently in the top five over the last decade, including a stint at No. 1.
For the second year in row, the town ranked third.
Broadway had 0.26 violent crimes and 12.79 property crimes reported per 1,000 people.
“It’s good for the town,” said Police Chief Randy Collins. “We have a lot of good people who watch out for each other.”
In addition to the two Rockingham County towns, Luray ranked seventh on the list.