An organization designed to help prospective home buyers research cities has ranked Vernon in the top 100 safest municipalities with 25,000 or more residents.
Neighborhood Scout has placed Vernon at No. 73 in the safest list, sandwiched between two Illinois locales - No. 72 Park Ridge and No. 74 West Chicago.
Other Connecticut municipalities on the list are No. 80 Shelton, No. 29 Cheshire, No. 28 Glastonbury, and No. 3 Greenwich. Greenwich was bested only by No. 2 Bergenfield, NJ, and Franklin, MA.
Nearby Agawam, MA was ranked No. 11.
Many town officials argue that Vernon's overall atmosphere is overshadowed with stories associated with Rockville Superior Court.
Police chief James Kenny was elated to see the ranking.
"The police department and the town administration work very hard to provide Vernon with a safe environment for our citizens to enjoy the many things this fine town has to offer," he said. "I am very grateful that our efforts have been acknowledged and our citizens can be proud of this achievement."
Deputy Mayor Brian Motola expressed similar sentiments.
"I am happy we are ranked in the top 100 but not surprised by this. We have a well-staffed, well-trained, and well-led police force in our town," he said. "It has always been that way. The police are very visible where they have to be and that helps to discourage crime."
On its Web site, Neighborhood Scout says its research reveals the 100 safest cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on the total number of property and violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, forcible rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. The company says the data used for the research includes the number of total crimes reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and the population of each city.
The statistics could not include full statistics for 2012, because the end of the year report is not complete yet, Vernon Police Department spokesman Lt. William Meier said. The full report for 2012 is a few weeks away, he said.
Neighborhood Scout used a census figure of 29,144 for Vernon's population and assigned a crime index of 68 (with 100 being the safest), meaning it is safer than 68 percent of U.S. cities. According to the Neighborhood Scout chart, Vernon has 1.10 violent crimes and 12.42 property crimes annually per 1,000 residents.
The chances of a Vernon resident becoming a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 911, compared to 1 in 367 in the state, Neighborhood Scout said.
The local violent crime rate (1.10 per 1,000) is below the state median (2.7 per 1,000) and the nation (3.9 per 1,000), the chart indicates.
The chances of a Vernon resident becoming a victim of a property crime are 1 in 81, compared to 1 in 46 in the state, Neighborhood Scout says.
Crimes per square-mile (Vernon is condensed into about 18 square miles) is 22, three less than the state average. The national median is 39.6.
Click here to see the full report in Vernon.
"What a fascinating report. It exemplifies all the good things about Vernon that we have been saying for years. The unique diversity of our population, in both its cultural and occupational aspects, makes us proud to live here," said Democratic Town Council member Thomas DiDio. "Too often, people are quick to point out all the negative but fail to recognize the the positive. Let's crow about this."
Motola said credit goes to the entire town.
"I believe we have a town of citizens concerned about and involved in the welfare of others in our community. This helps to reduce the crime rate also," he said. "We dwell upon the negatives in our town a lot while not even considering the positives. Well, this is one big positive for Vernon. There are so many positive aspects in Vernon for us to enjoy while living here.
"And there is no substitute for feeling safe where you live."