Rochester-area communities among safest in state

By: Linda Shepard, Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 6, 2018

ROCHESTER HILLS/ ROCHESTER/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The National Council for Home Safety and Security recently released its Michigan Top 100 Safest Cities list, naming the three communities in the Post’s coverage area in its top 25.

Oakland Township is the second-safest community in Michigan. The community of 19,659 people recorded rates of just six violent crimes and 52 property crimes in 2017. That translates to 0.31 violent crimes and 2.65 property crimes per each group of 1,000 inhabitants.

Dale Stuart, Oakland Township manager, said he is not surprised. “It proves that employing the number of Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputies that we have, and their active patrol of the township, pays off,” Stuart said. “The diligence of the residents in keeping their properties well-lit and paying attention to their surroundings also help keep it a safe place.”

Rochester was named the seventh-safest community in Michigan.

Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm said Rochester’s ranking is “something to be proud of.”

“It certainly should provide some comfort to the residents that they live in an overly safe community,” he said.

With a listed population of 13,050, Rochester had eight violent crimes, or 0.61 per 1,000 people, and 66 property crimes, or 5.06 per 1,000 people, according to the list.

Although Rochester is safe, Schettenhelm said it’s certainly not the time for anyone to let their guard down.

“We believe that it’s that good partnership of our citizens taking good crime prevention steps, as well as the police out on patrol, that help keep those numbers low,” he said.

Schettenhelm said residents of the greater Rochester area all live in safe communities.

“We are fortunate in any of our areas — Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township. It speaks to the safety of the overall area, and we have a great partnership with our neighbors at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. I think we all work together to keep our communities safe,” he said.

Rochester Hills is the 18th-safest city on the list. In 2017, the city, which has a population of 73,900, had 53 violent crimes and 545 property crimes, with a violent crime rate of 0.72 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 7.37 per 1,000 residents.

“We are very fortunate,” said Capt. Michael Johnson, of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Rochester Hills substation. “We have citizens who are very observant. They contact us when they see something out of the ordinary. They have been doing that for a long time.”

Johnson said the city has seen a drop in serious crime, but an increase in car crashes and minor property crimes. “Our call for service went up two years in a row,” he said. “So we are a little busier.”

The National Council for Home Safety and Security compiles the data annually using the latest information from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, along with population data and other research conducted by the organization. Any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and those with populations under 10,000 were excluded from the list.