Movoto Real Estate, a real estate website known for its creative top 10 lists, compiled crime statistics in cities across Georgia, such as murder, rape and property crime rates, and ranked the cities according to which had the lowest rates.
According to Movoto, the site looked at the 84 cities in the state of Georgia with a population of more than 10,000 people and compared crime data from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report. If a city did not have crime data in the report, it was omitted, the website says, leaving 73 cities.
After looking at the crime data, Movoto published a list of the top 50 safest cities in the state. While Marietta came in near the bottom of the top 50 list at 47th, Acworth and Kennesaw earned high praise from the site: Acworth claimed the second spot, and Kennesaw placed fourth.
Captain Mark Cheatham of the Acworth Police Department, which consists of 43 officers, said his city had no murders in 2013 and saw nine violent crimes, which includes forcible rape and aggravated assault.
Acworth saw a total of 404 property crimes in 2013, Cheatham said, including larcenies and thefts.
Movoto lists Acworth’s population as 20,425.
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood cited the city’s leadership as one of the key reasons his city ranks so highly on the list.
“It’s leadership — from the police chief down through the ranks of our command staff — and our City Council, our commitment (to) making sure we … made the kind of investment, financial as well as philosophical investment, to … create the second safest community in the state of Georgia,” Allegood said.
Allegood added the city’s police department stays well-connected with its citizens.
“When you have a … policing philosophy that is community-minded, then you’re out there making sure you’re connected with all the neighborhoods through community watches, though homeowners association,” he said.
According to Brian Bulthuis, Acworth’s city manager, the city spent about $3.5 million on its police force last year, representing about 30 percent of its total budget in fiscal 2014.
The Kennesaw Police Department also listed zero murders on its annual report from last year. In addition, the report shows Kennesaw experienced 27 aggravated assaults and 415 larcenies and thefts in 2013.
Pam Davis, spokeswoman for the city, said public safety, consisting of the city’s police and corrections departments, received more than $5.3 million from the budget for fiscal 2014, which she said was just under 30 percent of what the city spent overall.
The city has 65 sworn police officers, Davis added.
Kennesaw’s population is 29,783, according to Movoto.
Mayor Mark Mathews said “community involvement” is a major factor in keeping his city safe.
“What we’ve been able to create here is a quality of life that everybody kind of takes pride in their community and everybody kind of works together and really looks out for each other,” Mathews said. “I think it’s a multi-pronged success, really. It goes to our professional staff as well as our public safety officials and police officials as well as the schools, the churches and the subdivisions and community as a whole.”
Mathews said active neighborhood watch programs help keep homeowners around the city crime-free.
“I think everybody that’s made the list does everything they can do to make their city safe, and we’re honored to be recognized in the top 10,” the mayor said. “It takes a commitment and the dedication of everybody.”