Officials take Kent’s top 50 safest city ranking with a grain of salt

Grace Murray

Out of hundreds of Ohio cities, Kent has been named the 41st safest city in the state, according to a recent report by

The home security promotion website placed Broadview Heights, Hudson and Streetsboro at the top of the list, ranking them first through third, but Lt. James Prusha of the Kent Police Department said coming in 41st is nothing to be ashamed of.

“For us to be in the top 50 out of every city in Ohio,” Prusha said, “is really a feather in our cap.”

SafeWise Editor-in-Chief Brooke Niemeyer wrote in an email interview that rankings were based on the most recent FBI crime data, population and safety initiatives. However, when asked to comment on the specific criteria assessed in the FBI crime data and the other noted factors, she did not respond.

With a lack of explicit details, Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said it’s hard to rely on lists such as SafeWise’s.

“There are so many different ways of measuring public safety and interpreting safety data that we’ve learned not to read too much into these lists,” he said. “They offer an interesting perspective, but each list maker develops his or her own calculation methodology and makes assumptions that can swing the data fairly dramatically. So it’s not exactly hard science.”

However, that doesn’t mean Ruller believes Kent doesn’t deserve acclaim for its officials’ efforts in safety.

“People feel safe living, visiting and doing business in Kent,” he said. “That’s a testament to the level of professionalism that our police department provides in our community.”

Prusha agreed with Ruller’s sentiment, but also noted, “even the things that we do well, we could do better.”

The traffic in downtown is a major area of concern for Prusha. He said the streets are not only congested but also unsafe.

“I’m concerned just driving around,” Prusha said. “I’m afraid of traffic in Kent – not only is it bogged down, sometimes we get pedestrians hit by cars and other things like that. It’s not like someone is going out and committing a violent crime, but it’s still unsafe.”

In addition to Prusha’s traffic concerns, Ruller said the department also has to deal with a lot of drinking offenses – a problem that law enforcement officials are looking for an answer to.

“Our heaviest workload tends to center around problems with underage drinking, drunk and disorderly conduct and late-night bar fights,” Ruller said. “We’d like to see those number of incidents reduced, but it’s not unusual in a college town with an active nightlife.”

That being said, both Ruller and Prusha said they feel the City is moving in the right direction, and a study such as SafeWise’s is simply validation along the way.

“We always try to learn from results like [SafeWise’s] to push us to be better,” Ruller said, “but we don’t over-invest in findings.”

To view the SafeWise’s complete list of rankings, visit

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].