ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Columbia has been recognized as the “Safest City in America” by WalletHub for the fourth year in a row. WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three criteria, home & community safety, natural-disaster risk, and financial safety.
“This accolade is a testament to the excellent quality of life we cherish in Howard County,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “For many of us, home is somewhere you feel secure and part of an inclusive community. We all want to be and feel safe in our neighborhoods. I want to thank our police officers, firefighters and paramedics, social workers, community advocates, and engaged residents for working together to achieve this honor for our community once again. Public safety and keeping our community safe remains a top priority of mine. I recognize that we still have work to do and will continue to make sure every community in Howard County is and feels the safest it can be.”
Throughout the pandemic, Howard County first responders have served as essential workers and continued their standards of excellence despite the challenges of this year. The Department of Fire and Rescue Services deployed its Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) team to vaccinate home-bound residents and operate pop-up vaccination clinics. Additionally, Howard County continues to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, with 87.1% of eligible (12+) residents full vaccinated, and 93.4% receiving at least one dose.
“We at HCDFRS strive to maintain a safe environment and high quality of life by providing the best services to our community,” said Fire Chief Louis Winston. “We are part of the team that works together in Howard County to ensure that safety is a high priority for our residents, communities, and visitors.”
“Howard County continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in the state and the region,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “We focus on restorative justice programs to reduce recidivism and divert people away from the criminal justice system whenever possible. We also train our officers and dispatchers in crisis intervention techniques to help safely resolve mental health crises without injury or criminal arrest. When combined with our community outreach programs and commitment to equity in policing, these efforts help reduce the impact of crime on the communities we serve.”
“Our Sheriff’s Office has increased community outreach and engagement with the public over the past three years,” said Sheriff Marcus Harris. “Our connections with the community, and collaborative work with our public safety counterparts, has allowed us to keep Howard County Safe, and we are thrilled to have maintained this record for four consecutive years”
“Columbia was built on the principle that people of all backgrounds – together – make a vibrant community,” said Columbia Association (CA) President and CEO Lakey Boyd. “The high quality of life we’re able to enjoy is achieved when each individual feels safe being exactly who they are, living in their neighborhoods, sending their kids to school and enjoying public spaces. CA is grateful to be part of that mission, and this team continues to be committed to providing places and programs where everyone feels welcome and safe in their environment. We thank everyone who works tirelessly to earn Columbia this kind of recognition.”