When Chris Hussell moved to Cary more than a decade ago, living in a safe city was one of the factors he considered.
This week he said he’s glad Cary has proven him right.
“Crime seems low because I haven’t been hearing of it,” he said. “We moved here because of that, and so has everyone else. The growth we’re seeing in Cary is because everyone is coming for the same reason.”
Cary shows up on regularly on top-10 lists that measure affordability and quality of life.
This month, Cary made a list of the top-10 safest cities in America for 2018. It’s the only town in North Carolina or South Carolina on the list, compiled by SmartAsset.
“When families are looking to move to a new area, they often consider the affordability of a new city, their new commutes and the quality of local schools,” the report said. “But one factor they can overlook is safety.”
Cary came in at No. 9, but that’s down four spots from last year’s survey. The drop is related more to traffic safety than crime, according to the survey.
“More than just being crime-free, a safe city also has careful drivers and clean air,” the report said. “Commuters and high vehicle mortality rates make Cary less safe than it could be.”
SmartAsset cited Cary’s low rates of property and violent crime. The town was in the top three in both categories among the cities SmartAsset ranked.
Interim Police Chief Toni Dezomits said her department takes the town’s safety record seriously.
“It’s an honor to be named one of America’s safest cities, and it’s one we share with our citizens,” she said. “Keeping Cary not only safe, but one of the best places in America to live, work and raise a family is a direct result of the partnership our talented and dedicated officers and our community.”
Cities were ranked in seven categories.
Crime was judged on data from the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Reporting Database. Traffic and drug-poisoning deaths were measured per 100,000 residents from government data sources. The survey included data on excessive drinking by residents and used Air Quality Index data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cary’s violent crime rate in 2017 FBI report was 90 incidents per 100,000 residents. The vehicular mortality rate was 7.9 per 100,000 residents, while the drug poisoning mortality rate was 8.1 per 100,000 residents.
The survey found 17.6 percent of Cary’s population engaged in excessive drinking, which countyhealthrankings.org defined as consuming more than four drinks (for a woman) or five drinks (for a man) on a single occasion in the past 30 days, or heavy drinking, defined as more than one drink per woman or two drinks per man per day on average.
The EPA gave Cary a 45 (zero to 50 is considered good) on its Air Quality Index in 2017.
So what other towns were on the list?
Sunnyvale, California, topped it again. It was in the top half of every metric with crime being almost nonexistent, the survey said. It also had a low vehicle mortality rate of six per 100,000 residents. Sunnyvale has about 153,000 people compared to Cary’s estimated 160,000 residents.
The cities on the list tended to be suburbs in larger metropolitan area — Cary to nearby Raleigh, Sunnyvale to San Francisco, Alexandria, Virginia to Washington, D.C.
Alexandria was No. 2 on the list.
Honolulu, Hawaii, with its clean, fresh air and a very low traffic mortality rate, came in at No. 4.