Edgefield received top honors this week when it was announced on Oct. 26 by the website Safewise.com that the town ranked as the #1 Safest City in South Carolina. The honor is based on 2013 data cities provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (municipalities included must have a population over 2,000). The site compares violent crimes and property crimes in each of the cities that supply complete crime reports to the FBI. The site then tabulates the chances of these crimes happening out of 1,000.
Safewise characterized Edgefield as “a thriving artisan community” and highlighted that the town’s incidences of property and violent crimes decreased by nearly 35% since the site’s last list. The site also noted that Edgefield reported no incidents of murder, rape, or robbery in 2013.
Edgefield Police Chief Ronnie Carter and Edgefield Mayor Ken Durham both spoke to The Advertiser shortly after the announcement. Chief Carter said, “We’re proud to be the safest city in South Carolina.” He also reminded that this is not the first time Edgefield has ranked well on the site; last year, Edgefield was ranked as the 2nd Safest City in SC.
Mayor Durham said that while he was “very proud” of the accomplishment, he could “take no credit for it.” Seeming to echo Safewise’s assertion that “many of the safest cities on our list share one characteristic: their leaders, citizens, and law enforcement officials work collaboratively to keep crime at bay,” Durham called Edgefield’s honor a “joint effort” noting that the town’s police department, the sheriff’s office, and citizens all had a hand in the achievement. Saying that it is mostly the negative news that gets the focus, Mayor Durham expressed excitement that positive news, especially in regards to law enforcement, was getting attention. Referring specifically to the Edgefield Police Department, Durham said, “They’ve got their eyes open.” He went on to say, “Ronnie and all the guys are doing a great job.” He added that citizens are a “big help” especially with the tips they provide. He spoke highly of the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office saying that the ECSO works well with the EPD and that ECSO deputies were always available to provide backup to the EPD. Durham went on to say that the town tries to be proactive and encouraged citizens to work jointly with authorities by reporting crimes or their suspicions of crimes to law enforcement.