In 1972, a mammoth 932-page book called Safe Places was published. Written by David and Holly Franke, it identified 46 places in the US as the safest communities. They based this on crime statistics as well as taxes, housing, community services and amenities, job opportunities, and medical facilities. Tiffin was the only Ohio community named. The recent announcement by Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz and Police Chief Fred Stevens on the 60% cut in crime from 2012 to 2013 (see crime stats below) helps to solidify the community’s reputation.
Using the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting database, we did an analysis of crime trends for Ohio cities. The most recent data for all cities is 2012, so we looked at rates of decrease from 2011 to 2012 to compare. When looking at property crime (more than 97% of Tiffin’s crime numbers), Tiffin’s 61% decrease is second only behind Broadview Heights, Ohio’s 72% decrease. This is out of 184 cities/counties with both 2011 and 2012 data reported. Of those, 88 have increasing crime, 96 have decreasing crime. The more than 40% decrease in violent crime (17 to 10) ranks Tiffin in the top 15% statewide both for decrease and numbers.
Why are Tiffin’s crime rates at next to historic lows (only year lower on record that I can find is 1990)? Police Chief Fred Stevens has instituted aggressive, proactive approaches to police work that are making an already safe community one of the safest in Ohio. Since becoming police chief in August 2012, and working together with Mayor Montz and Tiffin City Council, Chief Stevens has also hired more officers and revamped the department’s technology.
It’s also interesting to watch an interview with Chief Stevens from early 2012 to hear about his background (incl. time in Afghanistan) and policing philosophy: