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Nashua Named Safest City in New England

The Gate City earned another recognition this week as WalletHub named Nashua the second safest city in the country, ranking it as the safest metropolitan area in New England and trailing only Irvine, Calif. 

And the Queen City also came in among the top 25 safest spots, yet another sign New Hampshire has largely avoided the national uptick in crime and violence.

The data analysts at WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of safety like assaults per capita, as well as the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated, the unemployment rate, and road quality. The study also looked at the financial security afforded to residents in every community. Nashua ranked second on the financial end of the safety spectrum.

“Aside from the types of hazards that can cause bodily injury or other physical harm, taking out an unaffordable second mortgage, forgoing health insurance, or even visiting unsecured websites are also ways people run into danger. One of the biggest worries for many people right now is the cost of inflation, which reached a four-decade high this year and threatens Americans’ financial safety,” the study stated. “Some cities are simply better at protecting their residents from harm.”

Nashua beat out all the New England cities on the list, with the closest competition coming from Portland, Maine in fourth place, and Warwick, R.I. at fifth. Burlington, Vt. clocked in at eighth place, and Massachusetts did not get on the board until the 28th position with the city of Worcester. Boston is the least-safe New England metropolis, ranked at number 85.

San Bernardino, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and St. Louis, Mo. are at the bottom according to WalletHub’s ranking.

Not that New Hampshire — and the cities of Nashua and Manchester in particular — don’t have challenges. The number of opioid overdoses in both has soared in the past year. According to Chris Stawasz, regional director of American Medical Response, overdoses and deaths from drugs like fentanyl have been outpacing last year. By the end of August, the total number of overdoses was 624, and deaths were up by 19 percent over last year.

Nashua recently came in 4th in the WalletHub study of best-run cities in America, with overall safety being one reason for the top marks. State Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Nashua) said one key to Nashua’s success has been local leadership understanding what people in the city need from their government, including robust safety measures.

“We in Nashua understand the needs of the community, and we actively work hard to make the city a desirable city to live in,” O’Brien said.

Doug Babcock, an adjunct instructor at Saint Michael’s College, told WalletHub that a transparent police department that has strong ties to the community is key to building a safe city.

“Police departments are a crucial pillar of our communities and the relationship of trust goes both ways,” Babcock said. “Departments need to be transparent and strive to represent the makeup of the community they serve. To do that, though, people from throughout the community must be willing and able to serve in the role.”

The Nashua Police Department is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, and s considered a flagship department by CALEA for its work to meet nationally recognized standards for community policing.

Concord Ranked Top Capitol in New England, Safest in U.S.

Granite Staters may think Concord is a center of chaos and conflict, but a new report finds it’s the safest state capital in the country — and the most liveable capital city in New England.

The data analysts at WalletHub released its latest rankings on Monday. Concord came in sixth in the nation for overall livability, thanks in part to having the lowest crime rate of any capital city in the U.S. Austin, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., and Madison, Wisc. made up the top three.

“It scored well in terms of affordability, as it has the third-highest median household income, over $68,000. Looking at the capital’s economic well-being, we found that it has the third-lowest share of the population living in poverty, just 9 percent, the lowest unemployment rate, 2.2 percent, as well as a low bankruptcy rate,” added WalletHub’s Jill Gonzalez.

Concord finished ahead of Montpelier, Vt. (18) and well ahead of Boston, Mass. (23). The remaining New England capitols all finished in the bottom 10: Providence, R.I. (41), Augusta, Maine (44), and Hartford, Conn. (48).

Concord’s positives are no secret to Granite Staters like state Rep. Safiya Wazir (D). Wazir’s family fled Taliban rule in Afghanistan when she was a child and she is proud to call Concord her new home.

“Concord is a great place to raise a family and offers a variety of quality educational opportunities for children and adults,” she said. “Concord was a welcoming place when my family and I arrived as refugees, a place we could live and thrive, contribute to, and form strong connections and a deep sense of community.”

WalletHub’s analysts looked at key indicators like affordability as well as safety and quality of life when determining the rankings, according to Gonzalez.

“Other factors that are an indication for Concord’s quality of life include the large share of adults in good health, almost 87 percent, the large number of movie theaters, its air quality, low crime rate and an overall high perception of safety,” she said.

Concord typically ranks in the top 10 on WalletHub’s annual list, thanks to its strong economic base, low crime rate, and other attributes. Concord ranks 4th in overall affordability, 17th in economic well-being, and 14th in quality of education and health. It has the lowest crime rate of all the capital cities, and it is tied for 1st in having the lowest unemployment rate for capital cities. Concord is also third in terms of having the lowest poverty rate. 

Trenton, N.J. ranks worst in the country among capital cities, narrowly edging out Joe Biden’s home state capital of Dover, Del. Little Rock, Ark. has the highest crime rate, while Trenton has the highest poverty rate and the worst rate for education. Hartford has the highest unemployment rate, and Boston ranks as the least affordable. 

Granite State cities are no strangers to accolades like this. Nashua topped the 2019 list of best cities put out by Money Magazine, and it came in the top ten in this year’s WalletHub list of best cities for employment.