A new report by national security organization SafeWise ranks Middletown, New Jersey as the 9th best place in the country to raise a child. 

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It's the second year in a row they've finished in the top 10 out of 30 ranked and Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger credits the police force as a reason why, with the crime rate down for the seventh consecutive year.

Index crimes are down 13-percent over the past year and 48-percent compared to 2010, according to town officials.

There were 453-index crimes in 2016 which equals 6.81 per 1,000. In 2010, there were 873 index crimes.

Violent crimes which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault have decreased 63 percent from 42 in 2010 to 16 in 2016.

Burglary has declined 59 percent from 151 in 2010 to 62 in 2016, larceny is down 45 percent from 656 in 2010 to 364 in 2016, and auto theft declined by 57 percent from 23 in 2010 to 10 in 2016.

"The police force is very engaged and they're very visible and active within the community," said Scharfenberger.

That includes a presence at community events but also a focus on some of the crime spots.

"They're very visible, they know the town very well, they know all the trouble spots and a lot of the players in town which is all very helpful," said Scharfenberger. "They (police force) take care of the neighborhoods, they alert us to any possible problem spots or anything going on that we should know about."

He says there's been great communication efforts between police and residents in helping shape a safe community.

"We're very aggressive with even addressing the smallest problems," said Scharfenberger. "I think that's key to not allow small problems to evolve into larger problems."

He says quick action to address a crime issue is a big help which he says sends a message to criminals their behavior won't be tolerated.

Scharfenberger says the residents also deserve credit with creating a great place to raise a family.

"They take great pride in their community," said Scharfenberger. "They're very active. We have a lot of regional citizens groups that take care of the neighborhood and look out for each other and they're always in constant contact."

Scharfenberger says it's such a great place to raise a child and live in a safe environment because of all the family friendly activities and events they put together.

"We have free-concerts at the arts center, day camps for kids of all ages and so many other activities going on,"

He says while ranking 9th is a great accomplishment, they're always looking to continue making things even safer.

SafeWise looks at crime stats, state graduation rates, school quality and family-friendly towns who encourage healthy and active lifestyles among other criteria.

Here is the Top-10 best places to raise a child, you can see the full-30 here:

  • 1. Greenwich, Connecticut
  • 2. Essex, Vermont
  • 3. Fairfield, Connecticut
  • 4. Carmel, Indiana
  • 5. Merrimack, New Hampshire
  • 6. Fishers, Indiana
  • 7. Monroe Township, New Jersey
  • 8. Irvine, California
  • 9. Middletown, New Jersey
  • 10. Cary, North Carolina

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