ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Columbia was named the “Safest City in America” by WalletHub for the fifth consecutive year. WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three criteria: home & community safety, natural-disaster risk, and financial safety.
Since becoming Howard County Executive in 2018, I have remained committed to creating the safest communities through inclusive outreach and comprehensive investments in public safety, while improving transparency and accountability. This accolade is a testament to the excellent quality of life we cherish in Howard County. I want to thank our police officers, firefighters and paramedics, social workers, community advocates, and engaged residents for working together to achieve this honor for our community once again. Public safety and keeping our community safe remain a top priority. I recognize that we still have work to do to make sure every community in Howard County is and feels the safest it can be.
Since 2018, Ball has made historic investments in the Howard County Police Department, including the largest increase in sworn personnel in 15 years. Under County Executive Ball’s leadership, violent and property crimes have declined in key areas during the past four years. Robberies declined 46 percent between 2019 and 2021; assaults dropped 13 percent during that same period; and burglaries declined 33 percent. Data from 2022 show those trends continuing.
Howard County continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in the state and the region. In the last year, we created a new unit that focuses on gun and gang crimes, as well as repeat offenders. This collaborative team has made a significant impact on reducing and preventing many serious crimes in our neighborhoods. Officers in patrol and throughout the department are focused on community outreach efforts to help reduce the impact of crime on the people we serve.
In addition, Ball has also made unprecedented investments in fire and rescue personnel, stations, and equipment, driving down response times and meeting best-in-class standards. He has provided resources to add 83 positions over the past four years, allowing the department to meet national standards of four fire personnel on each piece of rescue equipment. His record investments in Fire facilities have led to the opening of the new Waterloo Fire station, set to open later this month, and planning for a new station in North Columbia.
“The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Service is committed to maintaining Howard County as one of the Safest Cities in America,” said Fire Chief Louis Winston. “Through an all-hazards approach, our diversified fire, rescue, emergency medical services, and community outreach programs promote life safety and create a safe environment for our community.”
"The Columbia Association team is grateful to see Columbia once again honored in this way. As a community, we can only reach our full potential when each of us feels safe, safe in our homes and schools, safe in our workplaces and open spaces, safe to be uniquely ourselves,” said Lakey Boyd, President and CEO of Columbia Association (CA). “CA remains committed to maintaining spaces and providing programs where everyone doesn't just feel safe, but truly welcome, seen and celebrated. We continue to embrace ideas to create an even safer and more vibrant Columbia in the future. Thank you to everyone who works to keep us safe, healthy and thriving each and every day."