Columbia has been 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 and community safety, natural-disaster risk and financial safety.
Since 2018, Howard County has made historic investments in the Howard County Police Department, including the largest increase in sworn personnel in 15 years. Under County Executive Calvin 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,” said Police Chief Gregory Der. “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, the Ball administration 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 during 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.