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Ridgewood Named 6th Safest City in United States

Neighborhood research site NeighborhoodScout has named Ridgewood one of the top 100 safest cities in America.

Ridgewood is one of the ten safest cities in America, according to NeighborhoodScout, a website that tracks crime, schools and real estate data for communities across the country.

The village finished 6th in NeighborhoodScout's annual list of the Safest Cities in America, which was compiled using 2011 Uniform Crime Report data and released last month. Ridgewood was not included in last year's rankings, as previous census figures had the village with a population just below the 25,000 cut off.

"I'm proud of our designation, but certainly not surprised," Mayor Paul Aronsohn said. "Ridgewood is a community in the truest sense of the word, and we have a first-rate police force."

"The governing body sets a very high standard in terms of safety and it's constantly working with staff to keep the focus on individual safety," added Village Manager Ken Gabbert. "We have excellent staff and excellent technology in place. From a police standpoint, we're a nationally accredited police force. So it's good news."

Ridgewood's was down slightly from its 8.9 in 2010. It is far lower than the New Jersey and national averages.

According to NeighborhoodScout, the safest neighborhoods in Ridgewood, in descending order, are the southwest side of Ridgewood (Woodland/N.Monroe area); the norhwest area around Williard; the Somerville area on the east side; the B.F./Travell section around E. Glen and Maple; and finally, the downtown.

Three other Bergen County municipalities also made NeighborhoodScout's 2013 Safest Cities list – Fair Lawn (39th), Fort Lee (27th), and Bergenfield (2nd).

Franklin, Mass. was named the safest city in the country for 2013, an honor NeighborhoodScout bestowed upon Bergenfield last year.

The website calculates its rankings based on the total number of index crimes per 1,000 residents living in a city. Cities must have populations of at least 25,000 to be considered.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

RdgwdGRock February 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM
NeighborhoodScout should have factored in pedestrian safety, which is abysmal here in the Village. Even when I have the right of way, I always look both ways when crossing at intersections. Too many times, drivers do not slow down for those crossing streets.
jp1 February 14, 2013 at 01:47 PM
This is all very nice but when did the village become a city?
ltomastoo February 14, 2013 at 02:32 PM
ltomastoo It's a safe "city" if you are NOT a pedestrian!!!
Brian February 14, 2013 at 03:24 PM
There are few other cities on the list that have the number of pedestrians that Ridgewood has. Be thankful we have a walkable community. The downtown traffic setup is miserable for drivers and pedestrians and should be fixes but that doesn't mean you should slight this accomplishment. The Village council and police force and all of our neighbors should be commended for this significant accomplishment.
Brian February 14, 2013 at 03:25 PM
The article makes it very clear, any community with more than 25k people was considered a city for the sake of this study.
Marianne Herrmann February 14, 2013 at 05:26 PM
How come my comment was not added? I mentioned that the reason it is so safe is because of the police department. It is outstanding and we are lucky to have such committed professionals working in our town.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 14, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Ridgewood is a "walkable" community so long as your idea of a walk is going around a block - over and over again....Stepping into a crosswalk (especially in the CBD) is a total leap of faith. Even if the primary cars stop to allow you to cross the road, there is an very good chance some idiot will swerve around those cars and hit you. We've ALL seen it. When are the council and Ridgewood PD going to do something to address this issue? And I'm sorry, but the brick painted crosswalks do NOTHING! They are for esthetics - not safety. I sure hope the council and PD don't take this report and continue to ignore the real problem in town. Hate to say, it but I'm not expecting a damn thing to be done. Its sad.
No One February 15, 2013 at 12:22 AM
According to the Supreme Court case "Castle Rock v. Gonzales" police are there to enforce laws, not to protect.
June Mitchell February 15, 2013 at 02:19 AM
I guess that is why the police resort to pulling people over who are only going 26 mph in a 25 mph zone! Gotta justify that salary!
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 15, 2013 at 02:35 AM
Hey No One, The Ridgewood police could start by enforcing the "stop for pedestrians in crosswalk" law that's on the books in NJ. Next they could tackle the speed limit violations. Oh and how about ticketing the aggressive drivers who swerve around cars yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk. There is PLENTY that the Ridgewoood police should be doing - that they AREN'T DOING NOW! How long before another pedestrian strike in a crosswalk? I bet sooner than anyone would like....
Michele Cheshire February 15, 2013 at 04:44 AM
The police just sit in their cars giving people tickets. Not exactly groundbreaking police work, no offense officers.
No One February 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM
They do their best. During the last summer they did a sting at Van Nest Square to find people breaking that law. The main reason why you will never see cops pull over people in the CBD too often is because it is unsafe for them. Do you really want to be the cop working on such a busy street and exposing yourself in the road and opening yourself up to be hit? Also that fubars traffic on E. Ridgewood Ave. You also need to remember, there is a finite amount of cops that can only do so much. And hasn't the RPD tried to do more injury prevention courses for younger students including "Stop, look, wave"?
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 15, 2013 at 02:28 PM
No One, We don't need one week "stings" after an incident, we need consistent ENFORCEMENT of the laws. Is this really so hard? I'm not even sure how to respond to your comment that its too dangerous for the police to pull over law breakers in the CBD. Umm, I think ludicrous pretty much covers my thoughts on that one. If our police are somehow too frightened for their wellbeing (I don't think they are by the way) to enforce the laws, maybe we need to clean house and get some gutsy cops who are willing to risk their lives and actually write some tickets in the CBD. Maybe we could recruit some cops from the south bronx... I bet they wouldn't be scarred. By the way, the comment about having a finite number of police is true. What you fail to comprehend is the simple concept of a force multiplier - If the current lax enforcement suddenly gets strict, word will spread that the party is over. If you don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, you WILL likely get ticketed, Same goes for jay walking, aggressive driving, etc... By simply doing their jobs consistently the limited number of police we have will be able to influence the publics behavior for the better. This really isn't rocket science.
Alain du Bois February 15, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Nice! #6 Nationwide! that is awesome! Best environment for kids and families all around!
Andrew J February 15, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Concerned, I agree with you. I commented a while back about the lack of patrols and enforcement following several burglary reports and was amazed at the responses from people who were content and saw no need for the police to step it up. Unfortunately, many complaints or even suggestions to improve things in town are either ignored by those in authority or elicit the standard BS 'we're looking into it' rhetoric.
Harlan Consider February 15, 2013 at 07:48 PM
You have totally made that one up. The Police are NOT pulling people over for going 1 mph over the limit.
No One February 15, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Sir, have you ever worked in the street while traffic is active? No? Didn't think so. A police officer has to turn his back to traffic on one side and is open to be hit by a careless driver, now let's look at E. Ridgewood Ave. You pull someone over there and you have removed one lane of traffic which causes problems, or you are working in tight quarters in a fire hydrant blocked zone. Will they do this? Yes they do, but they can only do so much. If they were to put too much enforcement on E. Ridgewood Ave it would scare people from going to Ridgewood to enjoy the local businesses. You also seem to put a lot of extra pressure on the cops in our town. Listen to the police scanner one day, all they do is pull over people, respond to calls, or manage traffic. Yes they do have downtime, but you have to realize that they work 12 hours straight with no time to sleep.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 15, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Hey No One, Why exactly would an officer need to pull over a driver on Ridgewood Ave itself? Could they not use their squad car speaker to direct the driver in question to pull ahead and turn onto Walnut St., Van Neste Sq., Oak St., etc, etc, etc...? Or pull into a parking lot? Your comment about heightened enforcement "scaring people from going to Ridgewood to enjoy local businesses" is curious... It sounds to me like you have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, no matter how many pedestrians are killed. In my view, the people who would be scarred away from shopping or dinning in Ridgewood because they can no longer break the law without fear of being ticketed are people we don't need or want in Ridgewood anyway. If stepped up enforcement means ticked off taxpayers so be it. TOO MANY LIVES ARE BEING LOST for this to be ignored any longer.
No One February 15, 2013 at 10:56 PM
The Helen Lovejoy "Won't somebody please think about the children" approach is not valid here. If cops used their PA system to tell people to pull over, that would ruin the whole atmosphere of the town.... Also where are these pedestrian deaths you speak of? The last pedestrian (if you wish to stretch the word) was a little girl who was behind the nannies car when she backed up. Shows me these statistics. Why does the government need to tell people that they need to drive well or cross properly? do we not have the freedom to make bad decisions? Why should we instate an orwelian government to "save" lives? Crosswalk safety is a two way street and if either does something stupid then they need to be ready to accept the consequences.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 16, 2013 at 12:05 AM
No One, From the Patch in July of 2010: Rev John Heusser (83) was struck while walking to the Bergen County YWCA on Oak Street. Crossing over Franklin Avenue from Oak Street, Heusser was struck by Lori Bandazian, 45, of Oakland, who was trying to pass a car, Ridgewood police said. Bandazian was issued a summons for careless driving, failure to stop for a pedestrian in cross walk, improper passing and failure to maintain a lane. Rev Heusser later died of complications from this strike. From Feb 2013: An elderly man suffered a serious head injury when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing Lincoln Avenue Saturday morning, Ridgewood police said. According to Lt. Forest Lyons, the victim was crossing Lincoln Avenue at the intersection of Belair Road when he was hit by a Toyota sedan traveling south on Lincoln. The vehicle's windshield was smashed. Sorry, but there is NOTHING "Orwellian" about expecting the police to enforce traffic safety laws. I wonder if you'd be so smug if it was your father, daughter, brother, etc.. that got hit and killed. Empathy is in short supply around here.
Michael Sedon February 16, 2013 at 03:00 AM
I'd rather have to look both ways and pay a little extra attention when crossing the streets than have to worry about a stray bullet going through my eye form who knows where. Great job Ridgewood PD, thanks.
RdgwdGRock February 16, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Concerned - well put. While I do not worry about crime, I am concerned every time I walk about the Village. Doesn't matter if it is the CBD or various neighborhoods. Many drivers are in a rush, and don't care about pedestrians. I am always looking every which way when crossing at the intersections; if I did not I would be hurt or dead by now.
Mike Kender February 16, 2013 at 06:33 PM
An interesting experiment would be to get rid of all of the crosswalks in downtown Ridgewood for a year and then see how many pedestrians get struck by cars. I wouldn't be surprised if the rate actually fell, because it would force pedestrians to actually look both ways and pay attention before crossing the street.
Wendy G February 17, 2013 at 02:24 AM
As Spicoli once put it....."people on ludes shouldn't drive........" but more like, ...."people on phones shouldn't drive".... prior to texting/talking on phones while driving... this just wasn't an issue. In the 80's bank robberies were "the thing", I know, I was held up by a guy with a semi-automatic at the office I was managing across the street from the Duck Pond. Not a fun day, believe me. I'd rather dodge traffic.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad February 18, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Hey Eastside dad... Your post implies that the problem lies primarily with the pedestrians, correct? A couple of points - First of all, driving an automobile is a privilege, NOT a right. Second, obeying traffic laws is a required, NOT optional. And third, if you're incapable of driving an automobile in a responsible manner - obeying speed limits, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, etc... You should loose your privilege to drive. Its as simple as that. If I'm not mistaken, the majority of pedestrian fatalities in the CBD happened in crosswalks. The law clearly states "stop for pedestrians in crosswalks". Since you seem to have this whole situation figured out in a way that allows you (& others) to continue to drive carelessly, what's your solution for the blind or elderly? Should blind people or persons' with limited sight, like the elderly, be barred from crossing the road (in crosswalks) in Ridgewood? If so, what exactly does that say about us as a community? I'll tell you what is says - we're a bunch of self absorbed a-hole drivers that don't deserve the privilege of a drivers license, that's what.
Steve Freides February 21, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Bergenfield?
Edward Sullivan February 21, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Ridgewood was awarded an outstanding rating because the overall crime rate throughout the Village is very low. Instead of carping about bad drivers and predestian safety in the CBD focus on the fact that Ridgewood is a very safe community in which to to live and raise your children. Our focus should be on thanking the Ridgewood PD for their great work in keeping our town one of the safest in the country.
RdwdGrGuy1 February 21, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Does anyone here realize that the CBD is around a quarter mile long? The village is 6 sq miles. You expect cops to ignore the remaining 5.75 sq miles and focus all of their attention in the commercial section? To answer one discrepancy, yes, it is the pedestrians fault a considerable more time them it is the drivers. A vehicle traveling at 25 mph (speed limit) takes upwards of 100 ft or so to safely stop?? Just guessing here but that would mean that a car would need to begin stopping at chestnut street to completely stop before oak street to allow a pedestrian to cross? Hmmm interesting.... How about the fact that a pedestrian is struck roughly every three months or so. If you consider that 1000+ people a day for roughly 90 days crosses that intersection without being hit. It's a 1 in 90,000 chance of possibly running into an issue because you don't allow cars to stop for you before crossing. I see cops in town every day almost all day. I also hear a lot of sirens and on occasion listen to their walkie talkies via my scanner. The RPD is busy! They respond to upwards of 25,000 calls a year. That's 68.5 calls a day or 6 calls per hour. Or one call every ten minutes. Despite this.... They still do pull cars over for violations. Good job RPD!!! I personally think you're doing just fine.
Matt Allen February 21, 2013 at 11:41 PM
This has nothing to do with Ridgewood PD. You can eliminate it and nothing with change wrt crimes. Ridgewood is a uniformly wealthy segregated town that is surrounded by other towns which are also similar, if not as wealthy. That is all there is to the crime story. All the towns surrounding Ridgewood would rank similar or better has they cleared the population threshold of 25k.
Karen March 03, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Over and over again in Ridgewood, I see pedestrians "daring" the cars to hit them. While it is right and honorable (and the law) to stop your car for a crossing pedestrian IN THE CROSSWALK, the walkers have taken this on as their God given right to do whatever they want while crossing, many times not teaching their children to stop, look and listen before crossing, many times not crossing in designated areas, many times taking their sweet time to cross, all with no regard for the traffic! The pedestrians are contributing to the problem.

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