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Study names Valparaiso 12th safest Florida city

VALPARAISO — A recent study has ranked Valparaiso as one of the top 50 safest cities across the state of Florida.

Security Baron uses crime statistics from the FBI to determine which cities are the safest.

This year, Valparaiso comes in at number 12, with an average safety score of 84.37 and a citizen-to-officer ratio of 2.36 per 1,000 people.

Valparaiso mayor Brent Smith, who was ecstatic about the news, credits much of the ranking to the Valparaiso Police Department.

“We certainly have a great police department,” Smith said. “When they get a call, they generally have a response time of three minutes and we have good street lighting for at night.”

According to Valparaiso Police Chief Joseph Hart, the small town atmosphere has a lot to do with crime staying so low.

“We have always been a close knit group,” Hart said. “We go out of our way to give our citizens service.”

Hart said they don’t see violent crimes in the city very often, but if numbers start to rise, the department is quick to jump into action.

“We look at our numbers constantly,” Hart said. “We try to determine why there might be an increase and apply appropriate actions to solve the issue and bring those numbers down.”

Valparaiso Police officers are expected to constantly check on things and are held to a very high standard.

“We work as a team to try to do what is right for our citizens and provide a good, safe place for them,” Hart said. “A police officer here is more than an officer, he is a community servant. I expect my officers to offer citizens service or a solution no matter the issue. That is how we operate.”

Also on the list of top 50 safest cities were: Niceville at 31, Gulf Breeze at 47 and Milton at 50.

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This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: Study names Valparaiso 12th safest Florida city