From STAFF REPORTS
Jonesborough may be known as Tennessee’s Oldest Town, but it is also known as one of Tennessee’s Safest Towns. According to Value Penguin’s rankings based on a variety of crime metrics sourced from the FBI across 90 Tennessee cities with a population over 5,000, Jonesborough ranks as the sixth safest small town in Tennessee and overall, the ninth safest town in the state.
The crime scores (violent crime and property crime) ranged from 291 to 7,532; the average crime score for the state is 2,582 and Jonesborough’s overall score was 743.
Craig Ford, Operations Manager/Director of Public Safety, explains what these numbers mean for Jonesborough, “That is phenomenal for Jonesborough, and one of those reasons it is great is that you have to look at the location of cities. Some of those are off the beaten path and when you look at Jonesborough, even though our resident population is just north of 5,000, we have 35,000 cars a day on 11E that are coming through our jurisdiction and we have 12,000 cars a day on Main Street.”
The time, energy and commitment to quality service put into achieving such a significant honor is not overlooked by leaders in Jonesborough. Kelly Wolfe, Jonesborough Mayor, says the town has Jonesborough’s first responders to thank for the new ranking. “We are very proud of our police, fire and EMS staff, and the positive image that they have, and the great work they do in our community,” Wolfe said. “These are very hardworking people who literally put their lives on the line each day. The importance of the role they play cannot be overstated and anytime you get an award such as this, it merely serves as confirmation as to the great job our folks are doing.”
Ford illustrates how Jonesborough is able to keep crime numbers immensely low despite the fact the town attracts thousands of outside visitors for events throughout the year. “Our philosophy in law enforcement is to have a proactive approach to things and not a reactive approach. So when we are out there in the community patrolling and people come through Jonesborough, they see our officers and police cruisers around the businesses and neighborhoods. You cannot have a better deterrent than that. That helps keep those crime numbers down.”
This information is important to residents and visitors. Ron Street, Jonesborough Police Chief, expresses what this research will say to the public, “I think it sends a pretty strong message to those thinking about committing a crime that Jonesborough is not the place to come and do that. It is also a prestigious thing to say that your town that you live in is the ninth safest place in the state of Tennessee.” However, Street has the motivation and desire to do even better. “One of the things that we’ve strived for and will continue to strive for is to be in the top 5.”
Ford clarifies how this ranking is beneficial to Jonesborough’s future, “I think that in and of itself it’s a very good economic development tool for us, for people who are looking for a safe place to live, and maybe to locate a business. That’s good for the Town of Jonesborough as a whole.”