Irvine and Santa Ana (Yes, That Santa Ana) are Dueling Safest Cities in America

UPDATE, DEC. 20, 12:39 P.M.: My morning coffee obviously had not kicked in yet when I posted the original version of this item on Irvine and Santa Ana appearing on dueling lists of the safest cities in America. For, had I been fully awake, I would not have read right over Mission Viejo being ranked the No. 3 safest city in the nation among metropolitan areas with populations of 75,000-99,000, according to CP Press, whose scores are based on violent crimes reported. As previously noted, Lake Forest was No. 9 in that category. Mission Viejo and Lake Forest are Orange County Sheriff's Department contract cities.

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ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 20, 10:02 A.M.: Once again, Irvine has been deemed the safest city in America, and you even get a sense at what a forgone conclusion that is in a Dec. 8 release that begins with Mayor Sukhee Kang saying, "Although we have been the safest city in the U.S. for communities of more than 100,000 for many years now, we do not take it for granted."

However, the online version of Forbes does not include Irvine among its separate list of the top 10 safest cities in America. The financial mag does have another Orange County city at No. 4, and you'll never guess which one.

It's Santa Ana, the county seat with one of the highest concentrations of Spanish speakers in America, generally the most murders among OC's 34 incoporated cities, and average family household incomes that were iffy before the country's economic downturn--certainly more in all three areas than upscale Irvine.

Here's the Forbes entry:

#4 Santa Ana, CA
Car fatality rank: 4
Violent crime rank: 11

Forbes employs a different methodology than CQ Press, which on Dec. 8 released its annual publication City Crime Rankings 2011-2012: Crime in Metropolitan America. That report ranked Irvine No. 1 at reporting less crime than any American city with a population exceeding 100,000, up from No. 3 the previous year. Orange is at No. 9.

In cities with 75,000 to 99,000 population, Lake Forest comes in at No. 9 in the CQ rankings. Combine those cities with metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people, and Irvine comes in at No. 6 overall. The CQ analysis relies on murder, rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft data to calculate its rankings. As noted above, Forbes factors in those violent crimes and car fatalities.

Days after the CQ rankings were announced, Irvine issued a second release heralding preliminary findings in an FBI report that show the city has the lowest per capita violent crime rate in the nation among cities with populations over 100,000. And that rate--which calculates murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults--was down 8 percent from the previous year in Irvine, city officials note.

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