Parkville named 8th safest city in Missouri

Parkville has been named the eighth safest city in the state, with city leadership taking time to thank the Parkville Police Department at the city’s most recent meeting.

The SafeWise annual report released earlier this month listed Parkville in the top 20 safest cities with a violent crime rate of less than one per 1,000 residents. SafeWise, a safety advocacy website, compiled its report based on FBI crime statistics and population data.

“Parkville has won a lot of awards in the last year, year-and-a-half, but I think the most important thing —at least the thing residents are most concerned about — is the safety of the community in which they live,” said mayor Nan Johnston at the Tuesday, July 17 board of aldermen meeting. “It’s all due to our police department, led by chief Chrisman.”

Chief of police Kevin Chrisman thanked the officers in his department for their hard work and commitment.

“They are our ambassadors to the city and this recognition is well deserved,” Chrisman said, also thanking the city administration and board of aldermen for their support. “Most importantly I want to thank our citizens — those who work and play in this community. This is a team effort. If we didn’t get the phone calls, get the Facebook posts, get the stuff that people are concerned about ... they want a high quality of life with less fear of crime. We’d rather respond and it be nothing than find out that something happened and a few days later they call the police.”

Johnston said she has heard many voices of praise about the city’s police department, and appreciates the compassion and professionalism officers have shown in sometimes-difficult situations.

Each year, SafeWise evaluates cities in every state based on the number of reported violent crimes. Property crimes are also included in the evaluation to help break a tie. The rate was calculated per 1,000 residents in each city to make it easier to compare cities with vastly different populations.

According to the report, Parkville had low crime rates, including 0.31 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 15.04 property crimes per 1,000 residents. Other nearby cities in the top 20 included Pleasant Hill and Peculiar.

Also at the meeting, the board heard an economic development report from Parkville EDC director Nathan BeVelle. He came on the job in February and said the time has flown by with many projects in the works.

BeVelle said he inherited several projects, with eight new named projects on the horizon. Apex Plaza and Six at Park are already under way, with other projects bearing titles varying from Orca to Raptor — names used when confidentiality is still key to the project — in the works. The redevelopment of the old Missouri American Water building is also ongoing, and BeVelle said it was a key component of downtown Parkville. The Southern Platte County Fire District plans to renovate the water building into an expanded fire station.

The EDC is also working on its business retention program, working to grow existing businesses in Parkville. While the EDC’s executive director position was vacant last year, membership decreased by 17 percent, so BeVelle said he is working to rebuild and grow that base.