By Chip Chandler

West Texas A&M University has once again been recognized as one of the safest places in the country to attend college, according to an independent analyst.

Specifically, Canyon was named the 24th safest college town in America by SafeWise, a leading online resource for all things safety and security. Canyon is the safest city in Texas on the list; no other cities from Texas made the Top 50.

Previously, WT was ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 10 nationally by Your Local Security, a separate national security association.

SafeWise analyzed FBI crime data for 422 cities that report the lowest violent crimes and property crimes per 1,000 residents. To qualify for the list, towns must have populations of 15,000 or more and be home to accredited colleges with four-year degrees.

Canyon was cited for having 0.9 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 9.4 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Such rankings show the benefit of WT’s community policing policies, as well as its collaborative efforts with the City of Canyon.

“Our WT agencies and those in the area around the University are very proactive in ensuring the safest communities that we can provide,” said Robert D. Byrd, WT assistant chief of police. “We’re very concerned about the safety of our students, staff and faculty, and we do our very best to serve everyone.”

The Canyon Police Department takes a proactive and community-based approach to safety, said Canyon City Manager Joe Price.

“We strive to have a strong and collaborative relationship with the University Police Department to work towards having the safest environment for Canyon and our University,” Price said. “Our citizens, visitors and WT students and employees play an active role in our community to proactively help make it a safe place. They have a strong support for our brothers and sisters in both of our policing agencies.”

Byrd cited the recent adoption of SafeZone, a free app that offers non-emergency assistance, first-aid calls for medical assistance and emergency calls if the user feels threatened or needs urgent help. Users may opt to check in at their location if they are working alone on campus and want an added level of personal safety. The app cuts down on officers’ response time because of its location services, Byrd said.

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