Today, Columbia was recognized as the “Safest City in America” by WalletHub for the third year in a row. WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three criteria, home & community safety, natural-disaster risk, and financial safety.   

“This accolade is a testament to the excellent quality of life we cherish in Howard County,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “For many of us, home is somewhere you feel secure and part of an inclusive community. We all want to be and feel safe in our neighborhoods. I want to thank our police officers, firefighters and paramedics, social workers, community advocates, and engaged residents for working together to achieve this honor for our community once again. Public safety and keeping our community safe remains a top priority of mine. I recognize that we still have work to do and will continue to do better and make sure every community in Howard County is and feels the safest it can be.”   

Throughout the COVID-19 response, Howard County first responders have not only served as essential workers but have continued their standards of excellence despite the challenges of this year. The Department of Fire and Rescue Services established hospital liaisons in the Spring to assist with COVID-19 patient transfers and they also instituted a decontamination team to increase EMS transport turnaround time at the hospital. Moreover, by strictly adhering to proper protocols and guidance, not one fire and rescue employee contracted COVID-19 from job related duties or breach of issued personal protective equipment. 

“This designation is a testament to our residents and how they embrace a safe and engaged community plan featuring preparedness and prevention,” said Fire Chief William Anuszewski. “Our emergency responders credit the community partnership to maintaining Columbia as a safe city.”  

“In Howard County, we have a philosophy and commitment to community policing, which impacts overall crime in our communities,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “We will continue to work on behalf of all the people we serve to keep Columbia and all areas of Howard County safe.”  

“Over the past two years, my main goal was to increase community involvement within the Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Marcus Harris. “I have developed a great working relationship with the Howard County Police Department that has enabled us to work together to keep the citizens of Howard County safe. This strong relationship has no doubt led to Columbia being named the safest city in America”   

“You can’t have a thriving community without a strong sense of safety,” said Milton Matthews, Columbia Association President/CEO. “This latest national ranking further proves that everyone living and working in Columbia is committed to creating a place where physical and mental health, financial opportunities and emergency response are an ongoing priority. Columbia Association (CA) is proud to provide services that promote the safety and wellbeing of this community, and we look forward to building on that in the future.”  

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Scott E