CNN Money ranks Ripon as one of the 10 safest cities in California.
Civic leaders from Police Chief Ed Ormonde, former Mayor Leo Zuber, and Ripon Unified Superintendent Ziggy Robeson to Chamber of Commerce Board President Leo Stewart all agree that the crime statistics that earned Ripon the recognition by CNN Money is the result of community partnerships.
“We value and appreciate the Ripon Police Department and everyone that is part of keeping our environment safe for our students and staff each and every day,” Robeson said.
The ranking was the result of a study by “CNN Money” comparing the level of safety throughout the state. They came up with the 50 safest communities with Hillsborough being rated No. 1.
The statewide citation recognized Ripon as the “Jewell of the Central Valley,” a center for almond production with open spaces and a safe environment. The violent crime rate is listed as a low 40.9 per 100,000 residents and the chance of being affected by property crime is less than 2%. That earned it the 10th spot among the 50 safest cities than CNN Money listed.
In ranking the safest communities in the state of some 39 million people, the statistics were based on FBI violent crime reports and property crimes were measured by BackgroundChecks.org research data.
“Each year the Ripon Police Department begins with specific goals on how to improve and provide better service,” Chief Ormonde said, “with the ultimate goal of having no crime committed within our community.”
The community has also seen a dramatic drop in property crimes that are being reported in the last three years in part to programs that put officer into residential neighborhood more frequently and encourage non-enforcement contacts with individuals and families in the Ripon community, Ormonde added.
The chief further noted that the newly initiated Helping Hand Community Partnership coupled with long time department community events continue to help build a better relationship and suppress crime to the lowest level since 2004.
“Simply put, we want our community to contact us to report odd, suspicious and criminal activity. In return our community expects a certain level of safety, security and service which we continually try to achieve,” Chief Ormonde said.
Robeson said the schools are “very fortunate to be in a school district within the City of Ripon” being in a collaborative partnership with the police and fire departments that ensure the safety of the community’s students.
“There is open dialogue and involvement within our school district, our law enforcement and fire agencies and the Ripon community. Our students, parents and employees (do so)through the Superintendent, Student Council, Community Roundtable meetings and certificated and classified representative councils regarding the local control and accountability plan,” she said.
Former School District Superintendent and Ripon Mayor Leo Zuber resisted taking any credit for the city’s high ranking during his leadership tenure, saying it was obviously just a culmination of efforts by a lot of people in making a safe community.
“It was just the time that somebody decided to take a look,” Zuber said.
The former mayor added that the people of the community take an active part — they see something suspicious and they report it, he added.
“We are very proud of our law enforcement but they can’t do it by themselves. The community takes pride in being safe and they all work hard to keep it that way.”
Larry Stewart, longtime school district trustee and current board chairman of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, said his family found Ripon to be a wonderful place to raise their children who have come back after their advanced education.
He added that the chamber has made great progress in formulating the social nature of the city with all the events its sponsors throughout the year from the Almond Blossom Festival to Color the Skies Over Ripon Main Street Day and its other special annual events.
Stewart lauded service clubs for the part they play in Ripon’s development as a cohesive community.