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Editorial: Willmar remains a safe city to live

The perception of Willmar to some in west central Minnesota is that the city is a crime magnet. However, the facts do not support this false perception.

While the number of total crime incidents in 2009 in Willmar showed a 3 percent increase to 2,065, the total remains slightly below the 2005 high of 2,071.

In his recent report to the City Council, Police Chief Jim Kulset reported some interesting statistics.

While the overall number of crime incidents was up slightly, violent crime in Willmar dropped nearly 18 percent in 2009, compared to the previous year.

There were no murders in the city in 2009, compared to one the previous year. Other violent crime in 2009 was also down, compared to the previous year.

There are some areas of challenge, such as increases in theft, forgery, identity theft, credit card fraud and cyber crime.

While the city is not crime free, Kulset reported that Willmar has an overall crime rate per 100,000 residents that is comparable with similar-sized cities in outstate Minnesota.

Overall, the city of Willmar remains a safe place to live, work, learn and play.

A good deal of the credit goes to the Willmar Police Department and its officers, who responded to more than 20,500 calls in 2009. So the next time you see an officer, remember to say thank you ... even if they are just giving you a parking ticket.