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Gering named safest city, enhanced by Safe Kids event
September 25, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Eleven-year-old Alex Leach of Gering maneuvers himself into the Lightning McQueen NASCAR pace car during the annual Safe Kids Day last Saturday.

Although it wasn’t a scientific survey, the Movoto Real Estate blog released findings last week that puts Gering at the top of its list for the safest communities in the state with a population of 5,000 or more.

The survey included crime data for each community from the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Statistics included murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and vehicle theft. The data was then divided into four categories: murders, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes. Averaging the results, Gering came up as the safest community in Nebraska.

Local law enforcement personnel think safety education is part of the reason. Last Saturday, the 13th annual Safe Kids Day was held in the Gering Civic Center parking lot. Parents were able to have their children’s car seats checked, kids could get their ID recorded for crime prevention, and kids participated in a bike safety rodeo.

Participating in the event were the Gering Fire Department, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff, the Scotts Bluff YMCA, Valley Ambulance, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Scottsbluff Police Department.

Lt. Grant Severson with the Gering Fire Department said the rating has a lot to do with the whole community. “All of the groups here promote safety for everyone. Safe Kids Day and National Night Out are only a couple of the events.”

The Gering Fire Department does three or four events a year for both youth and adults, teaching people how to be safe. They also coordinate with the Gering schools for the Junior Fire Patrol program, geared toward fifth graders.

“A key factor to safety in this area is the fantastic cooperation between all the law enforcement agencies,” said Deputy Sheriff Rob Hackett. “We work very well together. As a need arises, agencies are ready to help. And I think Gering schools adding a school resource officer will help as well.”

Other top ten Nebraska cities mentioned in the Movoto study include Seward, La Vista, Blair, Holdrege, Papillion, York, Columbus, Nebraska City and Plattsmouth.
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