Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group has rated Wheeling, W. Va. the third safest place to live in the U.S., while Parkersburg/Marietta,W. Va. was ninth on the list of 20 small towns.
The rankings were part of a study performed by database experts at www.bestplaces.net. Factors considered during the study included crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters and job loss numbers in 117 small towns with populations under 150,000. Insurance statistics about the number of claims for theft also played a major part in ranking the towns.
Parkersburg police Chief Robert Newell said the study’s findings are significant and legitimate. Newell said he believes area law enforcement agencies and fire departments can take some of the credit for the rating.
“It’s based on the number of property and injury claims compared to the population,” said Newell, who is a former fraud and large loss investigator for CNA Insurance in Chicago.
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