Oak Hill, West Virginia, ranked among safest cities in U.S.

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Oak Hill, West Virginia, ranked among safest cities in U.S.
Crowds gather at a community concert in downtown Oak Hill, West Virginia. (Photo courtesy City of Oak Hill)

OAK HILL, W.Va. — Overlooking the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia, this up-and-coming community adjoining America's newest national park has been ranked among the safest cities in the U.S.

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Reflecting on the achievement, its mayor says the result is one of the benefits of living in a small town where residents are neighborly.

"I think Oak Hill benefits from a strong sense of family and community," says Mayor Danny Wright, whose family settled in the area in 1818. "We look out for each other. We care about each other. We share a strong spiritual and religious foundation from which we can work."

Though the city of some 8,000 residents is now growing due to the new national park, much of its safety derives from the fact that people know one another, Wright said.

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"I think it comes from a combination of a solid police force and a stable city government. The people, for the most part, are decent, hard-working, and care for each other. The vast majority of us have been in Oak Hill for a long, long time, and we know each other."

Rafters paddle beneath a historic trestle in the New River Gorge near Oak Hill. (Photo courtesy River Expeditions.)

According to a study on U.S. crime, the city was ranked 80th in the country. In 2020, its crime rate came to 137.21 crimes per 100,000 residents. According to security and investigations company CCTV Camera World, only 11 crimes were reported that year by the FBI.

To determine the crime rate, CCTV analysts totaled all reported violent and property crimes. More than 7,000 cities were evaluated. The top five were Wayland, Mass.; Milton, Wisc.; and Homer, Northport, and Coxsackle, N.Y.

According to the study’s findings, New York boasted the most "safest" cities on the list, with 16 cities ranking among the top 100. Wisconsin followed with nine towns ranking in the top 100.

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In 2022, Oak Hill became the largest community adjoining the nation's newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The community is known for its pleasant weather and its proximity to world-class outdoor adventure pursuits, including rock climbing and whitewater rafting.

Oak Hill is just north of the , home of the National Scout Jamboree.

For more information on Oak Hill, visit the municipal website at .


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