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Princeton, Montclair ranked in top 30 safest US college towns

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Two New Jersey towns made the list of the 30 safest college towns in America, according to home security and safety resource SafeWise. Princeton ranked #5 while Montclair ranked #26.

The list, released Monday, considered the most recent FBI crime data from towns with one or more accredited institutions of higher learning. Analysts at SafeWise weighed the total number of crimes committed in each city in relation to population numbers and other important factors, like what safety-oriented programs and initiatives these cities had in place.

Home to both Princeton University and Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton reported just 13 violent crimes in 2015, with no arson or homicide.

“Safety is a shared responsibility between law enforcement and the community,” said Paul Ominsky, executive director of Public Safety at Princeton University. “The University’s Department of Public Safety works as a community caretaker in partnership with our students, staff, faculty and visitors in collaboration with the Princeton Police Department.”

The township of Montclair, home to the 21,000 students at Montclair State University, recently joined forces with North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) to make bustling Bloomfield Avenue a safer place for pedestrians with an initiative called Street Smart NJ. The initiative works to educate people both on foot and behind the wheel, and to improve enforcement of transportation laws and rules. Other cities show that it works: According to a 2016 NJTPA report, the campaign resulted in 40 percent less drivers failing to yield to crossing pedestrians or cyclists and 28 percent less pedestrians jaywalking or crossing against the signal.

According to a Montclair University spokesperson, the school has crossing guards overseeing primary points where pedestrians and vehicles intersect across the 252-acre campus.

"We are gratified that our efforts to keep our university community safe have been acknowledged by this ranking and will continue to be vigilant about implementing safety initiatives," the spokesperson said.

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Gabrielle Saulsbery

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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