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Corridor cities rank high in 'safest places in Iowa' report

At least four Corridor cities are considered the 'safest to live' in Iowa, according to new research by the consumer research company ValuePenguin.

Marion ranks number four and Coralville at number eight in large cities, North Liberty hits number seven for mid-sized cities and Vinton takes the number five slot in small cities.

New Marion Police Chief Joseph McHale said the city's reputation for strict traffic enforcement shows in other crime statistics.

"When you're doing strategic traffic enforcement in places that are also getting affected by property crimes and burglaries, you also affect those crimes," Chief McHale said.

Marion has maintained a steady crime rate for the last two years.

The city saw 69 cases of violent crimes, including aggravated assault, robbery and one murder and 525 cases of property crime in 2015.

"You always look at your property crimes as a bigger indicator of what could happen, narcotics crime, property crimes all lead to bigger things," Chief McHale said.

He said just studying numbers on a page won't save lives, police said it's what you do with what you find.

"Police departments collect so much data and historically do a poor job of using that data to drive their strategies," Chief McHale said.

The focus is on prevention, a challenge the Marion Police Department is accepting.

"Going forward, Marion is going to grow and Cedar Rapids is growing," Chief McHale said. "It's not something we can rest our laurels on. It's something that we have to prepare for the future."

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