Hollister is one of the top 50 “Safest Cities” in California due to the city’s low property and violent crime rates, according to a recent study by a public safety and home security research company. City officials give the credit to the residents of Hollister who look out for their neighbors and are willing to call law enforcement when they think someone needs help.

Hollister ranks number 30 on the 2021 list compiled by Safewise, which conducts safest-city rankings annually in all 50 states. Hollister’s violent crime rate for 2020 is estimated at 2.8 per 1,000 residents. The violent crime rates for 2019 and 2018 are 2.5 and 3.4, respectively. The local property crime rate is 7.7 per 1,000, according to the Safewise rankings. That’s a notable drop from the previous two years, which saw property crime rates in Hollister of 12.7 (2019) and 10.3 (2018).

By comparison, the estimated violent crime and property crime rates in California are 4.4 and 23.3 per 1,000, respectively, according to Safewise.

Hollister Interim Police Chief Carlos Reynoso said he thinks crime rates are low here “because of the outstanding residents” of the city.

“This is a community that when they see something wrong, they call the police; they get involved,” Reynoso said in an email to the Free Lance. “There have been so many cases where our officers are able to make an arrest because of the citizens who took the time to call police and be a good witness.”

He added, “The criminal types do not like to operate in an environment where they are constantly afraid of someone calling the police.”

This community vigilance creates a “force multiplier” augmenting the work of city’s police officers, Reynoso added.

In the Bay Area, the cities of Danville and San Ramon ranked higher than Hollister. Morgan Hill is ranked the number 32 safest city in California, according to Safewise.

Other Central Coast cities in Safewise’s top 50 list include Cupertino (33), Seaside (41) and Pleasanton (50).

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez also gave credit to the community, including the longstanding partnership between the city’s police department and San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, who “do a great job working together as a team.”

Velazquez said safety is an ongoing priority among the city’s leaders, and he hopes to see Hollister climb even higher in the safe city rankings. “I want to see those rates get even better and better for us. The key is collaboration,” he said.

The Safewise ranking methodology is based almost exclusively on crime statistics reported by local authorities to the FBI, according to the Safewise website. The crime numbers are adjusted for population so that cities of different sized populations can be compared more equally. The methodology also takes each city’s demographic information into account.

The top 50 safest cities list is based on crime data from 2019, the latest year for which such information is available. Thus, it does not account for any spikes in crime or homelessness related to the Covid-19 pandemic that started in March 2020.

Reynoso noted that a community’s feelings of safety are not just related to violent or property crimes such as theft, vehicle theft and burglary. Traffic issues, unsafe drivers and mental health issues are also factors in the community’s safety.

The chief is quick to give credit to Hollister Police officers and public safety personnel. “(We) have a great group of officers who take their job very seriously and care about this community,” Reynoso said.

He was quick to give credit to Hollister Police officers and public safety personnel as well.

Statewide, the Safewise study included a survey that found only 40% of Californians feel safe. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents are worried about gun violence, and 77% are worried about the pandemic.

Violent crime is a “top concern” for 54% of Californians, Safewise found.

The top 10 safest cities in the list, in order, are: Danville, Rancho Santa Margarita, Moorpark, Rancho Palos Verdes, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Yorba Linda, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo and Lincoln.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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