PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The Provo/Orem community is the safest metropolitan area in the country, according to a new list.
The list released by Farmers Insurance Group ranks 213 metro areas with populations of 200,000 or more, based on crime statistics, employment and risk of natural disasters.
Provo-Orem has the 40th lowest crime rate among 114 mid-sized metropolitan areas, and the fifth-lowest murder rate, according to the list compiled by Sperling's Best Places.
"We just generally have pretty good folks that live here," said Lt. Doug Edwards of the Orem Department of Public Safety. "If we could get everyone in the habit of locking up and taking just a little bit of extra care in securing their own property, then we'd be able to reduce crime even further and make this an even safer place to be."
Brigham Young University in Provo helped the rating. The school owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requires students to sign a strict honor code, that forbids alcohol and tobacco. BYU's nightlife is much more quiet than at other major college cites.
The school also gives the local economy a boost.
"Young people who are going to school don't mind taking a part-time job a person who is mid-career might not," said Mark Knold, senior economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
The unemployment rate in Utah County of 3.7 is nearly a point lower than the state average, and nearly two points lower than the national rate of 5.6, Knold said.
"There's a lot of population growth in the area, and that in and of itself generates most economic activity," Knold said.
The rankings also factor in risk of natural disaster. Although the area at the base of the mountains isn't at much of a risk for a hurricane or tornado, potential earthquakes are a strike against the communities.
Other communities on the list of most secure metro areas are Dutchess County, N.Y., Madison, Wis., and Lancaster, Pa.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)