CQ Press, a national publication that covers social and political issues, ranked Canton Township the 33rd safest community in the nation -- the highest ranked Michigan community, followed by Sterling Heights at 34th and Troy at 36th.
Canton's ranking was out of 432 cities and townships with populations over 75,000, according to Canton Public Safety's press release.
News of the ranking came just before an armed robbery at a Verizon store on Monday prompted lock-downs at four Canton elementary schools. Earlier in February, there was an armed robbery at a Family Dollar on Joy Road in Canton.
Public Safety Director Todd L. Mutchler said Monday's armed robbery was a perfect example of how prepared police were to catch all three suspects. Police identified suspects in Monday's armed robbery in part by finding known associates from other crimes, he said.
"We’re really using technology to accelerate our investigations," he said.
The suspects are expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
Community relations are key
Mutchler said information sharing is also important, as in the armed robbery at Family Dollar where the suspect was determined because of Public Safety's solid relationship with other jurisdictions.
"We’re still following sound, proven policing principles," he said. "All the technology in the world doesn’t change the fact that you need to talk to people."
He said officers get a pulse for what's going on in the community in terms of crime, neighborhood issues and illegal business activity like tobacco and alcohol sales to minors.
"We're really grateful for our relationship with Canton Public Safety," P-CEP Interim Director of Community Relations Mary Holaly said in reference to Monday's armed robbery. "They do a great job and they always keep our children's safety in mind."
"C.E.," a Patch reader, also commended officers for quickly arresting the suspects Monday.
"Glad I live in a community where emergency services respond quickly and work hard to keep the bad guys off the streets," the reader wrote.
Independent publisher CQ Press based its ranking on crime statistics -- for murder, rape, robbery, burglary and more -- from the FBI’s 2011 Crime Report, according to the press release. A formula measures how each city compares to the national average in each given category.
"I think that we have the perfect recipe to have achieved that ranking," Mutchler said. "A caring community, a professional proactive police force and a group of elected officials that are committed and fully support public safety."