Even as index crimes reached a four-year high in 2011, Fair Lawn remained one of the safest cities in America, according to NeighborhoodScout, a website that tracks crime, schools and real estate data for communities across the country.
The borough finished 49th in NeighborhoodScout's annual list of the Safest Cities in America, which was compiled using 2011 Uniform Crime Report data and released last month. In 2012, Fair Lawn finished 37th in the rankings.
Police Chief Erik Rose sent a memo to the borough manager and council informing them of Fair Lawn's safest city distinction.
"Despite what some naysayer’s would like to promote," Rose wrote. "The members of Fair Lawn Police Department are and have been working hard and doing their jobs in an exemplary manner."
Fair Lawn's rate of 12.5 index crimes per 1,000 residents in 2011 was up slightly from its decade-low 11.9 crimes per 1,000 in 2010, but still far lower than the New Jersey and national averages.
According to NeighborhoodScout -- which splits the borough into five distinct segments -- the safest neighborhoods in Fair Lawn in descending order are Radburn, Berdan Avenue/River Road, Borough Center, Warren Point and Morlot Avenue/Saddle River Road.
NeighborhoodScout presented the borough with a certificate that "honors not only the accomplishments of your police force, but also a community bonded in prideful citizenship," to commemorate Fair Lawn's Top 100 ranking.
Three other Bergen County municipalities also made NeighborhoodScout's 2013 Safest Cities list -- Fort Lee (27th), Ridgewood (6th) and Bergenfield (2nd).
Franklin, Mass. was named the safest city in the country for 2013, an honor NeighborhoodScout bestowed upon Bergenfield last year.
The website calculates its rankings based on the total number of index crimes per 1,000 residents living in a city. Cities must have populations of at least 25,000 to be considered.