Keller Citizen

Keller made the latest 'Safest Cities in the U.S.' list — right behind Parkland, Fla.

The Keller water tower at the corner of Main Street (U.S. 377) and Keller Parkway (FM 1709) is pictured in this 2014 file photo.
The Keller water tower at the corner of Main Street (U.S. 377) and Keller Parkway (FM 1709) is pictured in this 2014 file photo. Special to the Star-Telegram

Officials with Keller Public Safety took a moment to brag about their town on Facebook on Wednesday after the latest "Safest Cities in the U.S." list was released.

And why not? Just two days earlier, location analytics company Neighborhood Scout said that based on the number of property and violent crimes reported to the FBI per 1,000 residents, Keller is the nation's 16th-safest city with a population over 25,000.

It also just so happened that the Facebook post went up less than 90 minutes after the city ranked one spot ahead of Keller made national headlines when Nikolas Cruz, 19, went to Stoneman Douglas High School and sprayed semiautomatic rifle fire, killing 17.

That's right. Parkland, Fla., ranked 15th on the list of "safest cities" in the U.S. Neighborhood Scout had publicized the updated numbers on its Facebook page on Monday.

No one's faulting Keller Public Safety for the unfortunately-timed post. Information travels quickly in the age of social media, but not everyone had heard of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland at 3:45 p.m. local time Wednesday.

Several comments on the post called out the tragic irony of the situation. It seemed to make commenters rethink their notions of what a "safe" city really means.

The next morning the Keller Public Safety account posted a follow-up to the conversation. "That Safest Cities in the U.S. list that we just came #16 on? Parkland, Florida was #15.... A tragic reminder that no community is immune to terrible acts of violence," the more recent post reads.

This type of tragic coincidence is nothing new, though. Newtown, Conn. was the fifth-safest city according to Neighborhood Scout's 2012 data, before 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary in that town.

"Unfortunately, no place is impervious to tragic events," said Kate DeVagno, a spokeswoman for Location, Inc., which owns Neighborhood Scout. "It still really hits home, however, when this occurs in a place where we would not expect it to happen. We can only hope that these events are outliers, and despite tragedy, places like Newtown are considered very safe today."

Ridgefield, Conn., just 17 miles away from Newtown, is Neighborhood Scout's safest city in the U.S. for 2018.

Colleyville was also ranked highly on the list, checking in at No. 11. Four other cities in Texas made the list as well, including three in DFW: Little Elm (82), Wylie (70), Flower Mound (54) and Friendswood (43).

Keller moved up to No. 16 from No. 34 on the same list a year ago. And Colleyville was the 11th-safest city in the U.S., according to last year's numbers.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817

Keller schools' new threat assessment program includes a video asking secondary students to report threatening rumors instead of spreading them.

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