Elgin Named Safest Town In Oklahoma
I was wasting a little time, cruising the internet if you will when I stumbled across a list of the ten safest cities in Oklahoma. As Lawton usually lands on the opposite list, I figured I'd see if there was a city on that list that was familiar to me out of curiosity. I hadn't heard of most of them until I saw #1. Here's that list.
Depending on how familiar you are with Oklahoma's oil and gas industry, you may or may not know where Wynnewood is. You see, Wynnewood is a huge refinery town along the pipeline system. Odds are, the gas in your vehicle came from there, located along I-35 due East of Lawton. You might think it's kind of shocking that a refinery town would be considered a safe place as refineries often attract transient workers, but the stereotype holds up across most of the refinery towns in Oklahoma.
Where in the world is Spiro, OK? I had to google it too. Apparently, it's a little small town just Southwest of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Given Eastern Oklahoma's reputation for property crime and all things that are generally methed up, it's kind of shocking this town is on the top ten safe cities list.
Located way out in Southeastern Oklahoma is the self-proclaimed "Deer Capital of the World" town of Antlers. Mostly known for cabin rentals near Broken Bow Lake and the huge outdoor sportsman show they host every year, it's apparently a good place to have a family given it's extremely low property crime. It's the type of place you leave the doors unlocked.
In another shocker coming out of Eastern Oklahoma, Verdigris is just NE of Tulsa, along the banks of the Verdigris river... AKA - the river that supports the largest inland port in America. If you ever get lost up that way, the overpowering chemical smell will remind you that you're near Verdigris. Another charming little town where crime is literally half the state average. You should look at it online, you'll never complain about Lawton being boring again.
While most places online would call this a "Western Oklahoma" town, that's not entirely accurate. Sure, it's a little West of I-35 in the opposite direction of Stillwater, but I wouldn't call it "Western Oklahoma." Central Oklahoma better fits the bill, but if you wanted to really hit the nail on the head, let's call it "In The Middle of Nowhere." Another small town that's extremely safe.
With a huge swing back towards Fort Smith, AR, the tiny town of Pocola, OK kicks off the top five for safest towns in America. Again, it's hard to believe it's so safe anywhere East of I-35... but after living in Lawton, I know places can change. Maybe it's less about meth out that way these days and more focused on clean living. People complain about how "violent" Lawton is these days, but they probably never heard the stories from the 80's and 90's. Moving here might as well have been a death sentence.
In between my hometown and Tulsa lies a thousand little towns. They literally dot the landscape up there, and most of them have spectacular historic downtown areas boosted by the huge oil industry in that corner of the state. Cleveland is no different. While I wouldn't call it small, they did just receive a full on Walmart Supercenter within the last decade. Of course, they have two Dollar Generals too, but what town doesn't have a pair of those? While I've only been there twice in my entire life, I heard more than enough Cleveland stories in my group of friends. When I visited, I was shocked there wasn't a statue of my buddy in the town square based on the tall tales he used to tell.
Lone Grove is the city in Oklahoma that everybody has heard of, but nobody really remembers where it's at. It made headlines back in 2009 when a super-rare February F4 tornado ripped through the town, destroying 114 mobile homes, injuring 46, and taking eight lives. The state poured out their hearts and wallets in the wake of that tragedy though. I remember broadcasting live to load trucks in the West Country Mart parking lot to send what we could to those most in need at that moment in time. Aside from all of that madness, it's still a super safe town.
While technically considered a "metro" city of OKC, Piedmont is pretty far out there NW of the city. It might even be the biggest town on this list at 8k residents. Another town touched by tornado history, an F5 ripped through there in 2011 and stripped 180 homes down to their concrete slabs. Whole houses just disappeared in moments, two children lost their lives in those couple of minutes. On the plus side, it did conclusively prove that above ground tornado safe rooms would in fact stand up to the harshest conditions Mother Nature could produce. I remember seeing the news, pictures of a landscape with tiny boxes everywhere. It's amazing more people didn't lose their lives.
Shockingly, at the top spot on the list, picked as the safest place to live in Oklahoma is Elgin. A place with some great local eats, tons of charm, cheaply built tract McMansions everywhere, and probably the highest land values in our county. Elgin is a neat little place that's been steadily growing over the last twenty years. They even have some of the fastest and most reliable internet in the entire state up that way. Add in a crime rate less than half the state average, it's the place to be these days.