If you reside in the Ashland-Huntington metropolitan area, you’re living in one of the most secure areas of the country, according to the just-released results of an insurance industry survey.

Ashland-Huntington has been ranked as the third-most secure place in the U.S. to live among mid-sized cities in an study conducted by the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.

The study — which considered factors such as crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, environmental hazards, terrorist threats and job loss figures — placed Ashland-Huntington behind Las Cruces, N.M., and Rockingham County-Strafford County, N.H., which were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and ahead of the likes of Bellingham, Wash., Burlington-South Burlington, Vt., Lynchburg, Va., and Medford, Ore.

The rankings were compiled by database experts at www.bestplaces.net for 127 U.S. metro areas with populations between 150,000 and 500,000, according to a news release from Farmers Insurance.

“Everyone looks for a safe, secure place to live,” said Jeff Beyer, senior vice president and chief communications officer for Farmers. “Whether you are single or raising a family, a secure environment is important. It offers the well-being so necessary to succeed in today’s fast-paced world.”

The Boise-Nampa area of southwestern Idaho was ranked the most secure place to live among metro areas with populations of 500,000 or larger, while St. George, Utah, was safest among areas with populations of 150,000 or fewer.

Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore said Monday that he was “very pleasantly surprised” to learn of the city’s ranking in the study. He also called the ranking a tribute to the city’s police and fire departments.

“It goes to show that if you don’t have public safety at the strongest level you can have, you don’t have much of anything else,” he said.

Gilmore also said the study offered conclusive proof of what he and many others have known for a long time — that the Ashland area is a good place to live, work and raise a family.

“That’s not to say we don’t have areas of concern, just like anywhere else,” he said. “But that’s one of the things that’s so sound and solid about Ashland — the residents’ expectation levels are high, and we try our best to meet them.”

Farmers Insurance, which is based in Los Angeles, is the nation’s third-largest personal lines property and casualty insurance group, providing services to more than 10 million households.

Farmers Insurance’s Top 10 Most Secure Places to Live

(mid-size cities 150,000-500,000) in the United States:

1. Las Cruces, N.M.

2. Rockingham County-Strafford County, N.H.

3. Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky.

4. Bellingham, Wash.

5. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.

6. Lynchburg, Va.

7. Medford, Ore.

8. Prescott, Ariz.

9. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.

10. Binghamton, N.Y.

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