Of the roughly 18,000 police departments spread across the U.S., I can confidently say that the Woodstock Police Department is among the very best. Our officers, under the leadership of our new Chief Robert Jones and his predecessor Chief Calvin Moss, consistently serve our citizens well by centering their work on the Department's four core values: professionalism, integrity, service, and teamwork.
The City of Woodstock grew by 11,169 people between 2010 and 2020. That's a roughly 47% increase in population. With that kind of growth, one would assume at least a moderate uptick in crime would be natural, especially when considering the crime rate increases throughout the metro Atlanta area. The exact opposite occurred in our city, which experienced a 44% reduction in crime over the past 10 years. These impressive gains can be directly attributed to the professionalism and community-oriented service of Woodstock's police officers.
With these stats in mind, I'm proud to say that the City Council recently approved the largest single pay increase in Woodstock Police Department history, raising the certified starting annual salary from $44,800 to $52,590. This 17.39% increase in starting pay is compounded on top of previous increases authorized with the new budget year that started in July, bringing the total police pay increase, year-to-date, to nearly 27% since I was sworn in as Woodstock's mayor. Very simply, the City of Woodstock is investing in the men and women who keep our city safe, and we are actively competing for the best officers in Georgia.
Woodstock isn't alone in facing this decision, but our city has met the challenge. Law enforcement agencies across the nation are trying to increase salaries to combat inflation and attract talent in an increasingly competitive, shrinking pool of sworn officers, but not all cities have been so supportive.
Woodstock was just named the 12th safest city in Georgia by Safewise.com, and to ensure we maintain the vibrancy and excellent quality of life that our citizens deserve, safety must remain our top priority. The City Council's actions increasing our officers' starting pay represents an impressive commitment to supporting law enforcement, and it's simply the right thing to do.
The Woodstock Police Department is a critical part of our city's success. These officers protect our 36,000+ citizens and 2,000+ businesses while serving our community through countless programs and offerings. They place their lives on the line for us, and investing in them should always remain a priority.
I'm proud of our men and women in uniform and the sacrifices they make each day to keep our families safe. Please be sure to thank our officers when you see them around Woodstock.