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Bethesda area ranked as safest in U.S.

The Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick metropolitan area has been ranked as the most secure among large metro areas in the country by the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, topping a list of 20 metropolitan areas ranked on the basis of safety and security.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the Bethesda area has earned the highest rating among large metropolitan areas (population of 500,000 or more) in the annual Farmers Insurance study.

Among factors that helped the Maryland area earn its No. 1 spot in the 2012 study are its low unemployment and personal crime rates, and a long life-expectancy rate.