2016 Safest Places in Illinois

by Susan Gulliford

Cities in Illinois vary dramatically with regards to safety. That is the major takeaway from the ValuePenguin team’s analysis of the latest FBI Crime Report for the Land of Lincoln. The 291 communities with populations of at least 5,000 had crime scores that ranged from 109 to 8,278. This score takes into account violent and property crime and adjusts it for population size.

Small suburbs of Chicago with high median household incomes, low levels of poverty and high rates of homeownership dominated the top five safest places. Chicago itself was not the least safest city; in fact, it was not in the bottom five. The least safest community in Illinois was a mid-sized city outside of St. Louis. You can review the report to see how all of the cities rank.

Read our full guide on moving to Chicago here.

5 Safest Places in Illinois

These cities have an average crime score of 143, which is 88% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.

1. Hawthorn Woods

This village, located 40 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, touts the professionalism and dedication of its police department for good reason. It reported zero violent crimes, and Hawthorn Woods had the third-lowest rate of property crime of any community in this research. This community is very affluent; the median household income was 2.7 times the median household income for the state, and almost 99% of the residents were homeowners. Hawthorn Woods has a well-educated population; almost 64% of its residents (25 years and over) had at least bachelor’s degree.

2. Clarendon Hills

This village is small (population of 8,684), but it offers its residents close proximity to commercial centers. It is a 30-minute drive from downtown Chicago and approximately 26 minutes to Naperville. Clarendon Hills had the lowest rate of property crime of any community in this research, and it also has a low amount of violent crime. "The Volunteer Community" had a population of mostly well-educated professionals with a median household income of over $106,000 per year.

3. Campton Hills

This suburb of over 11,000 is on the western edge of the Chicago metro area in Kane County. The Campton Hills Police Department values having a partnership with its residents. Campton Hills had only two violent crimes for the year surveyed, and it had the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. It is another affluent community where the median household income is double that of the state’s median.

4. Western Springs

Western Springs has only 13,217 people, yet it is the largest community in the top five. It is 30-minute drive west of downtown Chicago in Cook County. Residents have a Neighborhood Watch program to keep crime low. This suburb reported only two violent crimes and had a low rate of property crime for 2014. Western Springs is another affluent community with high median household income, high per capita income, and a homeownership rate of nearly 95%.

5. Hampshire

The smallest community in the top five is located on the northwestern edge of the Chicago metro area in Kane County. Hampshire is a fast-growing village; the population increased 10% from 2010 to 2015. It had only two violent crimes reported and the sixth-lowest rate of property crimes for 2014. The median household income was approximately $25,000 above the state’s median, and Hampshire had a low level of poverty.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 15,000, midsize cities with populations 15,000 and 30,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 30,000. Here are our findings:

Safest Places in Neew York

Full List of Places in Illinois

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Illinois” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Full List of Places in New York

Year-over-year Change

There was a great deal of consistency for 2015 and 2016. In both years, small suburbs of Chicago swept the top five. Hawthorn Woods was number one and Campton Hills was third for safety in 2015 and 2016. Last year’s fifth-safest community came in at number six in this year.

The large category demonstrated a great deal of stability too. The three safest big communities in 2016 -- Bartlett, Buffalo Grove and Wheaton -- were the three best large places in 2015. Overall, nine out of the ten safest communities in 2016 were repeats from 2015.

The mid-sized community showed some change. While Lake in the Hills was the safest place in this category for both years, only six of the top ten were repeats from 2015. Lake Forest, Frankfort, Geneva and Shorewood were new to the top ten this year.

Safest Places in New York

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.

Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score

173

Addison37,4801731,6331,064

123

Algonquin30,566591,462762

226

Alsip19,4931852,9091,565

277

Alton27,1575044,4112,851

139

Antioch14,3981111,563835

76

Arlington Heights76,20056975586

207

Aurora200,4192781,4881,379

35

Barrington10,368101,022426

18

Bartlett41,78434565323

242

Bartonville6,4733403,4451,831

143

Batavia26,4451361,407863

228

Beardstown5,9198796931,587

251

Bellwood19,1816002,2631,996

160

Berkeley5,2432861,392944

208

Berwyn56,7782242,0481,399

152

Bethalto9,4102551,222891

191

Bloomingdale22,412712,5251,223

243

Bloomington79,4514122,0991,835

172

Bolingbrook74,0492111,3321,059

183

Bourbonnais18,5651622,0471,150

249

Bradley15,7661404,1291,968

110

Braidwood6,1481141,415709

268

Broadview7,9803764,8752,489

122

Brookfield19,0521521,155755

25

Buffalo Grove41,84024686361

140

Burbank29,2761401,339848

34

Burr Ridge10,79428945426

245

Cahokia14,6163153,2501,878

278

Calumet City37,2815154,1842,855

3

Campton Hills11,35118300150

166

Canton14,3711321,844987

269

Carbondale26,3705233,5652,501

211

Carlinville5,7872592,6961,404

91

Carol Stream40,536109945635

142

Carpentersville38,363861,535862

49

Carterville5,710351,121474

44

Cary17,961100663452

282

Centralia12,7277784,8483,267

276

Champaign83,9957432,6852,785

11

Channahon12,60532484250

38

Charleston21,985132482438

65

Chatham12,186148714533

79

Chester8,418154891592

285

Chicago2,724,1218843,1264,288

271

Chicago Heights30,4566533,0042,519

248

Chicago Ridge14,4821454,0811,939

162

Chillicothe6,1851941,730950

241

Cicero84,1473832,1391,807

2

Clarendon Hills8,68435173122

176

Clinton7,1283091,6691,119

98

Coal City5,524911,412664

231

Collinsville24,9412083,0191,694

128

Colona5,0751381,537774

68

Columbia10,07089993541

253

Country Club Hills16,9692893,6182,019

131

Crest Hill20,7631931,079798

119

Crete8,216611,655743

186

Crystal Lake40,2941292,0901,200

287

Danville32,4041,0745,7964,552

118

Darien22,423581,472741

250

De Kalb43,7914092,6631,995

266

Decatur74,3734772,9922,387

26

Deerfield18,30938705366

121

Des Plaines59,041901,216752

129

Dixon15,240921,522790

115

Downers Grove49,860601,308727

158

Du Quoin5,9462191,598933

224

East Alton6,1413422,7521,561

221

East Moline21,3733702,0631,534

238

East Peoria23,5193322,7591,786

291

East St. Louis26,5233,6464,1288,278

114

Edwardsville24,757771,337722

252

Effingham12,6194123,2412,005

200

Elgin110,5952001,8061,314

132

Elk Grove Village33,485631,517800

80

Elmhurst45,906441,102595

107

Elmwood Park25,007681,312696

104

Eureka5,3971851,112692

230

Evanston75,8171992,5061,612

214

Evergreen Park19,9801352,8481,457

217

Fairfield5,1054312,3111,496

247

Fairview Heights16,8851424,0091,935

94

Flossmoor9,540731,310638

255

Forest Park14,2233233,7192,082

28

Frankfort18,25522811383

215

Freeport24,8911932,5631,466

259

Galesburg31,5384003,2822,195

124

Geneseo6,5371071,576765

30

Geneva21,73932814409

51

Genoa5,187116848487

9

Gilberts7,57053343215

62

Glen Carbon12,948116811524

103

Glen Ellyn27,854831,221689

48

Glencoe8,885341,058471

134

Glendale Heights34,715781,469808

46

Glenview45,58839847468

190

Glenwood9,0662652,0191,218

163

Godfrey17,8411291,738958

125

Grayslake21,1321231,287770

258

Gurnee31,2731064,4352,183

5

Hampshire5,78235311169

77

Hanover Park38,640104872590

223

Harrisburg9,0315321,7831,546

85

Harvard9,2171081,118615

286

Harvey25,3771,2964,7684,384

1

Hawthorn Woods7,861-280109

262

Hazel Crest14,2235063,3262,222

204

Herrin12,914852,9891,369

101

Hickory Hills14,2081061,197672

169

Highland9,8382031,7481,023

84

Highland Park29,920601,113606

14

Highwood5,32838657301

146

Hillsboro6,1232941,111866

40

Hinsdale17,36961,013439

102

Hoffman Estates52,512951,063681

19

Homer Glen24,33321686337

225

Homewood19,4701752,9431,562

256

Hoopeston5,2415343,6252,143

29

Huntley25,50227816408

31

Island Lake7,99925950410

74

Itasca8,849111,401571

209

Jacksonville19,1761562,6491,403

202

Jerseyville8,5891402,8991,360

137

Johnsburg6,293641,939833

233

Joliet147,8383352,0211,737

284

Kankakee27,0268184,5593,470

244

Kewanee12,6212933,3671,862

59

La Grange15,774511,027516

16

La Grange Park13,67637600308

150

La Salle9,368961,836882

20

Lake Forest19,34310750339

17

Lake in the Hills28,92559484321

36

Lake Villa8,84779769428

112

Lake Zurich20,057301,541714

22

Lakemoor6,00483600352

56

Lemont16,620421,029505

95

Libertyville20,456541,295651

254

Lincoln14,2344922,8942,019

24

Lincolnshire7,27996550361

220

Lincolnwood12,721633,4201,507

10

Lindenhurst14,51948365232

81

Lockport25,059401,197597

171

Lombard44,026701,9921,056

236

Loves Park23,6293092,7891,760

99

Lyons10,7931021,242665

180

Machesney Park23,1342331,6691,136

182

Macomb19,2622801,5571,148

37

Mahomet7,843153497432

32

Manhattan7,205125597423

89

Marengo7,499173933630

177

Marseilles5,0122392,0751,122

58

Maryville7,84689969516

12

Mascoutah7,96338502255

270

Matteson19,1822924,7132,519

201

Mattoon18,3183711,6871,352

275

Maywood24,1748812,8132,778

111

McHenry26,590901,249712

141

Melrose Park25,5411061,511852

130

Mendota7,3181371,517797

272

Metropolis6,4426214,1912,543

189

Midlothian14,9481942,1211,209

198

Milan5,1301752,7291,273

64

Minooka11,174631,056529

60

Mokena19,271421,048520

263

Moline43,0173633,3642,231

203

Monmouth9,4623382,0821,366

133

Montgomery19,3051401,316804

188

Morris13,9931502,3151,209

54

Morton16,58642995491

120

Morton Grove23,5751061,285747

196

Mount Carmel7,0712832,1641,268

75

Mount Prospect54,891441,060585

289

Mount Vernon15,2321,2616,2244,712

15

Mount Zion5,93167540305

47

Mundelein31,46457814469

117

Naperville145,510781,123740

108

New Lenox25,093961,215703

187

Niles30,071902,3281,203

194

Normal55,1851851,9171,260

213

Norridge14,712823,1541,450

126

North Aurora17,2161341,284770

279

North Riverside6,7122237,3303,147

57

Northbrook33,698211,056516

116

Northfield5,496911,583728

161

Northlake12,392652,050945

153

O'Fallon29,2551401,477910

257

Oak Brook8,077745,2122,153

105

Oak Forest28,252921,189693

181

Oak Lawn57,1591571,7691,141

239

Oak Park52,1091983,0011,789

240

Olney9,1083733,0631,804

174

Olympia Fields5,0561382,3541,077

13

Orland Hills7,30741506259

175

Orland Park59,056372,1891,116

138

Oswego32,599801,528833

195

Ottawa18,517812,6301,261

66

Palatine69,53352896534

70

Palos Heights12,633471,156552

61

Palos Hills17,673158594522

167

Pana5,7041751,946994

216

Paris8,4973882,2241,484

199

Park Forest22,0733171,7351,305

83

Park Ridge37,919321,189603

206

Pekin34,0802292,1211,377

283

Peoria116,9236494,1553,422

222

Peoria Heights6,0743792,5681,545

157

Peru10,061602,087931

7

Pinckneyville5,55254270182

8

Pingree Grove5,70253281184

52

Plainfield42,19673763489

39

Plano11,147181,014439

235

Pontiac11,6353782,8101,758

170

Pontoon Beach5,651882,4241,042

179

Posen6,0371822,2691,134

154

Princeton7,4181891,618918

87

Prospect Heights16,442128955618

267

Quincy40,9724643,3272,390

273

Rantoul13,0609882,2742,562

227

Richton Park13,7923552,3641,567

184

River Forest11,2181692,1661,152

82

River Grove10,291871,147600

280

Riverdale13,6401,1443,0433,150

205

Riverside8,8995731,1911,376

185

Robinson7,6542481,9731,152

192

Rock Falls9,1694141,4611,236

237

Rock Island38,8444042,2531,776

290

Rockford149,5861,2354,2794,770

135

Rockton7,5951181,633817

72

Rolling Meadows24,333661,011559

71

Roscoe10,654122892556

63

Roselle23,095351,065525

73

Round Lake18,503124816560

197

Round Lake Beach28,0671252,3591,271

45

Round Lake Park7,352271,102468

148

Sandwich7,3532991,047868

281

Sauk Village10,5587964,6793,163

210

Schaumburg75,060972,4911,404

168

Schiller Park11,892672,2031,008

151

Shiloh12,9911851,416887

41

Shorewood16,49055825440

232

Silvis7,6272883,2781,721

218

Skokie65,2632602,0731,500

155

South Beloit7,7441031,950919

100

South Elgin22,2481171,065666

193

South Holland22,2012841,7121,237

27

Spring Grove5,71870717375

78

Spring Valley5,365931,212591

288

Springfield117,1341,0654,7254,555

127

St. Charles33,335601,470773

106

Staunton5,0771381,320693

265

Steger9,5613774,4142,356

246

Sterling15,0842193,6331,884

86

Stickney6,8331171,142617

159

Streamwood40,4561011,641943

234

Streator13,3552023,4371,752

229

Summit11,5613892,3531,589

149

Swansea13,7411461,536876

97

Sycamore17,540911,186658

147

Taylorville11,0492171,276867

156

Tinley Park57,405801,618923

96

Troy10,0141301,108651

261

Urbana41,8053113,5092,196

212

Vandalia7,0452702,6541,436

165

Vernon Hills25,759542,007981

178

Villa Park22,136862,2411,123

42

Warrenville13,40082746444

67

Washington15,836571,048536

219

Watseka5,1091763,3471,502

264

Waukegan88,7474392,9032,306

113

West Chicago27,636901,252717

164

West Dundee7,375142,454970

145

West Frankfort8,092741,915864

43

Westchester16,84930938447

4

Western Springs13,21715333162

88

Westmont25,047761,114623

33

Wheaton53,80652688424

136

Wheeling38,0951211,307820

21

Willow Springs5,722105489341

93

Willowbrook8,675581,383636

90

Wilmette27,427361,283634

55

Wilmington5,709123841500

6

Winfield9,582-438175

23

Winnetka12,47716809358

53

Winthrop Harbor6,726149684489

69

Wood Dale14,016641,070550

260

Wood River10,3702704,3882,196

109

Woodridge33,5101101,113704

144

Woodstock25,2221351,423864

92

Worth10,859921,206636

50

Yorkville17,92950926479

274

Zion24,3166993,3602,700

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