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.

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:

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.

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. 

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 City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
173 Addison  37,480  173  1,633  1,064
123 Algonquin  30,566  59  1,462  762
226 Alsip  19,493  185  2,909  1,565
277 Alton  27,157  504  4,411  2,851
139 Antioch  14,398  111  1,563  835
76 Arlington Heights  76,200  56  975  586
207 Aurora  200,419  278  1,488  1,379
35 Barrington  10,368  10  1,022  426
18 Bartlett  41,784  34  565  323
242 Bartonville  6,473  340  3,445  1,831
143 Batavia  26,445  136  1,407  863
228 Beardstown  5,919  879  693  1,587
251 Bellwood  19,181  600  2,263  1,996
160 Berkeley  5,243  286  1,392  944
208 Berwyn  56,778  224  2,048  1,399
152 Bethalto  9,410  255  1,222  891
191 Bloomingdale  22,412  71  2,525  1,223
243 Bloomington  79,451  412  2,099  1,835
172 Bolingbrook  74,049  211  1,332  1,059
183 Bourbonnais  18,565  162  2,047  1,150
249 Bradley  15,766  140  4,129  1,968
110 Braidwood  6,148  114  1,415  709
268 Broadview  7,980  376  4,875  2,489
122 Brookfield  19,052  152  1,155  755
25 Buffalo Grove  41,840  24  686  361
140 Burbank  29,276  140  1,339  848
34 Burr Ridge  10,794  28  945  426
245 Cahokia  14,616  315  3,250  1,878
278 Calumet City  37,281  515  4,184  2,855
3 Campton Hills  11,351  18  300  150
166 Canton  14,371  132  1,844  987
269 Carbondale  26,370  523  3,565  2,501
211 Carlinville  5,787  259  2,696  1,404
91 Carol Stream  40,536  109  945  635
142 Carpentersville  38,363  86  1,535  862
49 Carterville  5,710  35  1,121  474
44 Cary  17,961  100  663  452
282 Centralia  12,727  778  4,848  3,267
276 Champaign  83,995  743  2,685  2,785
11 Channahon  12,605  32  484  250
38 Charleston  21,985  132  482  438
65 Chatham  12,186  148  714  533
79 Chester  8,418  154  891  592
285 Chicago  2,724,121  884  3,126  4,288
271 Chicago Heights  30,456  653  3,004  2,519
248 Chicago Ridge  14,482  145  4,081  1,939
162 Chillicothe  6,185  194  1,730  950
241 Cicero  84,147  383  2,139  1,807
2 Clarendon Hills  8,684  35  173  122
176 Clinton  7,128  309  1,669  1,119
98 Coal City  5,524  91  1,412  664
231 Collinsville  24,941  208  3,019  1,694
128 Colona  5,075  138  1,537  774
68 Columbia  10,070  89  993  541
253 Country Club Hills  16,969  289  3,618  2,019
131 Crest Hill  20,763  193  1,079  798
119 Crete  8,216  61  1,655  743
186 Crystal Lake  40,294  129  2,090  1,200
287 Danville  32,404  1,074  5,796  4,552
118 Darien  22,423  58  1,472  741
250 De Kalb  43,791  409  2,663  1,995
266 Decatur  74,373  477  2,992  2,387
26 Deerfield  18,309  38  705  366
121 Des Plaines  59,041  90  1,216  752
129 Dixon  15,240  92  1,522  790
115 Downers Grove  49,860  60  1,308  727
158 Du Quoin  5,946  219  1,598  933
224 East Alton  6,141  342  2,752  1,561
221 East Moline  21,373  370  2,063  1,534
238 East Peoria  23,519  332  2,759  1,786
291 East St. Louis  26,523  3,646  4,128  8,278
114 Edwardsville  24,757  77  1,337  722
252 Effingham  12,619  412  3,241  2,005
200 Elgin  110,595  200  1,806  1,314
132 Elk Grove Village  33,485  63  1,517  800
80 Elmhurst  45,906  44  1,102  595
107 Elmwood Park  25,007  68  1,312  696
104 Eureka  5,397  185  1,112  692
230 Evanston  75,817  199  2,506  1,612
214 Evergreen Park  19,980  135  2,848  1,457
217 Fairfield  5,105  431  2,311  1,496
247 Fairview Heights  16,885  142  4,009  1,935
94 Flossmoor  9,540  73  1,310  638
255 Forest Park  14,223  323  3,719  2,082
28 Frankfort  18,255  22  811  383
215 Freeport  24,891  193  2,563  1,466
259 Galesburg  31,538  400  3,282  2,195
124 Geneseo  6,537  107  1,576  765
30 Geneva  21,739  32  814  409
51 Genoa  5,187  116  848  487
9 Gilberts  7,570  53  343  215
62 Glen Carbon  12,948  116  811  524
103 Glen Ellyn  27,854  83  1,221  689
48 Glencoe  8,885  34  1,058  471
134 Glendale Heights  34,715  78  1,469  808
46 Glenview  45,588  39  847  468
190 Glenwood  9,066  265  2,019  1,218
163 Godfrey  17,841  129  1,738  958
125 Grayslake  21,132  123  1,287  770
258 Gurnee  31,273  106  4,435  2,183
5 Hampshire  5,782  35  311  169
77 Hanover Park  38,640  104  872  590
223 Harrisburg  9,031  532  1,783  1,546
85 Harvard  9,217  108  1,118  615
286 Harvey  25,377  1,296  4,768  4,384
1 Hawthorn Woods  7,861  -    280  109
262 Hazel Crest  14,223  506  3,326  2,222
204 Herrin  12,914  85  2,989  1,369
101 Hickory Hills  14,208  106  1,197  672
169 Highland  9,838  203  1,748  1,023
84 Highland Park  29,920  60  1,113  606
14 Highwood  5,328  38  657  301
146 Hillsboro  6,123  294  1,111  866
40 Hinsdale  17,369  6  1,013  439
102 Hoffman Estates  52,512  95  1,063  681
19 Homer Glen  24,333  21  686  337
225 Homewood  19,470  175  2,943  1,562
256 Hoopeston  5,241  534  3,625  2,143
29 Huntley  25,502  27  816  408
31 Island Lake  7,999  25  950  410
74 Itasca  8,849  11  1,401  571
209 Jacksonville  19,176  156  2,649  1,403
202 Jerseyville  8,589  140  2,899  1,360
137 Johnsburg  6,293  64  1,939  833
233 Joliet  147,838  335  2,021  1,737
284 Kankakee  27,026  818  4,559  3,470
244 Kewanee  12,621  293  3,367  1,862
59 La Grange  15,774  51  1,027  516
16 La Grange Park  13,676  37  600  308
150 La Salle  9,368  96  1,836  882
20 Lake Forest  19,343  10  750  339
17 Lake in the Hills  28,925  59  484  321
36 Lake Villa  8,847  79  769  428
112 Lake Zurich  20,057  30  1,541  714
22 Lakemoor  6,004  83  600  352
56 Lemont  16,620  42  1,029  505
95 Libertyville  20,456  54  1,295  651
254 Lincoln  14,234  492  2,894  2,019
24 Lincolnshire  7,279  96  550  361
220 Lincolnwood  12,721  63  3,420  1,507
10 Lindenhurst  14,519  48  365  232
81 Lockport  25,059  40  1,197  597
171 Lombard  44,026  70  1,992  1,056
236 Loves Park  23,629  309  2,789  1,760
99 Lyons  10,793  102  1,242  665
180 Machesney Park  23,134  233  1,669  1,136
182 Macomb  19,262  280  1,557  1,148
37 Mahomet  7,843  153  497  432
32 Manhattan  7,205  125  597  423
89 Marengo  7,499  173  933  630
177 Marseilles  5,012  239  2,075  1,122
58 Maryville  7,846  89  969  516
12 Mascoutah  7,963  38  502  255
270 Matteson  19,182  292  4,713  2,519
201 Mattoon  18,318  371  1,687  1,352
275 Maywood  24,174  881  2,813  2,778
111 McHenry  26,590  90  1,249  712
141 Melrose Park  25,541  106  1,511  852
130 Mendota  7,318  137  1,517  797
272 Metropolis  6,442  621  4,191  2,543
189 Midlothian  14,948  194  2,121  1,209
198 Milan  5,130  175  2,729  1,273
64 Minooka  11,174  63  1,056  529
60 Mokena  19,271  42  1,048  520
263 Moline  43,017  363  3,364  2,231
203 Monmouth  9,462  338  2,082  1,366
133 Montgomery  19,305  140  1,316  804
188 Morris  13,993  150  2,315  1,209
54 Morton  16,586  42  995  491
120 Morton Grove  23,575  106  1,285  747
196 Mount Carmel  7,071  283  2,164  1,268
75 Mount Prospect  54,891  44  1,060  585
289 Mount Vernon  15,232  1,261  6,224  4,712
15 Mount Zion  5,931  67  540  305
47 Mundelein  31,464  57  814  469
117 Naperville  145,510  78  1,123  740
108 New Lenox  25,093  96  1,215  703
187 Niles  30,071  90  2,328  1,203
194 Normal  55,185  185  1,917  1,260
213 Norridge  14,712  82  3,154  1,450
126 North Aurora  17,216  134  1,284  770
279 North Riverside  6,712  223  7,330  3,147
57 Northbrook  33,698  21  1,056  516
116 Northfield  5,496  91  1,583  728
161 Northlake  12,392  65  2,050  945
153 O'Fallon  29,255  140  1,477  910
257 Oak Brook  8,077  74  5,212  2,153
105 Oak Forest  28,252  92  1,189  693
181 Oak Lawn  57,159  157  1,769  1,141
239 Oak Park  52,109  198  3,001  1,789
240 Olney  9,108  373  3,063  1,804
174 Olympia Fields  5,056  138  2,354  1,077
13 Orland Hills  7,307  41  506  259
175 Orland Park  59,056  37  2,189  1,116
138 Oswego  32,599  80  1,528  833
195 Ottawa  18,517  81  2,630  1,261
66 Palatine  69,533  52  896  534
70 Palos Heights  12,633  47  1,156  552
61 Palos Hills  17,673  158  594  522
167 Pana  5,704  175  1,946  994
216 Paris  8,497  388  2,224  1,484
199 Park Forest  22,073  317  1,735  1,305
83 Park Ridge  37,919  32  1,189  603
206 Pekin  34,080  229  2,121  1,377
283 Peoria  116,923  649  4,155  3,422
222 Peoria Heights  6,074  379  2,568  1,545
157 Peru  10,061  60  2,087  931
7 Pinckneyville  5,552  54  270  182
8 Pingree Grove  5,702  53  281  184
52 Plainfield  42,196  73  763  489
39 Plano  11,147  18  1,014  439
235 Pontiac  11,635  378  2,810  1,758
170 Pontoon Beach  5,651  88  2,424  1,042
179 Posen  6,037  182  2,269  1,134
154 Princeton  7,418  189  1,618  918
87 Prospect Heights  16,442  128  955  618
267 Quincy  40,972  464  3,327  2,390
273 Rantoul  13,060  988  2,274  2,562
227 Richton Park  13,792  355  2,364  1,567
184 River Forest  11,218  169  2,166  1,152
82 River Grove  10,291  87  1,147  600
280 Riverdale  13,640  1,144  3,043  3,150
205 Riverside  8,899  573  1,191  1,376
185 Robinson  7,654  248  1,973  1,152
192 Rock Falls  9,169  414  1,461  1,236
237 Rock Island  38,844  404  2,253  1,776
290 Rockford  149,586  1,235  4,279  4,770
135 Rockton  7,595  118  1,633  817
72 Rolling Meadows  24,333  66  1,011  559
71 Roscoe  10,654  122  892  556
63 Roselle  23,095  35  1,065  525
73 Round Lake  18,503  124  816  560
197 Round Lake Beach  28,067  125  2,359  1,271
45 Round Lake Park  7,352  27  1,102  468
148 Sandwich  7,353  299  1,047  868
281 Sauk Village  10,558  796  4,679  3,163
210 Schaumburg  75,060  97  2,491  1,404
168 Schiller Park  11,892  67  2,203  1,008
151 Shiloh  12,991  185  1,416  887
41 Shorewood  16,490  55  825  440
232 Silvis  7,627  288  3,278  1,721
218 Skokie  65,263  260  2,073  1,500
155 South Beloit  7,744  103  1,950  919
100 South Elgin  22,248  117  1,065  666
193 South Holland  22,201  284  1,712  1,237
27 Spring Grove  5,718  70  717  375
78 Spring Valley  5,365  93  1,212  591
288 Springfield  117,134  1,065  4,725  4,555
127 St. Charles  33,335  60  1,470  773
106 Staunton  5,077  138  1,320  693
265 Steger  9,561  377  4,414  2,356
246 Sterling  15,084  219  3,633  1,884
86 Stickney  6,833  117  1,142  617
159 Streamwood  40,456  101  1,641  943
234 Streator  13,355  202  3,437  1,752
229 Summit  11,561  389  2,353  1,589
149 Swansea  13,741  146  1,536  876
97 Sycamore  17,540  91  1,186  658
147 Taylorville  11,049  217  1,276  867
156 Tinley Park  57,405  80  1,618  923
96 Troy  10,014  130  1,108  651
261 Urbana  41,805  311  3,509  2,196
212 Vandalia  7,045  270  2,654  1,436
165 Vernon Hills  25,759  54  2,007  981
178 Villa Park  22,136  86  2,241  1,123
42 Warrenville  13,400  82  746  444
67 Washington  15,836  57  1,048  536
219 Watseka  5,109  176  3,347  1,502
264 Waukegan  88,747  439  2,903  2,306
113 West Chicago  27,636  90  1,252  717
164 West Dundee  7,375  14  2,454  970
145 West Frankfort  8,092  74  1,915  864
43 Westchester  16,849  30  938  447
4 Western Springs  13,217  15  333  162
88 Westmont  25,047  76  1,114  623
33 Wheaton  53,806  52  688  424
136 Wheeling  38,095  121  1,307  820
21 Willow Springs  5,722  105  489  341
93 Willowbrook  8,675  58  1,383  636
90 Wilmette  27,427  36  1,283  634
55 Wilmington  5,709  123  841  500
6 Winfield  9,582  -    438  175
23 Winnetka  12,477  16  809  358
53 Winthrop Harbor  6,726  149  684  489
69 Wood Dale  14,016  64  1,070  550
260 Wood River  10,370  270  4,388  2,196
109 Woodridge  33,510  110  1,113  704
144 Woodstock  25,222  135  1,423  864
92 Worth  10,859  92  1,206  636
50 Yorkville  17,929  50  926  479
274 Zion  24,316  699  3,360  2,700

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