Personal Finance

2016 Safest Places in Illinois

2016 Safest Places in Illinois

Cities in Illinois vary dramatically with regards to safety. Here are the safest cities for people thinking of moving to Illinois.

The 291 communities in Illinois with populations of at least 5,000 had crime scores that ranged from 109 to 8,278. This score takes into account both violent crime 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 safe city; in fact, it was not in the bottom five. The least safe community in Illinois was a mid-sized city outside St. Louis. You can review the report to see how all of the cities rank.

Top 5 safest places in Illinois

These cities have an average crime score of 143, which is 88% lower than their typical peers 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 study.

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 older) had at least bachelor’s degree.

2. Clarendon Hills

This village is small (population 8,684), but it offers 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 study, and it also had a low amount of violent crime. "The Volunteer Community" has 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 a 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 a 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 rapidly 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.

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 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 10 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 10 were repeats from 2015. Lake Forest, Frankfort, Geneva and Shorewood were new to the top 10 this year.

Safest places in Illinois

2015

  • Hawthorn Woods
  • Inverness
  • Campton Hills
  • Lindenhurst
  • Winfield

2016

  • Hawthorn Woods
  • Clarendon Hills
  • Campton Hills
  • Western Springs
  • Hampshire

Full list of places in Illinois

Rank
City
Population
Violent Crime per 100K
Property Crime per 100K
Crime Score
173Addison37,4801731,6331,064
123Algonquin30,566591,462762
226Alsip19,4931852,9091,565
277Alton27,1575044,4112,851
139Antioch14,3981111,563835
Show All Rows

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 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.