by Susan Gulliford
The 6.6 million people who call Indiana home care about safety so the team at ValuePenguin analyzed the latest FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in the Hoosier State. These 90 cities with populations of at least 5,000 have crime scores that range from 298 to 5,840. The average crime score for the state is 1,874.
The major takeaway is that suburbs dominate the safest places. Interestingly, these suburbs are not necessarily small, bedroom communities. Two suburbs with populations of over 75,000 made it into the top five. The full report is below.
5 Safest Places in Indiana
These cities have an average final crime score of 383, which is 80% lower than their typical peer in the state. The team at ValuePenguin determined that these five are the safest cities in the Indiana.
This Indianapolis suburb comes in at number one. The population grew almost 12% from the 2010 census, yet this town stayed safe. It had the lowest rate of property crime of any community in this research. The police department runs a “Teen Academy” that educates young people on topics such as identity theft and internet usage. This community is very affluent. The median household income for Zionsville was 2.1 times the state’s median, and nearly 70% of the adult residents held at least a bachelor’s degree.
2. New Whiteland
With a population of 5,793, New Whiteland is the smallest community in the top five. It is approximately a 27-minute drive south of Indianapolis. New Whiteland had only two violent crimes reported in 2014, and it had the fourth-lowest rate of property crime for any community in this research. The residents had a median household income of $50,757, which was only $2,000 above the state’s median.
3. St. John
The top community in the mid-size category comes in at number three overall. St. John is in northwest Indiana, approximately 24 miles southeast of Chicago. It had the second lowest rate of property crime in addition to a low rate of violent crime. This town had a low rate of poverty and a median household income 92% higher than the state’s median.
With a population of 87,555, Carmel is the largest city in the top five. This suburb north of Indianapolis reported a mere 12 violent crimes in 2014 and had the sixth-lowest rate of property crime. The police department offers a number of programs such as Business Watch and Neighborhood Crime Watch to keep the city safe. Carmel is an affluent suburb with a median household income 2.2 times the state’s median, a very low poverty rate and a high percentage of adults (nearly 69%) with at least a bachelor’s degree.
This large (population of 85,597) Indianapolis suburb comes in at number five. It had low rates of both violent and property crime. In addition to traditional programs, the Fishers police department offers a safety link program for seniors. Fishers is another town with a high median household income -- 88% above Indiana’s median -- as well as low poverty rate and a highly educated population.
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 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 25,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 25,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Indiana
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Indiana” 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.
The top five was remarkably consistent. Four out of the five cities made the safest places list both years. Interestingly, the lone new entrant, St. John, replaced another northwest Indiana community, Dyer.
There were other consistencies as well. In both 2015 and 2016, the top five consisted of three cities from the large category, one city from the mid-size category and one city from the small category. Four Indianapolis suburbs and one Chicago suburb made up the safest places.
There was consistency at the other end of the survey. Indianapolis had the highest crime score for both years. Overall, three of the five least safest cities from 2015 were in the bottom five for 2016.
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!
Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K