2016 Safest Places in Indiana

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.

1. Zionsville

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.

4. Carmel

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.

5. Fishers

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.

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 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:

Safest Places in Indiana

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.

Rank

CityCrime Score

1

Zionsville 298

2

New Whiteland 299

3

St. John 320

4

Carmel 488

5

Fishers 511

6

North Manchester 580

7

Dyer 656

8

West Lafayette 687

9

Greensburg 690

10

Westfield 749

11

Tell City 762

12

Nappanee 770

13

Jasper 787

14

Alexandria 825

15

Danville 848

16

Bargersville 850

17

Columbia City 855

18

Sellersburg 873

19

Munster 885

20

Decatur 890

21

Auburn 969

22

Greenfield 970

23

Elwood 981

24

Brownsburg 995

25

Cedar Lake 1,047

26

Valparaiso 1,057

27

New Haven 1,060

28

Plymouth 1,077

29

Lowell 1,090

30

Charlestown 1,125

31

Portland 1,204

32

Garrett 1,208

33

Portage 1,273

34

Highland 1,275

35

Hartford City 1,300

36

Lawrenceburg 1,340

37

Mooresville 1,397

38

Bluffton 1,417

39

Gas City 1,470

40

Kendallville 1,529

41

Linton 1,532

42

Griffith 1,611

43

Plainfield 1,624

44

Angola 1,741

45

La Porte 1,743

46

Bedford 1,753

47

Peru 1,807

48

Rushville 1,848

49

Cumberland 1,864

50

Goshen 1,930

51

Warsaw 1,949

52

Mount Vernon1,959

53

Boonville1,964

54

Beech Grove2,076

55

Rensselaer2,098

56

Logansport2,114

57

Bloomington2,157

58

Merrillville2,175

59

Columbus2,202

60

Franklin2,259

61

Kokomo2,275

62

Scottsburg2,312

63

Greenwood2,339

64

Frankfort2,341

65

Lake Station2,363

66

Marion2,434

67

Fort Wayne2,444

68

Avon2,454

69

Jeffersonville2,537

70

Michigan City2,544

71

Speedway2,615

72

Mishawaka2,711

73

Seymour2,712

74

Muncie2,761

75

Anderson2,776

76

Washington2,859

77

Shelbyville2,959

78

Terre Haute2,980

79

New Albany3,013

80

Hobart3,250

81

Lafayette3,311

82

Crawfordsville3,313

83

Hammond3,359

84

East Chicago3,404

85

South Bend3,725

86

Evansville3,957

87

Gary4,327

88

Clarksville4,439

89

Elkhart4,463

90

Indianapolis5,840

Year-over-year Change

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.

Safest Places in Indiana

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

14

Alexandria5,075202,148825

75

Anderson55,5453424,4832,776

44

Angola8,661464,2371,741

21

Auburn12,797632,110969

68

Avon14,0093784,4042,454

16

Bargersville6,554462,045850

46

Bedford13,3721123,7991,753

54

Beech Grove14,5361724,3002,076

57

Bloomington83,0753542,9682,157

38

Bluffton9,959103,5041,417

53

Boonville6,1986292,6621,964

24

Brownsburg23,5391871,529995

4

Carmel87,55514932488

25

Cedar Lake11,7361701,8921,047

30

Charlestown8,091122,8301,125

88

Clarksville21,8585548,0154,439

17

Columbia City8,8161361,622855

59

Columbus46,196974,3322,202

82

Crawfordsville16,0171,2612,8343,313

49

Cumberland5,3863163,7321,864

15

Danville9,5192631,082848

20

Decatur9,419532,028890

7

Dyer16,244981,164656

84

East Chicago29,0898564,2013,404

89

Elkhart51,3661,2584,4454,463

23

Elwood8,4931411,931981

86

Evansville120,3725185,7183,957

5

Fishers85,59721951511

67

Fort Wayne257,1723173,2482,444

64

Frankfort16,2051235,0662,341

60

Franklin24,3103093,9162,259

32

Garrett6,290482,9891,208

87

Gary78,0139135,1944,327

39

Gas City6,0752802,7651,470

50

Goshen32,3371113,8351,930

22

Greenfield21,3811361,698970

9

Greensburg11,800263644690

63

Greenwood54,3453513,5352,339

42

Griffith16,5522542,8031,611

83

Hammond78,5268113,6183,359

35

Hartford City6,053173,3701,300

34

Highland23,179652,6621,275

80

Hobart28,3892926,1293,250

90

Indianapolis858,2381,2554,8235,840

13

Jasper15,370234943787

69

Jeffersonville46,1175793,1252,537

40

Kendallville9,9042732,7361,529

61

Kokomo56,9042853,6452,275

45

La Porte22,0021553,3951,743

81

Lafayette70,7494964,8423,311

65

Lake Station12,1701815,0622,363

36

Lawrenceburg5,0272192,7451,340

41

Linton5,326563,8871,532

56

Logansport17,973894,6122,114

29

Lowell9,4034688721,090

66

Marion29,4752994,2512,434

58

Merrillville35,7143333,4442,175

70

Michigan City31,5083174,3862,544

72

Mishawaka47,9332214,9072,711

37

Mooresville9,636523,3001,397

52

Mount Vernon6,566-5,1331,959

74

Muncie70,3473944,1212,761

19

Munster23,187911,665885

12

Nappanee6,705751,715770

79

New Albany36,9082445,6223,013

27

New Haven15,6351022,1171,060

2

New Whiteland5,79335656299

6

North Manchester5,989671,269580

47

Peru11,1013153,2071,807

43

Plainfield30,7271792,9031,624

28

Plymouth10,0361392,1321,077

33

Portage36,8051632,1361,273

31

Portland6,2751272,6611,204

55

Rensselaer5,8743404,2052,098

48

Rushville6,173814,5521,848

62

Scottsburg6,7205513,8392,312

18

Sellersburg6,1671141,849873

73

Seymour19,0503364,9922,712

77

Shelbyville19,2781,0012,9002,959

85

South Bend100,8536854,7043,725

71

Speedway12,1203225,1162,615

3

St. John15,87032636320

11

Tell City7,298141,918762

78

Terre Haute61,0853244,9312,980

26

Valparaiso32,3821081,9121,057

51

Warsaw14,1603813,1711,949

76

Washington11,9824515,2082,859

8

West Lafayette31,1921031,119687

10

Westfield34,2141051,230749

1

Zionsville25,57423583298

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