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:

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 City Crime 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 Vernon  1,959
53 Boonville  1,964
54 Beech Grove  2,076
55 Rensselaer  2,098
56 Logansport  2,114
57 Bloomington  2,157
58 Merrillville  2,175
59 Columbus  2,202
60 Franklin  2,259
61 Kokomo  2,275
62 Scottsburg  2,312
63 Greenwood  2,339
64 Frankfort  2,341
65 Lake Station  2,363
66 Marion  2,434
67 Fort Wayne  2,444
68 Avon  2,454
69 Jeffersonville  2,537
70 Michigan City  2,544
71 Speedway  2,615
72 Mishawaka  2,711
73 Seymour  2,712
74 Muncie  2,761
75 Anderson  2,776
76 Washington  2,859
77 Shelbyville  2,959
78 Terre Haute  2,980
79 New Albany  3,013
80 Hobart  3,250
81 Lafayette  3,311
82 Crawfordsville  3,313
83 Hammond  3,359
84 East Chicago  3,404
85 South Bend  3,725
86 Evansville  3,957
87 Gary  4,327
88 Clarksville  4,439
89 Elkhart  4,463
90 Indianapolis  5,840

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.

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 City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
14 Alexandria 5,075  20  2,148  825
75 Anderson 55,545  342  4,483  2,776
44 Angola 8,661  46  4,237  1,741
21 Auburn 12,797  63  2,110  969
68 Avon  14,009  378  4,404  2,454
16 Bargersville 6,554  46  2,045  850
46 Bedford 13,372  112  3,799  1,753
54 Beech Grove  14,536  172  4,300  2,076
57 Bloomington  83,075  354  2,968  2,157
38 Bluffton 9,959  10  3,504  1,417
53 Boonville  6,198  629  2,662  1,964
24 Brownsburg 23,539  187  1,529  995
4 Carmel 87,555  14  932  488
25 Cedar Lake 11,736  170  1,892  1,047
30 Charlestown 8,091  12  2,830  1,125
88 Clarksville 21,858  554  8,015  4,439
17 Columbia City 8,816  136  1,622  855
59 Columbus  46,196  97  4,332  2,202
82 Crawfordsville 16,017  1,261  2,834  3,313
49 Cumberland 5,386  316  3,732  1,864
15 Danville 9,519  263  1,082  848
20 Decatur 9,419  53  2,028  890
7 Dyer 16,244  98  1,164  656
84 East Chicago 29,089  856  4,201  3,404
89 Elkhart 51,366  1,258  4,445  4,463
23 Elwood 8,493  141  1,931  981
86 Evansville 120,372  518  5,718  3,957
5 Fishers 85,597  21  951  511
67 Fort Wayne  257,172  317  3,248  2,444
64 Frankfort  16,205  123  5,066  2,341
60 Franklin  24,310  309  3,916  2,259
32 Garrett 6,290  48  2,989  1,208
87 Gary 78,013  913  5,194  4,327
39 Gas City 6,075  280  2,765  1,470
50 Goshen 32,337  111  3,835  1,930
22 Greenfield 21,381  136  1,698  970
9 Greensburg 11,800  263  644  690
63 Greenwood  54,345  351  3,535  2,339
42 Griffith 16,552  254  2,803  1,611
83 Hammond 78,526  811  3,618  3,359
35 Hartford City 6,053  17  3,370  1,300
34 Highland 23,179  65  2,662  1,275
80 Hobart 28,389  292  6,129  3,250
90 Indianapolis 858,238  1,255  4,823  5,840
13 Jasper 15,370  234  943  787
69 Jeffersonville  46,117  579  3,125  2,537
40 Kendallville 9,904  273  2,736  1,529
61 Kokomo  56,904  285  3,645  2,275
45 La Porte 22,002  155  3,395  1,743
81 Lafayette 70,749  496  4,842  3,311
65 Lake Station  12,170  181  5,062  2,363
36 Lawrenceburg 5,027  219  2,745  1,340
41 Linton 5,326  56  3,887  1,532
56 Logansport  17,973  89  4,612  2,114
29 Lowell 9,403  468  872  1,090
66 Marion  29,475  299  4,251  2,434
58 Merrillville  35,714  333  3,444  2,175
70 Michigan City  31,508  317  4,386  2,544
72 Mishawaka  47,933  221  4,907  2,711
37 Mooresville 9,636  52  3,300  1,397
52 Mount Vernon  6,566  -    5,133  1,959
74 Muncie 70,347  394  4,121  2,761
19 Munster 23,187  91  1,665  885
12 Nappanee 6,705  75  1,715  770
79 New Albany 36,908  244  5,622  3,013
27 New Haven 15,635  102  2,117  1,060
2 New Whiteland 5,793  35  656  299
6 North Manchester 5,989  67  1,269  580
47 Peru 11,101  315  3,207  1,807
43 Plainfield 30,727  179  2,903  1,624
28 Plymouth 10,036  139  2,132  1,077
33 Portage 36,805  163  2,136  1,273
31 Portland 6,275  127  2,661  1,204
55 Rensselaer  5,874  340  4,205  2,098
48 Rushville 6,173  81  4,552  1,848
62 Scottsburg  6,720  551  3,839  2,312
18 Sellersburg 6,167  114  1,849  873
73 Seymour 19,050  336  4,992  2,712
77 Shelbyville 19,278  1,001  2,900  2,959
85 South Bend 100,853  685  4,704  3,725
71 Speedway  12,120  322  5,116  2,615
3 St. John 15,870  32  636  320
11 Tell City 7,298  14  1,918  762
78 Terre Haute 61,085  324  4,931  2,980
26 Valparaiso 32,382  108  1,912  1,057
51 Warsaw 14,160  381  3,171  1,949
76 Washington 11,982  451  5,208  2,859
8 West Lafayette 31,192  103  1,119  687
10 Westfield 34,214  105  1,230  749
1 Zionsville 25,574  23  583  298

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