Safest Cities in Indiana – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Indiana is right in the middle of the pack among U.S. states in terms of crime: the state’s violent and property crime rates are about as close as you can get to the national averages in both categories. The situation in the Hoosier State’s safest cities is very different, however, with each of the top 5 logging crime rates that compare favorably to the safest in the country.

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

Crime is scarce in St. John, Indiana’s safest community. The town of 17.6K logged just 3 violent crimes in 2018, good for a rate of 0.17 offenses per 1,000, while its property crime rate is less-than-a-third of the national rate.

Indiana’s 2nd safest city is Dyer, a town which neighbors #1 St. John in Lake Country, and nearly matches its low levels of crime. The southeastern suburb of Chicago recorded only 10 crimes in 2018, along with a remarkable 8.38 per 1,000 rate of property crime.

Chesterton is Indiana’s 3rd safest city. One of a trio of cities known as the Duneland area for being home to Indiana Dunes National Park, Chesterton logged a violent crime rate below 1 offense per 1,000 in 2018, and its property crime rate is slightly lower than #2 Dyers.

#4 Carmel’s low crime rates are all the more impressive in light of its size: the city’s population tops 94,000. Recording a violent crime rate of 0.46 per 1,000 in 2018 (the state’s 3rd lowest), Carmel’s crime situation resembles that of a much smaller community.

Rounding out the list of Indiana’s 5 safest cities is West Lafayette, a city in Tippecanoe County around 65 miles northwest of state capital Indianapolis. Like other cities in the ranking, West Lafayette earned a violent crime rate under 1 per 1K and a property crime rate under 10 per 1k in 2018.

Indiana’s Safest Cities

INCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1St. John176153111231146.470.176.301.31
2Dyer1588010133351439.010.638.382.20
3Chesterton1356111111261229.000.818.191.92
4Carmel94128437161407598.060.467.611.49
5West Lafayette4690631401704329.210.668.551.49
6Fishers94035468151258619.160.498.671.33
7Brownsburg26525332644929711.201.249.951.85
8Noblesville63315595899264810.230.939.301.45
9Crown Point2988463355134111.410.2011.211.71
10Valparaiso33610374026343913.061.1011.961.87
11Auburn1322071692517613.310.5312.781.89
12Bluffton10046201673218718.611.9916.623.19
13Cedar Lake1260271932520015.870.5615.321.98
14Munster22596213754739617.530.9316.602.08
15Bedford13282162833929922.511.2021.312.94
16Portage36646687407480822.051.8620.192.02
17Griffith1605083813938924.240.5023.742.43
18Crawfordsville16207713424141325.484.3821.102.53
19Highland22428115674757825.770.4925.282.10
20Jeffersonville4770965123990130427.331.3625.971.89
21Plainfield33668937945888726.352.7623.581.72
22Frankfort1574494693547830.360.5729.792.22
23Lawrence49093210108382129326.344.2822.061.67
24Lake Station11880313212335229.632.6127.021.94
25Fort Wayne26763410247007531803130.013.8326.181.98
26Franklin252881297085783733.105.1028.002.25
27Hammond760503652652240301739.674.8034.873.16
28Peru10973513703242138.374.6533.722.92
29Speedway12187355225055745.702.8742.834.10
30Shelbyville190752155636177840.7911.2729.523.20
31Bloomington857304632275157273831.945.4026.541.83
32Kokomo57804364142697179030.976.3024.671.68
33Goshen3338647112871117535.191.4133.792.13
34Marion28116128103878116641.474.5536.922.77
35Lafayette729043382623188296140.624.6435.982.58
36Hobart2810171111277118342.102.5339.572.74
37Gary754263742723192309741.064.9636.102.55
38Columbus4759576170694178237.441.6035.841.97
39Elkhart526596241869161249347.3411.8535.493.06
40Muncie684062192281114250036.553.2033.351.67
41Indianapolis877584111703623731534740754.0212.7341.293.59
42Greenwood5831283177769186031.901.4230.471.18
43Seymour196814199560103652.642.0850.563.05
44Anderson549252272340124256746.744.1342.602.26
45South Bend10239710644406283547053.4210.3943.032.76

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.