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Channahon, Marseilles among ‘safest cities’

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 8:49 p.m. CDT

CHANNAHON – A recently-released study states Channahon and Marseilles are two of the safest cities in Illinois.

National home security company SafeWise analyzed Federal Bureau of Investigation crime data from 2012 to find the 50 safest cities in Illinois.

According to the data, Channahon ranks 16 and Marseilles 32 among the 514 Illinois cities evaluated. The number one spot went to the village, Round Lake Park, population 7,400, located in Lake County.

“It feels great,” Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold said. “I’m very proud of our community and community members who have taken the time and effort to make their homes and businesses safe.”

For every city with a population greater than 5,000 people, SafeWise looked at the number of violent crimes – including aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder and robbery – and property crimes, including arson, burglary, larceny theft and vehicle theft. Based on those numbers, SafeWise calculated the chance of violent and property crimes happening out of 1,000 to level the playing field for cities varying in population size.

“It was surprising to see the number of Illinois communities with little or no violent crime,” SafeWise security analyst Rebecca Edwards said in a news release. “In this day and age, it is so reassuring to know that caring, proactive communities can make such an impact when it comes to protecting their homes and communities.”

Channahon was one such city with nearly zero violent crimes per 1,000 residents. In 2012, the city reported only two violent crimes and 88 property crimes for the entire year. Wold said the police department has made efforts to educate residents on safety and security measures, which has helped the city’s crime rate.

“More of our businesses are using alarms, camera systems and security lighting,” Wold said.

He said the department conducts safety reviews of local businesses to ensure they are using the most effective building security. Channahon police also coordinates a citizens police academy, which aims to equip residents with the knowledge needed to make the city safer.

“The academy has since formed a citizens academy alumni group, that’s very involved with community safety,” Wold said.

Although Marseilles was further down on the list, the city still had a violent crime rate less than one at .98 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Marseilles Police Chief James Hovious said his department embraces “community policing” and works closely with members of the community.

The department also incorporated computer statistics into its policing strategies last year, after Marseilles consolidated dispatching services with Ottawa.

With the data, Hovious said the department can analyze when and where crimes are happening most.

“We can review the stats and target our resources to where we need to be,” Hovious said. “It’s been a great tool.”

Channahon beat other Grundy County towns to make the list, sometimes by a significant amount. For example, Morris’s violent crime rate per 1,000 was 1.68 which is about 10 times Channahon’s violent crime rate. In 2012, Morris reported 23 violent crimes and 505 property crimes.

Hovious said he is proud to be ranked as one of the safest cities but will not get comfortable with the new title.

“Crime is like a pendulum. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down,” Hovious said. “We’re certainly going to enjoy this part and hope we are doing the right things to keep crime low.”

OUTBOX 

Safest cities in the Grundy County area

Violent crime rates per 1,000 residents

.16 – Channahon  

.36 – Minooka 

.36 – Coal City 

1.68 – Morris 

5.92 – Seneca 

Property crime rates per 1,000 residents

6.97 – Channahon

13.30 – Minooka

23.40 – Coal City

27.07 – Seneca

36.97 – Morris

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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