Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton called 9th safest community in state

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Quiet streets. Trustworthy neighbors. A place you can walk at night, without feeling imperiled.

It’s the sort of thing Chesterton folks take for granted, without its ever occurring to them that someone might actually crunch the numbers and calculate a ranking.

But Movoto Real Estate--a “national online real estate brokerage”--has done just that. And the results are now in.

The Town of Chesterton is the ninth safest community in the State of Indiana.

The complete Top 10: (1) Zionsville; (2) Carmel; (3) Fishers; (4) St. John; (5) Jasper; (6) Crown Point; (7) Westfield; (8) Brownsburg; (9) Chesterton; (10) Munster.

About Chesterton, Movoto has this to say: “Residents in this safe town, famous for its Wizard of Oz Festival, know there is no place like home--especially when it comes to feeling safe. That’s because Chesterton had one of the overall lowest rates of crime in the state.”

Movoto’s methodology:

* It began with municipalities in Indiana with populations of 10,000 or more (automatically excluding Porter and Burns Harbor).

* It further narrowed that list to those 62 municipalities in the state which reported data to the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report (UCR).

* Movoto then divided UCR reportable crimes into four categories: murder, violent crimes (rape, robbery, assault), property crimes (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft), and total crimes.

* Next it calculated crime rates for each community based on crimes per 100,000 residents--“a standard analytical practice in order to fairly compare cities of all sizes.”

* “In order to account for the varying severity of crime here, we ranked these spots so that murders, violent crimes, and property crimes accounted for 30 percent (each) of the overall score, where overall crimes made up 10 (percent),” Movoto said.

* Finally, Movoto averaged these rankings and computed the “chance of crime” in each community, with the lowest chance going to the safest place: 0.25 in Zionsville.

Chesterton’s chance: 2.18.

By way of comparison, Valparaiso was the 20th safest community in Indiana, with a 5.2 chance; and Portage was 33rd safest, with a 6.9 chance.

“It does not surprise me that Chesterton would be ranked as one of the safest communities in Indiana,” Police Chief Dave Cincoski told the Chesterton Tribune. “But in my opinion, it is not for the singular efforts of a group, department, or entity. Rather, I believe it is because of a collaborative effort of all the various stakeholders. Diligence and attention to detail by residents, businesses, homeowners, the Police and Fire departments, and all town departments make Chesterton a safe place to live and visit. A concerted effort by residents and visitors to protect and secure their property leads to decreased incidents of crimes.”

But Cincoski in no way minimizes the professionalism of his officers either. “Maintaining a police presence, taking extra steps to dispose of a crime or incident and dedication of staff to serve the community helps keep Chesterton safe,” he said. “Officers routinely take it upon themselves, not only to do the job they have been called or asked to do, but go beyond routine expectations to serve the community.”

Cincoski offers two examples. First, the CPD’s officers routinely show a great deal of initiative. “Officers have taken it upon themselves, when available, to increase a presence on Ind. 49,” he said. “Their presence there, by increasing traffic enforcement, has directly led to the decrease in traffic crashes on that highway.”

Cincoski also points to the collaborative strategy with which his officers and detectives investigate the occasional high-profile crime, like the “recent business burglary involving numerous firearms.” Such crimes “are regularly brought to a quick resolution by officers from various shifts and departments working together to follow leads, establish suspects, and subsequently locate suspects,” he said. “They demonstrate a level of teamwork and cohesion that I am certainly proud of.”

“Being ranked in the Top 10 safest communities in Indiana is a reflection of our citizens and emergency services,” Fire Chief John Jarka noted. “Our community is protected by the best police, fire, EMS, and 911 center, who work collaboratively to keep the residents and visitors safe.”

Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th--who also serves as the council’s liaison to the CPD--attributes Chesterton’s safeness to “a lot of planning” by staff and its “forward-thinking and proactive public-safety departments.”

But in the end, DeLaney said, it’s about the people who live in this community, who make it a community: “neighbors looking out for one another and not being afraid to question.”


Posted 7/17/2014




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