Waterloo among safest cities in Illinois


Waterloo is once again among the safest cities in Illinois, according to a national trade association.

The National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked Waterloo at 19th on its list of “Safest Cities in Illinois” for 2020.

To view the list, click here.

Waterloo, which ranked first on this list in 2017 and fourth in 2018, did not appear on the list last year.

Columbia, which does not appear on the 2020 list, ranked ninth last year and 19th in 2018.

To identify the safest cities, the council reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. Cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000 are eliminated from consideration.

This left 3,381 cities of a total of 9,251 in Illinois for consideration.

The council computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. A crime rate was then created as the number of crimes per 1,000 population.

The council transforms the total crime rate variable so that the skewness is reduced and normalized.

Data from law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy, or total crimes in comparison to number of police employees.

“We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is,” the council states on its website.

This variable was also transformed and normalized. Finally, the two variables are combined to create a “safety score” for each city.

Waterloo was listed as having 10,408 residents with 13 total violent crimes, 73 property crimes, 18 law enforcement employees and 86 total crimes over the past year.

Waterloo’s crime crate per 1,000 residents was 8.26 and its law enforcement per 1,000 residents was 1.73.

Waterloo is the only metro-east city in the top 50 of this year’s list. Swansea ranked 54th.

“This is a great honor for our city to receive this distinction,” Waterloo Police Chief Jeff Prosise said of this year’s ranking. “Waterloo has a hard working police department and we are fortunate to have a great relationship with our citizens.”

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