It's been a few months, but Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig says he's still doing back flips -- figuratively speaking, of course -- over the village's spot on a national real estate research firm's list of the safest towns in the country.
Hanover Park ranked 57th on the list compiled earlier this year by NeighborhoodScout, which analyzed 2011 FBI statistics and data to determine its safest municipalities of at least 25,000 people based on the number of crimes per 1,000 residents.
"To make the top 100 after everything we went through, I couldn't believe it," Craig said.
Craig's referring particularly to gang violence and the four homicides that took place within a two-week period in 2009. The string of murders terrified residents, perplexed officials and put the village under an unwanted spotlight.
The police department was completely restructured, brought up its staffing to recommended levels and implemented numerous changes that emphasized preventive measures and community outreach.
"We had a reputation for so long, but what we're doing seems to be working," Craig said. "We're not where we want to be yet, but there's been continual improvement and people who live here are starting to believe in their town."
For the record, 11 other Illinois towns made the top 100 list including Bartlett, Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Mount Prospect, Palatine, West Chicago, Carol Stream and Hoffman Estates.