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Article updated: 1/20/2014 5:38 PM

Naperville, Aurora both make safest mid-size cities list

Aurora police Chief Greg Thomas

Aurora police Chief Greg Thomas

 
Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall

Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall

 
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Two cities that share a border -- but not necessarily an image -- have been recognized as among the safest mid-size communities in America.

It may not be a surprise Naperville was ranked fourth among the top 10 safest mid-size towns in a list compiled by Movoto Real Estate. But Naperville's neighbor to the west, Aurora, also cracked the top 10 at No. 8.

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"It's nice to see that Aurora would be up there in the top 10," Aurora police Chief Greg Thomas said Monday. "The city has been working hard to get there."

Movoto, a real estate brokerage licensed in more than 30 states, has been compiling various listings of communities since 2005, according to its website. This list evaluated safety in the 101st to 201st largest communities in the U.S., all of which had populations between 126,047 and 210,309.

Using data police departments submit to the FBI about violent crimes and property crimes, Movoto figured out how many of each type of crime occurred in 2013 per 100,000 people in each community. A formula that placed more significance on violent crimes than on property crimes and total crimes helped determine the ranking, which includes seven cities in California, along with Naperville, Aurora and Cary, N.C.

Naperville, with roughly 146,000 residents, and Aurora, with a population of almost 200,000, were eligible for the list.

Thomas said his city's presence in the top 10 for safety is recognition of the progress Aurora has made from a past when crime was more common.

About this time last year, Aurora was celebrating the fact there were no murders during all of 2012. It was the first time the city had completed a year without a murder since 1946, and it was a far cry from the 25 murders in 2002, or the record-high 26 murders in 1996.

"I think we have demonstrated for a long time now that Aurora is much safer than it was in the early 2000s and late 1990s," Thomas said. "I would hope that we start living down more and more of that reputation that we had for violence when we were having 26 murders a year and 350 shootings a year."

In 2013, the year evaluated for the Movoto ranking, there were three murders in Aurora. The city had 329 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, which Movoto said was the highest among towns in the top 10 list. Its property crime rate was 1,925 per 100,000 people and its total crime rate was 2,246 per 100,000 residents, according to the listing.

In Naperville, there were 79 violent crimes and 1,484 property crimes per 100,000 people, adding up to a total of 1,563 reported crimes per 100,000 residents.

"We are always looking at innovative police strategies, along with our community partners, to make certain our city remains in the top tier of the safest cities in the country," Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall said in a written statement.

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