Study: Naperville is safest city in U.S. for women

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the data analysis company that conducted the study.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the data analysis company that conducted the study.

Naperville has been ranked the safest city in America for women.

A data analysis company's study of state and local statistics on stalking and violent crimes against women found Naperville to be the safest among 285 cities with at least 100,000 residents.

Looking at the number of forcible rapes per city, as well as the number of women murdered by men and the likelihood of a woman to be stalked in each state, analyst Padmini Parthasarathy at New York-based ValuePengiun said Naperville ranked safer than all other communities for which data was studied.

"That is more useful to people than just crime statistics for one particular city," Parthasarathy said about the comparisons in the report called "The Safest Cities for Women in America: A Study."

Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall said collaboration with schools on education against sexual assault and domestic violence helps create a safe atmosphere for women. So does the department's use of specially trained female officers to investigate certain crimes in which women are victims.

"We are very pleased and proud of the No. 1 rating. Our community outreach efforts and preventative programs specially designed to ensure women's safety are just some of our keys to success," Marshall said. "Our overall low violent crime rate for a city of our size plays a huge role in Naperville residents feeling safe."

This is the first time ValuePenguin has studied the safest cities for women, and Parthasarathy said the analysis was spurred by online "buzz" about violence against women. Some topics receiving online discussion, such as domestic violence, were not considered in the study.

"It's very difficult to find information about domestic violence and sexual assault," Parthasarathy said.

Meggie Zayas, a volunteer at WAR Chest Boutique in Naperville, which supports programs to rescue women from prostitution and human trafficking, said she's glad to hear Naperville ranked so highly for women's safety, but statistics about crimes of a sexual nature should be evaluated with caution.

"I love hearing that," she said about the city's top ranking. "But as with any statistic, there is only so much they can tell you. Especially when you consider 60 percent of (sexual) assaults are never reported."

The three types of crimes that were evaluated in the ValuePenguin study - rapes, murders and stalking - each were weighted, with rape statistics affecting scores the most, Parthasarathy said.

Rape figures for each city came from the FBI's 2012 comprehensive crime statistics, which showed seven forcible rapes in Naperville were reported to police that year. Murder statistics by state came from a study by the Violence Policy Center, which reported 18 Illinois women killed by men in 2011. Stalking data in the ValuePanda study used the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated there are 691,000 female stalking victims in Illinois.

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