Hillsdale is one of Michigan’s safest cities, according to a recent Munetrix study.
This is based on data collected by the municipal metrics firm for a 2014 study determining Michigan’s 15 Safest Cities. It rated Michigan cities by “crime per capita,” including Part I and Part II crimes. Hillsdale was not included in the study. Munetrix only rated cities with a population of over 50,000, the safest being Rochester Hills, with a 2.47 percent crime rate The least safe, Clinton, with 6.47 percent. According to the same system Hillsdale ranks at 3.34 percent, putting Hillsdale with the top five safest cities.
“Usually crime statistics are discussed in the context of Part I crimes: murders and rapes. Munetrix wanted to see what all crime statistics reflected when measured on a per-capita basis,” Munetrix President Bob Kittle said in a Sept. 4 press release. “Any discussion on crime is sensitive to communities. The new Munetrix list offers an alternative way for citizens and municipal leaders to use data in prioritizing their public safety goal and budgets.”
Part II crimes include aggravated assault, public disorder, and drug and alcohol offenses.
While Hillsdale is statistically safe, Hillsdale County Sheriff Stan Burchardt said there is a rise in drug crime.
“One of the big problems we’re seeing is an increase in big drugs,” Burchardt said. “It seems like meth and marijuana are making their way into Hillsdale, that and identity theft.”
Officer Ryan Tracy, who served in Benton Harbor, Michigan, before joining the City of Hillsdale Police Department, said that Hillsdale, a smaller close-knit community, has less violent crime.
“Hillsdale is a safer city. The structures of the departments are different, and when I say structure, I mean the way you do your work,” Tracy said. “Hillsdale is a community-based department. In Benton harbor you see more murders, drugs, armed robberies. In both cities you still show compassion, build relationships and trust. But we’re a tight-knit community here, it’s different from a bigger industrial city. Community policing involves building trust and being neighbors.”