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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.”