By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
STEVENSVILLE — Two Berrien County townships are among the safest cities in Michigan, according to a list based partly on FBI crime statistics.
Compiled by BackgroundChecks.org, a list showcasing Michigan’s 50 safest cities for 2016 included Lincoln Township at No. 8 and St. Joseph Township at No. 36.
BackgroundChecks.org says it compiled the list using FBI violent crime stats and its own research data. It calculated violent crime rates based on 100,000 people. The state average, it said, is 427 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Lincoln Township Police Chief Dan Sullivan said he’s not surprised by the ranking based on the township’s population.
Lincoln Township is home to about 14,600 residents. According to BackgroundChecks.org, the violent crime rate is 54.4 and residents have a 1.2 percent chance of being involved in a property crime.
“It’s based on cities under a certain population. We don’t have the retail and a lot of other things that other cities have,” Sullivan said. “I’d say we have a homicide every two or three years, sometimes longer than that. We don’t have to deal with as much violent crime as other municipalities have to. Other than the I-94 corridor, we are largely a residential community.”
Sullivan credited the police department and the amount of cooperation the community has for the ranking.
“I’m proud of that achievement, but that’s not the whole enchilada,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot more that we do. The list is compiled by statistics that doesn’t take into account police working on all the crashes in the winter.”
The majority of the 50 listed cities are on the east side of the state.
Of the 50, 13 are in Wayne County and 14 are in Oakland County – both Detroit area counties. Marquette is the only Upper Peninsula city on the list.
St. Joseph Township also made the list, but further down.
At No. 36, St. Joseph Township is home to 10,000 residents. According to the website, both the township and its village of Shoreham are considered “bedroom communities to the nearby city of St. Joseph.” The violent crime rate there is 149.4, and the chance of being involved in a property crime in the township is just 1.4 percent.
The safest community in the state, according to the website, is Grosse Ile Township in Wayne County. The community of 10,300 residents covers several islands in the Detroit River. The violent crime rate there is 9.7 per 100,000 people and the chance of being affected by property crime is 0.8 percent, according to the website.
To see what other municipalities made the list, people can go to backgroundchecks.org/50-safest-cities-in-michigan-2016.