Ligonier again ranked safest city in Indiana

Article by Kelly Lynch of KPC Media

LIGONIER — Ligonier is still the safest city in Indiana.

After earning the top spot for the first time last year, SafeWise announced Monday that the city would stay atop its 20 Safest Cities in Indiana list in 2017.

“I tell you, it’s pretty exciting,” Ligonier Mayor Patty Fisel said Monday morning. “I think that’s well-deserved, because I think that our officers and everyone, our citizens, everyone has worked really hard to try to make our city as safe as it can possibly be for everyone.”

SafeWise, a safety and home security news organization, reviewed and analyzed FBI crime reporting statistics regarding violent and property offenses for 2015, the latest year available, along with population data to rank cities in the state with more than 4,000 residents.

Ligonier had placed second in the rankings in 2015 before taking first place in 2016.

For Fisel and Police Chief Bryan Shearer, the award is only possible through the cooperation and relationship between the city’s police force and the community.

The city’s Police Department has implemented programs for more than a decade aimed at checking on businesses’ security on a daily basis and conducting extra surveillance of properties whose owners may be on vacation or away from their homes for an extended period.

Over the vacation check program’s 14 years, there hasn’t been one break-in at a house under the Police Department’s care, Shearer said.

And area residents help each other by keeping an eye out on their neighborhoods and alerting authorities to anything unusual.

“In today’s world, we want people to pay attention,” Shearer said. “If they see something unusual or suspicious, they’re not afraid to call.”

While Shearer recognizes the ranking as an honor, it’s not why he and his officers hold themselves to a high standard.

Three years ago, he didn’t even know SafeWise existed until Ligonier placed on its list.

“One week of a crime spree could knock you down, way down on the list if you had a rash of burglaries or criminal mischief. It’s not one of our goals. That may sound weird, but it’s not one of our goals to rank No. 1. We just try to do what we think is right,” Shearer said.

“It’s obviously a great recognition, but if we came in at 10 or 20, I know that we’re doing the best thing we can to make this the best city we can.”

Fisel agreed. While there may be some pressure to keep the city at the top of the list in future years, the focus always should remain on the safety of the residents, not an annual ranking.

“If we keep focusing on that main goal, for everyone to be able to live in a safe community, as long as we continue to work together … everything that is successful is almost always a team effort,” Fisel said.

But she also admits the award does help to instill a pride of place in Ligonier, and it’s beneficial when it comes to economic development.

It’s part of a pattern she hopes continues.

“We did this. It’s an accomplishment. It’s not any different from accomplishing any other goal. Once you accomplish that goal, you want to maintain it.

“We will get it again.”

SafeWise’s safest cities

1. Ligonier

2. Zionsville

3. Berne

4. St. John

5. Lowell

6. Carmel

7. New Whiteland

8. Porter

9. Fishers

10. Jasper