Low-crime community

Columbus violent crime rate lowest among small Indiana metro; property crime highest

The rate of violent crime in the Columbus metro area is lower than five similar-sized Indiana metro areas and 71 percent below the national average, according to 2015 statistics compiled by the FBI, the most recent period available.

The Columbus area, which includes all Bartholomew County, had 109 violent crimes reported per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to the national rate of 373 offenses, the FBI report said.

But among the same counties in 2015, Bartholomew had the highest rate of property crimes at 3,287 incidents per 100,000 inhabitant.

Referring to the 2015 FBI statistics, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said during his March 10 State of The City address that the city’s property crime rate was 75 percent higher than the national average.

In comparison with Elkhart-Goshen, Michigan City-La Porte, Lafayette-West Lafayette, Kokomo and Bloomington, the Columbus metropolitan area was ranked highest in larceny and theft and second highest in motor vehicle thefts in 2015.

Violent crime rate in the United States rose slightly in 2015, from 362 incidents per 100,000 people in 2014 to 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans, according to the FBI report.

Nevertheless, the long-term trend of violent crime nationwide has been one of steady improvement. In 1996, there were 637 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans, and the rate has declined nearly every year since.

In its report, the FBI cautioned using the statistics for local comparisons, however.

“There are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place,” the report said.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.