Rexburg’s crime risk score fell below the national average in a new data study performed by LendEDU. However, many other organizations and studies have arrived at different conclusions concerning Rexburg’s status as a safe city—so, which one is accurate?
Although most of the studies found Rexburg to be the safest, they also found surrounding cities to be the most dangerous.
LendEDU used licensed data from Onboard Informatics and compared each U.S. city’s crime risk rate against the national average. Zero represents the average, a negative score represents a safer city compared to the national average and a positive score represents a more dangerous city.
According to LendEDU’s recent study Rexburg was ranked the 26th safest city in all of Idaho. Burley was the number one safest. Sugar City (-84 percent), Ashton (-70 percent), Teton (-70 percent) and Driggs (-67 percent) were just a few of the cities that beat Rexburg.
Rexburg’s crime risk score was found to be -59 percent.
However, a report was recently released by RoadSnacks, a social and lifestyle data curator, naming Blackfoot, Pocatello and Idaho Falls as some of the most dangerous cities in Idaho. They compared violent crimes and property crimes per capita.
There are so many different studies released, and people might not know who to believe. SafeWise, a home security and safety company, found Rexburg to be the safest city in Idaho. Niche, an organization that analyzes geographical data, found Rexburg to be the second safest city in Idaho. Mountain Alarm, a fire and security organization, found Rexburg to be the fourth safest. The problem lies with who has the most accurate information.
CHRIS GOYETTE | Scroll Illustration
Jerry Merrill, the mayor of Rexburg, said he is not sure what criteria the surveys used to rank the cities, but he liked the organizations that ranked Rexburg number one in safety.
“I feel fortunate that we live in such a safe place,” Merrill said. “People are attracted to Rexburg because of the safety they feel and the family-friendly feeling that we are cultivating. Kudos to our police and sheriff’s offices for working hard to protect our community. We also appreciate the citizens of Rexburg for just being good, law-abiding people. That is a great help in having a very safe community.”
NeighborhoodScout, a real estate advising organization, went as far as naming the safest neighborhoods in Rexburg. They found Parkinson, City Center and BYU-Idaho off of South Second East to be the safest neighborhoods. Kristina Colt, a freshman majoring in general studies, lives in one of these areas.
“Everyone is pretty genuine for the most part and won’t go out of their way to cause harm,” Colt said. “It’s definitely safer than a lot of areas around us, and I think that’s mainly because of BYU-I’s campus and the spirit we have here.”
Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department said he is proud of Rexburg’s safety. He said the department is well-prepared to ensure that safety. Randy Lewis also said it is not just the police ensuring the city’s safety; the residents also play a large role in maintaining the peace.
“The community is a one-of-a-kind place,” Randy Lewis said. “People have a lot of integrity around here, and they respect the community. Students up at (BYU-I) are wonderful. The last few years they’ve been really good. Where else can you go where a student finds a $100 bill on the side of the street and come turn it in? You don’t see that very often.”
AreaVibes, a real estate advising organization, released an annual crime report of Rexburg and compared it to Idaho and national crime rates. They reported Rexburg had over 150 reported cases of theft, 20 reported cases of burglary and 181 cases of property crime. These reports are a large reminder of why it is important to lock all doors. Many people forget that although Rexburg is safe, crime still happens.
NeighborhoodScout and AreaVibes both reported Rexburg’s annual crime about 75 percent lower than the national average, differing from LendEDU’s study.
“Even if Rexburg is considered the safest place, you can still have people pass through town who are not safe or not from a small town. I think people are a little too trusting.”
Junior, advanced vehicle systems
“I often forget to lock my doors, maybe just because my family growing up hardly ever did, mostly because we didn’t have to,” Colt said. “But as the years went on, locking our door became more of a habit because we knew of the possible danger.”
Jared Lewis, a junior studying advanced vehicle systems, grew up in the Seattle, Washington area. He said he thinks Rexburg is a very safe community, but after living in a big city, he will always take precautions to keep himself and his family safe.
“I always keep our doors locked,” Jared Lewis said. “I’ll even double check them to make sure they are locked. I’ll probably check the front door like three times a night. Even if Rexburg is considered the safest place, you can still have people pass through town who are not safe or from a small town. I think people are a little too trusting.”
Crimes are still committed in even the safest areas. This past year, there were 12 reported cases of violent crimes and two cases of rape in Rexburg. Still, AreaVibes reported any resident of Rexburg has a 1-143 chance of becoming a victim of any kind of crime.
“I’d say it’s safe,” Jared Lewis said. “I think it has to do with the fact that everyone knows each other. Lots of people have lived here for generations and the fact that there is an LDS school here plays a role in the safety.”
Since many couples live in Rexburg while attending school, many will start families here.
Jared Lewis and his wife live off-campus with their newborn son. He said he would feel relatively comfortable raising kids in Rexburg.
Colt said raising her kids here wouldn’t be something that she would worry about because “it is a safe place, good environment and most everyone is supportive of having kids while in school and taking them on campus.”
Randy Lewis said he is glad the community is safe but still wants residents to be aware of potential threats. He suggests being active in community affairs and being aware of city issues.
“Not many know what we deal with here,” Randy Lewis said. “It’s a good community; it’s a safe community, but we still deal with some very bad people, which is why people need to get involved in safety programs so they can know the potential hazards. People need to be aware, proactive, and support their police department.”