At first glance, the small town of Siloam Springs, Ark. seems safe. It’s rare to drive by the local park and not see children playing on the playground, moms walking together, pushing their strollers side-by-side or kids walking home from school.
John Brown University freshman Katie Shelly, who came to Siloam from Wichita, Kan., is enjoying her experience living in Siloam so far.
“Compared to my home, it is really safe,” Shelly said. “At night, the downtown area of Wichita isn’t really safe.”
With Wichita’s population being just over 382,300 and Siloam’s being about 15,680, it might seem simple to conclude that having a larger population means having more crime.
In fact, Siloam Springs crime index number is 22, which means Siloam is safer than 22% of cities in the U.S., according to the Neighborhood Scout website.
While the town is safe, crime does exist. The majority of crimes committed in Siloam come from robbery, theft, burglary and assault. Violent crimes do happen, but they are not as prominent or frequent.
Statistics on City-Data.com show that in 2012, Siloam Springs had no murders reported, but had 321 reported acts of theft.
Though these numbers might not seem too daunting to some, a recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania disproves the idea that smaller cities are less dangerous than bigger cities.
“The study shows the risk of death from an injury — including shootings, vehicle accidents, drowning, falls and many other accidents — is more than 20 percent higher in rural small towns than in larger cities,” said Jeff Black in his summary of the study.
Dr. Sage Myers, the lead researcher in the study, believes that there are three elements that cause death due to injury, “Cars, guns and drugs are the unholy trinity causing the majority of injury deaths in the U.S.”
Black said that, while the rate of homicide might be bigger in larger cities, the rate of “unintentional deaths” is 40 percent higher in smaller towns.
That being said, Siloam takes many measures to ensure the safety of its residents. It is also important for individuals to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe.