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Local News

Report: Round Lake Park safest in state

Some doubt that ranking is correct

ROUND LAKE PARK – Linda Sadler says she walks her dog whether it's day or night – and she feels safe.

So she's not surprised that a company that installs home security systems rated the village as the safest town of at least 5,000 people in Illinois.

"I work at Thornton's and everyone was talking about that," she said. "We're happy here."

Safewise puts out rankings for each state. In March, it found that Round Lake Park, population 7,000, was the safest in the Land of Lincoln.

"From a charming town with a drug store with a real soda foundation, Round Lake Park has grown into a bustling community that has traded cornfield for business offices but has done so without sacrificing the comforts and security of an old-fashioned town," Safewise says on its website.

The company pointed to the fact that Round Lake Park had no violent crimes in 2012 and only eight incidents of property crime.

"No doubt Round Lake Park's stellar safety record is thanks to its dedicated police force, several members of which recently received honors for service and going above and beyond the call of duty," Safewise said on its site.

Not everyone is convinced. One man interviewed by Lake County Suburban Life works in Round Lake Park but lives elsewhere. He said he doesn't believe Round Lake Park's No. 1 ranking.

"Just drive around through the neighborhoods," he said.

No. 2 on the list is Lake County's Lake Forest, a wealthy North Shore suburb.

Safewise pointed out that Lake Forest also is No. 3 on CNN Money's 25 top-earning towns.

"As a North Shore suburb, Lake Forest has become known for housing Chicago's elite," the website said. "This beautifully groomed city lends itself well to the lifestyle of the rich and famous."

The difference with Round Lake Park, a working-class suburb, couldn't be more stark.

Lake Forest's median household income is $136,583, about three times that of Round Lake Park's $43,085, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Lake Forest is 92 percent white, while Round Lake Park is 39 percent Hispanic.

On a recent afternoon, Sadler and her husband, Kenny, are at AJ's Horse & Round, whose marquee reads, "Jess wins big on our slots – R U next."

A couple of men were at the video gambling machines near the entrance. At the bar, Sadler is sipping an RC.

Sadler grew up in the Round Lake area, but lived in Antioch for a while, where she said she was nervous.

She moved to Round Lake Park a few years ago. She feels comfortable there, she said, and that's why she believes the Safewise ranking.

"I don't see break-ins here. People know each other. That has something to do with it," she said. "We work together. We look out for each other."

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