Advantage News | Fred Pollard
Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow stands with Boys and Girls Club of Bethalto members Dalton Piening, 13, and Piper Smith, 12, in front of the iconic clock at Village Hall. The village was included on a recent list of the top ten safest cities in Illinois.
Residents of Bethalto can rest a bit easier tonight, knowing they live in one of the safest cities in Illinois.
“I credit our citizens,” Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow said. “Much of our town is diligent in watching neighborhoods, and they call us if something looks unusual.”
According to movoto.com, a real estate website, Bethalto has been listed as number six on a list of the top ten safest cities in Illinois. The article lists Bethalto’s crime rate at 98.
Crime rates are calculated using both violent crimes (murder, rape, etc.) and non-violent (property) offenses (burglary, vandalism, etc.). The chances of being the victim of a violent crime in Bethalto are 1 in 1,365.
“We are obviously very pleased about it,” Winslow said. “It is great news both from the standpoint of service to our citizens as well as marketing the community to families and businesses.”
In January of 2013, a body was found along Illinois 255, although the murder occurred outside of the Bethalto area. The beating death of a baby occurred in the village in 1998, and before that, Winslow says the last murder dates back to the mid-1980s.
“We believe our low crime rates start with our patrol efforts, as well as the work of a couple of terrific investigators,” he said.
The mayor also credits the presence of a School Resource Officer and the D.A.R.E. program, as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Bethalto.
“That organization keeps so many kids off the streets,” he said.
Among the village’s year-end crime statistics for 2013, domestic batteries had dropped in Bethalto by one-third compared to last year, and thefts and vehicle burglaries dropped significantly, as well.
Michele Gowin has been a Bethalto resident for 28 years and raised her family in the community.
“No town or village is perfect, but residents that live here believe in the charm of a small town,” Gowin said. “The security of knowing most everyone’s name and believing that your neighbor has true concern for you and your property (is important). Pride in your place, the people that live here and the teams that play sports makes the next generation see that there is something to it and they end up sticking around.”
Steve Bryant served as Bethalto mayor from 1997 until 2013.
“Bethalto has always had a history of excellent police chiefs over the years,” Bryant said. “It shows with the statistics that have just been released. The history of our community has always been to provide an excellent school system and a safe place to raise your family. With those two things in place, Bethalto should have a bright future.”
Founded in 1854, Bethalto has nearly 10,000 residents and is one of three of the fastest-growing communities in Madison County.