Which 2 Minnesota college towns are among America's safest?

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Ideally, college students shouldn't have to look over their shoulders for muggers when they've got other things on their minds – like paying for textbooks, for instance.

And according to a new study, that ideal experience is available in two Minnesota college towns, which have been named among the safest in the country.

Northfield and Winona were ranked 15th and 19th, respectively, in Safewise's 50 Safest College Towns in America report.

The two cities boast five colleges between them – Carleton and Olaf in Northfield; and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and Winona State University in Winona.

What makes these towns so safe?

In Northfield's case, SafeWise says the city's two universities take a "realistic stance" on crime, "idyllic bastions of higher learning" though they may be.

The website says both colleges get the entire community involved in public safety, alerting residents to threats, while the city encourages and makes it easy for citizens to report concerns and submit complaints to public officials.

Winona, meanwhile, scored points for the collaboration between campus safety officials and local, off-campus police, fire departments and paramedics to "ensure...top-notch safety enforcement," SafeWise says.

Additionally, the website recognized "community policing efforts" like Winona Area Crime Stoppers, which provides extra eyes and ears for local law enforcement.

To put the list together, SafeWise's "security experts" looked at up-to-date FBI crime statistics and also researched "safety-related programs and initiatives" in each of the college towns they studied.

But feel free to conduct your own research: under the 1990 Clery Act, which was named for murdered Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery, colleges receiving federal funds must share data on all campus-related crimes. You can do a school-specific search of that data by clicking here.

As for the no. 1 safest college town of SafeWise's list, you needn't look very far away – in first place is Brookings, South Dakota, which sits near the Minnesota border and is home to South Dakota State University.

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