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Chicago on Lake Michigan in Illinois is the hub for tourists and visitors from all over the world. This one of the largest cities in the United States is known for its dynamic culture, marvelous history, and amazing art. Chicago is also popularly known as ”the windy city,” or ”Chi-town.” From fashion, food, art, and history this city offers everything for everybody. The skyline of the city lined with skyscrapers such as John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower adds to the beauty of the city. The charm of Broadway and the Bloomingdales attract both visitors and locals.

Chicago is a famous travel destination but it is known for its high crime rate. So, before visiting people wonder whether it is safe to visit Chicago. In this blog post, we will talk about the safe places in Chicago, if it is safe for solo and female travelers, and explore everything you need to know about visiting Chicago safely.

Is Chicago Safe to Visit?

People Visiting bean Cloud in Chicago

Chicago is safe to visit although it has a reputation for having high crime rates but most parts of the city are safe. Visitors are usually safe from any kind of danger. Most of the crimes are gang-related and tourists don’t get involved in them. These gang-related activities occur only in certain areas which are not popular among tourists. The South and West sides of the city are more dangerous than others. The north side of the city is considered the safest. Some petty crimes such as pickpockets are common in these big cities but you can avoid such situations by following some universal traveling safety tips.

Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago

To make your trip worth it, we have made a list of some of the safest neighborhoods in the city that you can visit on your next trip to Chicago.

  • Edison Park: crime rates are 77% lower than the average.
  • Forest Glen: crime rates are 71% lower than the average.
  • Norwood Park: 209 violent crimes and 891 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • Mount Greenwood: crime rates are 61% lower than the average.
  • O’Hare: 285 violent crimes and 944 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • Clearing: 278 violent crimes and 1115 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • Lakeview: crime rate is 40% lower than the average.
  • Lincoln Park: crime rate is 24% lower than the average.
Chicago Lincoln Park
  • Rogers Park: crime rate is 23% lower than the average.
  • River North: 419 violent crimes and 2515 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • Logan Square: 516 violent crimes and 2229 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • The Loop: 1680 violent crime and 12292 property crime instances per 100,000 people.

Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago

We have enlisted some dangerous places in Chicago which are to be avoided. Avoid visiting these places to stay safe from any kind of trouble.

  • West Garfield Park: The Crime rate is 257% more than the city average and 409% more than the national average.
  • Washington Park: 3084 violent crimes and 6,222 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • East Garfield Park: The Crime rate is 295% higher than the national average.
  • Englewood: The overall crime rate is 264% above the national average and the violent crime rate is 9 times above the national average.
  • North Lawndale: overall crime rate is 311% higher than the national average and the violent crime rate is 689% higher than the national average.
  • Grand Crossing: 2679 violent crimes and 5519 property crimes per 100,000 people.
  • West Englewood: 2599 violent crimes and 6377 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • Riverdale: 2450 violent crimes and 4462 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
  • South Shore: The crime rate is 194% above the national average.
  • Chatham: The crime rate is 83% higher than other neighborhoods in Chicago.
  • South Chicago: Overall crime rates are above 162% of the national average and violent crime rates are 390% higher than the national average.
  • Humboldt Park: 1559 violent crimes and 4346 property crime instances per 100,000 people.
Humboldt Park in Chicago

Crimes in Chicago

Chicago is known for its high crime rates. Most of these crimes are petty crimes including pickpockets, mugging, theft, robberies, etc. However, the major crimes present in this city are violent, property crimes, scams, and gang-related crimes. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Violent Crime

Violent crimes are quite common in the city and it is 164% higher than in any other city. Among violent crimes, murders are the most prevalent. They are 4 times above the national average. Most of this violent crime is only concentrated in dangerous areas.

Property Crime

Property crime is another major crime found in Chicago. 1 in 39 people becomes the target of a property crime. The property crime rate is 52% higher than the national average. Most commonly property crimes of motor vehicle thefts occur in Chicago.

Scams

People walking on Chicago Road

Scams are common on the streets and on public transport. People convince you to play different games to win money or they also collect money for fake charities. some people offer to help you with your luggage and then run away with all your stuff. All these are scams that you can avoid by avoiding interaction with strangers.

Gang Related Violence

Chicago is known for having drug wars and gang-related issues. Most of these issues start between different gangs about the distribution and location of the drugs. The south and west side of Chicago is famous for such gang activities.

Is the Weather Safe in Chicago?

Beautiful Night weather in Chicago

The chances of natural disasters or hazards are highly unlikely in Chicago. There is little risk of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and droughts. The temperatures can be extreme here, especially during the winter. The temperature can get very low here. In 2019, -22 °F was recorded as the lowest temperature in Chicago in January. If you plan on visiting Chicago during the winter, then you must carry all the winter clothes with you and plan indoor activities. Being out in the winter for long periods can get extremely dangerous. Plan your trip according to the weather conditions because you would not want to have your trip spoiled due to extreme temperatures.

How Safe are Solo Travelers in Chicago?

Chicago is completely safe for solo travelers as long as you stay vigilant. Do your research before going to Chicago alone. Choose hotels in areas with a good repute. Join different tour groups to enjoy the city with others. You can take help from local guides to explore the city. It is preferable to stick to safer neighborhoods if you are traveling solo. Try to stay in touch with your friends and family back home so they about your whereabouts.

Is it Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Solo girl click photo in Chicago Buildings

This exciting city is safe for solo female travelers as well. Just like any other city, females are at a greater risk than men but if the ladies stay alert of their surroundings, they can have the most fun vacation in Chicago. Visiting the downtown is a good option for solo female travelers but avoid going out in the dark. Try not to wear something that would attract strangers, you don’t want unwanted attention. If you plan to go out at night, then try staying in groups.

How Safe is the Public Transport in Chicago?

Public Transport bus in Chicago

The transport system in Chicago is extensive that sometimes it gets too difficult to get around the city. There are Metra rails, suburbs, buses, and taxis. All these transport options are readily available and are safe as long as you follow the general safety rules. Stay alert while sitting on a bus, and keep cash inside your pockets that cannot be accessed easily. Try to avoid using public transport at night. It is the time when most of the incidents occur.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?

As declared by the Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Department of Water Management, the water in Chicago is safe to drink. The taste of the water might be different but this is not harmful in any way. In some areas with old piping systems, lead levels in the water exceed the usual amounts. Pesticides and manufacturing residues might be present in some water systems. It depends on which kind of area you choose to stay. Most of the places in Chicago have good water quality.

Safety Tips for Visiting Chicago

Follow these general safety tips while visiting Chicago to have a safe journey.

People at Chicago market
  • Make sure to plan out your routes beforehand. The ways of the city can be confusing, especially for someone who is visiting for the first time. This will save you from getting lost in such a big city.
  • While going out or walking in the streets, stay alert to your surroundings. Don’t get distracted by anything or anyone. Avoid using your phone while walking and don’t interact with strangers.
  • Avoid carrying valuable items and a lot of cash in public areas. Pickpocketing is common in Chicago and you can easily become the target of such a crime if you are seen with anything valuable.
  • It is better to avoid going out at night and even if you have to go out then stay in well-lit and crowded areas. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods completely at night.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended. If a thief notices that you are not paying attention to your valuables then he can easily take them from you. Be aware of your surroundings. 
  • If you are traveling solo then it is necessary to carry some self-defense tools such as a taser, pepper spray, or whistle. Carry them especially if you are going out alone at night.
  • You should look confident while moving around in the city. If you seem lost then you are likely to become the target of a crime. Walk like you know where you are heading.
  • If you become a victim of a crime then don’t resist or fight with the criminals. Your life is more precious than all your cash. Give them what they want and try to cooperate with the robbers.
  • Be aware of the drug laws of the city. Don’t get involved in any drug-related issues.
  • Don’t carry all your cash and cards with you at one time. Keep some cash somewhere else so that if your wallet gets stolen, you will still have some money somewhere else.
  • If you witness a crime then it is better to walk away from there quietly. Do not get involved in them, call the police and let them handle the situation.

What is the Best Time to Visit Chicago?

Chicago Street rea Fountains

Summers are the best time to visit Chicago. The city welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world during April and May and then in September and October. The weather is quite warm at this time and this is the season of several festivals happening in the city. This is the peak time for tourists to visit Chicago to enjoy the warm weather and different activities. The hotel fairs are higher during this time of the year but you can save yourself from the extreme cold at this time.

Bottom Line

Chicago is also known as the ”windy city” or ”Chi-town.” It is a famous tourist destination because of its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and art. Despite having a bad reputation, Chicago is safe to visit. Some common crimes in this city include violent crimes, property crimes, and gang-related crimes. Most of these crimes occur in bad neighborhoods including, West Garfield Park, Washington Park, and Englewood. Visitors are most unlikely to become the target of a crime as most of the tourist attractions are safe. Visitors should stick to the safer neighborhoods including, Edison Park, Forest Glen, and Norwood Park. The weather in winter can be extreme so it is better to plan your trip in the summer. After reading this blog post, we are sure that you can have a safe and sound trip to Chicago. Happy traveling!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few frequently asked questions about visiting Chicago:

Is Chicago Downtown safe to visit?

Chicago downtown is overall safe for visitors. Most places and streets downtown are populated, but some common crimes occur that you can avoid by staying aware of your surroundings.

Is Chicago safe at night?

Most of the places in Chicago are safe at night however, some dangerous and shady places in the city should be avoided, especially at night. It is better to walk in groups in such areas at night.

Is Chicago worth visiting?

Chicago is worth visiting as it offers so much to its visitors. From shopping to museums to restaurants, Chicago has many attractions for visitors.

Is it safe to live in Chicago?

Chicago is safe to live as long as you stay clear of the dangerous neighborhoods, stay cautious, and stick to the safer areas in the city.

Is Chicago expensive?

Chicago is considered an expensive city as the cost of living is 31% higher than the state average and 20% higher than the national average. The utilities are 3% less pricey, but the housing is 52% more expensive than the United States average.

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