Chicago, Illinois a vibrant and diverse city known for its cultural richness and economic prowess, has always been a focal point of American greatness.

However, the city’s reputation is shadowed by its high crime rates, particularly in certain neighborhoods.

With a sprawling population of over 2.7 million individuals, the Windy City offers many opportunities, attractions, and experiences.

Yet, its distressing levels of violent crime statistics cannot be ignored. Chicago’s crime rates are, on average, 67% higher than the national average of the United States, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the US.

Both violent and property crimes present significant concerns, with gun violence being a particular issue that continues to plague many areas of the city.

This article will explore ten of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, shedding light on the challenges they face.

10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois

  • Washington Park
  • West Garfield Park
  • Englewood
  • North Lawndale
  • East Garfield Park
  • West Englewood
  • Austin
  • Grand Crossing
  • Riverdale
  • South Shore

1. Washington Park

In Chicago, Washington Park is known as the most perilous neighborhood. With a population of 12,707, it has a violent crime rate that soars to 701% above the national average.

Furthermore, the overall crime rate in this area is 297% higher than the national average. The prevalence of violent crimes such as murder, robbery, and assault contributes to Washington Park’s reputation as the most dangerous part of Chicago.

2. West Garfield Park

West Garfield Park, situated on Chicago’s South Side, faces significant challenges due to its high violent crime rate. In this neighborhood, crime rates are 257% higher than the city’s average, resulting in a 1 in 20 chance of residents experiencing a violent crime.

The widespread gang activity within the area is a major contributor to West Garfield Park’s elevated crime levels.

3. Englewood

Englewood is situated in the South Side of Chicago and is home to 24,369 residents. A significant number of the population live below the poverty line.

With a crime rate that was 125% higher than the city average in 2022, Englewood struggles with prevalent occurrences of violent crimes, including robbery and assault.

The area’s murder rates and instances of gun violence contribute to Englewood being considered one of Chicago’s less safe neighborhoods.

4. North Lawndale

North Lawndale is considered among the most perilous areas in Chicago. Located on the city’s West Side, the neighborhood experienced growth and development before the 2008 recession hindered its progress.

With a population of 34,794, it is estimated that nearly 70% of men between the ages of 17 and 45 living in North Lawndale have criminal records.

The crime rate in North Lawndale is 198% above the average of Chicago, recording 10,606 crimes per 100,000 people. This indicates that inhabitants have at least a 1 in 9 probability of falling victim to a crime.

Furthermore, the rate of violent crime incidents in 2020 stood at 3,003 per 100,000 people, suggesting that residents face a 1 in 34 chance of being impacted by a violent crime.

5. East Garfield Park

East Garfield Park, situated in West Chicago, is known for its high crime rates, including both violent and property crimes. In 2022, the area experienced over 2,800 violent crimes and more than 7,500 property crimes.

Issues like gun violence and gang activities contribute to the neighborhood’s crime rates. In 2021, East Garfield Park witnessed over 77 shootings.

With a crime rate of 10,195 per 100,000 people, the odds of an East Garfield Park resident falling victim to a crime are around 1 in 10. In 2020, property crime rates were 7,117 per 100,000 people, giving residents a 1 in 14 chance of being victimized by property crimes.

Violent crime rates stood at 3,078 per 100,000 people, indicating a 1 in 33 chance for residents to experience a violent crime.

6. West Englewood

West Englewood, a neighborhood in Southwest Chicago, is home to 32,317 residents. With an overall crime rate of 9,551 per 100,000 people, it is two times higher than the city average.

Violent crimes occur at a rate of 2,773 per 100,000 people, meaning a 1 in 37 chance of becoming a victim. Property crimes are reported at 6,778 per 100,000 people, with a 1 in 15 chance of falling victim to such incidents.

Common crimes in this area include burglary, assault, and robbery. It is generally advised not to travel alone at night in West Englewood.

7. Austin

Austin, a neighborhood located on the west end of Chicago, experiences high levels of crime. In 2022, this area was ranked 9th for violent crime and 20th for property crime in the city.

Additionally, Austin held the 5th position in Chicago for quality-of-life crimes, which include loitering, vagrancy, and unruly conduct.

8. Grand Crossing

Grand Crossing, a neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side, is home to 31,471 residents. The area experienced a crime rate of 8,724 incidents per 100,000 people in 2020, which is 317% higher than the national average.

Violent crimes occurred at a rate of 2,858 incidents per 100,000 people, with gun violence being a significant issue. In addition, property crime was reported at 5,866 incidents per 100,000 people, meaning that residents have a 1 in 18 chance of falling victim to such crimes.

9. Riverdale

Riverdale counts as one of Chicago’s most perilous neighborhoods due to its elevated violent crime rate relative to its population size.

Situated on the city’s far south end, the area experienced around 7,682 crimes per 100,000 people in 2021. Its exceptionally high violent crime rate means each resident has a 1 in 39 chance of falling victim.

Property crimes also persist, amounting to 4,743 occurrences per 100,000 people, thus putting the odds of experiencing property crime at 1 in 22.

10. South Shore

South Shore, situated on Chicago’s South side, is home to about 54,000 residents and is recognized for its scenic beaches along the Great Lakes.

The area’s overall crime rate stands at 7,573 incidents per 100,000 people, with a 1 in 13 likelihood of encountering crime.

Further, the violent crime rate is 2,454 per 100,000 people, with robbery and assault being frequently reported. In South Shore, murder and gun violence rates outpace the national average.

Regarding property crime rates, South Shore records 5,120 incidents per 100,000, resulting in a 1 in 20 chance of experiencing property crime for residents.

Chicago’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods: Key Points

  • Neighborhoods like West Garfield Park, North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, Washington Park, and West Englewood rank highest per capita in both violent and property crimes, with crime occurrences between 129-214% higher than the Chicago average.
  • Washington Park, for instance, faces a violent crime rate that is a staggering 701% higher than the national average.
  • Factors influencing these high crime rates can include gun violence, gang activity, unemployment, and poverty. In some neighborhoods, the poverty rate and unemployment rate contribute to an environment where crime becomes more prevalent.
  • Prospective residents should carefully research neighborhoods’ crime statistics, check reports about shootings, robbery, homicide, burglary, and assault incidents in these areas, and engage with local community members to better understand the safety situation before moving to or investing in one of these neighborhoods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which areas of Chicago have the highest crime rates?

Based on available data, areas such as West Garfield Park, North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, Washington Park, and West Englewood have the highest crime rates in Chicago.

These neighborhoods consistently rank highest in both violent and property crimes, with significantly higher occurrences compared to the citywide average.

How can I identify the safer neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois?

To identify safer neighborhoods in Chicago, you can check crime maps that provide visual information on crime rates in different parts of the city.

A green-colored area typically signifies a neighborhood with relatively lower crime rates, while red areas indicate more dangerous neighborhoods. Yellow areas, on the other hand, are moderately safe in comparison.

What factors contribute to the danger level in West Garfield Park?

The danger level in West Garfield Park can be attributed to factors such as high poverty, lack of adequate education and employment opportunities, and social disintegration. The neighborhood’s violent crime rate is strikingly higher compared to both the Chicago and national averages.

Are there any recent trends in crime rates across Chicago neighborhoods?

Some neighborhoods, like Chatham, have experienced decreases in crime rates over the past couple of years. However, overall crime rates in dangerous neighborhoods across Chicago remain high, especially in those with underlying issues such as poverty and lack of opportunities.

How does Washington Park rank among dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago?

Washington Park is among the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. Its crime rates are considerably higher than the city’s average, making it one of the riskiest areas to live in or visit.

What types of crimes are most prevalent in Chicago’s risky areas?

In Chicago’s high-risk areas, both violent and property-related crimes are common. Violent crimes include assault, robbery, and murder, while property-related crimes encompass burglary, theft, and vandalism. The prevalence of these crimes is significantly higher in dangerous neighborhoods than safer ones.

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