Illinois holds many dangerous cities, despite being the land of Lincoln. The prairie state is home to 12.67 million people, as of 2019, living amongst 1,299 municipalities. Unfortunately, Illinois is the 19th most dangerous state, and it has 10 cities in particular to thank for it.
Illinois residents must consider the 1 in 247 chance that they’ll experience violent crime. Violent crime is defined as robbery, assault, murder, and rape, but property crime is more common in Illinois. A whopping 1 in 52 Illinois residents falls victim to property crime.
Theft is far and away the most common property crime in IL with 187,591 thefts reported annually. Illinois is by no means a small state and covers 57,915 sq. miles. However, the danger some Illinois cities offer can be summed up by the 33 crimes per sq. mile the state suffers.
Follow this guide and explore the most dangerous cities in Illinois, and what is responsible for their ranking.
Table of Contents
- 1. Mount Vernon
- 2. Danville
- 3. Springfield
- 4. Centralia
- 5. Wood River
- 6. Rockford
- 7. Metropolis
- 8. Peoria
- 9. Kankakee
- 10. Cahokia
- Dis-honorable Mention
- East St. Louis
- How Dangerous Is Illinois?
- Related Questions
- What Did We Learn?
1. Mount Vernon
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 15.35
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 52.06
- Crimes Reported 2020: 1,001
- Population: 14,849
Mount Vernon is home to some beautiful views, at the cost of living in a dangerous environment. There are 14,849 residents in Mount Vernon. 1 in 65 of them are the victim of violent crime.
No murders have occurred in Mount Vernon recently. However, residents report 183 assaults annual assaults, so it a dangerous place to live. Caution is necessary in Mount Vernon, as 1 in 19 residents are victims of property crime.
There are 76 crimes pers sq. mile in Mount Vernon, and most of them are property crimes. Safe areas in Mount Vernon include Fleetwood and Chester Hill Park.
However, avoid the downtown area of Mount Vernon, which is a hotbed for violent and property crimes.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 18.09
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 48.81
- Crimes Reported 2020: 2,067
- Population: 30,898
Crime in Danville increased by 2.92% between 2017 and 2018 alone. Violent and property crimes occur daily in Danville, IL. This year so far, Danville residents were hit with 559 violent crimes, and 1,508 property crimes.
Sadly, if you live in Danville, you have to worry about the 1 in 20 chance of property crime. Violence is another real possibility in Danville, and you face a 1 in 55 chance of falling victim to it. With over 1,050 reports of theft so far, stolen property is the biggest concern for Danville residents.
Avoid Danville to steer clear of violent and property crimes. Exercise caution in Danville.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 8.60
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 48.39
- Crimes Reported 2020: 6,536
- Population: 114,694
Springfield is one of the most dangerous American cities, making it a shoo-in for dangerous cities in Illinois. Out of every 1,000 Springfield residents, 57 of them are victims of crime.
Nobody anticipated that Springfield would be such a dangerous city when it was made the capital of Illinois. Springfield, IL is 67.23 sq. miles, and has a rate of 99 crimes per sq. mile.
The poverty rate in Springfield, IL is 20.3%, which likely stokes the flames of crime in the city. Unemployment is also an issue in Springfield, and the 5.5% rate is higher than the 4.7% national unemployment rate.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 12.69
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 40.35
- Crimes Reported 2020: 656
- Population: 12,368
Technically speaking, property crime is the biggest concern in Centralia, IL. With that said, the 1 in 79 chance of violent crime means there is plenty to fear in Centralia.
In Centralia, 1 in 25 residents have a property crime, such as theft, burglary, or car-theft, commit against them. The violent crimes that are common in Centralia include rape, robbery, and assault.
Out of every 1,000 people in Centralia, IL, roughly 8 of them risk being assaulted. In recent times, there has only been 1 murder in Centralia, but that does not mean it is safe.
5. Wood River
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 5.81
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 51.95
- Crimes Reported 2020: 587
- Population: 10,163
You may not be at a high risk for assault in Wood River, but you could easily be robbed. There are 440 reports of theft this year alone in Wood River, IL. In Wood River, 1 in 19 people face property crime, and burglary is a big part of that.
Wood River residents reported 56 reported burglaries in Wood River this year, and that number will surely rise. For every sq. mile of Wood River’s 7-mile span, there are 82 crimes.
Unfortunately, the poverty rate in Wood River, IL is currently 21.28%. Between the poverty and high volume of property crimes, Wood River is a dangerous city to live in. The cost of living in Wood River is low, and averages $656 a month.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 14.02
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 37.24
- Crimes Reported 2020: 7,511
- Population: 146,526
Rockford is the 3rd biggest city in IL, and it matches its size in crime reports. There is a national median of 4 crimes per 1,000 residents, but Rockford exceeds that with 14 crimes per 1,000 people.
Many Rockford residents fear having their car stolen. That is because there have been 450 car thefts thus far in 2020, and so signs of slowing down. Regular property theft topped car theft with 3,780 reported cases this year.
Assault is when you physically harm another human, and it is an awful crime. In Rockford, there are 1,544 annual assaults reported. Violent crime is over 3 times higher in Rockford than in the rest of Illinois.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 5.46
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 59.37
- Crimes Reported 2020: 392
- Population: 6,047
If only Superman really resided in Metropolis, IL, maybe it wouldn’t be on this list. Metropolis, IL, has the 3rd highest rate of property crimes throughout the state. Theft is the most prevalent property crime in Metropolis, at a rate of 45 thefts per 1,000 residents.
Metropolis is the definition of a small town with just over 6,000 people and only 6.05 sq. miles of space. However, each sq. mile of Metropolis, IL endures 66 crimes. Looking for a silver lining, luckily, Metropolis does not have much violent crime.
Only 1 in 183 Metropolis residents experience violent crime. Compare that to the 1 in 17 residents that experience property crime, and you’ll see what the main problem in Metropolis.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 7.72
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 40.48
- Crimes Reported 2020: 5,369
- Population: 111,388
Two or three years ago, Peoria would not have made this list. Sadly, however, Peoria saw an uptick in violent and property crimes in the last three years.
Violent crime such as robbery, rape, murder, and assault is mostly rare in Peoria, but it occurs. Robbery and assault are the main violent crime. Peoria residents reported 201 robberies and 569 assaults this year in the city.
Peoria natives risk a 1 in 130 chance of violent crime against them. Don’t discount the risk of property crime in Peoria, however. You risk a 1 in 25 chance of property crime in Peoria.
There are 890 annual burglary reports in Peoria. There are 3,197 reported property crimes by Peoria residents each year.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 8.83
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 33.43
- Crimes Reported 2020: 1,101
- Population: 26,053
Kankakee is just 59 miles from Chicago and is more dangerous than the city known as “Chiraq”. It’s tough to discern what is worse in Kankakee: property crime, or violent crime. In Kankakee, 1 out of 30 residents suffer property crime.
Just as scary, 1 in 113 residents in Kankakee live through violent crime. Assault is the most common violent crime in Kankakee, and 144 assaults have occurred in 2020. Since Kankakee measures 15.51 sq. miles, the 75 crimes per sq. mile rate is disturbing.
Things may improve for Kankakee residents, however. Crime has dropped by over 20% in the last 3 years, and hopefully, the trend will continue.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 1K: 5,35
- Property Crime Rate Per 1K: 43.12
- Crimes Reported 2020: 679
- Population: 14,009
Cahokia, IL contains the gorgeous Cahokia Mounds. Crime overshadows Cahokia’s beauty with the 48 crimes per 1,000 residents in the city.
Property crime is more common than violent crimes in Cahokia. Residents face a 1 in 23 people risk of property crime in Cahokia. 1 in 187 residents experience violent crime.
There are 69 crimes per sq. mile in Cahokia, IL. To put that in perspective, that is over double the 33 crimes per sq. mile median for all of Illinois. Theft and burglary are the biggest and most common crimes reported in Cahokia, IL.
|1. Mount Vernon||1.21 Per 1K||12.32 Per 1K||11.31 Per 1K||39.4 Per 1K||0.0 Per 1K||1.35 Per 1K|
|2. Danville||3.33 Per 1K||12.65 Per 1K||12.27 Per 1K||34.05 Per 1K||0.39 Per 1K||2.49 Per 1K|
|3. Springfield||1.9 Per 1K||5.79 Per 1K||10.58 Per 1K||35.63 Per 1K||.08 Per 1K||2.18 Per 1K|
|4. Centralia||1.54 Per 1K||8.81 Per 1K||12.21 Per 1K||23.93 Per 1K||.08 Per 1K||4.2 Per 1K|
|5. Wood River||0.98 Per 1K||3.35 Per 1K||5.51 Per 1K||43.29 Per 1K||0.0 Per 1K||3.15 Per 1K|
|6. Rockford||2.42 Per 1K||10.54 Per 1K||8.37 Per 1K||25.80 Per 1K||0.05 Per 1K||3.07 Per 1K|
|7. Metropolis||0.33 Per 1K||3.97 Per 1K||11.25 Per 1K||45.15 Per 1K||0.0 Per 1K||2.98 Per 1K|
|8. Peoria||1.8 Per 1K||5.11 Per 1K||7.99 Per 1K||28.70 Per 1K||0.20 Per 1K||3.79 Per 1K|
|9. Kankakee||1.8 Per 1K||5.53 Per 1K||5.49 Per 1K||26.18 Per 1K||0.15 Per 1K||1.77 Per 1K|
|10. Cahokia||1.0 Per 1K||3.21 Per 1K||12.06 Per 1K||27.34 Per 1K||0.14 Per 1K||3.71 Per 1K|
Besides the above 10 dangerous cities, there are sadly even more Illinois cities plagued by crime. The following cities may not have made the top 10 most dangerous cities, but not for lack of trying.
East St. Louis
St. Louis, MO may be just over the bridge from East St. Louis, but East St. Louis has problems of its own. East St. Louis pops up on many dangerous city lists and overshadows its neighbor St. Louis some years.
The poverty rate in East St. Louis is a staggering 37.81%. Years ago, East St. Louis was branded the most dangerous city in the U.S. Today, it is still dangerous, and 41 out of 1,000 residents have a crime committed against them.
- Population: 26,346
- Chance of Violent Crime: 1 in 83
- Chance of Property Crime: 1 in 34
- Violent Crimes: 317
- Property Crimes: 771
- Total Crimes: 1,088
Clearly, property crime is all too common in East St. Louis. If you are looking for a house in East St. Louis, beware the 7.52 per 1,000 burglary rate.
If you are surprised that Chicago did not make the top 10 dangerous cities, that is entirely understandable. Chicago got the nickname “Chiraq” for a reason. The 20.6% poverty rate in the city bolsters the crime rate in Chicago.
In the first 7 months of 2019, there were 1,480 shootings in Chicago. By the end of 2019, there were 1,832 total shootings in the city. To put that in the first 9 months of 2020, there have been 2,749 shootings so far, marking an increase.
- Population: 2,705,994
- Chance of Violent Crime: 1 in 99
- Chance of Property Crime: 1 in 31
- Violent Crimes: 27,395
- Property Crimes: 87,884
- Total Crimes: 115,279
Property crimes come at a rate of 32.48 per 1,000 Chicago residents. Chicago is a large city spread out over 234 sq. miles. There are 499 crimes per sq. mile in Chicago, fueled by poverty, theft, and violent crime.
The name may sound celebratory. Champaign residents won’t raise a glass to the crime rate anytime soon. The crime rate in Champaign is worse than 88% of the rest of Illinois.
Champaign spans 22.98 sq. miles, and it is one of the smaller dangerous Illinois cities. There are 116 crimes per sq. mile in Champaign. The majority of crimes in Champaign are against property.
Champaign is mostly known as a college town. Try to avoid going north of the University of Illinois in Champaign because it is dangerous.
- Population: 88,029
- Chance of Violent Crime: 1 in 146
- Chance of Property Crime: 1 in 44
- Violent Crimes: 603
- Property Crimes: 2,009
- Total Crimes: 2,612
Sadly, 1 out of every 3.7 Champaign residents lives in poverty. The poverty rate in Champaign, IL is 26.9%, but the unemployment rate is low at 2.7%. Crime has seen a 21% fall over the last few years, and hopefully it will only continue.
How Dangerous Is Illinois?
Currently, Illinois is ranked the 19th most dangerous state in the U.S. Illinois is placed between Colorado and South Dakota in the ranking. Violent crime is rampant in Illinois, and the state ranked #4 for most murders in 2018.
In Illinois, 418 out of 100,000 adults face imprisonment. The poverty rate in Illinois throughout the entire state is 12.1%.
|Crime||Rate Per 1,000 Residents||Total Reports 2020|
As you can see, property crimes are the most common crimes in Illinois. There have been 51,490 violent crimes, and 246,646 property crimes in Illinois this year. You have a 1 in 247 chance of being murdered, assaulted, or robbed in Illinois.
However, the biggest concern in Illinois is that you have a 1 in 52 chance of experiencing property crime. Illinois may have the 2nd highest property taxes, but it has the 10th most vehicle thefts in the nation currently.
What is the best city in Illinois to live?
Deerfield is a small suburb of Chicago. It is considered the best city to live in Illinois. Residents of Deerfield are quite affluent, and the median annual income is $144,229 for families.
There are only 141 annual crimes in Deerfield, IL.
What is the cheapest place to live in Illinois?
Bloomington is the cheapest place to live in Illinois. It is an affordable city that has many factories and big businesses, such as State Farm Insurance. Bloomington, IL residents make a $60,836 median income and have a 12.9% poverty rate.
Which county in IL has the lowest taxes?
Hardin County has the lowest property taxes in all of Illinois. Illinois is known for its high property taxes, second only to New Jersey. The property tax rate in Illinois is 2.31%.
What Did We Learn?
Mount Vernon and Danville are the two most dangerous cities in Illinois. As a whole, there are 51,490 annual violent crimes, and 246,264 annual property crimes in Illinois. Consider living somewhere like Deerfield, or Barrington, where there is little to no crime.
Try to use safety measures like alarm systems and fortified doors if you live in an Illinois city. Avoid Illinois cities that have violent crime rates, such as Rockford or Danville. For the most part, however, property crime is the biggest problem in IL.
Try not to be intimidated by how many dangerous cities there are in Illinois. Instead, focus on visiting safer areas. Simply stick to busy streets and travel with groups.
Be careful in Illinois, especially in these dangerous cities.