Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Chicago: 2021’s Ultimate List
Moving to Chicago or already living there but want to explore a better neighborhood? Neighborhoods like West Englewood, Riverdale, and South Deering are among the most dangerous in the city. Follow along as we explore the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago that you should avoid.
Chicago is one of the most beloved and culturally significant cities in America. Sadly, it is also one of the more dangerous cities to live in. Navigating the streets of Chicago can be tricky, especially as a visitor or if you plan to move there.
There are many dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, ranging from Riverdale and Englewood to Pullman and Washington Park. Chicago is entrenched in a 20.6% poverty rate that keeps crime going. The Windy City recently saw 115,279 crimes, and that is a 1.6% decrease from the last census.
Many of the cheap houses and apartments in Chicago are in bad neighborhoods. Because of that, the old phrase “it’s too good to be true” often applies to leasing apartments in Chicago.
Use this guide to understand which neighborhoods in Chicago are worth avoiding. Follow along and try to be safe if you find yourself in Chicago!
Table of Contents
- 1. Riverdale
- 2. Englewood
- Don’t Want to Read the Whole List? Look at Our Graphic!
- 3. Washington Park
- 4. Fuller Park
- 5. West Englewood
- 6. Burnside
- 7. South Deering
- 8. Pullman
- 9. Grand Crossing
- 10. South Chicago
- Crime Rates In Chicago Neighborhoods For 2020
- Dangerous Chicago Neighborhoods
- West Garfield Park
- South Shore
- North Lawndale
- Is Chicago Dangerous?
- Related Questions
- Summing It Up
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 743
- Property Crime Per 1K: 2,830
- Reported Crimes: 478
- Population: 13,205
Riverdale is situated in the southeast part of Chicago. Crime in the neighborhood may have to do with how accessible Riverdale is by city streets and the freeway.
Sadly, Riverdale residents have the worst financial situation in all of Chicago. Most people in Riverdale make less than $8,000 annually. The widespread 40% unemployment rate also drives crime in the neighborhood.
You risk a 1 out of 35 chance of property crime in Riverdale. Burglary occurs at an alarming rate in Riverdale, with 88 recent reports. There are 18 thefts and 6 robberies for every 1,000 Riverdale residents.
- Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,006
- Property Crime Per 100K: 3,182
- Reported Crimes: 9,386
- Population: 25,858
Violent crime is almost 7 times more common in Englewood than in the rest of American cities. In the most recently released FBI crime log, there were 3,026 violent crimes in Englewood.
Crime and low-income neighborhoods go hand in hand. The average income in Englewood is just under $12,000. The rest of Chicago averages $27,000 annually. Bold, public crime is common in Englewood and there are many muggings.
Property crime is also quite common in Englewood, and there are 6,360 thefts and burglaries per 100,000 people. Rent has increased by 3% recently in Englewood, and costs roughly $1,600 a month. Chicago as a whole averages $1,900 a month.
Don’t Want to Read the Whole List? Look at Our Graphic!
3. Washington Park
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 420
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,008
- Reported Crimes: 9,904
- Population: 3,096
Washington Park is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago. There are 1,790 people that live in poverty in Washington Park. Residents have to live the sad reality of a 48.2% poverty rate, and a high crime rate as well.
Both violence and property crimes are a part of everyday life in Washington Park. In all of Illinois, 1 out of 247 people face violent crimes. In Washington Park, however, 1 out of 170 people have to live through a violent crime.
A shocking amount of Washington Park natives suffer property crimes, however. You risk a 1 out of 33 chance that you’ll have your home burglarized, or property stolen in Washington Park. That is almost double the property crime rate of Illinois.
4. Fuller Park
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 1,422
- Property Crime Per 10K: 4,496
- Reported Crimes: 5,918
- Population: 2,348
You can find Fuller Park on Chicago’s south side. Fuller Park is a small neighborhood that only covers 455 acres. More than 50% of all Fuller Park residents live in poverty, and 34% of them are unemployed entirely.
Just 8 years ago, Fuller Park was ranked the 1st most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago. However, in the last 2 years, all of Chicago’s crime has dropped by 1.6%. Fuller Park residents have a median income of $22,962, with only 10 other neighborhoods having a worse economy.
In the last few months, there have been a string of burglaries in Fuller Park area businesses and homes. You are far more likely to have your home broken into or your property stolen than be assaulted in Fuller Park.
5. West Englewood
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 2,773
- Property Crime Per 10K: 6,778
- Reported Crimes: 9,551
- Population: 30,662
The cheaper a neighborhood is, the more likely it is that crime will make its home there. West Englewood is 10% cheaper than other neighborhoods in Chicago. You can buy a home for $90,000 in West Englewood, which is 60% cheaper than the rest of Chicago.
The national average poverty is 13.1%, but in West Englewood, 34.2% of residents live in poverty. Because West Englewood is such a poor neighborhood with a high population density, crime runs rampant.
Crime is 270% more common in West Englewood than in other American cities. Living in West Englewood carries a 1 out of 11 chance that you will suffer a property crime or act of violence.
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 2,085
- Property Crime Per 100K: 4,733
- Reported Crimes: 6,818
- Population: 2,423
Only 65% of Burnside residents live above the poverty line. The other 35% of people in Burnside live in deep poverty, also known as extreme poverty. Many people stay in Burnside despite the crime because it is 24% cheaper to live there than nearby neighborhoods.
Crime is more than 60% more common in Burnside than the rest of Chicago. There were recently more than 4,700 thefts, car thefts, and burglaries in Burnside. Violence is another sad part of everyday life in Burnside, with rapes, robberies, assaults, and murders totaling 2,085.
Rent is extremely low in Burnside. You can rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Burnside for $742. It’s too good to be true really holds up in the case of Burnside, and the low rent is overshadowed by high frequent crime.
7. South Deering
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,303
- Property Crime Per 100K: 3,764
- Reported Crimes: 5,067
- Population: 14,598
Many people may be tempted to buy a house in South Deering, at first glance, that is. That is because the cost of houses in South Deering is up to 60% cheaper than the rest of Chicago.
However, cheaper is not always better, and that the applies to the nearly 20% cheaper rental rates. There were over 1,300 violent crimes alone recently, and many of them occurred on sidewalks. Crime is worse than other Chicago neighborhoods by 20% in South Deering.
Avoid Trumbull Park in South Deering, as it is a hotspot for crime in the neighborhood. Calhoun is a street worth avoiding at nighttime as well. You can avoid trouble often times if you travel with a group and conceal valuables.
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 1,353
- Property Crime Per 100K: 5,387
- Reported Crimes: 6,740
- Population: 6,565
There may only be 6,565 people in Pullman, but they reported more crimes than that recently. Pullman residents are less fortunate than 75% of those in other American cities. Almost 50% of the children alone live below the poverty line in Pullman.
You can find great attractions like the Hotel Florence and Pullman Park National Monument in the city. In 2019, Pullman saw an increase in economic strength and a decrease in crime. Crime dropped by 4% by early 2019 and contributed to the overall crime decrease trend in Chicago.
Sadly, the unemployment rate in Pullman remains at 13%. The national unemployment rate is currently 8.4%, almost double Pullman’s rate.
9. Grand Crossing
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 2,858
- Property Crime Per 100K: 5,866
- Reported Crimes: 8,724
- Population: 32,217
Grand Crossing is yet another neighborhood in the Windy City that suffers from extreme poverty. The poverty rate in Grand Crossing is 34.2%. Widespread poverty combined with a 13.6% unemployment rate have kept crime going in Grand Crossing.
The average income for residents of Grand Crossing is $16,000. Households and families, however, generally net $30,000. Rent costs $1,100 a month in Grand Crossing on average, and $1,600 a month is not enough to make it.
Crime is more than 100% more common in Grand Crossing than the rest of Chicago. Sure, homes cost 50% less in Grand Crossing, but it comes at major risk for violence and property crime.
10. South Chicago
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 2,027
- Property Crime Per 100K: 4,518
- Reported Crimes: 6,545
- Population: 27,113
There is a wide range of people that live in South Chicago, from wealthy to impoverished. Because South Chicago is less rigidly defined that other neighborhoods, stats place the poverty rate between 40% and 60%.
Rent increased last year by 13% in South Chicago. Even with that decrease, South Chicago is still 27% cheaper than other neighborhoods within the Windy City. Houses are also cheaper in South Chicago and often sell for 50% of what its value would be elsewhere.
Burglary, theft, and car theft make up the majority of South Chicago crimes, totaling 4,518. Both violence and property crime are 56% higher than all of Chicago.
Crime Rates In Chicago Neighborhoods For 2020
|Neighborhood||Population||Total Crimes||Poverty Rate|
|3. Washington Park||3,096||9,904||48.2%|
|4. Fuller Park||2,348||5,918||50%|
|5. West Englewood||30,662||9,551||34.2%|
|7. South Deering||14,598||5,067||68.1%|
|9. Grand Crossing||32,217||8,724||34.2%|
|10. South Chicago||27,113||6,545||40%-60%|
Dangerous Chicago Neighborhoods
If there were only 10 dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, the city wouldn’t have such a bad reputation. However, Chicago is known for holding many dangerous, low-income neighborhoods with high crime rates.
West Garfield Park
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 3,596
- Property Crime Per 100K: 9,539
- Reported Crimes: 13,135
- Population: 17,277
West Garfield Park is the most notable impoverished of a neighborhood there is. West Garfield Park combined with East Garfield Park and Humboldt Park totals 69,000 people in poverty
If you are new to Chicago and looking for an apartment, West Garfield Park may be tempting. After all, rent in the neighborhood costs 10% less than the rest of Chicago.
However, it is not worth saving money on rent went crime is over 200% more common in the neighborhood.
- Violent Crime Per 100K: 2,454
- Property Crime Per 100K: 5,119
- Reported Crimes: 7,573
- Population: 47,197
You can find a house 25% cheaper in South Shore than the rest of Chicago, and for good reason. This south Chicago neighborhood is highly dangerous. The majority of crimes in South Shore are burglary, theft, and vehicle theft.
Living expenses are 7% cheaper in South Shore. Crime is likely driven by the 11% unemployment rate in South Shore. For those employed in South Shore, the median income is $20,000 a year.
- Violent Crime Per 1K: 3,003
- Property Crime Per 1K: 7,603
- Reported Crimes: 10,606
- Population: 35,417
The crime rate in North Lawndale might be lower if only the poverty rate were not so high. However, 43% of North Lawndale residents live below the poverty line. Median earnings in North Lawndale only total $22,000, which is low for such a high-cost city.
More than 10% of all people in North Lawndale are unemployed. Crime in North Lawndale is not restricted to dark alleys. In fact, many muggings, robberies, and assaults take place in broad daylight, and even on sidewalks.
In the first 3 months of 2020, there were already 20 shootings in Northdale. Despite 20 shootings being a lot, it is actually only half as many as the same time in 2019.
Is Chicago Dangerous?
Yes, Chicago is a dangerous city, but it is not the most dangerous in Illinois. In fact, currently, Chicago is not even in the top 10 most dangerous Illinois cities. However, Chicago is known to have the most gang activity of any American city.
As with any big city, property crime is a normal part of everyday life in Chicago. The windy city saw 87,884 total property crimes as of the last census. Just as shocking is the 27,395 acts of violence that Chicago residents reported.
|Crime||Cases||Rate Per 1,000 Residents|
Right now, unemployment sits at 15% in Chicago. However, in early 2020, unemployment was at 18%, so things may be improving in the Windy City. Rent costs an average of $1,900 a month in Chicago.
Chicago has the 10th highest number of gun violence incidents in America. The Windy City earned the nickname “Chiraq” because you are more likely to die of guns in Chicago than Iraq.
What is the safest neighborhood in Chicago?
There are many safe neighborhoods in Chicago, but Lakeview and Logan Square are among the best. Lakeview only has .008 crimes per capita, and Logan has .01 crimes per capita.
What is the cheapest neighborhood in Chicago?
South Shore is the cheapest neighborhood in Chicago, and it is also one of the most dangerous. You can rent an apartment in South Shore for as little as $680. Buyer beware, however, as it is a scary neighborhood.
What is the most expensive neighborhood in Chicago?
The Chicago Loop is the most expensive neighborhood in the Windy City. On average, houses cost over $1.5 million in the Chicago Loop.
Summing It Up
Riverdale, Englewood, and Washington Park are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. Due to widespread poverty and unemployment, Chicago is highly violent and dangerous. Chicago boasts the 10th most gun violence incidents in America.
The last census shows 115,279 total crimes in Chicago. Sadly, crime exists in every pocket of Chicago. However, if you avoid the above-mentioned neighborhoods and look for a neighborhood with slightly higher rent, you can avoid it. No matter where you live, it is important to know how to secure your property at all times.
See How Chicago Compares To Other Major Cities
- The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in New York City
- The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Atlanta
- The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Indianapolis
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