According to recent crime statistics, Chicago has a crime rate of 3,926 per 100,000 people. That’s 67% higher than the national average—and violent crime plays an outsized role in those numbers.
The Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, Chi-Town—whatever you call Illinois’s biggest metropolitan area, it’s known for its deep-dish pizza, its popular sports teams, and, yes, one of the nation’s highest crime rates.
Crime rates can be a useful tool when you’re looking for a place to live, or when you’re trying to understand the factors that determine your car insurance rate. But crime statistics can also be misleading—while Chicago’s numbers may seem high, it can still be a very safe city to live in.
Here to help you untangle the truth from the numbers is car insurance comparison super app Jerry. We’ll take a look at the statistics that make up Chicago’s crime rates, consider how that might affect you if you live there, and run through the safest and most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.
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What are Chicago’s crime rates?
Chicago is (in)famous for its high crime rates—but just how high are they?
According to AreaVibes, Chicago’s crime rate in 2020 was 3,926 per 100,000 people. That’s 67% higher than the national average and well above Illinois’s average rate of 1,985 crimes per 100,000 people.
Part of why Chicago’s crime rates get so much discussion is that violent crime—including murder, sexual assault, and robberies—contributes more to the Windy City’s outsize crime rate than property crimes like burglary, arson, or motor vehicle theft.
The table below uses data from the Chicago Police Department to break down the rates of violent and property crime in Chicago, including specific offenses like murder, auto theft, and aggravated battery.
|Motor vehicle theft||4,091|
Political corruption and widespread poverty both contribute to Chicago’s high crime rates. But despite popular perceptions of Chicago as a dangerous, crime-ridden city, it’s actually safer than 9% of US cities, including some major ones. Chi-Town didn’t make NeighborhoodScout’s 2022 Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities list—and, according to the New York Times, it’s only seventh in the nation when it comes to murder rates, edged out by cities like St. Louis, New Orleans, and Baltimore.
How dangerous is Chicago?
Your odds of being the victim of a violent crime in Chicago are 1 in 103. That’s double the average chances for the state of Illinois—but it’s important to keep in mind that just living in Chicago doesn’t automatically put you in increased danger. Factors like socioeconomic status, neighborhood, and relationships can all influence your risk of violence.
Your odds of becoming the victim of property crime in Chicago are 1 in 39. Even though Chicago’s property crime rate is just 52% higher than the national average (compared to 143% for violent crime), property crimes are more common across the board.
Your chance of having your car stolen in Chicago is 1 in 273. This particular type of property crime is unfortunately common in Chicago—but not as common as in other cities. Richmond, California tops the list of cities with high rates of auto theft, closely followed by Albuquerque and Oakland. Chicago doesn’t make the top 20. That’s good news for your car insurance rate!
Key Takeaway Violent crime makes up a disproportionate percent of Chicago’s crime statistics, but it’s still a safer city than many other metropolitan areas.
What are the safest neighborhoods in Chicago?
So far, we’ve looked at citywide averages—but Chicago is a huge, sprawling city with countless unique neighborhoods. When you break it down to the neighborhood level, certain places rise to the top of the list of safest areas in Chicago.
Here are the five safest neighborhoods in Chicago, as determined by AreaVibes’s crime statistics. To give the full picture of each neighborhood, we’re also looking at poverty rates and hardship indexes from the Chicago Data Portal, along with median home prices from Realtor.com.
Crime rate: 61% below national average
Households below poverty level: 3.3%
Median home price: $340,000
Hardship index: 8
Named for the famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison, Edison Park has Chicago’s highest concentration of Irish Americans.
Crime rate: 52% below national average
Households below poverty level: 7.5%
Median home price: $532,000
Hardship index: 11
One of the oldest neighborhoods of Chicago’s northwest side, this suburban neighborhood calls itself “Chicago’s Finest Community.”
Crime rate: 53% below national average
Households below poverty level: 5.4%
Median home price: $322,500
Hardship index: 21
Norwood Park was once its own town, but it became part of Chicago in 1893. William Howard Taft High School, the inspiration for Grease, is located in Norwood Park.
Crime rate: 1% above national average
Households below poverty level: 11.4
Median home price: $410,00
Hardship index: 5
Lake View is home to Boystown, Chicago's first official LGBT-friendly “rainbow neighborhood.”
Crime rate: 28% above national average
Households below poverty level: 12.3%
Median home price: $687,500
Hardship index: 2
Located on Chicago’s North Side, Lincoln Park is one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. It’s known for its natural beauty, as well as its famous zoo—the nation’s fourth-oldest.
What are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago?
On the other end of the spectrum are Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods—the places where the worst statistics come from. Unsurprisingly, these neighborhoods are also among Chicago’s most economically disadvantaged, with high rates of poverty, crowded housing, and unemployment.
West Garfield Park
Crime rate: 462% above national average
Households below poverty level: 41.7%
Median home price: $135,000
Hardship index: 92
The Garfield Park Race Track once drew tourists to this historic immigrant neighborhood, but segregation and discrimination in the 1960s left West Garfield Park stigmatized and vulnerable.
East Garfield Park
Crime rate: 308% above national average
Households below poverty level: 42.4%
Median home price: $175,000
Hardship index: 83
The Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest botanical conservatories in the US, is located in East Garfield Park. Unfortunately, poverty and unemployment have also led to rising rates of drug crime and sex work in the area.
Crime rate: 276% above national average
Households below poverty level: 46.6%
Median home price: $60,000
Hardship index: 94
Englewood’s population has dropped precipitously since the 1960s, leading to its unsavory reputation as Chicago’s “murder capital.”
Crime rate: 148% above national average
Households below poverty level: 51.2%
Median home price: $64,000
Hardship index: 97
This South Side neighborhood is named for Chicago attorney Melville Weston Fuller. It has a higher-than-average crime rate, but it also has the highest concentration of churches of any Chicago community area.
Crime rate: 137% above national average
Households below poverty level: 25.9%
Median home price: $135,000
Hardship index: 62
Originally inhabited by railroad workers hoping to avoid the hardships of the Pullman Train Company’s company town, West Pullman has a history of poverty and pollution, but community organizations are working to reverse that story.
How to save money on car insurance in Chicago
No matter which Chicago neighborhood you live in, you can use Jerry’s car insurance comparison app to find an insurance policy that meets Illinois requirements and fits your budget.
Using the Jerry app is easy and quick: we want to keep things simple for you! Just answer a few quick questions about yourself and your car, and you can sit back while Jerry searches for personalized quotes from 50+ top insurance providers. In 45 seconds or less, you’ll have quotes to review—and when you find the one you like, Jerry’s team of experts will walk you through the sign-up process.
Jerry users save an average of $887 a year on car insurance—but just like Chicago crime rates, good car insurance is about more than numbers. With Jerry, next-level convenience and customer support make the savings all the sweeter!
“I usually hate all the phone calls that come with getting car insurance quotes, but with Jerry I was able to do everything over text. I went from $224 with my previous provider to $193 with Nationwide. Such a relief!” —Gabby P.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
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