Are you moving to or planning to invest in real estate in Chicago? Learning which neighborhoods you should stay away from is crucial. While Chicago is one of the most culturally-rich cities in the US, it is also one of the most dangerous. Throughout the city, 203,237 crimes have been reported in the past 12 months alone.
The table below shows a quick list of statistics for the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago:
|Neighborhood||Population||Crime rate||Reported crime||Homicides|
|West Garfield Park||17,433||147.9%||4,497||262|
|East Garfield Park||19,992||77.28%||3,089||392|
|Greater Grand Crossing||31,471||43.15%||4,274||128|
Note: The areas are ranked from the highest to the lowest crime rate. The crime rates above, calculated in relation to the total population of Chicago, include property and violent crime reports and show how dangerous a neighborhood is compared to the rest of the city. Data in the table was sourced from Chicago Data Portal and is correct as of March 2022.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 12,584
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 593
As one of the smallest neighborhoods in Chicago, Burnside has the highest crime rate in the city – almost 500% higher compared to the entire Chicago area. The population doesn’t exceed 2,600 inhabitants. Nevertheless, 15 homicides were reported in Burnside in the past 12 months.
The total rate of violent crimes, including armed robbery, rape, and assault, is almost 50% higher compared to the rest of Chicago and over 500% higher than the national average.
Property crime rates are even higher, most likely linked to the level of poverty in the area. Over 46% of Burnside’s residents live on an income of under $25,000 PA, and the unemployment rate exceeds 20%, which is about five times higher than the national average.
2. Avalon Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 17,857
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,332
Avalon Park is often described by its inhabitants as a safe area, but the statistics say otherwise. The area is flanked by Burnside, Chatham, South Shore, and Greater Grand Crossing, all of which have high crime rates.
Considering the number of reported crimes, the area is the second most dangerous place in Chicago. Not only is the total crime rate high – about 189% above Chicago’s average – but there have been over 125 homicide reports in the past year.
The unemployment rate is lower than Burnside’s (14.5%), and housing is cheap compared to downside Chicago. Unfortunately, the area remains poor, with 30.2% of the inhabitants living on less than $25,000 PA.
3. West Garfield Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 25,795
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,502
People moving to Chicago and looking for housing on a budget are often tempted to rent or buy in West Garfield Park. You can expect to pay around $900 a month for a one-bed apartment in the area, which is about 60% cheaper compared to Chicago’s average rent rates.
However, cheap rent comes with inflated crime rates. In fact, the neighborhood is often considered the city’s most dangerous community area.
Although Avalon Park and Burnside have higher crime rates from a statistical standpoint, this neighborhood is larger, and the possibility of becoming a victim of property or violent crime is higher.
Like Burnside and Avalon Park, this area is poor. Unemployment rate is 20.8%, and 51.4% of residents make less than $25,000 per annum. That’s 27.1% more poor people than the rest of Chicago, which explains the high crime rates.
In addition to being one of the most dangerous places in Chicago, the neighborhood also includes the most dangerous block in the city. Here, you can expect to experience a per capita rate of shooting about 20 times higher than Chicago downtown.
4. Fuller Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 3,350
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 350
Fuller Park is another area that tops the cheapest rent charts. Unfortunately, it also tops the charts of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.
Violent crime and homicide are common occurrences in the area, and property crimes are also high. The total crime rate is 130.5% higher than the rest of Chicago and about 148% higher than the national average.
These statistics don’t come as a surprise, though. Fuller Park held the title of the most dangerous community in Chicago in 2012, and not much has changed since then. While the crime rates have improved in the past decade, the neighborhood is still poor.
Over 55% of residents live on an annual income under $25,000, and the unemployment rate is 23.6%, higher than Burnside, Avalon Park, and West Garfield Park.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 7,771
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 102
With an average rent for a one-bedroom apartment of $875, Pullman is one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Chicago. But as you may have noticed, cheap also means dangerous.
Total crime rates in the area, calculated in relation to the number of residents, are as high as 7,711 per 100,000 people, which is almost 114% higher than Chicago’s average. Violent crime rate is also high, considering that the neighborhood has a population of under 7,000 and a homicide rate of 102 per 100,000 people.
That said, there have actually been seven homicide reports in the past year and 530 total crime reports, which include non-violent property crimes such as theft, burglary, shoplifting, and vandalism.
Surprisingly, Pullman is a dangerous neighborhood despite having a richer population compared to the top four areas. Unemployment rate is 15.2% – still high compared to the national average, but lower than other areas in Chicago. Poverty rates are also lower, with only 29.6% living on an income of under $25,000.
6. Washington Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 14,448
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,086
The area’s name might inspire trust, but Washington Park is one of the most dangerous places in Chicago. Its total crime rate is about 113% higher than the city’s average, and there have been reported almost 140 homicides in the past year.
As a result of high crime rates, the housing price in the area has decreased since last year. You can expect to pay around $988 per month for a one-bed apartment, which is almost two times lower than neighboring areas.
However, if you are new to the city, beware of real estate agents claiming that the area’s east side is safer than the rest of the neighborhood. While Hyde Park, the neighborhood to the east of Washington Park, is fairly safe, data from Chicago Police Department shows evenly distributed crime rates throughout the entire Washington Park neighborhood.
If you really want to move to the area, know that you have one chance in nine of becoming a victim of violent or property crime. Unless you want to take the risk, you should consider housing arrangements in Hyde Park.
7. River North
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 20,412
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 209
River North is a smaller area in the Near North Side neighborhood. As a whole, the Near North Side is a safe place to live. However, River North has a higher crime rate compared to the rest of the neighborhood, ranking in seventh place among the most dangerous areas in Chicago.
Violent crimes aren’t as high as those in Burnside or West Garfield Park, but property crime is frequent.
This trend is most likely due to the higher income rates. In fact, only 13.9% of residents live on a minimum wage, and 35.3% have an income of $150,000 or over. Unemployment rate is also very low – 2.8%. This is almost ten times lower than Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods and about two times lower than the national average.
As you can expect, the cost of living in the area reflects the statistics. A one-bedroom apartment in River North will cost you $2,350 on average. This is about 8% lower compared to the previous year but still more expensive than similar properties in the neighborhoods above.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 6,912
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 454
Riverdale is one of the poorest areas in Chicago, yet it manages to maintain crime rates lower than West Garfield Park, Washington Park, and even River North.
Yet, we wouldn’t recommend living in this area. The total crime rate is about 95% higher than Chicago’s average, and 33 homicides have been reported in the past year alone. By comparison, there have been 42 reported homicides in River North, but River North is almost three times bigger than Riverdale in terms of population density.
Wondering how poor Riverdale actually is? Know that 63.3% of residents live on less than $25,000 per annum, and the unemployment rate is 30.4% – almost 11 times higher than the unemployment rate in River North.
9. The Loop
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 24,060
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 100
One wouldn’t expect high crime rates in the central business district of a city, yet The Loop has made its way in the top ten most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.
With 26,081 residents and 6,275 reported crimes, the vibrant district boasts a crime rate that’s over 92% higher compared to the city’s average. Similar to River North, The Loop reports more property crimes than violent ones – in the past year, there have been reported only 26 homicides in the city.
As you’d expect from a business district, the area is wealthy and expensive. Over 33% of residents have an income of $150,000 or over, and the unemployment rate is 4.9%. Housing prices reflect these statistics; a one-bed apartment costs $2,200 on average.
10. East Garfield Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 15,451
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,961
Alongside Riverdale, East Garfield Park is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago. Over 50% of residents have an income under $25,000, and the unemployment rate is 17.1%.
Like most poor places, East Garfield Park has high crime rates. Total crime is almost 78% higher than the city’s average, and with 392 reported murders, the area has a homicide rate of 1,961 per 100,000 people.
Violent crime rates in East Garfield park are over 600% higher than the national average and include murder, rape, robbery, and assault. Some of these crimes are related to local gangs, and some also involve children.
11. West Englewood
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 22,191
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 887
West Englewood is another neighborhood where crime runs rampant. The total crime rate in the past 12 months exceeded 22,100 per 100,000 people, and violent crimes in the area are also high.
Housing is cheap here, both to rent and to buy. However, with over 47% of residents earning less than $25,000 a month and an unemployment rate of 27.4%, you have a one in 11 chance to become a victim.
There are generally more property crimes in West Englewood compared to violent crimes, but things can degenerate easily. In addition to murder, the area also has high rates of assault and rape.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 16,869
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,140
Englewood has similar stats to West Englewood and is one of the few areas in Chicago where the population density plummeted by over 20% in the past decade.
It is uncertain whether the fall is linked to the high crime rates or the housing crisis has devastated Englewood’s community and led to increased crime rates. However, the area is one of the most violent in the US, let alone in Chicago. In fact, violent crime is about nine times more likely to occur in Englewood compared to other American cities.
Average rent prices in the area are similar to West Englewood, and so are the unemployment and poverty rates. About 55.4% of residents live on a minimum income, and 25.6% of the labor force living in the neighborhood is unemployed.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 21,864
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 1,113
Chatham is one of the largest neighborhoods in Chicago and, at first glance, a sought-after suburb. Nevertheless, crime rates in the area are about 200% higher than the national average and almost 70% than Chicago’s average.
While residents and real estate agents often claim this isn’t one of the most violent areas in the city, statistics say otherwise.
The homicide rate is high compared to other neighborhoods, and property crime is incredibly frequent. This is to be expected from a place with almost 40% of residents living on a minimum income and an unemployment rate of almost 15%.
14. Calumet Heights
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 8,717
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 30
Calumet Heights is not the most impoverished district of Chicago, but a good part of residents (25.1%) live on a low income. Another 25.3% earn between $25,000 and $50,000, which could be decent for small households but little for larger families.
The unemployment rate is rather low, at only 9%; however, the neighborhood remains one of the most dangerous in the city.
We can’t say the most dangerous street in Chicago is in this neighborhood, but residents seem to be unsafe even inside their houses. For instance, in September 2021, a toddler was shot while inside the home.
That said, the homicide rate is low compared to other dangerous areas, and most reports involve property crimes. Rent is cheap in the area, but you might want to find a more welcoming neighborhood.
15. South Chicago
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 16,032
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 575
Often mistaken for the South Side of Chicago, South Chicago is an apparently tranquil neighborhood nestled between the East Side and South Shore.
Rent prices in the area are slightly higher compared to other neighborhoods, but you should still be aware of the crime rate, which is almost 60% higher than Chicago’s average.
Violent crimes are a common occurrence in the area, including homicide, rape, and assault. Violent property crimes, including arson and vandalism, are also frequent. The reason for these high crime rates is likely poverty. Over 26% of residents live on less than $20,000 PA, and 16.2% of the labor force is unemployed.
16. Grand Boulevard
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 13,372
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 622
Oozing idyllic town rather than dangerous neighborhood vibes , Grand Boulevard is, in reality, one of the most impoverished districts in Chicago.
Over 41% of residents have an income under $25,000, and 13.7% are unemployed. These facts are reflected in the high crime rates. Most reports involve property crimes, although the violent crime rate is also high. Moreover, the area has a homicide rate of 622 per 100,000 people.
Wondering how dangerous the area really is? You should know that the first homicide of 2022 in Chicago happened in this neighborhood.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 13,044
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 815
Woodlawn, including West Woodlawn, may be flanked by Hyde Park, but the neighborhood is poor. As the trends show, poverty and high crime rates go hand in hand, and Woodlawn is no exception.
Most people in this district (49.5%) live on a low income. Unemployment rates are also high, almost 20%. This explains the high incidence of property crime that can degenerate into violent crime. The homicide rate is higher than Grand Boulevard’s, and you also have a high probability of becoming a victim of rape or assault.
Considering the crime rates, you might expect housing to be cheap. However, Woodlawn is more expensive than other dangerous neighborhoods, with the rent for a one-bed apartment exceeding $1,000 per month, on average.
18. Morgan Park
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 10,516
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 604
Located on the outskirts of Chicago and neighboring Calumet Park and West Pullman, Morgan Park is another Chicago neighborhood you should ignore if you’re looking for housing in the city.
Poverty is not as rampant as it is in Woodland, but crime rates are high – about 49% higher than the national average.
Compared to the rest of the US, violent crimes in Morgan Park Chicago are about 105% higher. Residents don’t feel particularly unsafe, but you have a good chance of becoming a victim of theft, assault, or other property and violent crimes. In the past year, homicide rates reached 604 per 100,000 people.
19. West Pullman
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 12,013
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 870
West Pullman and Morgan Park are next to one another, but poverty rates are higher in West Pullman. In this neighborhood, 30.4% of residents live on under $25,000 per annum.
Despite the poverty rate, the crime rate is slightly lower compared to Morgan Park. The neighborhood saw a decrease in the crime rate of about 4% compared to the previous year. Nonetheless, West Pullman is far from safe.
The violent crime rate is about 300% higher than the national average, and property crime rates are also high. Hopefully, the community will continue the trend set in 2021 of fighting off violence and becoming safer.
20. Greater Grand Crossing
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 13,580
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 407
Another area to stay away from when visiting or looking for housing in Chicago is Greater Grand Crossing. This is one of the largest communities in the city, but the poverty rate is astonishing – 44.6% of residents earn less than $25,000 PA.
Unemployment rates are similar to West Garfield Park, and the reported crime numbers are also similar; in the past 12 months, there have been 4,274 crimes reported in Greater Grand Crossing and 4,497 in West Garfield Park.
How come the crime rates are so different then? It’s all in the numbers. Greater Grand Crossing is almost twice as big as West Garfield Park. Some areas of this neighborhood are also slightly safer compared to others. Overall, though, both places have high property and violent crime rates.
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 14,628
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 791
When calculated in relation to the total population of Chicago, the crime rate in Roseland doesn’t look too bad. Yet, this is one of the most dangerous areas of the city, almost as dangerous as Burnside or West Garfield Park.
Calculated in relation to Roseland’s population, the area has a total crime rate of 14,628 per 100,000 people and a violent crime rate almost as high as West Englewood.
It goes without saying that poverty in the area is high. According to recent community data, 33% of residents have an income lower than $25,000, and 20.3% are unemployed.
Housing is cheap – about $875 per month for a one-bed apartment – but you have high chances of becoming a victim of property or violent crime. If you still want to move in the area, know that residents consider the northeast part of the neighborhood to be the safest.
22. North Lawndale
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 11,600
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 865
North Lawndale’s situation is similar to Roseland’s. The area is very dangerous, but the total crime rate calculated in relation to Chicago’s population doesn’t look that bad.
Nonetheless, total crime has reached 11,600 per 100,000 people in the past year, with a total of 4,036 reported crimes.
As you’d expect from a dangerous neighborhood, most residents in the area are poor – 46.1% living on less than $25,000 per annum. Unemployment rates are lower compared to other neighborhoods, but North Lawndale has high rates of juvenile crime. Overall, this is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.
23. South Shore
- Total crime rate/100,000 people: 16,519
- Homicide rate/100,000 people: 947
South Shore is one of the largest neighborhoods in Chicago, counting almost 54,000 inhabitants. This explains the low crime rate when related to the entire Chicago area. However, when related to the residents alone, the crime rate is higher than that of East Garfield Park
In fact, South Shore ranks first in the number of total crimes reported in the past year, as well as higher in the number of reported homicides.
Similar to North Lawndale, South Shore has a high rate of juvenile crime. However, burglary and theft make up most of the crimes in the area – a fact explained by the poverty degree of the population (43.4%) and the unemployment rate (16.2%).
Unlike other communities that managed to lower the crime rates in the past years, the situation in South Shore looks grim. Violent crime rates increased by 20% in 2021. High housing prices and crime rates make South Shore one of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago.