Is The Near North Side Of Chicago Safe?

The Near North Side of Chicago is a vibrant area full of history, culture, dining and nightlife. But is it safe for visitors and residents? The answer is complicated, but here’s a quick take: The Near North Side is generally safe, but does have some high-crime pockets that should be avoided. Crime rates vary greatly by neighborhood.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into crime statistics, safe and unsafe areas, tips for staying safe, and what to know before visiting or moving to the Near North Side of Chicago.

Crime Overview in the Near North Side

The Near North Side of Chicago is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood known for its upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment options. As with any urban area, crime is a concern for residents and visitors alike.

Understanding the crime landscape can help individuals make informed decisions about their safety and take necessary precautions.

Crime Rates and Trends

When it comes to crime rates, the Near North Side generally fares well compared to other neighborhoods in Chicago. According to the latest data from the Chicago Police Department, the overall crime rate in the area has been decreasing in recent years.

This is encouraging news for those who live or plan to visit the Near North Side.

However, it’s important to note that crime can still occur, and it’s crucial to stay vigilant. The neighborhood’s popularity and high foot traffic can sometimes attract opportunistic criminals, so taking precautions such as locking doors, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding isolated areas at night is always recommended.

Most Common Crimes

While the overall crime rate in the Near North Side is relatively low, there are still certain types of crimes that occur more frequently than others. Theft and burglary are among the most common crimes in the area.

With numerous shopping districts and affluent residential areas, it’s not surprising that these types of crimes are more prevalent.

It’s essential to keep personal belongings secure and avoid leaving valuable items unattended, especially in public spaces. Additionally, being cautious about sharing personal information and practicing safe online habits can help protect against identity theft and cybercrime.

Safest and Most Dangerous Areas

The Near North Side encompasses several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own safety profile. Generally, areas closer to the lake and downtown tend to have a higher police presence and lower crime rates.

Streeterville and Gold Coast, for example, are considered to be some of the safest areas within the Near North Side.

On the other hand, it’s important to be more cautious in certain areas, such as Cabrini-Green and parts of River North, where crime rates may be slightly higher. However, it’s worth noting that even in these areas, the crime rates are still relatively low compared to some other neighborhoods in Chicago.

When considering safety in the Near North Side, it’s also helpful to consult local resources, such as the Chicago Police Department’s district websites, which provide up-to-date information on crime trends and safety initiatives.

Tips for Staying Safe

Be Alert

When visiting the Near North Side of Chicago, it is important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. This vibrant neighborhood has a lot to offer, but like any urban area, it is essential to be cautious. Keep an eye on your belongings and be vigilant for any suspicious activity.

Trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Avoid Dangerous Areas

While the Near North Side of Chicago is generally considered safe, there are a few areas that have higher crime rates. It is advisable to avoid these areas, especially at night. Research and familiarize yourself with the neighborhood boundaries to ensure you stay within the safer zones.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to consult local residents or authorities for up-to-date information on any potential risks or areas to avoid.

Use Rideshares at Night

One way to enhance your safety while exploring the Near North Side is to use rideshare services, such as Uber or Lyft, especially during nighttime. These services provide a convenient and reliable means of transportation, ensuring you reach your destination safely.

Make sure to verify the driver and the vehicle information before getting into the car. Taking this precaution helps to minimize any potential risks.

Don’t Engage with Panhandlers

While walking around the Near North Side, you may encounter panhandlers asking for money or assistance. It is recommended not to engage with them or give them money directly. Instead, consider supporting local organizations that provide resources and assistance to those in need.

By doing so, you are contributing to the community in a more impactful and organized manner.

Remember, the Near North Side of Chicago has a lot to offer in terms of culture, entertainment, and dining experiences. By following these safety tips and being mindful of your surroundings, you can enjoy all that this neighborhood has to offer with peace of mind.

Best Practices for Visitors

Stick to Busy, Well-Lit Streets

When exploring the Near North Side of Chicago, it is important to stick to busy, well-lit streets. This area is generally safe, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution. By staying on well-traveled streets, you are more likely to be around other people and deter any potential criminals.

Additionally, well-lit streets provide better visibility and reduce the chances of becoming a target for theft or other crimes. Remember to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.

Research Your Hotel’s Surroundings

Prior to your trip, it’s a good idea to research the surroundings of your hotel. Look for information on the safety of the neighborhood and any recent incidents that may have occurred. You can check online resources, such as NeighborhoodScout, to get a better understanding of the area’s safety profile.

It’s also helpful to read reviews from previous hotel guests to gauge their experiences and any concerns they may have had.

Plan Your Public Transportation Routes

Public transportation is a convenient way to get around the Near North Side of Chicago, but it’s important to plan your routes in advance. Familiarize yourself with the train and bus schedules, and identify the nearest stations to your destinations.

Stick to well-populated stations and avoid waiting alone on deserted platforms. If you’re unsure about which routes to take, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from station personnel or fellow commuters.

Leave Valuables at Home or In the Hotel Safe

While exploring the Near North Side, it’s best to leave your valuable items at home or secure them in a hotel safe. This includes expensive jewelry, large amounts of cash, and unnecessary electronic devices.

By minimizing the valuables you carry with you, you decrease the risk of becoming a target for theft. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so consider leaving non-essential items behind to ensure a worry-free experience.

What to Know Before Moving to the Near North Side

Research Crime Rates in Your Neighborhood

Before making the decision to move to the Near North Side of Chicago, it is important to research the crime rates in the specific neighborhood you are considering. While the Near North Side is generally considered safe, it is always a good idea to be aware of any potential safety concerns.

You can check the Chicago Police Department’s website for crime statistics and trends in the area. It is also helpful to reach out to local residents or join community forums to get a better understanding of the safety situation.

Be Wary of Craigslist Rental Scams

When searching for a rental property on the Near North Side, it is important to be cautious of potential scams, especially on platforms like Craigslist. Unfortunately, rental scams are not uncommon, and scammers often target popular areas like the Near North Side.

To protect yourself, make sure to do thorough research on the landlord or property management company before signing any agreements or making any payments. Be skeptical of deals that seem too good to be true, and always visit the property in person before committing to anything.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

One of the best ways to ensure safety and security in any neighborhood is to get to know your neighbors. Building a strong community bond can help create a sense of belonging and trust. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your neighbors and participate in local events or neighborhood watch programs.

Having a friendly and supportive network of neighbors can make a big difference in feeling safe and secure in your new home.

Have a Safety Plan

It is always a good idea to have a safety plan in place, regardless of where you live. This includes knowing the emergency contact numbers for the local police and fire departments, as well as having a clear understanding of evacuation routes and nearby emergency facilities.

Consider installing security measures such as alarm systems, motion sensor lights, or security cameras to enhance the safety of your home. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the nearest hospitals, pharmacies, and other essential services in case of any emergencies.


While the Near North Side has its share of crime, being smart, using common sense, and avoiding dangerous areas can go a long way in staying safe. With its unbeatable location and wealth of attractions, the Near North Side has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike. Just exercise reasonable caution and you can comfortably enjoy everything this vibrant Chicago neighborhood has to offer.

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