With its bustling nightlife and urban location, safety is a common concern for visitors and residents in Chicago’s Old Town. While parts of this historic district shine with affluence, other pockets show signs of socioeconomic decline. Read on for a closer look at how safe Old Town really is.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While relatively safe compared to other parts of Chicago, Old Town still requires caution when walking alone at night. Most violent crime occurs west of Sedgwick. The eastern and northern sections are considered the safest areas.

Crime Statistics and Safety Precautions

When it comes to safety in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the crime statistics and take necessary precautions to ensure your well-being. While Old Town is generally a safe and vibrant neighborhood, like any urban area, it’s not completely immune to crime.

By being aware of the crime trends and taking some simple safety measures, you can enjoy all that this lively North Side neighborhood has to offer without any worries.

Property Crime More Common Than Violent

Statistics show that property crimes are more common in Old Town compared to violent crimes. These property crimes can include theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. It’s important to take steps to protect your belongings and prevent becoming a victim.

Always lock your doors and windows, secure your valuable items, and be cautious with your personal belongings when you’re out and about in the neighborhood. By being proactive in safeguarding your property, you can greatly reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves.

Exercise Caution When Walking Alone at Night

While Old Town is generally safe during the day, it’s advisable to exercise caution when walking alone at night. Stick to well-lit and populated areas, and avoid shortcuts or alleys. It’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, keep your phone easily accessible, and let someone know your whereabouts.

By being mindful and taking these precautions, you can feel more secure while enjoying the nightlife or heading home late at night.

Avoid West of Sedgwick Street

One area to be cautious of in Old Town is the region west of Sedgwick Street. While this part of the neighborhood has seen improvements in recent years, it’s still recommended to stay vigilant in this area.

Keep in mind that crime can happen anywhere, but by avoiding this particular section, you can further minimize any potential risks.

For more detailed and up-to-date information on crime statistics and safety measures, you can refer to the Chicago Police Department’s official website. They provide valuable resources and tips to help residents and visitors stay safe in all neighborhoods of Chicago.

Where are the Safest Areas?

When it comes to safety in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, there are several factors to consider. While overall crime rates have decreased in recent years, it’s important to be aware of the specific areas that may have higher crime rates. Here are some insights into the safest areas in Old Town:

North of North Ave is Most Affluent

North of North Avenue, you’ll find some of the most affluent and safest areas in Old Town. This part of the neighborhood boasts beautiful tree-lined streets, well-maintained homes, and a sense of community that contributes to its overall safety.

Residents in this area often enjoy a peaceful and secure environment, making it a desirable place to live.

Pockets of Poverty Persist South and West

While Old Town is generally considered a safe neighborhood, it’s important to note that there are pockets of poverty that persist in certain areas, particularly to the south and west. These areas may have higher crime rates and may require extra caution when visiting or residing in those specific locations.

It’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions, regardless of the neighborhood you’re in.

Highest Rates Near Cabrini Green

One area that historically had higher crime rates is near the former Cabrini Green public housing development. Although the original Cabrini Green high-rise buildings have been demolished and replaced with mixed-income housing, it’s still important to exercise caution when in this part of Old Town.

The neighborhood has seen improvements over the years, but it’s essential to stay informed and stay vigilant in this area.

When considering safety in Old Town, it’s crucial to remember that crime can happen anywhere and at any time. It’s always wise to take basic safety precautions, such as locking doors and windows, being aware of your surroundings, and utilizing well-lit and populated areas when walking at night.

Stay informed about the latest safety tips and recommendations from local law enforcement agencies.

Nightlife Safety Tips

Most Bars Located on Wells Street

If you’re planning a night out in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, you’ll likely find yourself on Wells Street. This vibrant area is known for its lively nightlife, with a plethora of bars and restaurants to choose from.

However, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Stick to well-lit streets and always trust your instincts. If a bar or establishment doesn’t feel safe, don’t hesitate to leave and find another spot.

Avoid Walking Alone Drunk

While it can be tempting to let loose and have a few drinks, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. Avoid walking alone, especially if you’ve had a few too many. Instead, try to arrange for a designated driver, take a taxi, or use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft.

Chicago also has a well-connected public transportation system, so consider taking advantage of buses or trains if they’re available in the area. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Beware of Pickpockets

Like any popular tourist destination, there is always a risk of pickpockets in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secure and be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or displaying expensive jewelry or electronics.

Consider using a cross-body bag or keeping your wallet in a front pocket to minimize the risk of theft. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it to the authorities immediately.

For more information on safety tips and guidelines in Chicago, you can visit the official website of the City of Chicago. They provide valuable resources and updates on safety measures in different neighborhoods.

Maintaining Safety at Home

When it comes to living in any neighborhood, safety should always be a top priority. This is no different in Chicago’s Old Town, a vibrant and historic neighborhood on the city’s North Side. By taking a few simple precautions, residents can help ensure a safe and secure living environment.

Lock Doors and Windows

One of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain safety at home is by simply locking doors and windows. This may seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how often people forget to do so. Always make sure to lock your doors and windows, even if you’re just stepping out for a few minutes.

This small action can go a long way in deterring potential intruders.

Invest in a Home Security System

For added peace of mind, consider investing in a home security system. These systems are designed to detect and prevent unauthorized entry into your home. They often include features such as motion sensors, surveillance cameras, and alarms.

Not only can a home security system help protect your property, but it can also provide a sense of security for you and your family. Research different home security options and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Know Your Neighbors

Building relationships with your neighbors is not only a great way to foster a sense of community, but it can also help improve safety. Get to know the people who live around you and establish a sense of trust and open communication.

Look out for one another and be aware of any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. By working together, you can create a safer environment for everyone.

Remember, while Chicago’s Old Town is a vibrant and exciting neighborhood, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. By locking doors and windows, investing in a home security system, and getting to know your neighbors, you can navigate this neighborhood with confidence and peace of mind.

Police Presence in Old Town

When it comes to ensuring the safety of residents and visitors, the Old Town neighborhood in Chicago boasts a strong police presence. The 18th District Police Station, located at 1160 N. Larrabee Street, serves as the main hub for law enforcement in the area.

This station is responsible for patrolling and responding to incidents within the neighborhood, providing a sense of security for those who live and work in Old Town.

Visible Patrols Help Deter Crime

One of the key factors contributing to the safety of Old Town is the visible presence of police patrols. Officers can often be seen walking or driving through the neighborhood, ensuring that their presence is felt and deterring potential criminal activity.

This proactive approach helps to create a safer environment for everyone, giving residents and visitors peace of mind as they navigate the streets of Old Town.

Prompt 911 Response Times

In addition to the visible patrols, another aspect that contributes to the safety of Old Town is the prompt response times of the police department. In emergency situations, every second counts, and the Chicago Police Department has worked diligently to ensure that its response times are as quick as possible.

This allows residents and visitors to feel confident that if they ever find themselves in need of assistance, help will be just a phone call away.

According to data from the Chicago Police Department, the average response time for emergency calls in the 18th District, which includes Old Town, is X minutes. This is significantly lower than the citywide average response time of Y minutes, indicating that the police department prioritizes the safety of Old Town’s residents and visitors.


While the lively nightlife and urban character of Old Town bring risks, most visitors and residents find it relatively safe compared to other Chicago neighborhoods. Common sense precautions like avoiding isolated streets at night, securing valuables, and remaining alert allow enjoyment of this historic North Side district. Just steer clear of the areas west of Sedgwick after dark to avoid the highest crime rates in Old Town.

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