Where Not To Go In Chicago: Staying Safe And Avoiding Dangerous Areas

With its world-class museums, dining, sports, and entertainment, Chicago offers endless options for visitors and residents alike. However, America’s third largest city does have some areas with higher crime rates that are best avoided.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The South and West sides of Chicago have higher crime rates, so tourists should avoid these areas. Stay north of Roosevelt Road, away from Washington Park and Garfield Park at night.

This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of Chicago neighborhoods and areas with higher crime rates that should be avoided. We’ll also offer safety tips for getting around the city responsibly and resources for staying aware of your surroundings.

Overview of Chicago’s Safest and Most Dangerous Areas

Chicago is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich cultural heritage. Like any major city, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe. While Chicago has many safe neighborhoods, there are also areas that have higher crime rates.

This article will provide an overview of Chicago’s safest and most dangerous areas to help you make informed decisions about where to go and where to avoid.

North Side neighborhoods

The North Side of Chicago is known for its beautiful residential areas, trendy shops, and lively nightlife. Neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and Wrigleyville are popular among locals and tourists alike.

These areas generally have low crime rates and offer a wide range of attractions, including parks, museums, and restaurants. However, it’s always a good idea to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings, regardless of the neighborhood you’re in.

Central Chicago areas

Central Chicago is home to the iconic downtown area, known as “The Loop.” This bustling district is filled with skyscrapers, shopping centers, and cultural institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Loop is generally considered safe during the day, but it’s advisable to be cautious at night, especially in more secluded areas. Other central neighborhoods, such as River North and Streeterville, also offer a mix of residential and commercial spaces and are generally safe for visitors.

South Side neighborhoods

The South Side of Chicago has a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Hyde Park, home to the prestigious University of Chicago, is known for its intellectual atmosphere and beautiful architecture.

Other neighborhoods, such as Bronzeville and Bridgeport, have rich histories and vibrant cultural scenes. While some areas of the South Side have higher crime rates, it’s important to note that many parts of this region are safe to visit.

As always, it’s best to research specific neighborhoods and take necessary precautions.

West Side neighborhoods

The West Side of Chicago is a mix of residential and commercial areas, with a range of neighborhoods to explore. Wicker Park and Bucktown are known for their trendy boutiques, art galleries, and lively nightlife.

These neighborhoods, along with Logan Square and Ukrainian Village, have seen significant revitalization in recent years. While some parts of the West Side have higher crime rates, it’s important to remember that crime can occur in any neighborhood.

It’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when exploring new areas.

When visiting or living in Chicago, it’s important to remember that safety is a priority. Stay informed about current events and crime trends, be aware of your surroundings, and use common sense. If you have any concerns or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to local authorities or seek guidance from trusted sources.

With proper precautions, you can enjoy all that Chicago has to offer while staying safe.

Areas to Avoid

Washington Park

When it comes to staying safe in Chicago, one area to avoid is Washington Park. While this neighborhood is home to the beautiful Washington Park, it unfortunately has a higher crime rate compared to other areas in the city.

It is important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings if you find yourself in this area.

Garfield Park

Another neighborhood to be cautious of is Garfield Park. This area has been known for its higher crime rates and gang activity. It is recommended to avoid walking alone at night in this neighborhood and to take extra precautions if you must pass through it.


Englewood is another area in Chicago that should be avoided if possible. This neighborhood has struggled with crime and poverty for many years. While efforts are being made to improve the safety of the area, it is still advisable to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary risks.

Auburn Gresham

Auburn Gresham is a neighborhood that has faced challenges with crime and violence. It is important to be mindful of your surroundings and take precautions when visiting this area. It is always best to stay informed about the current safety conditions and to follow the advice of local authorities.

It is important to note that while these areas may have higher crime rates, it does not mean that everyone you encounter in these neighborhoods is dangerous. However, it is essential to prioritize your safety and take necessary precautions when visiting these areas.

For more information on staying safe in Chicago, you can visit the official website of the Chicago Police Department. They provide valuable resources and tips on how to stay safe in the city.

Staying Safe in Chicago

When visiting a big city like Chicago, it’s important to prioritize your safety. While Chicago is a vibrant and exciting city with plenty to offer, it is also important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid potentially dangerous areas.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit:

Stick to well-lit major streets

One of the best ways to stay safe in Chicago is to stick to well-lit major streets, especially at night. These streets are often more populated and have a higher police presence, making them less attractive to potential criminals.

Avoid walking alone in dimly lit or secluded areas, and if you need to travel to a less populated area, consider using public transportation or a rideshare service instead.

Use rideshares at night

Speaking of rideshares, using services like Uber or Lyft can be a great way to get around the city safely, especially at night. These services provide a reliable and convenient way to travel without having to navigate public transportation or walk long distances alone.

Additionally, rideshares can offer peace of mind as the drivers are typically vetted and the rides can be tracked through GPS.

Conceal belongings

Another important safety tip is to conceal your belongings as much as possible. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, electronics, or large amounts of cash, as it can attract unwanted attention. Instead, keep your valuables out of sight and consider using a secure bag or backpack to keep them close to you.

Remember, it’s always better to be cautious and prevent potential theft or pickpocketing incidents.

Report suspicious activity

If you notice any suspicious activity or feel unsafe in any situation, it’s important to report it to the authorities. In Chicago, you can call 911 for emergencies or the local non-emergency police line for non-urgent situations.

By reporting suspicious activity, you not only help to keep yourself safe but also contribute to the overall safety of the city.

Remember, while it’s important to be aware of potential risks, it’s also essential to enjoy your visit to Chicago. By following these safety tips and using common sense, you can have a great time exploring the city and experiencing all it has to offer.

Resources for Checking Crime Data

When it comes to staying safe and avoiding dangerous areas in Chicago, it’s important to have access to reliable crime data. Fortunately, there are several resources available that can help you stay informed about crime rates and trends in different neighborhoods.

Here are some of the top resources you can use to check crime data:

CPD Crime Stats

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) provides crime statistics on their official website. You can access detailed reports that include information about different types of crimes, such as homicides, robberies, burglaries, and more.

The CPD Crime Stats website allows you to search by district, beat, or address, providing you with specific information about crime incidents in a particular area. This can be a valuable resource for individuals who want to stay updated on crime trends in their neighborhood or any area they plan to visit in Chicago.


CrimeGrade.org is another useful resource for checking crime data in Chicago. This website uses a unique algorithm to calculate a crime grade for different neighborhoods in the city. The crime grade is based on various factors, including the number of crimes reported, the severity of those crimes, and the neighborhood’s population.

By using CrimeGrade.org, you can quickly assess the safety level of a particular area and make more informed decisions about where to go or where to avoid. It’s a great tool for both residents and visitors who want to prioritize safety.


SpotCrime is a comprehensive crime mapping and analysis website that provides up-to-date information about crime incidents in Chicago and other major cities across the United States. The website gathers data from various sources, including police reports, news articles, and user submissions.

SpotCrime’s interactive map allows you to see where crimes have occurred, filter by specific types of crimes, and even sign up for email alerts about crime activity in your chosen area. This resource can be particularly helpful for people who want to stay informed about crime trends in real-time and take necessary precautions.

By utilizing these resources, you can stay informed about crime data in Chicago and make more informed decisions about where to go and how to stay safe. Remember to always prioritize your safety and be aware of your surroundings, regardless of the crime statistics.

Stay vigilant and enjoy exploring the wonderful attractions that Chicago has to offer!


While Chicago has some dangerous areas mainly concentrated on the South and West Sides, taking basic safety precautions will allow you to safely experience all the world-class attractions, dining, and arts the city has to offer. Avoid the areas outlined here, especially at night, travel in groups, and stay aware of your surroundings. With caution and street smarts, you’ll enjoy everything vibrant Chicago has to offer without the concern of becoming a victim of crime.

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