Chicago has a bad reputation for being hazardous and having extremely high crime rates. The parts of Chicago that do meet this high crime rate should be avoided at all costs.

So, if you plan on visiting Chicago for family, vacation, or work, avoid the 10 most dangerous places as follows:

  • West Englewood
  • West Garfield Park
  • East Garfield Park
  • Englewood
  • Grand Crossing
  • West Englewood
  • North Lawndale
  • South Shore
  • Chatham
  • Riverdale

So, what exactly makes these places so bad? Even though all of these locations are located in the big city of Chicago, each of these is like a smaller city within and is unique in its way. 

West Englewood

Home to 17,000 people, West Englewood is the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago. This area has a much higher crime rate than any other neighborhood in Chicago. 

Living here for a year gives you a one in twenty chance of being a victim of violent crimes.

West Garfield Park

West Garfield is home to 35,000 people. This neighborhood is listed as the second most dangerous area in Chicago. This neighborhood has a high rate of gun violence and drug traffic. 

East Garfield Park

The third-highest crime rating in the whole state belongs to East Garfield Park. Home to 20,000 people one in ten of those residents will be part of some sort of violent crime, either personal or property. 


Englewood is home to 26,000 people and has a crime rate that is 792% more than the national average. 

This means one in thirty-three residents will become a victim of:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Assault

One in eleven residents will become a victim of property or personal crime. 

Grand Crossing

The gun violence and shootings that take place in Grand Crossing make this area one of the most dangerous places to live. 

Police continuously patrol this area with residents reporting gunshots late into the night. 


Englewood is a community housing 48,000 low and middle-class people. Residents report feeling unsafe just walking out to their car. 

The highest forms of crime in this neighborhood are theft and assault. 

North Lawndale

The lack of opportunities and housing in this area makes it an undesirable location to live. 

Locals describe the abandoned buildings and high crime rates as a dead dream lost in time and replaced with hopelessness for their city. 

South Shore

South Shore is beginning to improve and the crime rate here is slowly going down. 

It is still important to be careful of theft and robbery in this area but the chances of violent crime here are much less than in the other areas nearby.


The chances of becoming a victim of crime in Chatham are 68% lower than in nearly all other cities in Chicago. The likelihood of being a victim of violent crime here is one in 155. 

Downtown Chatham has higher drug trafficking than the rest of the surrounding areas. 


Home to 13,000 people, Riverdale is a tightly packed community with lots of people living in overcrowded apartments. 

While major violent crime in this area is low, it isn’t uncommon to see robberies or vandalism. 

Safe Alternative Places to Live In Chicago

Is all of Chicago full of crime and violence? Finding a safe place to call home is important for anyone looking to move to a new town. 

Even just visiting an area you are unfamiliar with, it’s important to find a safe place to stay for the weekend.

Not all areas in Chicago are unsafe, many areas are wonderful places to raise a family or get started on your own. Some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago are:

  • Gold Coast
  • Old Town
  • Lake View
  • Bucktown

Let’s get into each of these towns in more detail below.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is home to the original playboy mansion and is the richest neighborhood in Chicago.

While this fancy area isn’t in everyone’s budget, finding a home near here within anyone’s budget is very common!

Old Town

This neighborhood offers great access to Lincoln Park with so many activities for anyone! This neighborhood also has a beautiful history and lively restaurants at any time of day.

Lake View

The neighborhood comes with beautiful views of Lake Michigan, hence the name. 

Not only is this area home to the Chicago Cubs and has huge community parties on game day, but Lake view is also a wonderful community for those LGBTQIA+.


Named from its original Polish settlers, Bucktown offers intimate family-friendly neighborhoods. 

This area is great for those raising a family of their own. It also has its perks of nightlife for date nights away from home and beautiful parks for every nature lover. 


Chicago has its dangerous areas and most people probably think of this when they hear the name Chicago but don’t let that take away from the beauty of some of the safest neighborhoods this city has to offer. 

Chicago has a home for everyone, remember to be mindful as any big city has its crime but choosing the best neighborhoods and staying away from the worst parts can help ensure you don’t become a victim.