When many people think of crime, their minds turn to large cities with a history of trouble, such as Los Angeles, New York, and, yes, even Chicago; after all, Al Capone turn the city upside down decades ago. Illinois is the 20th most dangerous state, however, so living here isn’t as dangerous as it might seem. Still, Illinois has some crime facts that might just shock you, especially those involving the smaller cities and towns.
More Illinois Neighborhoods Appear on the Top 25 Dangerous List
Six neighborhoods in three Illinois cities made their way on the most dangerous in the nation. The rankings are based on the number of violent crimes, i.e., forcible rape, aggravated assault, murder or armed robbery, per 1,000 people and the likelihood of residents being victims of those crimes in a year. The U.S. rate is 3.9 per 1,000, while the Illinois state rate is 4.15 per 1,000.
The Chicago neighborhood of South Pulaski Road and West Lexington Road comes in at number 24, with 71.55 violent crimes per 1,000 population members, while the South Indiana Avenue and East 60th Street neighborhood ranks number 20, with 75.18 incidents per 1,000. By comparison, Chicago’s citywide rate is only 10.08 per 1,000, placing residents of any other neighborhood at significantly lower risk.
Two Rockford neighborhoods also made the list. North Rockton Avenue and West State Street ranks number 18, with 76.73 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, and the Seventh Street and Jefferson Street neighborhood is the fifth most dangerous neighborhood, with a violent-crime rate of 89.70 per 1,000.
East St. Louis residents face a high likelihood of becoming victims of violent crime, with two neighborhoods in the number 13 and number one positions. The Caseyville Avenue and North Park Drive community (number 13) averages 82.69 per 1,000 violent crimes, compared to the city’s overall rate of 49.93 per 1,000. The city center is the most dangerous neighborhood in the U.S., averaging a shocking 100.97 violent crimes per 1,000 people living there.
Not All the Danger Is In Chicago
Rockford ranks as the second most dangerous city (population under 200,000) in the United States. In a single year, the murder rate doubled and the city saw a rate of 13 homicides per 100,000 people and 1,375 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
Small towns in Illinois also have violence levels that will astonish you. With a population of just over 25,000, Harvey, ranked number one on the most dangerous in the state list, had 10 murders in 2012, with a violent crime rate of 1601.86.
Public Universities Are Comparably Safe
In 2013, public universities in Illinois reported only 233 violent crimes, or 0.001 percent, none of which were murders. There were 73 sexual offenses, 48 robberies and 112 aggravated assaults among the 189,495 enrolled students. This translates into the state’s public universities being relatively safe places to live and learn.
Chicago Is Not the “Murder Capital”
Despite popular perceptions, Chicago does not lead the United States in murders committed. In fact, that honor has rotated among six cities during the past 30 years, and Chicago has not been among them even once. Within the city limits, Chicago has averaged 18 murders per 100,000 residents. Between 2007 and 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana and Flint, Michigan have traded the top spot, with Birmingham, Alabama and Detroit, Michigan leading the statistics in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2007, New Orleans had a murder rate of 94.7 per 100,000 residents, which is more than five times the frequency of Chicago.
Illinois Prisons Are Substantially Overpopulated
The state prisons of Illinois are operating at a 150-percent capacity, housing almost 49,000 offenders in prisons designed and built to hold slightly over 32,000. The prison population has increased by 700 percent since the mid-70s. Related to that concern, in 2012, 33 percent of the state’s residents had some kind of contact and interaction with the court system, which is something no one should do alone without the proper representation of a criminal defense attorney.