Is Illinois a good place to live? The answer depends on who you ask and what factors they consider important. Because Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and one of the most populous in the nation, a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of living in Illinois undoubtedly includes a discussion of crime in the Land of Lincoln. National media outlets regularly report on the number of murders and other violent crimes that occur in the Windy City, causing others outside of the state (and some within the state) to have a negative view of the state as a whole. Is this negative reputation deserved?
Important Statistics About Illinois’ Crime Rate
A 2017 MSN.com article (using an index created by 24/7 Wall St.) ranked Illinois as 24th on its list of the most dangerous states. In other words, according to the statistics reviewed by MSN.com, there were 23 states that were considered more dangerous than Illinois and 26 that were considered less dangerous. In making this determination, the writers at MSN.com looked at the following:
- Illinois had a violent crime rate of 383.8 per 100,000 residents – the 21st highest among the states.
- Illinois also had the 14th highest murder rate – 5.8 per 100,000 residents.
(The index also considered factors such as median income and the state’s unemployment rate in 2017, which was believed important in predicting future criminal activity in the state.)
A more specific report, Crime in Illinois 2014, looked at the actual numbers of various crimes committed within the state in that year. This report found that during 2014 in Illinois there were:
- A total of 308,258 criminal offenses (of any kind) reported;
- A total of 674 homicides (murders);
- 4,089 rapes;
- A grand total of 15,064 robberies; and
- 26,755 aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries.
How Do Illinois’ Numbers Compare to Other States?
A thorough review of all of the data from each of the other 49 states would be time-consuming and overwhelming. However, a quick view of some of the data from the 2017 MSN.com article shows that when it comes to crime in Illinois, the state is about in the middle of the pack:
- Texas’ violent crime rate is 412.2 per 100,000 and its murder rate is 4.8 per 100,000;
- Oklahoma was ranked the 10th most dangerous state in the nation, with a violent crime rate of 422.2 per 100,000 and a murder rate of 6.0 per 100,000;
- Louisiana topped the list with a violent crime rate of 539.7 per 100,000 and a murder rate of 10.3 per 100,000 (Louisiana also had one of the lowest median incomes of all of the states and one of the highest rates of unemployment).
While Illinois is sometimes painted as the center of violent crime in the United States, the data doesn’t bear this out. It may shock some to realize that even some “red” states (politically speaking) have higher rates of violent crime and/or murder than Illinois.
Does Illinois’ Crime Rate Have Any Bearing in a Criminal Case?
When you are charged with a crime in Illinois, you may wonder if the state’s crime rate will have any bearing on your charges or the outcome of your case. For example, you may wonder if the fact that Illinois has a lower violent crime rate than Texas would mean that judges and/or juries would have a more difficult time believing that you committed a violent act. Unfortunately, such an association is not likely to prove anything of significance if you are facing charges for committing a violent act in Illinois. Not only is the information irrelevant (crime rate statistics consider information from across the state: your local crime rates may be higher than the state’s overall crime rates), but the mere fact that a particular type of crime may be less common in Illinois than in other places does not address any of the facts or allegations specific to your charges. Trying to make such an argument would be akin to saying that you are being gouged for gas when your local station is charging you $3.00 per gallon but the state’s average price per gallon is $2.75.
Speak with Noll Law Office Today
If you are facing charges of rape, aggravated battery, robbery, or any other criminal offense, call (217) 414-8889 to speak with the Noll Law Office right away. A criminal conviction for even a seemingly minor offense can have a lasting effect on your personal and professional life. At Noll Law Office, we strive to help people like you facing criminal charges resolve their cases quickly and with the least amount of damage to your ability to work and your reputation. Reach out to Noll Law Office today, or contact us through our firm’s website.