The 10 Most Worst Cities in Illinois: A List of High-Crime Areas

Illinois, situated in the Midwest, shares borders with Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. With a population of 12.8 million, the state is famed for landmarks such as the bustling city of Chicago, the picturesque Shawnee National Forest, the original McDonald’s restaurant, and the renowned deep-dish pizza.

Additionally, Illinois boasts a notable distinction of being the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents, including Lincoln, Reagan, and Obama. In a historical stride, the state became the first to abolish slavery in 1819.

Nevertheless, Illinois is not devoid of challenges. According to FBI crime data, it ranks as the 19th most perilous state in the nation. A mere 42% of residents express a sense of safety in their living environment.

The previous year saw 238,108 reported crimes, with 50,103 of those categorized as violent, encompassing acts such as murder, assault, and robbery. Property crimes, spanning theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, accounted for over 188,000 incidents. Alarmingly, one in 52 residents in Illinois is expected to fall victim to property crime.

Though the majority of the state is secure, specific cities contribute significantly to the elevated crime rates. Here are the ten cities in Illinois with the highest crime statistics:

10. Joliet

Joliet, inhabited by 150,362 people, is renowned for its two large prisons and the world’s inaugural Dairy Queen establishment. Additionally, it hosts the Chicagoland Speedway’s NASCAR events.

However, crime plagues Joliet, with 17 crimes per 1,000 residents. The past year saw 759 violent crimes and 1,731 property crimes. Car theft is a prominent concern, with over 500 vehicles reported stolen.

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9. Aurora

Aurora, with a population of 179,266, earns its moniker “City of Lights” due to its early adoption of electric street lighting. The city boasts a casino along the Fox River and a significant Hispanic community.

However, Aurora struggles with violent crime. In the preceding year, residents reported six murders, 135 sexual assaults, and 513 aggravated assaults. Property crime figures reached 1,471, including 154 motor vehicle thefts.

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8. Chicago

As Illinois’ largest city, Chicago is home to 2.7 million individuals and boasts economic diversity, cultural richness, and historical importance. Museums, parks, sports teams, and a diverse culinary scene are among its attractions. Nevertheless, the city has gained notoriety for its crime rates.

Chicago’s extensive crime incidents are somewhat mitigated by its substantial population, placing its per-person crime rate below smaller towns. However, the reality remains stark: 492 murders in the last year marked a 50% surge from the preceding year, with a total of 87,670 reported crimes, including 23,449 violent ones.

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7. Rockford

Rockford, inhabited by 145,609 people, straddles the Rock River and is recognized for its manufacturing sector and cultural institutions. Despite these positive attributes, crime plagues Rockford, with 18 crimes per 1,000 residents.

The previous year reported 1,059 violent crimes and 2,553 property crimes. Notably, Rockford grapples with high rates of murder, rape, robbery, and assault.

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6. Peoria

Peoria, home to 110,417 residents, is positioned along the Illinois River. It garners recognition for its medical and manufacturing industries and cultural venues such as the Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Peoria Civic Center.

Unfortunately, Peoria contends with a high crime rate, with 19 crimes per 1,000 people. In the past year, the city reported 1,047 violent crimes and 1,591 property crimes. Notably, rates of rape, robbery, and burglary are notably high.

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5. Springfield

As the capital of Illinois, Springfield is home to 113,671 people and holds historical significance as Abraham Lincoln’s residence. Despite this, the city grapples with crime, recording 20 crimes per 1,000 residents.

The previous year saw 1,144 violent crimes and 1,156 property crimes. Disturbingly, murder, assault, and arson rates are elevated.

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4. Champaign

Champaign, with a population of 88,909, is situated centrally and is known for hosting the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The city’s vibrant downtown area offers a range of dining, entertainment, and shopping options.

Regrettably, Champaign contends with high crime rates, recording 21 crimes per 1,000 residents. In the past year, 948 violent crimes and 894 property crimes were reported. Notably, sexual assault, aggravated assault, and larceny are prevalent issues.

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3. Harvey

Harvey, with a population of 24,908, lies south of Chicago in Cook County. Characterized by high unemployment and low median income, the city grapples with a reputation for crime, recording 22 crimes per 1,000 residents.

The past year saw 275 violent crimes and 279 property crimes reported. Harvey faces elevated rates of murder, rape, robbery, and arson.

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2. Cairo

Cairo, a city inhabited by 1,862 individuals, rests at the southern tip of Illinois, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers converge. Historically significant but economically strained, the city contends with a range of challenges.

With 23 crimes per 1,000 residents, Cairo’s crime rate is notably high. In the past year, 22 violent crimes and 21 property crimes were reported, encompassing assault, burglary, and larceny.

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1. East St. Louis

East St. Louis, with 25,776 residents, lies across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. Characterized by poverty and segregation, the city faces immense challenges, with a median household income of $19,672.

Regrettably, it holds the dubious distinction of being Illinois’ most dangerous city. With 40 crimes per 1,000 residents, East St. Louis reported 522 violent crimes and 433 property crimes in the past year. Issues such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft are particularly pronounced.

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In conclusion, these statistics highlight the ten cities in Illinois with the highest crime rates. While these cities possess redeeming qualities and potential for improvement, they also grapple with significant challenges that impact their safety.

For residents and visitors alike, exercising vigilance and caution is crucial when interacting with or residing in these areas.

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