I've lived in Chicago for most of my life and know the city well. Down town area is fairly safe but watch out for groups of teenagers as they have been jumping and mugging people the last few years. Put your IPhone away in transit stops. If someone comes up to you and starts to talk to you at a bus stop etc watch around you for others. Do not go south of 37th for any reason as it is a war zone and they are animals. Do not ride El south of city. The El at on north side is ok but don't ride it at night (say 8-9pm latest). Take a cab on your way back home as it is much safer. Its a nice city, but no, it is not safe in my opinion.
There is absolutely no comparison! The Hyde Park/Bronzeville area is one of the nicest I have seen and or lived in simce being in this city! There is crime EVERYWHERE... and these areas are no different. IDK what the poster is talking about, as the homes are beautiful, and chock full of professinals and students from the surrounding universities. Not to mention, we have tour busses daily coming throught to view the hostoic mansions as well as POTUS' home. What are you talking about? Have you ever been to teh area? Do not let on persons review allow you to miss out on the jewel that is Hyde Park!
I was just reading what other people thought of my home city (didn't get very far) and came across a rather ridiculous piece of advice lumping Hyde Park with Englewood.
Hyde Park is probably my favorite area in the city. 57th street is full of book stores and little storefront restuarants, Harold Washington Park has its own colony of monk parakeets, the residential houses are gorgeous, and both the University and the Museum of Science and Industry reside there.
Crime does occur from time to time (mostly from those who come in from the poor neighborhoods adjacent) but it is generally safe, one of the few areas on the south side that can claim that.
So don't let that person two posts down scare you, it is well worth visiting. It lies right off the electric line so getting there from the loop is a breeze.
While I agree with most of the advice I've read here so far, I want to add that there are a lot of instances where common sense won't save you from being in a potentially dangerous situation. I've been mugged in my own neighborhood, Noble Square, which is currently an up-and-coming area with a lot of wealthy homeowners developing the properties. That was at 5 in the evening, with people everywhere walking with their dogs or children. I've also had a gun pointed at me in Lincoln Park on a weekday at noon right in front of Victory Gardens Theatre, which isn't in a bad part of town. I'd have rated both of those situations as very safe prior to those incidents. Crime in Chicago isn't limited to the so-called "bad" neighborhoods, or people that are walking targets for things like muggings, etc. It's best to travel with others, keep anything really valuable in an interior pocket of your coat (not in your purse), and don't be afraid to say something or even scream if you're in a dangerous situation. If other people aren't aware something is happening to you, they won't be able to help you.
While a lot of people seem to show the so called good side of the Hyde Park/Kenwood/Englewood communities. The only endearing thing about them is that the University of Chicago is located there. Unfortunately if you are a tourist or even a resident of the city(for that matter) you should stay away from these areas. In the base 10 months there has been a startling increase in violent crime such as assaults, armed robberies and homicides. Englewood is one of the most dangerous communities in all of America. If you are visiting Chicago, Please stay away from these areas as they are infested with gang activity and drug related crimes.
Look, I'm a white woman from a small town that is 99.9% white, and I'm pretty familiar with the Englewood/W. Englewood areas, and Calumet heights/S. Deering area.
Yeah I was very nervous when I first started driving in there to see my boyfriend bcuz everywhere I look, I was like the only white person around. But some of yall need to chill because it aint really that bad. If you accidentally find yourself goin thru there, just mind your biz and keep going. Even then, they aint gonna F with ya unless you dis them.
I'd suggest that if you there by accident, and you aren't use to the street gang atmosphere that you especially stay away from the areas in Englewood from Halsted to Ashland down around 79th street (ish).
And the area south of 95th st. around Torrence Ave.
Personally this is where I spend most of my time because of my boyfriend and all of his (our) friends are around there.
The southside of chicago is a huge place it's not just a few streets so be aware that people who don't live on the southside don't really know it. There are areas to the north, east, and west of the city that are dangerous. This is a big city we are plagued with city elements. All of this is to say that the southside is a wonderful place and people should not be put off by what people who don't know the area say.
Chicago has several areas that have been gentrifying lately and many that used to be questionable (e.g. Chinatown) are now generally safe.
That said, there are many parts of the city where there's just a few block's difference between generally safe and potentially dangerous. There are also places where unsafe behavior will rapidly make you a target of pickpocketing or sometimes violent crime.
A few examples.
1. The "safe zone" around Chinatown is expanding both north and south. You should likely have no problems at all taking the El or a bus there, or a problem driving.
2. While the Division Street bars are in a very safe neighborhood (the Gold Coast) if you're drunk at night, you're running a fairly high risk of getting pickpocketed and some risk of getting mugged. The criminals know that this is a place to find drunk tourists and yuppies on weekend nights and that it's easy to run down to the El and get lost in the crowd.
3. Downtown can be quite deserted at night and this can be disconcerting. While there's not a high incidence of crime, there's also not much safety in numbers if somebody should threaten you. However, the busier north-south streets (Wacker, Clark, State, Michigan) have a decent supply of cabs. You can also usually find cabs near the Metra stations (Ogilve, aka the Northwestern Station, and Union Station) and some of the bigger hotels. The door attendants at these hotels are usually quite friendly about flagging a cab for you even if you don't stay at the hotel.
Attitude is a big part of safety. If you look like you know where you're going and that you know the territory, criminals will look for a safer target. If you wander from an area where you feel safe to one that feels wrong to you, retrace your steps and wait for a cab.
Chicago is a large city and has the same crime problems as any large urban area. Use common sense and the same precautions you would in any large city and you should be fine. Watch for pickpockets on public transportation and on the street, don't walk in deserted parks/streets after dark and grab a taxi if you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings or are traveling late in the evening and don't know where you are going
During the day or night it is generally safe to walk on well lit/high traffic streets near the Magnificent Mile, River North and the Gold Coast. The loop (business district) is safe during daytime hours but after the business people go home for the day, it becomes a lot less populated. You might think about taking a cab if it's late at night.
If you are venturing into the neighborhoods, ask your concierege about the safety of the area and the best way to get there, sometimes public transportation is perfectly fine, sometimes you are better off using a cab, esp. if you are traveling solo.
There's probably no reason for anyone to venture into the worst neighborhoods in Chicago since they typically don't have any tourist attractions or restaurants that would appeal to tourists. Neighborhoods change quickly though, empty lots, bars on windows, lots of beat up cars and housing projects are usually a really good sign that you are somewhere you don't belong. I've inadvertantly driven through a couple of these areas recently trying to avoid highway construction, Austin and Englewood are two of the worst, if you are not familiar with where you are going, stick to the major highways even if it means a little more time in traffic.
I've lived in the Chicago area for all of my life, and many of these tips are a little harsh. Chicago is, for the most part, a safe, clean city. There are definitely some areas that are nicer than others, but it isn't necessary to be nervous or afraid.
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