When clicking on this article you most likely had Chicago in mind as the number 1 spot, but according to a new study that isn't the case. 

Illinois is both beloved and hated by many in America, and it has its highs and lows. Today we will be looking at the most dangerous places in Illinois.

William Howell

How They Got The Numbers 

It looks like this site looked into FBI reports and others.

There are 1,369 cities in Illinois that range from over 2.5 million to just 14 residents. Generalizing is a slippery slope, as the FBI wisely reminds us. Many factors influence crime. They run the gamut, from poverty rate to population density to even innocuous things like climate. Current events and the political sphere also exert a powerful force.


Top 10 most dangerous cities

Here are the top 10 spots on the list. Chicago is still on it, but not as high as you might think.

10. Chicago

It is reported that the murder rate is 492, with a poverty rate of 16.4%.

We’ve discussed the sobering history of the Prohibition era. Unfortunately, crime is a significant problem, with offenses in the four and five-figure ranges. Most violent and non-violent crime exceeds state averages. There were 774 homicides in 2020, over a 50-percent increase from the previous year. Assaults, burglaries, and thefts posted similar spikes.

9. Champaign

The numbers are as follows with murder rates at 2 and a poverty rate at 26.2%.

Even though Champaign is located far from Chicago, it still is very much an urban area. Unfortunately, it has a high poverty rate and a lower-than-average household income. Like other towns in this part of the state, crime rates have slowly risen. Property crimes increased to 2,203 in 2019, with similar patterns in robberies and assaults. Burglaries spiked over 50% in 2019 over the previous year’s figures.

8. Joliet

I had never heard of this spot before. It is reported that the ranking for murder rate is 18 with a poverty rate of 9.7%.

It’s worth noting that this town is home to two correctional facilities, the Illinois Youth Center Joliet and the Joliet State Prison. While property crimes have declined in recent years, violent ones have increased. Homicides doubled from 2018 to 2019. There were 581 aggravated assault offenses in 2019, up from 312 the year before. Violent crimes are well above the state averages.

7. Danville

A murder rate of 7, and a poverty rate of 29.4%.

The glaring statistic describing the social fabric of Danville is its high poverty rate that is more than double the state average. Consequently, property crimes of all types are high, with 1,370 known offenses in 2019. Like our previous entry, the rates have been increasing in recent years, particularly with assaults that reached an all-time high of 414.

6. Peoria

Peoria has a murder rate on this site of 25 and a poverty rate of 17.9%.

Peoria’s tarnished reputation goes back to the days before Al Capone discovered it. It’s a legacy that continues to this day. Figures for violent and non-violent crime far exceed the state averages. Homicides have increased since 2015, with significant spikes in assaults. Unlike the rest of the country, crime has risen steadily since 2013. A high poverty rate and lower household income likely play a role.

5. Decatur

We are now in the top 5. This area has a murder rate of 11 and a poverty rate of 24.2%.

One unmistakable trait of Decatur is its distinctive smell coming from all the food manufacturing plants in the area. Unpleasant also describes the crime stats for this town. Nearly all major crime rates exceed the state averages. Property crime is a significant issue, with 1,339 thefts and 32 cases of arson reported in 2019. Crime has been steadily increasing since 2015.

4. Bloomington

In at number 4, it is reported that this location has a murder rate of 1 and a poverty rate of 13.2%.

College towns are a mixed bag. They often bring much-needed revenue to an area. However, it sometimes comes at a price. Bloomington is one of those places. Crime has declined throughout the years, reflecting national patterns. However, 2017 saw a slight uptick, particularly in assaults. Its rate is above the state average for this crime, with 280 known offenses in 2019.

3. Aurora 

With a murder rate of 12, and a poverty rate of 10.9% violent crimes are reported in at 516.

Aurora has a disturbing number of violent and non-violent crimes. The latter topped 2,014 in 2019. Auto thefts and arson are shocking high at 144 and 17, respectively. There was also a larger number of assaults at 356. While most rates are declining, homicides tripled between 2018 and 2019. That figure is above the state average for that year.

2. Springfield

Don't the Simpsons live here? It has a murder rate of 9... a poverty rate of 16.8%.

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate facts about Springfield being on this list is that it’s the state capital. While the cost of living is less here, the poverty rate exceeds Illinois’ average. Assaults, burglaries, and thefts are significant problems. Auto theft is also high, with 265 cases reported in 2019. As with Rockford, the figures for most major crimes exceed the state’s average.

Welcome to Illinois sign on the side of a road

1. Rockford

The number 1 spot belongs to Rockford Illinois. It has a murder rate of 14. With a poverty rate of 23.8%, the violent crimes come in at1,711.

Surprisingly, Rockford isn’t as wealthy as you may expect from its location. Its poverty rate is nearly double the state average. The city’s household income is just shy of 68% of the state’s median figure. That may help explain the 4,848 known property offenses committed in 2019. Statistics for all major violent and non-violent crimes well exceed the state averages.


What do you think of Housegrail's list? You can see the full list here. 

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