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Places to avoid in Chicago

Lots of people visit Chicago every year. They come for fun things like museums, restaurants, sports games, and shows. This makes Chicago a popular place to move to.

But before you pack your boxes with the help of movers in Chicago, know this: Some parts of the city are dangerous. There are bad crimes in some areas. Most neighborhoods are safe, but a few have big problems with violence that you should stay away from.

These high-risk hotspots have shootings, robberies, and other dangers. Check which areas are the safest before you move.

That said, below are the most dangerous places to avoid in Chicago.


With the highest murder rate in the city, Englewood ranks among Chicago’s most dangerous areas, especially at night. Violent crime risk here is an extremely concerning 148% higher than the average citywide, including physical assaults and robberies. Constant gang warfare fueled by illegal drug trade drives the prevalence of gun violence, keeping police overwhelmed and cautious pedestrians on high alert.

Englewood reported over 50 murders in 2021 alone – the highest number across all Chicago neighborhoods. Shootings and violent incidents happen several times a week, often in broad daylight. Groups dealing drugs like heroin and cocaine battle for territory, while innocent kids and families get caught in the crossfire. Unless absolute necessity demands visiting Englewood, avoid traveling through this toxic neighborhood.


Escalating gang activity and violent crime similarly afflict Riverdale bordering the Calumet River on Chicago’s south side. Murders increased by over 50% here recently as rival factions aggressively battle for control of the drug trade and territory to sell their poisons across. The resulting gun violence halts most community development and impedes law enforcement despite their dedicated efforts.

Home values suffer dramatically thanks to frequent reports of deadly shootings, leaving Riverdale with almost no economic investment. With few remaining attractions beyond places of worship, Riverdale gives visitors zero incentives to risk walking menacing streets where merely sitting parked in a vehicle recklessly places targets on unsuspecting heads for gangs seeking their next victim. 

Fuller Park 

Also plagued by violent crimes committed by warring gang sets selling illegal narcotics, tiny Fuller Park poses outsized safety risks relative to its mere 0.17 square miles in size. Assault, robbery, and motor vehicle theft rates here can exceed the city average by 45% or higher based on reported statistics, yet police clearance rates for solving these abundant cases lag at under 10% due to limited resources available to patrol this small stretch.

So criminals often escape charges. Basic urban necessities like grocery stores cannot sustainably operate profitability amidst the turmoil, creating a food desert. Fuller Park’s omnipresent dangers eclipse any reasons for visiting.

Grand Boulevard

Overshadowing Grand Boulevard’s architectural beauty is high levels of street assaults, armed robberies, and illegal weapons possession at nearly double the incident frequencies seen in wider Chicago. Rampant drug use and addiction also fuel additional criminal activities devastating the once thriving community now sadly requiring intervention from federal agencies to curb violence and slow lawlessness endangering lives.

Until positive impacts emerge, visiting Grand Boulevard without extreme caution carelessly courts tragedy well documented in local crime reporting and community pleas begging for investment, youth programs, and other economic revitalization. 

West Englewood

Sharing similar misfortunes plaguing neighboring Englewood, West Englewood contends with equally pervasive violent crimes like robbery and aggravated assaults in addition to rampant and brazen fatal shootings by renegade gang sets warring over black market profits from illicit drug sales. As urban decay crumbles infrastructure and public services decline from lack of tax base, both innocent residents and visitors risk getting struck by literal crossfires or implicated for mere proximity to dealing.

Police reports affirm longtime citizens feel conditions have only worsened over recent years as city efforts fail to keep pace with ruthless warfare endangering their community. Tread extremely carefully here lacking an emergency.

East Garfield Park 

Boasting the unwelcome past designation of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhood for 2017 amid historically high homicide totals claiming young lives, East Garfield Park remains well-deserving of hazard warnings still today. With violent crime rates consistently highest citywide, locals avoided turning to police for fear of lethal retaliation by ruthless gangs and drug kingpins controlling the area.

Some redevelopment plans aim to gradually reclaim community safety over the long term through improved youth programs and facilities, but no overnight fixes exist as generations of mistrust and devastation scar the area. For now, East Garfield Park cannot casually recommend leisurely visits without expecting immense unease.

Washington Park 

Beautifully designed yet terrifyingly dangerous in reality, Washington Park’s posh greenery and regal architecture are overridden by chilling levels of gun violence and prolific theft/robbery crime rates spanning hundreds of victims annually. Gangs aggressively peddle illicit narcotics which further fuels brutal violence and bloody turf wars endangering the young and innocent.

As public officials urge emergency action and law enforcement work urgently to curb ruthless warfare by a prominent gang seeking total control, casual sightseeing remains an unwise pursuit well-documented by those learning of these dangers firsthand before most crime data is published. Tread softly and briefly here if at all.

North Lawndale

Dense, impoverished North Lawndale faces deeply entrenched socioeconomic barriers contributing to far higher robbery levels year after year versus Chicago broadly. But most alarming is sky-high homicide rates among young victims callously eliminated by ruthless gang members wielding illegal firearms to settle petty disputes. With too few opportunities, some youth turn towards profiting in the drug trade only to end up dead or incarcerated, further devastating families.

As parents raise children wary of playing outdoors and communities lack crucial youth development investments, it feels like a virtual war zone for those with no escape. Federal prosecution of trafficking gangs aims to lessen their chokehold somewhat. But substantial safety progress remains gradual and inconsistent, requiring visitors not to tempt fate by touring North Lawndale today since positive impacts are not guaranteed despite best efforts. 


Contending with nearly 80 documented warring gang factions – one of Chicago’s largest concentrations – Austin tragically gained notoriety as the city’s murder epicenter based on devastating 2020 homicide statistics. Fueled by hyper-violent, ongoing skirmishes seeking control of illegal drug and firearm sales devastating West Side blocks, the risks of navigating Austin’s streets create unsafe conditions likened to conflict war zones journalists report abroad.

As children grow up surrounded by danger and poverty, it breeds hopelessness. Chicago’s top cop and former Austin resident refuses to allow visiting family including his grandchildren to set foot on childhood streets he painfully no longer recognizes. Loss of innocent life now overshadows any redeeming community pride and charm. Few tourists will chance to discover that firsthand reality.

Humboldt Park

A history of notorious deadly violence coined the “Bloody Park” nickname still partially fitting Humboldt Park today. While total murder totals recently dropped slightly, concealed carry shootings and violent assaults persist at alarming degrees. Housed within the community is the massive 250,000-member Latin Kings gang that serves as the largest criminal threat to law enforcement countywide dealing heavily in drugs and gun running operations.

Boasting vibrant Puerto Rican culture and amenities rivaling dynamic downtowns, Humboldt Park seems an alluring arts destination on the surface. However, lingering gang intimidation dampens safety and demands discreet street smarts around certain blocks more than typical urban awareness. Avoid public housing projects here. 


When moving or visiting America’s great cities like Chicago, arriving equipped with insights on current high-risk areas plagued by alarming criminal threats allows steering clear of preventable misfortune through wise situational awareness.

But also know most Chicago communities remain charming locales full of promise well worth discovering firsthand after careful relocation facilitated by trusted Moving Companies Chicago teams who know the terrain intimately. Just exercise savvy street smarts when venturing where shadows linger. Stay safe and savor the city’s magic responsibly so that hope and progress can one day overtake current darkness.

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