A couple of weeks ago I posted on where murders occur in Chicago. That’s one very crude measure that people use to determine which are Chicago’s safest and most dangerous neighborhoods. However, there is a lot of other violent crime in the city that occurs with much greater frequency and it gives us a more complete picture. For that purpose I look at aggravated assault and battery which exists to some extent in every neighborhood.
For background using the adjective “aggravated” indicates a more serious level of intent, the use of a weapon, the status of the victim, or the degree of injury caused. However, note that this definition does leave out violent crimes such as rape, robbery, and theft but including those crimes would produce an overwhelming mountain of data. Also, note that I have excluded domestic incidents, which account for around 31% of all cases of aggravated assault and battery in Chicago. When people are trying to determine if a neighborhood is safe or dangerous they are not thinking about domestic incidents so it doesn’t make sense to include them for this purpose.
I also need to provide my annual caveat about this data. The reason I provide it is because just about anyone buying a home in Chicago wants to know if the neighborhood is safe. But there is no simple answer to that question because a) as you will soon see crime occurs in pockets so you really need to know where the pockets are – even within any given neighborhood b) everyone’s tolerance for crime is different and c) everyone will interpret data differently. So I just give you the data and let you draw your own conclusions.
As with my analysis of the murder data the information below was drawn from the Chicago crime data portal during the 12 month period ending June 30, 2021. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, you need to account for the fact that some areas of the city are more heavily populated/ more densely populated which will generally result in the appearance of more crime without actually increasing your risk of being a victim. I attempt to adjust for that where possible by calculating rates per 100,000 people. However, some areas also get a lot of foot traffic from outside the neighborhood and you really can’t adjust for that.
Violent Crime By Chicago Neighborhood
Remarkably, the number of these aggravated assault and battery incidents hasn’t really changed much over recent years – up only 2.6% from last year to 10,839. I’ve summarized the data in the graph below by community area in terms of incidents per 100,000 residents. Depending upon your browser you may need to click on the graph to expand it.
When comparing this graph to last year’s I like to highlight the community areas that saw the biggest percentage changes in violent crime rates. The following areas experienced crime rate reductions of 25% or more (in order of biggest drops):
- Lincoln Park
- The Loop
- Near North Side
- Lake View
- West Ridge
These areas experienced large increases in crime rates of 25% or more but some of them were starting with really small numbers that made large percentage changes easy.
- Mount Greenwood
- Jefferson Park
- Calumet Heights
- Archer Heights
- Forest Glen
- Fuller Park
- Avalon Park
- North Lawndale
- North Park
- Portage Park
- West Pullman
It should also be noted that Fuller Park and Avalon Park have small populations so it’s easy for them to be high on the list and jump around a lot.
Map Of Aggravated Assaults & Batteries In Chicago
As I mentioned earlier crime in Chicago tends to cluster even within a community area so it’s really helpful to map out exactly where these crimes are happening.
The map below is interactive. You can pan and zoom, share it, expand it to a full screen, and if you click on an individual balloon it will give you a few details about the specific incident. There’s a ton of data on that map so give it time to respond to your commands and you’re going to really need to zoom in to see anything meaningful. Every neighborhood has it’s hot spots and its oases.
Certain patterns are always apparent. For instance busy streets/ high traffic areas tend to have more crime than side streets. That could be because they offer more victims or it could be because there are more random interactions between people that lead to altercations. It’s hard to say but one thing is clear. The concentrations change block by block.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.