When it comes to safety and security in Chicago, the best advice to follow is to avoid the South and West side of the city as much as possible. Those areas are, unfortunately, places of poverty and violence. The South Side is the most troubled and dangerous part of the city. There is not a day without an article in the newspapers about shootings, assault and battery in that area. Chicago is also the city of gangs. It is part of its history. Numerous gangs are active in the South and West Side and they regularly shot each other in the street, killing innocent people.
Youth violence is also a huge problem in the Chicago school system. The teen gang violence has increased alot in the last three academic years. Victims are mainly African American and Hispanic males. Most of the teen gang is located in the South Side.
Homicides in general:
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The homicide rate dropped of 11% in Chicago in 2009.
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There is no specific danger for women in Chicago. However, like in every major urban center you have to take precautions while being out and about in the city.
- It always helps to be aware of your surroundings. In crowded coffee shops and restaurants you must try not to hang your handbag at the back of your chair but keep it with you where it is visible.
- In crowded subways you should try keep a wallet in your front pocket and make sure your handbag is zipped shut and positioned securely under your arm or in front. Backpacks unfortunately are easy to get to and if you have to carry a backpack you should make sure it is locked.
- It’s prudent also not to flaunt jewelry, cameras or cash in public.
- Be extra vigilant while using ATMs and try and use one which is located within the confines of the branch of a bank or a store. Try not to carry too much cash around with you as most establishments accept credit cards and debit cards, even taxis.
- After dark, stick to main streets and hop into a cab if you are not sure about a neighborhood. This is advisable for late night jaunts in the city.
- If you do plan to take the subway at night, be sure to stand on the part of the platform which is marked with the sign that states that the train stops at that spot during off peak hours and try and get into a car which is relatively crowded rather than an isolated one.
- If you feel ‘lost’ try an approach a police officer and ask for directions though if you cannot find a police officer then you should try and walk into a store to get directions.
- Do try and avoid the city parks at night time as well.