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OpryLeigh's avatar

Locals/regular visitors, can you tell me anything about gang culture and gun crime in Chicago?

Asked by OpryLeigh (24442 points ) July 21st, 2014 from iPhone

I recently watched a documentary on one of the BBC channels which claimed that Chicago has some of the worst gang crime in the US. Now, while I am sure that they focused on the worst of the worst for the sake of viewing figures but the statistics were pretty terrifying. I am interested to know what experience you have of Chicago as a local or visitor and what advice you have for staying safe when exploring the city. Are there any areas you would advise steering clear of completely for example? Basically, apart from basic common sense, what advise do you have for someone visiting the city for the first time? On the flip side, what positive recommendations do you have (ie must sees etc)?

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6 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have been to Chicago many, many times – most recently last fall.

The tourist areas (Magnificent Mile, near the lake, etc.) are perfectly fine and safe and walkable at all hours of the day or night.

Same with the University area on the South Side, and the same in the near north and particularly near Wrigley Field.

Don’t go to the slums. Don’t go where there is nothing to see.

Chicago is a wonderful city – perhaps by 3nd favorite in the US. But don’t go where there’s no need to go.

In this way, it’s a lot like New York City – most of it is absolutely fabulous, but parts – particularly low income slums – are not wise. But why would you be going there in the first place?

snowberry's avatar

Haven’t seen the documentary, but I thought Detroit would be even worse.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Like most cities it’s got good areas and bad areas (even the town of 20,000 I grew up in has certain neighborhoods you don’t want to stray into). Stay away from bad areas and you’ll do fine.

jaytkay's avatar

The gangbangers shoot at each other in their own neighborhoods, where there are virtually no tourist attractions. It’s very easy to keep away from the wrong areas.

As for must-sees, that depends on your tastes. If you have some general ideas (theater, music, food, architecture, museums) then it would be easy to point you towards more info.

Personally, in the summer, I would head to the beach. From Oak Street Beach (which is right by the shopping on Michigan Avenue) the lakeside path goes 6 miles north.

The summer is packed with street fests.

Millennium Park has tons of music in the summer

Feel free to ask any questions, we love visitors!

OpryLeigh's avatar

@snowberry This is a series of programmes about life in the major cities of the US and there was one about the homeless in Detroit. It wasn’t quite as shocking about the Chicago one.

Silence04's avatar

Downtown and the north-northwest areas are like any other bigger city. The only real bad areas are the southside and westside.

From my understanding, the increased gang activity is partly due to the closing of many section 8 housing that were previously integrated throughout the city (bad politics). People were forced to move into the south and west sides since those are the only other affordable locations. So you have rival gangs, that previously had some distance apart from each other, to now living within houses of each other.

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