Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois: An Insightful Analysis of Crime Rates

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Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, is known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and vibrant cities. Yet, some cities in Illinois face challenges when it comes to crime rates, making them less-than-desirable places to live and visit. This article will delve into the most dangerous cities in the state, exploring the factors contributing to their high crime rates and the impact on their communities.

FBI statistics reveal that cities like Mount Vernon, Danville, Centralia, Wood River, and Springfield consistently rank highest in violent and property crimes per capita, with crime occurrences between 163 – 222% higher than other Illinois cities. For some of these locations, the rate of occurrences is significantly above the state and national averages, further highlighting the need for effective solutions to combat these issues.

As we continue to assess the crime rates and trends in these dangerous Illinois cities, it’s important to recognize the role that socioeconomic factors, law enforcement response, and community support play in addressing these challenges. Gaining a better understanding of the underlying issues will help us work towards creating safer environments for the residents and visitors of these cities in the years to come.

Crime Data Overview

In Illinois, crime statistics are collected and analyzed by the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting (I-UCR) Program, providing valuable data to identify the most dangerous cities in the state. This program classifies crime into two major categories: violent crime and property crime, which can help us understand where crime rates are the highest in the state.

Based on available statistics, the top five most dangerous cities in Illinois include Mount Vernon, Danville, Centralia, Wood River, and Springfield. Violent and property crime rates in these cities consistently rank significantly higher than in other cities across Illinois, with crime occurrences being between 163 – 222% higher per capita.

To better visualize the safest and most dangerous places in Illinois, Crime Grade’s crime map uses color coding to represent crime rates in various areas. Green indicates the safest places, red denotes the most dangerous areas, and yellow marks moderately safe locations. This map is a useful tool for understanding the distribution of crime across the state.

To summarize, the Crime Data Overview in Illinois highlights the most dangerous cities, highest crime rates, and areas with the most criminal activity. Utilizing this information, residents and visitors can make informed decisions about where to live and visit within the state.

Methodology for Determining Danger

To determine the most dangerous cities in Illinois, we used a methodical and data-driven approach. By utilizing crime statistics from reliable sources, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), we were able to develop a clear and accurate understanding of crime levels within various cities in the state. This allowed us to confidently and neutrally identify the locations with the highest crime rates.

We began by looking at the available data on violent crimes and property crimes, which provide important indicators for the safety of a city. Violent crimes include offenses such as robbery, assault, and homicide, while property crimes encompass events like theft and burglary. These crime rates were then normalized by considering the population of each city, allowing us to make fair comparisons between locations of different sizes.

In addition to examining the raw crime numbers, we also considered factors that may contribute to crime, such as poverty rates and population density. By looking at these elements, we can gain a deeper understanding of the underlying issues that might be influencing crime levels in a particular city. This information helps to provide a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the safety landscape within each location.

Finally, to ensure the relevance and accuracy of our findings, we restricted our analysis to the most recent data available. While past performance can be a useful tool for understanding trends, it is crucial to focus on present-day numbers to accurately assess the current danger levels in each city.

By combining a thorough analysis of crime statistics with additional factors contributing to safety, our methodology allows us to create a well-rounded and comprehensive picture of the most dangerous cities in Illinois. This approach ensures that our conclusions are both knowledgeable and neutral, providing readers with a clear understanding of the safety landscape in the state.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois

Based on multiple sources, including FBI statistics and various rankings, the top 10 most dangerous cities in Illinois can be outlined as follows:

  1. Rockford – The fourth largest city in Illinois, located about 89 miles northwest of Chicago, Rockford is considered the most dangerous city due to its high crime rates.
  2. Mount Vernon – According to FBI data, Mount Vernon has a violent crime rate more than three times the national average and over twice the state average, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois.
  3. Danville – Ranking high in terms of violent and property crimes, Danville is among the most dangerous cities in the state.
  4. Centralia – This city also consistently ranks high for both violent and property crime rates, demonstrating a significant concern for safety.
  5. Wood River – With crime occurrences substantially higher than other cities in the state, Wood River is another quite dangerous city in Illinois.
  6. Springfield – As the capital of Illinois, Springfield faces its own share of criminal activity, ranking it among the most dangerous cities in the state.
  7. Joliet – With a population of 150,362, Joliet is home to two large prisons and Chicagoland Speedway. The city has a crime rate of 17 crimes per 1,000 people, including 759 violent crimes and 1,731 property crimes.
  8. Peoria – Peoria faces significant challenges in terms of crime rates, making it one of the more dangerous cities to live in Illinois.
  9. East St. Louis – A city with a troubled past, East St. Louis has made strides in recent years to address safety concerns but still remains one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois.
  10. Decatur – Rounding out the top 10 most dangerous cities in Illinois, Decatur faces similar challenges as other cities on this list, including high crime rates and safety concerns.

It’s important to be aware of the crime rates and safety concerns in the cities listed above if you are considering living or traveling in these areas in Illinois.

East St. Louis

East St. Louis, a city with a population of over 20,000 residents, has been ranked as the most dangerous city in Illinois. According to an analysis in 2019, the city recorded a violent crime rate of 2,752 per 100,000 people in 2017, relying on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

Although this city stands out as the most dangerous in Illinois, there are a few other cities that come to its comparison. These are Mount Vernon, Danville, Centralia, Wood River, and Springfield. When considering violent and property crimes, these cities consistently rank highest per capita in the state, presenting crime occurrences between 163 – 222% higher than the other cities in Illinois.

In East St. Louis, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime are 1 in 95, while the rate in Illinois, on a broader scale, is 1 in 253. This data clearly indicates that the city is facing a significant challenge in ensuring public safety.

Moreover, a crime occurs on an average of every 7 hours and 34 minutes in the city. Research has shown that homes in the area without security systems are 300% more likely to be a target of robbery, stressing out the importance of safeguarding both oneself and the property.

As it is evident, East St. Louis has been struggling with high crime rates, and it is pertinent for its residents to be aware and informed about the risks associated with living in the city. By staying updated and implementing preventive measures, inhabitants can play their part in combating crimes and ensuring their safety in the city.


Cairo, Illinois, is a once-prosperous port town that has faced a significant decline in recent years. The city’s population has dropped drastically from 15,000 to a little over 2,000, resulting in a nearly vacant town. This prolonged economic downturn and sustained racial unrest have contributed to the city’s dwindling appeal.

In terms of crime rate, Cairo’s 2017 crime rate was 237 ( crime index), which is comparable to the U.S. average. Compared to 2016, the crime rate fell by 70%. Although this may seem like a significant improvement, it is still higher than 81.1% of U.S. cities.

Violent crimes in Cairo account for a 1 in 553 chance of becoming a victim, while in Illinois, the likelihood is 1 in 253. On the other hand, property crime in the city stands at 7.84 per 1,000 residents, lower than the national median of 19.

While Cairo’s crime statistics do not necessarily make it one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois compared to places like Mount Vernon, Danville, Centralia, Wood River, and Springfield, which have 163 – 222% higher crime occurrences per capita, it is worth noting that the city’s dwindling population has affected its overall safety and stability.

In conclusion, Cairo is a relevant example of how socioeconomic factors can influence crime and decline in cities. As the population continues to decrease, the city’s future remains uncertain, and addressing its economic and crime-related issues will be central to its revitalization and potential for growth.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, a city in Illinois with approximately 14,880 residents, is known for its beautiful views. However, it comes with a dangerous environment as it has been listed among the most dangerous cities in the state. In Mount Vernon, 1 in 65 residents are victims of violent crime, although no recent murders have occurred in the city.

A crime occurs in Mount Vernon every 9 hours and 16 minutes on average. Residents’ homes are 300% more likely to be robbed when they do not have a home security system installed. The city’s crime rates are significantly higher than the national and state averages, with a substantial impact on burglary, property crime, and larceny.

In comparison to the national median of 4, Mount Vernon has a score of 3.95 in terms of becoming a victim of violent crime. The chances of becoming a victim are 1 in 93 in Mount Vernon and 1 in 253 in Illinois. The city’s crime rates are a major concern for its 14,454 residents, as well as the 331,888,310 people living in the United States.

Mount Vernon’s high crime rates are an important aspect to consider when discussing dangerous cities in Illinois. The city’s safety remains a critical concern for its residents and visitors alike.


Kankakee, Illinois, is a city facing higher crime rates compared to the national average. In particular, the chance of being a victim of violent crime in Kankakee is 1 in 106, and the probability of experiencing property crime is 1 in 39.

Crime Rates in Kankakee:

  • Violent crimes are 135% higher than the national average
  • Property crimes are significantly higher than the national average
  • Overall, Kankakee is considered safer than 5% of the cities in the United States

Crime in Kankakee can be visualized by examining a crime map, which typically marks safer areas in green, moderately safe zones in yellow, and the most dangerous areas in red. It is essential for residents and visitors alike to be aware of their surroundings and take measures to protect themselves and their property.

Some measures that can be implemented to improve safety include:

  • Installing a home security system, which can reduce the likelihood of a robbery by up to 300%
  • Staying informed about local crime data and trends
  • Participating in community safety initiatives and programs

While Kankakee faces crime challenges, it is vital to remember that the city is continuously working to improve the safety and well-being of its residents. By staying aware of the risks and working together as a community, progress can be made in addressing crime concerns and making Kankakee a safer place to live.


Alton, Illinois is a city located along the Mississippi River with a population of approximately 25,422. It has been ranked as the 13th worst city in Illinois and the sixth most dangerous place to live in the state.

In terms of crime rates, Alton has a total crime index of 6, making it safer than only 6% of the U.S. neighborhoods. As for violent crimes, residents in Alton face a 1 in 177 chance of becoming a victim, which is higher than the state’s average of 1 in 253. The city has a violent crime rate of 5.66 per 1,000 residents, surpassing the national median of 4.

From available data, it seems that Alton’s crime problem extends to multiple areas within the city. This includes both property crimes and violent crimes, both of which contribute to the city’s overall perception as a dangerous place to live.

In conclusion, Alton’s elevated crime rates and negative reputation highlight the need for increased efforts to improve the safety and quality of life for its residents. While the city might not be as dangerous as some others in Illinois, its ranking still serves as a call for attention and action.


Centralia is one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois, with a high crime rate compared to the state and national averages. The city consistently ranks among the top five most dangerous cities in the state based on FBI statistics, alongside Mount Vernon, Danville, Wood River, and Springfield. Violent and property crimes in Centralia occur between 163 – 222% more frequently than in other Illinois cities.

The violent crime rate in Centralia is significantly higher than the national average. With a rate of 12.13 per 1,000 residents, it is over three times greater than the national median of 4. As a result, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Centralia are 1 in 82, whereas the chances in Illinois as a whole are 1 in 253.

Property crime in Centralia also outpaces the national average, with a rate of 68.7 compared to the US average of 35.4. This underscores the overall dangerous nature of the city in terms of both violent and non-violent crimes. Having a home security system in Centralia can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a property crime, as homes without these systems are 300% more likely to be targeted.

Crime in Centralia is distributed unevenly throughout the city, and certain neighborhoods are considerably safer than others. Crime maps and statistics can help residents and visitors understand the relative safety of different areas within Centralia. However, it is essential to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions regardless of location.

In summary, Centralia is a high-risk city in terms of crime, particularly when it comes to violent and property offenses. The city’s crime rates exceed both the state and national averages, making it one of the most dangerous places in Illinois. Caution should be exercised when residing or visiting Centralia, and proactive steps should be taken to ensure personal and property safety.


Harrisburg is a small city located in southern Illinois. With a population of just over 9,000 residents, it is important to discuss its crime rates and overall safety. In 2020, the crime rate in Harrisburg was 302 ( crime index), which is about average for U.S. cities. This rate was higher than in 87.9% of other U.S. cities. However, it is worth mentioning that the 2020 crime rate saw a 14% decrease compared to 2019.

In recent years, Harrisburg has experienced a decline in violent crime. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in property crimes, an essential factor to consider when evaluating the city’s safety. Although Harrisburg may not be among the top most dangerous cities in Illinois, it is still crucial to take precautions and be aware of crime trends in the area.

When comparing to other cities in Illinois, Harrisburg’s crime rates do not place it in the same category as the most dangerous places such as Mount Vernon, Danville, and Centralia, which have significantly higher violent and property crime rates. However, it is always good to stay informed and attentive to local crime news and take necessary measures to ensure personal safety.

In conclusion, Harrisburg, Illinois, has seen some improvements in crime rates over the years, particularly in violent crimes. However, increased property crime rates are still a concern for residents. Awareness and preparedness can help mitigate potential risks and make the community a safer place for everyone.


Danville is a city in Illinois that consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the state. According to FBI statistics, Danville has a high rate of violent and property crimes, which places it among the top five most dangerous cities in Illinois, alongside Mount Vernon, Centralia, Wood River, and Springfield.

The crime index for Danville is 2, with 100 being the safest. This means that Danville is safer than only 2% of U.S. neighborhoods. The city’s violent crime rate is considerably higher than the national median, with 15.77 incidents occurring per 1,000 residents, as opposed to the national median of 4. In other words, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Danville are 1 in 63, compared to 1 in 253 in Illinois as a whole.

In terms of property crime, Danville residents face a significant risk of being robbed. Specifically, people living in the city are 300% more likely to be robbed if they do not have a home security system installed. The overall crime rate in Danville is such that a crime occurs every 4 hours and 41 minutes, on average.

Danville’s crime map reveals that the safest areas of the city are marked in green. However, it’s important to note that the high crime rates make it necessary for residents to take appropriate safety measures, such as installing security systems, being vigilant about their surroundings, and reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

Factors Contributing to Crime Rates

Several factors contribute to the high crime rates in the most dangerous cities in Illinois. To better understand the situation, it’s important to consider elements such as economic conditions, education, and the history of the area.

Economic Conditions often play a significant role in driving crime rates. High unemployment rates and poverty can lead to an increase in property crimes such as theft, burglary, and robbery. Cities like Mount Vernon and Centralia have seen these effects firsthand, with their high crime rates likely driven in part by economic struggles that have plagued the area.

Education is another crucial factor in determining crime rates. A well-funded and effective education system can have a lasting impact on the overall well-being of a city and its citizens. However, a lack of resources and support for schools in some Illinois cities has left many areas underserved, limiting opportunities for residents. This limited access to quality education can contribute to higher crime rates, especially among young people.

History and Demographics also play a role in shaping crime rates in a city. For example, the history of gang activity in cities like Chicago has contributed to high levels of violent crime. In addition, cities with high rates of substance abuse or mental health issues may see increased criminal activity related to these challenges. Understanding these local historic and demographic factors can shed light on why certain cities experience disproportionate crime rates.

To sum up, multiple factors contribute to the high crime rates in some Illinois cities. By examining economic conditions, education, and local history, it becomes easier to understand the underlying causes of crime and begin working towards possible solutions.

Socioeconomic Factors

Various socioeconomic factors contribute to the high crime rates in some of the most dangerous cities in Illinois. Poverty, unemployment, and education levels are among the key aspects that influence crime rates in these areas.

In Mount Vernon, for example, the poverty rate is significantly higher than the state average, which can be a driving factor behind the elevated crime rates. Economic hardship often forces individuals to resort to criminal activities, such as robbery and theft, to make ends meet. A lack of affordable housing and limited access to resources may further exacerbate these issues.

Unemployment is another factor that contributes to the high crime rates in cities like Danville and Centralia. When individuals struggle to find stable jobs, they may turn to illegal activities to generate income. Joblessness can also lead to a sense of hopelessness and frustration, which can manifest as crime and violence in some cases.

Low educational attainment is often associated with increased crime rates. In cities like Wood River and Springfield, lower graduation rates and less access to quality education can create a cycle of crime and poverty, with individuals having fewer opportunities to access well-paying, stable jobs. Essential life skills and values, such as conflict resolution, are also less likely to be learned in areas that lack proper educational institutions.

In summary, to better understand the high crime rates in the most dangerous cities in Illinois, it is crucial to consider the socioeconomic factors at play. These include poverty, unemployment, and education levels, which contribute to a complex web of circumstances that can lead to increased crime and violence in these areas.


The state of Illinois is diverse and possesses a rich tapestry of culture and history. This demographic breakdown looks at some of the critical cities with high crime rates, as mentioned in the sources above.

Rockford: The third-largest city in Illinois is known for its rich industrial history and cultural landmarks. The population is around 147,000 people, with a diverse racial and ethnic mix. The largest community is white, accounting for 64.9%, followed by African American at 21.3%.

Danville: As another city with a high crime rate, Danville has a population of nearly 30,000 residents. The racial composition in Danville consists predominantly of white citizens, accounting for 56.5%, and African Americans making up 37.2%.

Mount Vernon: Despite a relatively small population of about 14,000, Mount Vernon tops the list as the most dangerous city in Illinois. The city is predominantly white (71.5%) with a significant African American community (24.5%).

Centralia: Centralia has a population of approximately 12,000 people. Like the other cities on this list, it has a predominantly white population (77.2%). The city also comprises a significant African American community (18.1%).

In many cases, the high crime rates in these cities can be linked to various factors such as poverty, limited employment opportunities, and population density. While the demographic characteristics of each city differ, they all share the unfortunate reality of being among the most dangerous in Illinois.

Law Enforcement Policies

Law enforcement policies in Illinois play a significant role in addressing the crime rates in its most dangerous cities. Community-oriented policing has been emphasized and implemented in various areas, with the aim of fostering collaboration and trust between law enforcement and residents. By facilitating open communication and working together, authorities and community members can address the root causes of crime in their neighborhoods.

Intelligence-led policing is another strategy employed by law enforcement agencies in the state. This approach involves collecting, analyzing, and sharing information to develop targeted plans to deter, disrupt, and apprehend criminals. By focusing on intelligence and data-driven strategies, law enforcement can allocate resources more efficiently, ultimately working towards reducing crime in high-risk areas.

Many cities in Illinois are part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, a national initiative that seeks to reduce gun and gang violence through a collaborative approach. This program brings together local, state, and federal partners to develop tailored strategies that aim to prevent, deter, and prosecute firearms offenses in the most violent neighborhoods.

To further enhance public safety, some local agencies have adopted predictive policing methods by incorporating data analysis and technology, allowing them to forecast crime hotspots and direct patrol resources to those areas proactively. This approach helps to identify potential offenders and criminal activity before they escalate, thus applying a more proactive approach to curbing crime.

In summary, law enforcement policies in Illinois are continuously evolving to address the challenges faced by its most dangerous cities. By employing strategies such as community-oriented policing, intelligence-led policing, participation in the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, and predictive policing methods, the state aims to create safer communities by reducing crime in the long term.

Strategies for Improving Safety

Implementing effective strategies to enhance safety in Illinois’ most dangerous cities is crucial. Here are several approaches to consider:

Community Policing: Emphasize community engagement and foster relationships between law enforcement and residents. This helps create trust and cooperation, encouraging citizens to work together with police in addressing crime.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): Modify urban design to discourage criminal activities. Some interventions include improving lighting, organizing street layouts, and maintaining landscapes and public spaces that can deter crime.

Targeted Intervention Programs: Identify high-risk individuals or groups, such as repeat offenders or gang members, and provide resources for rehabilitation and support. These programs can include education, employment and skill building, and access to mental health services.

Data-Driven Policing: Use advanced analytics to identify crime hotspots, trends, and patterns. With targeted police patrols and resources directed at problematic areas, data-driven policing can contribute significantly to reducing crime rates.

Collaboration with Social Services: Partner with social workers, mental health professionals, and other community resources to provide support for people who are at risk of becoming involved in crime or falling victim to it. These partnerships can address the root causes of criminal behavior, such as poverty or substance abuse.

Investing in the previously mentioned strategies can help make Illinois’ cities safer for everyone. Engaging the whole community and taking a comprehensive approach are key components for long-lasting change.

Community Driven Efforts

Various community-driven efforts have been launched in Illinois’ most dangerous cities to reduce crime rates and improve overall safety. These initiatives emphasize collaboration between local community members, law enforcement agencies, and non-profit organizations to address the root causes of crime and foster positive change.

One prominent example of these efforts is the establishment of neighborhood watch programs. These volunteer-based groups serve to keep an eye out for suspicious activities, report incidents to the police, and increase safety in their communities. Participation in these programs has been shown to significantly deter criminal activity and foster a sense of unity amongst residents.

Another powerful approach undertaken in the state is the implementation of restorative justice initiatives. These programs aim to provide mediation between offenders and victims, aiming to rehabilitate criminals and address the consequences of their actions. By offering support and resources to those affected by crime, restorative justice endeavors to break the cycle of violence and promote healing within communities.

Youth development programs also play a crucial role in combating crime in Illinois. Organizations, such as after-school clubs and mentoring schemes, work to keep young people engaged in positive activities and offer a safe space for growth and learning. By providing guidance, life skills, and opportunities to build connections with peers and positive role models, these programs are instrumental in reducing the likelihood of youth getting involved in criminal activities.

Lastly, targeted investment in community development projects has also been shown to alleviate some of the underlying issues leading to higher crime rates, such as poverty and lack of economic opportunities. By prioritizing funding for affordable housing, job training, and local business support, cities like Mount Vernon, Danville, and Springfield can foster stability and economic growth, making communities more resistant to crime.

Through the continued efforts of community members, law enforcement, and non-profit organizations, the fight against crime in Illinois’ most dangerous cities shows promise and progress. By addressing the root causes and fostering strong community bonds, these initiatives contribute substantially to making these cities safer for all residents.

Economic Development

The economic development of a region or city plays a crucial role in determining the quality of life and safety of its residents. In Illinois, cities with higher rates of crime generally suffer from a lack of economic development, leading to higher unemployment and poverty rates. Addressing these underlying factors can help alleviate crime in these areas, improving the overall well-being of their citizens.

For example, Rockford consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois, exhibiting high crime rates and experiencing low economic development. Its struggles with unemployment and poverty contribute significantly to its safety issues. Efforts to boost economic development within the city should focus on revitalizing its downtown area, investing in infrastructure, and encouraging new businesses to relocate to or start in the region.

Similarly, Danville and Mount Vernon also suffer from significant economic challenges. High unemployment rates and limited opportunities for economic growth have resulted in increased crime rates within these cities. Focusing on creating new job opportunities and attracting more businesses can help create a safer environment for residents.

In contrast, cities with thriving economies, such as Chicago, which exhibits stronger job markets, typically have lower crime rates. While Chicago still struggles with crime in certain areas, the overall trend shows that economic development plays a significant role in maintaining a safe and secure environment for inhabitants.

Local and state governments can implement various measures to facilitate economic growth in these cities. Investing in education, promoting tourism, and providing incentives for businesses are just a few examples of how governments can promote economic development, eventually reducing the crime rates within the respective cities.

By addressing the factors contributing to the lack of economic development, cities across Illinois can work towards reducing crime rates and improving the quality of life for their residents.


In conclusion, various sources have corroborated the high crime rates in cities such as Mount Vernon, Rockford, and Danville. With the city of Mount Vernon featuring three times the national average for violent crime, residents must be extra vigilant, and local authorities should take measures to reduce the problem.

Rockford, being the fourth largest city in Illinois and most populous on this list, has some of the highest crime rates in the state. Combating crime in this area will require authorities to address underlying issues and provide support for residents who are trying to improve their communities.

The crime situation in various cities across Illinois highlights the importance of increased collaboration between different community stakeholders to develop strategies that will help address and reduce crime levels effectively. Moving forward, a comprehensive approach based on research, funding, and active community engagement will be essential to create a safer environment for all residents of Illinois – building a hopeful future for all.