If You Think Chicago Is The Most Dangerous City To Live In, Think Again

Its image skewed by media spin, political rhetoric, and a surface reading of the facts, Chicago is considered by some to be America's most dangerous city. While it does score poorly in many crime categories, it is not at the bottom of several others. In addition, limiting one's focus to the urban core of a city is misleading when determining its safety, according to Clever. Including the entire metro area and its suburbs results in a more complete appraisal of whether or not a city is safe. On closer examination, Chicago is not the most dangerous city in the United States.

Statistics also need to be analyzed from a neighborhood perspective to be fully accurate. For instance, while Chicago's murder rates have nearly doubled recently, Brookings points out the killings are mostly confined to outlying pockets long ignored and underfunded. At the same time, there has been a near-historic low rate of homicides in wealthy sections of the Windy City. Additionally, non-crime factors must also be looked at to present a true picture of safety vs. danger.

Adding categories such as natural disasters, automobile, and pedestrian accidents, Covid-19 case frequencies, and water quality to the equation is insightful. In the case of Chicago, it then moves it from the nadir on some lists to being rated one of the least dangerous cities in the U.S. In multiple surveys, Memphis, Tennessee, replaces it as the United States's least safe city.

Most dangerous cities

Still, Chicago does not emerge unscathed on the most dangerous lists. It ranks #7 in murders, per The New York Times. According to the Chicago Crime Commission, the city has more gang members than anyplace else, with the resulting boost in violence. Something else that renders Chicago less safe is its proximity to nuclear reactors, per Showbiz CheatSheet. Three of Illinois's six reactors could conceivably meltdown and pollute nearby rivers or even Lake Michigan, making the city's water supply unsafe. New York City is another city where natural factors impact the level of danger. Floods, storms, and hurricanes have compromised the safety of NYC in the past, and it also leads the nation in Covid-19 cases and deaths. On the positive side, the Big Apple's extensive public transportation system makes it one of the safest metropolitan areas in terms of the fewest automobile accidents and pedestrian fatalities.

Per capita, the aforementioned Memphis is the murder capital of the United States, and it has a high rate of violent crime in general. Property crime is also rampant there. CNN examined the correlation between states with toothless gun laws and the propensity of gun homicides in their cities, explaining in part why Memphis is so dangerous. St. Louis falls under the same category and is also thought to be one of America's most violent cities. Joining the high gun homicide list are Jackson, Mississippi; Gary, Indiana; and New Orleans.

The safest cities

According to CCTV Camera World, the recent uptick in violent crimes, including assault and murder, has been offset by a decades-long drop in crimes in general. It ranks Florida's Port St. Lucie, a mid-sized city with a modest crime rate, as one of America's safest. The much smaller Wayland, Massachusetts, with little crime to speak of, is also rated as a safe haven, and Frisco, Texas, sits atop World Population Review's list of the safest cities in America. Conversely, Celaya, Mexico, wins the booby prize as the world's most dangerous city, per World Atlas. Sadly, six of the cities appearing on its compendium of the 10 least safe towns are south of the U.S. border.

Clever singles out Atlanta as having the least contaminated drinking water, adding to its safety. The unfairly maligned New York City, in reality, has the lowest amount of property crimes. Salt Lake City is the safest city in terms of threats from natural causes. Taking into consideration all the things that determine whether a city is dangerous or safe, Chicago's reputation is salvaged. In fact, not only does it escape being the most dangerous American city, it is among the safest. Chicago actually falls just short of the U.S.'s least dangerous city in which to live: Denver, Colorado.