The State of Safety in Illinois 2023

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The SafeWise team is pleased to release the fifth annual State of Safety report.

Illinois residents have the highest level of concern nationwide regarding violent crime, gun violence, and overall daily safety. Illinois also placed within the top five most concerned states for property crime and package theft. Illinoisans are also the least-likely Americans to feel safe in their state.

In this report

2022 Illinois crime rates

Illinois didn't provide enough data to the FBI this year so we're unable to update state crime rates. Here's the latest data available, from the 2022 reporting year:

Illinois saw higher violent crime rates at 4.3 incidents per 1,000, compared to 4.0 nationwide. This is the second-consecutive year violent crime rates have risen and the third year the state reported higher rates than both the East North Central region (3.9) and the US overall.

But property crime rates were several points below the rest of the US at 15.6 incidents per 1,000 people compared to 19.6 nationwide. Illinois also beat the regional property crime rate, which came in at 16.1 incidents per 1,000. This is the second-consecutive year that property crime fell in Illinois.

Before you start booking a moving truck, Illinois crime rates reflect nationwide trends with rises in violent crime and continued drops in property crime. For the first time, it looks like the 7 in 10 Illinois respondents who think crime is on the rise might be onto something.

For better crime reporting in Illinois in the future, we recommend telling local lawmakers and law enforcement agencies that this information matters to you.

Bar chart of violent and property crime rates per 1,000 people where the national average is 4.0 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 19.6 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in Illinois: Fear vs. reality

In our most recent State of Safety survey, daily concern about safety increased by 11% in Illinois, with gun violence being Illinoisans’ biggest worry (75%). Only 28% of Illinois residents told us they feel safe in their state, compared to 50% nationally. 

Our respondents had more personal experience with violent crime than most Americans: 24% experienced violent crime in the 12 months prior to the survey compared to 11% in the previous survey. 

  • Despite Illinois’s high levels of safety concern, only 44% of respondents said they use personal protection, with pepper spray being used most often. Across the US, 39% of respondents carry some form of personal protection.
  • 54% of our survey respondents said their personal safety was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in Illinois

  • Gun violence experiences jumped from 12% to 17%. It’s no surprise, then, that 75% named gun violence their top daily safety concern (US 47%).
  • Mass shooting incidents in Illinois fell by 34% in the 2023 reporting year, from 86 to 57. This was the largest number of mass shooting events in any state that year.
  • Illinois reported the third-highest rate of mass shooting incidents per capita in the US in the 2023 reporting year.
  • Of the Illinois residents who use some form of protection, 36% use firearms for personal protection and 28% use firearms for property protection.

Property crime in Illinois: Fear vs. reality

Illinoisans' experience with property crime increased from 21% in the previous survey to 31%. Around 63% of Illinois residents worry about property crime and 64% worry about package theft—the fourth- and fifth-highest levels of concern nationwide, respectively.

  • Illinois residents worry about property crime happening to them at a rate 25% higher than the average American.
  • 31% of Illinoisans experienced property crime in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 37% experienced package theft.
  • Security cameras are the most-used form of property protection, with 45% of residents using them. Guard dogs come in second with 33%.
  • Using verified delivery and leaving packages in a safe spot were the most popular forms of package theft prevention at 29% each.
  • 29% told us their property’s security has been affected by the pandemic (US 28%).

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Crime concerns in Illinois

We asked Illinois residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Illinoisans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2023 State of Safety report.

The safest cities in Illinois

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

We couldn’t rank the safest cities in Illinois this year due to limited information reported to the FBI. State crime rates for the previous reporting year are detailed below.

Illinois
  • bullet
    Population
    12,587,530
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $65,886
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    4.3, 4.2, 4.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    15.6, 18.6, 19.3
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

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Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.


Related articles on SafeWise


Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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