8 Safest Cities in Illinois (2023 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Illinois doesn’t come up in the top 10 of the safest states often. However, there still are some notable exceptions to the legacy of crime and illegal activities that have influenced some of the more dangerous areas. Statistics only scratch the surface about cities. It’s essential to delve further to understand your risks if you travel through the Land of Lincoln.
The populations in towns of any measurable size often filter down into neighborhoods. That makes calling a place safe or unsafe more difficult. It’s also vital to realize that crime patterns may ebb and flow with current events. That fact has been on full display across the country as cities deal with the continuing challenges of the pandemic.
The 8 Safest Cities in Illinois: A Quick Look
The good news with our round-up is not one of the cities recorded a homicide in 2019. The rate for violent crimes, except for two, were all in single digits. While Chicago has a tarnished reputation, there are still plenty of places in Illinois that are relatively safe and crime-free. The 10 we’ve listed here stand out as some of the best out of the 1,369 Illinois cities.
(US Census Bureau)
1. La Grange Park, IL
|Average Household Income:||$113,585|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||6|
La Grange Park is a Chicago suburb located 15 miles southwest of the city. It’s a quiet town that puts a strong emphasis on sustainability and transparency with its government. La Grange Park also embraces its history with seven self-guided walking tours to explore the area. Surprisingly, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was an integral force that spurred the village’s population growth and development.
Thefts and burglaries are the most common property crimes, with 68 and 12 known offenses in 2019. The former has declined since its all-time high in 2008. Violent crime has followed a similar pattern, with a slight uptick in assaults. The last homicide was in 2012. The biggest problems in La Grange Park are human-wildlife conflicts with the increasing fox and coyote populations.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, City of La Grange Park)
2. Hinsdale, IL
|Average Household Income:||Over $200,000|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||5|
Hinsdale is one of the wealthier cities in Illinois, with an average household income double that of the state’s average. It also has a low poverty rate that is a fraction of the rest of Illinois. It is located about 21 miles southwest of Chicago. Its heritage is paramount to its residents, with its entire downtown a National Register Historic District. It also enjoys a vibrant local economy.
As you may expect, the cost of living is higher in Hinsdale, with property values far exceeding the state’s average. It is a relatively safe town with few violent crimes. There were no rapes or murders in 2019. Property crime is a different story; thefts nearly tripled in 2019. Nevertheless, it is significantly lower than the state and national averages.
(US Census Bureau, FBI)
3. Deerfield, IL
|Average Household Income:||$158,722|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||7|
For a small town, Deerfield boasts some impressive business connections, with several companies based in the area, including Big Apple Bagels and Baxter Healthcare. It’s evident with the higher-than-average household income and low poverty rate. Deerfield shows that a city doesn’t have to be large to make a difference economically and socially.
A higher-income base manifests itself in the relatively significant amount of property crime. Thefts, burglaries, and stolen vehicles are problems. The latter nearly tripled from 2018 to 2019. Homicides and assaults are infrequent crimes, although the latter increased during this same time. It’s worth noting that Deerfield has a larger ratio of law enforcement to residents. It is located 28 miles northwest of Chicago.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, City of Deerfield)
4. Campton Hills, IL
|Average Household Income:||$84,368|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||1|
Campton Hills is the result of the incorporation of the Plato and Campton Townships. It is located 59 miles slightly northwest of Chicago. It is a semi-rural community, with about 10% of its land rural. It embraces this small-town feel to the max. It’s no wonder it often takes the top spot on many safe Illinois town lists. The stats tell it all.
Campton Hills had no murders, rapes, or assaults in 2019. There was only one robbery during that year. Property crime follows a similar pattern, with only five burglaries and a single theft. The city experienced a rough period between 2008–2016. It has since righted the ship and has brought crime steadfastly under control, with zeroes posted in several offense types.
(US Census Bureau, FBI)
5. Barrington Hills, IL
|Average Household Income:||$191,302|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||0|
Barrington Hills is another wealthy community, as evidenced by the number of sprawling properties and equestrian farms. The town is located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago. It’s far enough away to avoid the ill influences of the city. It also puts green space high on its list of priorities, with over 4,722 acres of forest preserve space. The property value is nearly four times the state’s average at $808,800.
Violent crime is nearly non-existent in Barrington Hills. There have been no rapes since 2006, no murders since 2012, and no assaults in 2019. Even property crime is low, with only 18 known offenses in 2019. All incidences involved theft, with no burglaries, stolen vehicles, or arson. Surprisingly, crime has been declining since 2002, as if it was ever an issue.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, City of Barrington Hills)
6. Lindenhurst, IL
|Average Household Income:||$111,770|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||5|
Lindenhurst is another six-figure community located 50 miles northwest of Chicago. Its roots are in agriculture, although it is 100 percent urban today. It is relatively new, having been incorporated in 1956. Its rural landscape is part of the town’s charm and is a significant part of its character. Support for local businesses is strong, which has added to its success.
Lindenhurst has seen a decline in all major crime types, both violent and non-violent. Thefts are the one sore point in the town. However, even those figures are modest at 39. There were only two burglaries, one stolen auto, and no arson. Despite a slight uptick in 2016, overall crime continues to decline, making it a safe place to call home.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, Village of Lindenhurst)
7. South Elgin, IL
|Average Household Income:||$105,682|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||16|
South Elgin is one of only two cities on our round-up with double digits for violent crime. It is located 42 miles northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. The town is proud of its heritage and recently launched its History Project: South Elgin Stories to capture its oral history for future generations. It speaks a lot about the sense of community in this village.
Robberies, assaults, and rape are the primary violent crimes. Property offenses are more of an issue, particularly thefts, burglaries, and stolen vehicles. However, these crimes have seen a noticeable decline in recent years. Violent crimes have seen similar drops, except for assaults which have increased. It’s worth noting that all figures are well below the state and national averages.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, Village of South Elgin)
8. Warrenville, IL
|Average Household Income:||$91,274|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||10|
Warrenville is another example of how it’s essential not to make assumptions about a city just because of its proximity to Chicago. This one is 31 miles southwest of Chi-Town. Like many towns, the stagecoach and train were integral to Warrenville’s growth. Oil painter, Adam Albright, is particularly important to the town’s history and recognition. It also helped forge a connection with the Art Institute of Chicago.
Warrenville has a higher poverty rate than other cities on our list. Thefts and burglaries are the primary crimes, although the figures pale compared to other high-risk areas. Violent crimes have declined, except robberies which have increased. The overall statistics reflect a similar pattern, although the decreases have, well, decreased in recent years.
(US Census Bureau, FBI, City of Warrenville)
How to Stay Safe in Illinois
Prevention is always a better path than dealing with an issue head-on, whether it’s a crime, disease, or pest problem. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you avoid conflict. It’s something you can observe in wildlife. That’s why animals mark their territories—to send an occupied message to interlopers. To stay safe, you must adopt a similar strategy to avoid looking like a potential victim to help deter crime.
Criminals often case a situation before acting to assess their chances of getting caught. Predators do the same thing, which is why they often target young, weak, or old prey. It’s less risky with the potential of a high reward. Your goal is to make a would-be thief think twice before messing with you. It begins with awareness; pay attention if anyone is following you or driving by your house frequently.
Remember that bad actors rely on stealth and surprise. Signaling your awareness tells them that you’re on to them. That also means keeping your purse or wallet out of easy reach. You might consider getting a slash-proof shoulder bag for an extra layer of protection, especially if you use public transportation or a parking garage. Many facilities will provide a security escort to your vehicle if you feel unsafe.
Motion-sensor lights or even a garden sprinkler are a godsend for keeping your home safe. A “Beware of Dog” or “Protected by Smith & Wesson” sign sends a clear warning even if you don’t have either. The would-be thief or burglar doesn’t know for sure. We also suggest using smart devices to turn on the lights occasionally if you’re away from home. An occupied house is less inviting.
Every state has its safe and dangerous areas. Many things can influence where they end on a map. The country has done an excellent job of reining in crime, but obviously, there’s still much to do. That’s why it’s essential to protect yourself and your family, beginning with awareness. It doesn’t mean that trust is gone. Instead, it involves hoping for the best but expecting the worse.
See Also: 10 Most Famous Houses in Chicago
Featured Image Credit: juergen-polle, Pixabay