The State of Safety in Illinois 2022

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

Illinois residents are some of the most concerned folks in the country. The Land of Lincoln placed second nationwide for both high daily concern about safety and concern over violent crime, just behind New York in both cases. Higher concern may be driven by rising violent crime rates statewide.

On the flip side, despite a lower property crime rate, Illinois also placed within the top ten most concerned states for property crime and package theft.

In this report

2022 Illinois crime rates

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.

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

Level of concern and experience with crime in Ilinois

In our most recent State of Safety survey, daily concern shot up 36% in Illinois, with violent crime being Illinoisians’ biggest worry. Only 42% of Illinois residents told us they feel safe in their state, compared to 55% nationally. And 64% say they feel high daily concern about their safety.

The good news is our respondents had less personal experience with violent crime: 13% reported experience in the 12 months prior to the survey compared to 16% in the previous survey. And experience with property crime, although higher than the US average of 18%, held steady year over year at 23%.

But we saw a significant increase in those who experienced gun violence firsthand—jumping from 8% to 13%. It’s no surprise, then, that 83% named gun violence their top daily safety concern (US 53%).

Pictogram showing the percentage of state residents that are concerned about their safety on a daily basis, as well as which type of crime they are concerned about the most, and which crimes they have experienced within the past 12 months. Crimes include violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.

Crime concerns in Illinois

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

Bar chart showing percentages of how concerned state residents are about crime compared to the national averages for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.

Violent crime in Illinois: Fear vs. reality

Violent crime rose slightly (2%) in the last year, from 4.2 incidents per 1,000 to 4.3. But Illinois’s rise isn’t an isolated incident. Both the East North Central region and the US saw bumps in the violent crime rate year over year.

  • This is the second year in a row that violent crime rates have risen and the first year that concern about violent crime has also risen in Illinois.
  • Despite Illinois’s high levels of safety concern, only 32% of respondents said they use personal protection, with stun guns being used most often. Across the US, 34% of respondents carry some form of personal protection.
  • 55% of our survey respondents said their personal safety was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in Illinois

  • 83% of Illinois residents we surveyed said that gun violence is a general fear of theirs—30 percentage points higher than the 53% national average. And 50% said they were worried it might happen to them (US 38%).
  • Mass shooting incidents in Illinois rose by 25% in the last year, from 68 in 2020 to 85 in 2021. Nationwide, mass shooting rose 13%.
  • Illinois reported the highest number of mass shooting incidents in the US in 2021. Texas was second with 57 incidents compared to 85 in Illinois.
  • 384 people were injured and 59 killed in mass shooting events in Illinois in 2021, compared to 297 and 42, respectively, in 2020.
  • 59 (69%) of the 2021 incidents occurred in Chicago, contributing to reports of Chicago’s deadliest year in 25 years.
Line graph of violent and property crime rates over the past three years in the state compared to national crime rates per 1,000 residents for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Illinois: Fear vs. reality

In sharp contrast to its violent crime rate, property crime in Illinois and across the East North Central region has dropped steadily since 2019. Illinois has also seen property crime rates consistently below the national average.

  • Property crime fell 17% year over year, falling from 18.6 incidents per 1,000 people to 15.6.
  • Illinois reports 4 fewer property crimes per capita than the US average.
  • Curiously, Illinois is 1 of just 3 states in the nation with both a higher-than-average violent crime rate and a lower-than-average property crime rate.
  • 54% of Illinois respondents worry about property crime happening to them—12 points higher than nationwide worry.
  • Despite higher-than-average concern about property crime, only 56% of respondents use some form of property protection (US 60%).
  • Security cameras are the most-used form of property protection, with 32% of residents using them. Security systems come in second with 27%.
  • 37% told us their property’s security has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).

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 because the FBI determined that the state did not follow national UCR Program guidelines for reporting an offense. Statewide crime rates are detailed below.

  • Circle Population
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    4.3, 4.2, 4.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    15.6, 18.6, 19.3
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How we determined the safest cities

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

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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Find the safest cities in each state

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Related articles on SafeWise


FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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