Planning a trip to Illinois? In this Illinois tourist safety guide, we are going to cover how safe is Illinois for travel, tourist safety tips, the best places to visit, and more.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started –
How safe is Illinois for Travel – Indiana Tourist Safety Guide
Located in the midwestern United States, Illinois is a great place to travel. The state is known for its abolition of slavery, its role in the Underground Railroad, and its contributions to the American automotive industry. Illinois is home to the first McDonald’s, Route 66, and the world’s giant catsup bottle, Willis Tower Skydeck. From the top of the Willis Tower Skydeck, visitors can see up to 50 miles over four states and Lake Michigan.
Illinois is an incredible tourist destination in summer, but its widespread cultural attractions and great shopping make it a relaxing place to visit any time of year.
The city of Chicago is the state’s most popular destination, attracting travelers from across America and around the world. You will find some of the state’s best retail options, restaurants, museums, and cultural venues.
Springfield is another city with many things to see and do, apart from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum and the Dana-Thomas House.
Throughout the state, you will discover exciting places to visit, from an ancient Indian settlement at Cahokia Mounds to the tranquil Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.
In this article, we will provide details regarding how safe Illinois is for travel. So, let’s begin with the most critical aspects of warning and dangers in Illinois –
Warnings & Dangers in Illinois
Overall Risk- Medium
The state is moderately risky if we talk about the overall risk. The state is rural and is not remarkably dangerous. The state has Chicago as its largest city, and Chicago is very dangerous, while the rest of the state is not that risky. However, there are many safe places in the state you can consider.
Transport and Taxis Risk – Medium
The state has a medium transport risk. In major cities like Chicago, taxi drivers have chances of being robbed, and the transport system is more dangerous at night than during the day.
A significant part of the state does not have as much public transport, but whatever amount is there, it is safe. You can use ride-share taxis and pick-up or drop-off facilities to avoid this risk.
Pickpockets Risk – Medium
You better be careful in crowded areas where pickpockets look around for opportunities to grab your items. However, in rural areas of the state, the chances of pickpockets are low. To prevent your valuables, you can keep them safe in your hotel room or avoid showing them in public places.
Natural Disaster Risk – Low
The State of Illinois is much flat and does not possess a lot of mountains or other geographical features that cause disasters. So, there is a low risk of natural disasters.
However, the state can experience heavy snow in winter, which might create problems. Also, unusual tornadoes can cause a lot of damage, but overall there is a negligible risk. So, we suggest you study the vulnerability of the areas to tornadoes you are traveling in the state.
Mugging Risk – High
The state has a high mugging risk, and the city of Chicago has even higher chances, especially where there is gang activity. While some cities are safe, some have a significant risk of muggings and robberies.
So, keep your expensive items safe separately and lock your car while traveling. It is best to avoid keeping them in your back pockets and showing them in public.
Terrorism Risk – Medium
The state has a medium terrorism risk since the rise of far-right and far-left anti-government extremists. The chances of domestic terrorism are more in a city like Chicago, which might cause problems.
So we suggest you search a little about the area vulnerable to terrorist attacks before your trip.
Scams Risk – Medium
Illinois has a medium scam risk, and the scams include taxis charging extra high money or other trickery in the state. Even car repair shops might attempt to sell the car parts that are not needed or might overcharge you for repairs.
Again, the scams are even higher in Chicago. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of such scams, you must be cautious in the state.
Women Travellers Risk – Low
Overall, Illinois has a low risk for women travelers. But the city of Chicago is dangerous for a woman to be alone or use public transport at night. However, it is safe during the day. Women must avoid roaming alone at night and be alert while traveling to a few places vulnerable to crimes against women.
Tap Water Risk – Medium
The tap water in the state is moderately safe. However, various regions of Chicago have contaminated water that may contain lead or other pollutants.
So, it is a good idea to drink bottled water if you are traveling in Chicago and listen to any warnings. The rest of the state’s water supply is in good condition, so you should not have any problems.
Also Read – How safe is Georgia Country for Travel
Safest tourist places to visit in Illinois
This has been Illinois’s safest city. It is located 54 miles west of Chicago. With only one recorded violent crime, Campton Hills has a class of its own.
The city has places of tourist attractions that include the Garfield Farm Museum, Otter Cove Aquatic Park, Great Western Trail – St.Charles TrailHead, Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, Campton Forest Preserve, Creek Bend Nature Center, Durant House Museum, etc.
Illinois’ 2nd safest town is Channahon, a village of 12.8K that sits in Will and Grundy counties. Channahon recorded less than ten violent crimes last year.
Channahon is best known for Des Plaines River, Channahon State Park, Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area, Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area, Channahon Park District, Lake Chaminwood Preserve, etc.
It is a northwestern suburb of Chicago located in Cook County. The town has an impressive violent crime rate of 0.41 per 1,000, making it the third safest place in the state.
Palatine is mainly visited for its famous places like Deer Grove East Natural Reserve, Salt Creek Park District, George Clayson House Museum, Birchwood Park, Palatine Park District, Palatine Historical Society, Raven Park, etc.
Illinois’ fourth safest city reported a violent crime rate of around one offense per 1000 people last year, which is just 25% of the Illinois rate.
The city is loved for its popular tourist spots: Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Park Woods-North, Swallow Cliff Woods – South, Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve, Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve, Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, etc.
The fifth safest city is Hanover Park, a village in Cook and Dupage counties. The famous tourist spots in this town are Chestnut Mountain Resort, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Bellevue State Park – Nelson Unit, Apple River Fort State Historic Site, Spruce Creek Park, Witkowsky State Wildlife Area, Bellevue State Park Butterfly Garden, etc.
Places to avoid in Illinois Safety
It is equally important to know what places to avoid to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of specific trouble. You can read the information below –
According to FBI data, Mount Vernon is the most dangerous city in Illinois. The city has a violent crime rate of more than three times the national average and more than twice the state average. With a population of merely about 14,000, it is terrific that burglary and robbery have very high rates in this town.
Danville is a moderate-sized town that recorded nearly 1,700 violent crime cases per 100,000 people per year. All the crime is four times higher than the state average. This town is known as a place where shootings frequently occur, and theft is common.
The capital city of Springfield and also the largest city in central Illinois is not free of crime. It is the 6th most populous city in the state and reports nearly ten murders per 100,000 people each year and more than 1,000 acts of violent crime per 100,000 people.
This town of 12,000 people has a violent crime rate three times the state average and nearly four times the national average. The most common crimes are theft and aggravated assault, frequently occurring in various parts of this southern Illinois town.
This small town of Wood River may not have much murder or violent crime, but property crime and personal theft rates are real issues if you plan to travel here. Even the car theft crime is equal to the state average, which is why Wood River is among the most dangerous towns in Illinois.
Also Read – How safe is Indiana for Travel
Safety Tips for Traveling to Illinois
Have thorough knowledge of the area
It is always best to know the safe and unsafe areas of a place you are traveling to. Try to study the area, understand the safe zones, places to avoid, best times to roam, etc. You can take help from the locals about the hotels and decent places in the state to visit.
Check Weather Updates
This tip is especially for winter. You must regularly check the weather updates and obey the warnings, if any, since snow storms can occur quickly and you can get a lot of snow fast.
Don’t look like a tourist
Even if you are a traveler, blend in as much as possible. It is easier to target unfamiliar people than to inform one. You can avoid getting stuck in such a situation by acting like a known person to the state. You can avoid letting anyone know of your actual status as a tourist.
Avoid Carrying Plenty of cash
It is always best to keep as little cash as possible to avoid theft. You can use your card in maximum places. Some hotels have a safety box to lock your items up. You can use this safe to keep your valuables protected.
Be alert in your surroundings
You must know what is happening in your surroundings while in another State. It is advised not to be wholly immersed in yourself and to watch for gang members or people who might be dangerous. Don’t go far from the familiar road, especially in cities. Avoid using earbuds or headphones on roads to hear better what is happening around you.
Avoid wandering alone
It is easier to become a victim when alone than in a group. So, avoid roaming the places alone at night. You must especially take this tip for unfamiliar areas.
Lock your car and hotel room
This is one of the minor things you can do. Always lock your car and hotel room, however safe the place is. This would ensure extra security as small criminals often avoid locked cars and won’t break into hotel rooms. But if you leave the door open, however, they may grab for something to steal.
Follow your Intuition
It is always good to listen to our senses as they help us the best in any emergency. If your impulse signals you of a problem, you should listen to that feeling. If you feel uneasy and nervous, leave the situation as soon as possible rather than regret it later.
Check out your car
Check your car for the fluids, lights, tire pressure, belts, and hoses, to ensure everything is road-worthy. This is especially needed if you are moving out to the countryside.
Take guided tours
It is not always necessary that you know the area. In that case, you can conveniently book a guided tour and allow some experienced person to ride you. Although it may cost a little extra, you will be safer, and it will be much more helpful.
These are some safety tips you can consider while traveling to Illinois that can help you to be safe.
Is Illinois safe to travel alone?
The answer is yes. Illinois is safe to travel alone. One can navigate the state alone with necessary precautions and avoid unsafe places.
Is Illinois safe for solo female travelers?
Yes, the overall state is safe for solo female travelers. Few areas in Chicago are hazardous for a woman to be alone or use public transport at night, but it is safe during the day. The rest of the state is very safe for women.
How Safe is Illinois for Travel?
As mentioned in the beginning, the overall State of Illinois is safe for travel if you don’t consider some unsafe places where the crime rate is more than the national average. If you especially think of the city of Chicago, you will need extra precautions and research while traveling to this place.
Though Illinois is one of the top US states with a higher crime rate than the national average, this has not affected the state’s popularity of being a famous holiday destination for people around the world.
Many cities in the State like Springfield are famous weekend destinations. The incredible experiences it offers are worth visiting the state.
Finally, by following general tips and standard precautions, selecting the correct place to reside, and little research, you can travel to Illinois and have a safe and wonderful trip.
Hopefully, this detailed guide will help you plan your next trip to Illinois.
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