Highly considering moving to Chicago from NYC at the end of this year and looking at West Loop, Streeterville, River North, and anything in the Loop north of Madison.

Though I am getting very concerned about the “crime” I keep hearing about. I used to think that crime in Chicago was just in the ‘bad’ parts very south or west of wherever I planned on living but now that I’m paying attention to the news in Chicago more .. (continued in comments)

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I don’t want to dismiss concerns about crime because it’s a fact that crime rates are up and it’s perfectly normal and probably good to be conscious about crime living in a bit city. However, the reality is that most major cities have seen sharp upticks in crime since the start of the pandemic, including NYC.

It’s a little disingenuous of the people to post an article about how awful the crime is in Chicago without noting the broader context. I’m not saying it’s not real here, but it’s also real elsewhere. Chicago gets so much hype for its crime, but what people fail to mention is that it doesn’t even rank in the top 25 cities for murder rate (per capita, in 2021, it was 28 I believe). That’s probably surprising to a lot of people because people are always talking about how dangerous it is.

I think the reality is that if you’re living in a good area in the city, most people don’t experience much crime. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, it does, but it’s a bit overblown in terms of the day to day experience of most people living in the areas you’re thinking about choosing. Anything could happen, but the same really is true in NYC. I don’t think you’re substantially more likely to experience crime here than in New York or other similar major cities.

Chicago is a great city. It’s beautiful, fun, has an excellent restaurant scene, and is extremely livable and affordable for what you get. It has its issues, and crime is one of them (and yes, the weather if that’s something you care a ton about), but it’s a great city to live in and you’ll probably love it if you come.

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This is such a well written and thoughtful reply, PM1!!

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If you’re worried about crime, I’d say live in Lincoln park or west loop and stick to the brown/purple lines. Not to say wicker park or old town are unsafe, but you’re probably most insulated in those 2 areas.

Under absolutely no circumstances should you consider the loop, and really streeterville for that matter

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To be fair a building like LINEA is so close to River north and the west loop that it really would be fine. That’s like a 10 min walk from the busiest parts of river north and 15 mins from Randolph

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West Loop is the move. Streeterville is isolated. River North is just ok. The Loop is actually the most dangerous spot after business hours and on the weekends. Plus the Loop is boring.

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Agree with SM1 on West Loop being the move, but I do live in River North (on the west side / closer to the north branch of the river) and don’t ever feel unsafe walking around here. But also I always find myself in West Loop because there’s a lot that I like to do in that area (great restaurants, etc). It’s a pretty easy walk (10-15 mins) from where I am in River North to Fulton/West Loop and pretty enjoyable overall, plus I like being closer to my office than I would be in WL.
The loop feels sketchy at night imo, and streeterville is very touristy (Mag Mile right there). I’d probably only live in Streeterville if I was working at Northwestern or something

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I’ve lived in Chicago for 5 years and have not experienced any violence or homeless encounters like you describe in NYC. So take that how you will.

Crime is a problem as it is in every big city but the media is partially to blame. Calling Chicago a war zone, chiraq, etc. = 👀 = $$$

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36 yo, Born in raised in Chicago / burbs, UIC, living in city for last 18 years (living in river north). Crime (in the nicest neighborhoods like river north, Lincoln park, west loop) is NOTICEABLY higher. Google “Lincoln park 3am shooting” from mid May. I’ve never seen any execution style shooting caught on camera, in Lincoln park, ever before. Head needs to be on a swivel at all times.

likefunny

I moved from NYC to Chicago. If you can handle NYC's crime, you should be fine in Chicago. The media gives you and others a false perception of how bad crime is. Flipping the script, people in Chicago are concerned about NYC's crime in the subway, for example. Didn't NYC have like 10 people shot in the subway in April, and then someone else shot and killed on a train while crossing a bridge maybe 2 weeks ago?

If your response to those NYC incidents is "well, it's a big city and stuff happens, but overall I feel safe because those things are unlikely to impact me" then that is EXACTLY how you should feel about Chicago.

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From what I see on this forum, this is more of a matter of personal reflection than it is a clear yes/no. Most folks are sharing the same statistics/anecdotes and pairing it with their personal experiences. With similar data points, they are arriving at very different conclusions.

If you are uncomfortable with crime in the vicinity of where you live, and seriously no judgment here, you might consider a suburb or a city where driving is more the norm. Another posters guidance on neighborhoods (eg would not live in the loop because it empties out in evenings) was really good if you want to move to Chicago.

I live in Lakeview and have not once considered moving as carjackings and muggings became somewhat more common in the area because (1) many still happen at an hour where I'm unlikely to be out and would definitely not be on foot (2) the likelihood of significant damage to my person as opposed to my possessions is low and (3) the likelihood of it happening at all is still relatively low. BUT that is personal-- if the increase in crime spiked my anxiety to the point of impacting my mental health, I'd be moving to the burbs. The burbs are great!

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Done the opposite from River North to UES. Random outbursts are just that, random outbursts. They happen in both cities but thankfully at nowhere near the frequency that might force you to change your behavior much if at all. As long as you avoid the "bad parts", you won't notice much difference.

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If you live in the city, you won't use it. Closer to Metro-North or LIRR than the subways

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Leaving Chicago soon because of it, yesterday for example, by the lake in the nice area (next to lake shore east) only an hour after we left, a woman was shot in the leg, literally 100 feet from where we were, just scary. The crime is up in the city/good parts and those who deny it just want to believe what they want to believe to feel better.

The crime is up and you can see it here (pre pandemic and now): https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2022/5/2/23054296/downtown-shootings-homicides-violence-moulin-rouge-nederlander-river-north-streeterville-cpd-police

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Crime is up but that's also the case in NYC. However it's still objectively very low in the nicer neighborhoods. Look at the rate mentioned in the article. As long as you are not involved in gang activities and aren't out very early in the morning or late at night with no one around, the "chance" is you will be very safe. Do incidents happen? Yes, but that's the same in every small and big city (including NYC where you can just as easily find news of violence)

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As I pay more attention to Chicago news I keep seeing just random outbursts of violence or robbery in really nice areas, as well as just BS on the CTA.

After living in Manhattan for over 4 years now, the closest things I’ve experienced to that are homeless people spitting at me, following me and yelling, and bar altercations with drunk people where I’m partly at fault too, never would I think I’d get mugged or stabbed/shot. There’s been incidents in Flatbush or deep bronx where things got sketchy and I’ve been followed but nothing ever happened.

I’ll be moving to Chicago not knowing anyone, and I also do videography on the side so I’ll be exploring and filming the city alone for the first few months I assume, often at night.

Also, when my parents visit, I don’t want them thinking how shit where I live is, if we go on public transport lol.

So yeah a pretty worried, am I in my head?

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As someone who has lived in Chicago (city and suburbs) for 40+ years, I can give you a few objective (and some subjective!) points of view.

Someone mentioned statistics and yes on the aggregate they can be sobering: the FBI's 2020 Crime in the United States report has Chicago at 28.6 murders per 100k residents versus 5.6 in New York for 2020. On the whole, if I never lived in Chicago, I’d find a 5x rate very concerning as well. Once you double-click (hey a consulting term!) on that you’ll find the overwhelming majority of these murders happen in neighborhoods you’ll probably never see (and unfortunately this has been the case for decades as these neighborhoods have been underserved).

As far as tackling crime, New York probably has the upper hand politically as Eric Adams is a 20+ year police veteran and knows what works and what doesn’t. Lori Lightfoot doesn’t have that experience and her relationship with the police force has been contentious.

When I did live in the city, I lived in two different neighborhoods. One is on your list: Gold Coast / River North (I was at the very tail end of GC and very top end of River North). I’d say when I first moved in there in the early 2010s it was the place to be - both for tourists and residents. I’d argue now it’s more for the former - think when you want to go for lunch your choices are fast food/chain or $50+. A “neighborhood hangout” really doesn’t exist because it’s usually tourist-heavy. Also while it’s fun to tell your friends you live across the street from Hermes or bumped into some celebrity at Gibson’s, everyday living can get annoying.

One neighborhood near here that is worth calling out though is Old Town. If you want to be relatively close to things but also not in the middle of the bar scene, this neighborhood works. Also the Old Town Art Fair has been an annual institution for 60-years and will introduce you to a Chicago tradition of summer street festivals.

The West Loop has exploded as the “place to be” - this is essentially the new River North, especially if you like good restaurants and lounges. Renting here will be spendy but will feel more like a neighborhood than River North (which is ironic because it used to be the meat packing district).

Others have mentioned the Loop as a no-go and I concur. Even pre-pandemic after 5pm it would empty out; weekends are ghost towns. This is probably much worse now with offices still largely empty.

Streeterville’s advantage is it is right by the lake and Navy Pier, and unless you’re working / studying at Northwestern (or enjoy riding Ferris wheels frequently), it can feel a bit isolated.

Lincoln Park has always been a nice (and affluent) area and you’ll find a nice mix of 20-something professionals, families, etc. Decent local food/drink/social options. Close to the lake, aside from high rents the only downer here is public transport will be bus-heavy (although this is my personal taste - I’d rather ride the train than the bus).

Lakeview is really a variety of neighborhoods and will give you a taste of how most Chicagoans live (ie lower rise buildings, neighborhood bars, local restaurants, etc.). Depending on what you prefer, you can do anything from Wrigleyville (obviously named), which is the 22-year-old fresh out of school crowd where rents are cheap and bars per capita are significant to Roscoe Village which is very family friendly and has seen a renaissance in the last few years. Should note as well if you’re wanting to be close to Chicago’s gay scene, Boystown is also in Lakeview.

As far as meeting people is concerned, I think you’ll find one of the hidden benefits of being in Chicago is the Midwest connection, so people here are friendly. You also get Midwest transplants from the nearby states so there is that additional element of friendliness. Meeting people here will be the least of your worries.

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Avoid River North (unless you’re west and close to the north branch). Once it gets dark I don’t leave the apartment. Too much sketchiness even on weeknights. I’m moving out of this neighborhood in a couple months once my lease is up. Been here for five years and
I’m at my wits end.

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West loop is great for food. Randolph street is the main go to for nice restaurants. The vibe is very revamped industrial warehouse urban.

Streeterville is very close to the lake and river walk, but kind of lacks personality. It’s a convenient location but not much to do around it unless seeking outdoor walks, etc and drinks on the river.

River north feels more like the hustle and bustle of a city with plenty of bars, things to check out, but recently it feels like crime has been increasing there.

I’d recommend looking at Lincoln park if you want more of a quiet and suburban feel with cool places to see and coffee shops. Old town is also a really happening cool spot not far from the city but less in the mix of it. West loop and Streeterville probably feel the safest to me if that’s your concern

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Where’s your office? I’d recommend near north for 6-months. Explore the city to find the vibe you like and your social circle, then make a longer commitment. Each of the areas you mentioned are very different.

OP, just moved from Chicago to NYC (for the summer only). As other have commented, if you can navigate NYC then Chicago shouldn’t be a big adjustment for you. If I was moving to Chicago for the first time again I would move to west loop. Once you get your bearings there I’d encourage branching out as there are many cool neighbors you can live / visit!

I would not live in the Loop, that's for sure. It's a ghost town after businesses close and not a place I would consider at all.

I lived in Streeterville for a year before moving further north because it was too touristy. I wanted something a little calmer with better places for locals.

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