Chicago is a beautiful city with many tourist attractions and historical buildings. With our exciting nightlife and amazing restaurants, Chicago is a great place to visit. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States. That being said, some areas in Chicago aren't safe for visitors or even locals to walk around alone at night.
It's important to stay alert and aware when you're traveling through Chicago. Here are some tips on staying safe being a tourist in the happening city.
Stay Alert and Be Aware
Be alert. Keep your head up and be aware of what's going on around you at all times. If something doesn't feel right, it usually isn't! Trust your gut instincts and act accordingly. If you see someone suspicious lurking or loitering in an area, report it to the authorities immediately.
Take Care of Your Valuables
If you need to step away from your belongings, keeping them close to you is best. For example, if you leave your purse unattended with any valuables, someone could easily slip those items out without being noticed. To avoid this situation:
- Please keep all of your cards in a pocket or purse until they're needed
- Do not leave bags and backpacks unattended
- Do not leave cell phones unattended
If you use public transportation like buses or trains, these types of thefts often happen because people tend to relax on the train or bus due to their comfortability.
Don't Carry Much Cash
When you are out and about, it is essential to ensure you don't carry large sums of cash with you. You can easily get robbed or mugged if you do this. Avoid carrying more than $20-30 on your person at all times. This way, if someone tries to steal from you, they will only be able to make off with a small amount of money that won't have much impact on your life.
Carrying credit cards instead of cash is another good idea so that even if someone steals your wallet, they won't be able to use them unless they have the PIN associated with each card-and who would know that?
Ensure Safe Commutation
If you are new to the city, you must commute safely. While using public transit like a train or bus, you are likely traveling with a criminal ready to steal from you without you knowing. You may become the target of other crimes, especially commuting during the night. I suggest you avoid taking the local transit and cabs. Instead, hire cab services from a reliable provider to ensure safe commuting. I suggest avoiding traveling in the city at night.
However, if it is essential such as if you need to board a flight, book a Chicago car service to the airport. This way you will reach the airport on time. Also, even if it's 2 am during the night, you will be in safe hands, unlike usual cab drivers who may be drunk or high on weeds. In a word, hire a private vehicle for moving around the city, whether day or night, to avoid any dangers.
Look Out for Pick Pocketing
One of the most common ways people are robbed in Chicago is by pick-pocketing. This is when someone tries to steal your wallet or purse from your person, and it's essential to know how to protect yourself.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket, not your back pocket or purse. If possible, keep it under a belt (but not too tight). A belt with a zipper pouch works well for this purpose.
- Keep your phone in front of you at all times; don't leave it sitting on the table when out to eat or anywhere else that isn't in arm's reach of you at all times.
- Turn off notifications for any apps that alert you when new messages arrive on them - this will prevent people from knowing if they have an opportunity to rob/scam/steal from you as they become aware of new messages being received by using these apps while interacting with people around them who could be potential victims such as yourself (i.e., texting friends while waiting at an ATM).
- Lastly: pay attention! Watch everyone around you and ensure there aren't any suspicious characters lurking around, trying not to look suspicious (this happens often); if so, move away immediately without making eye contact! Make sure nobody can get behind you either because this is often how someone might try stealing something valuable off someone who isn't paying attention during their walk home late at night after work.
Carefully Watch People Around You
While this seems like a no-brainer, it can be easy to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of the city. You must always keep your eyes open and make sure you're aware of what's going on around you at all times.
Be aware of people who are looking at you. Does anyone seem suspicious? Do they appear to be following your movements or watching them closely? If so, move away from them as soon as possible!
Be aware of people who are sitting near you. Are they looking over at something else while they wait for someone? Could this mean they're waiting for an opportunity to steal from another person? If so, don't sit next to them in public places such as train stations or bus stops!
The only exception might be if there is an empty seat next to theirs somewhere else nearby; even then, though, make sure not so close that there isn't room between chairs.
Avoid Certain Areas at Night
When you are in Chicago, it's best to avoid the following areas:
- The South and West sides of Chicago. These neighborhoods have a high crime rate and can be dangerous for tourists.
- The streets around the Loop, downtown area. Most tourist attractions are located in this area, so it should be safe during the day. However, after dark, many sketchy people around here may harm you or your property if you ignore your surroundings.
- The beaches on Lake Michigan's north shore, Rogers Park and Evanston. These beaches are known for gang violence and drug usage; therefore, they're best avoided at night or anytime during a large gathering, such as concerts. If you go out alone during these times, stay vigilant about keeping aware of your surroundings!
- The parks in Lincoln Park, Grant Park, including Buckingham Fountain, Jackson Park/Evanston Township Marshfield Forest Preserve Districts 5 & 8-10 each too have had problems with violence among teenagers even though they're all beautiful places worth visiting during daylight hours only when accompanied by another adult person whom you trust entirely not just anyone else because if anything happened then, it'd take longer than expected before someone finds us out here alone.
Be Cautious of ATM Machines
ATMs are a common target for thieves. However, there are ways to be a little safer while using them. If you do not live in Chicago and plan to visit, make sure you know where your nearest ATM is. If you notice an ATM in a dark or secluded area, avoid it at all costs.
Thieves often place devices on these machines to see what type of card you use when you enter your PIN code into the keypad. It's much better to go inside somewhere like Walgreens or some other store with an ATM inside their building rather than risk getting robbed!
Hopefully, this guide has helped you start your journey to Chicago as a newcomer. We know it can be intimidating to move to a new city, especially if you don't know anyone there. But don't let that stop you! There are plenty of ways to meet people and make friends in the Windy City - take it one step at a time.