An updated version of this post is available here with data through June 2017: Chicago's Safest And Most Dangerous Neighborhoods: Assault And Battery
Last week I looked at Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods for murder but of course a lot of bad things can happen to you in Chicago just short of getting killed. In addition to getting killed, it's those other bad things that people worry about when they are trying to decide if a neighborhood is safe or dangerous as part of the home buying process. Based upon my scanning of the City of Chicago crime data portal I've concluded that aggravated assault and battery is how they characterize these crimes that people usually worry about.
I'm not a legal expert but the best I can tell assault is the threat of violence, battery is the actual act of violence, and when there is a weapon involved it's aggravated. Feel free to correct me or add perspective if I'm off on this. These crimes include getting threatened with or actually being stabbed, shot, hit with a baseball bat, etc... Robbery is a separate category that I excluded since that often includes the robbery of business establishments, which is not good for a neighborhood but at least it doesn't affect you walking down the street. I also excluded domestic incidents, since I don't believe that this is what people have in mind when they are thinking about how safe their neighborhood is, although you probably don't want that going on in the condo above or next to you.
So I pulled all the aggravated assault and battery incidents for the 12 months ending June 30, 2015 and came up with 8,213 incidents, aggregated them by community area, and plotted them all on a map. If you are reading this by email you are going to have to click on the post title to jump over to the Web site to see any of this.
The graph below (you will need to click inside of it to blow it up so you can actually see it) shows the number of incidents by community area, sorted from highest to lowest and the usual suspects show up at the top of the list but there are some surprising relative rankings. For instance, I live in West Town and it's actually fairly high on the list - above Uptown and Rogers Park. And Lincoln Park is higher on the list than Hyde Park. And Lake View and The Loop are fairly high on the list.
But I've actually done this analysis before - about 2 years ago - and I've addressed some of the nuances involved in interpreting this data: Violent Crime In Chicago: The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods For Assault And Battery. Basically you have to factor in how many people live in each of these areas and also how many people come into the area each day for work or entertainment. More people = more targets and more trouble makers. So that's why The Loop is so high on the list and I'm sure Lake View is up there because of it's bars with high testosterone men.
The other thing is that Chicago can vary quite a bit from one side of the street to the other. So when you look at the INTERACTIVE map below you can see that more of West Town's problems occur west of Western Avenue and a lot of Lincoln Park's incidents occur along busier streets and the west end has more problems than the east end. And to support my theory above about Lake View you can see the clusters of incidents along the busy streets of the east end where all the bars are.
By the way, that map has almost 8100 data points on it (more than 100 dropped off because they didn't have location information) so you really have to blow it up to see what's going on. You can click on each balloon to get more details on the incident. And you can get a larger, stand alone version of this map here: Chicago crime map: assault and battery.
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