As in almost the entire United States, dial '''911''' to get emergency help. Dial '''311''' for all non-emergency situations in Chicago.
Chicago is sometimes portrayed as an active war zone, under the moniker
of "Chiraq". A lot of this is media hype, especially when drawing this to the entire city, but in some neighborhoods this is a reality for many. As of 2017, Chicago is experiencing elevated rates of violent crime following a spike in 2016, placing it in many "top ten" lists for violent crime in cities. This is compounded by protests against a police force, which has various public scandals of its own. Combined with constant construction forcing sidewalks and streets to close or divert in unexpected ways, it is not unusual for travelers new to the city to feel a little uneasy.
Similar to many major cities in America, there are "two
Chicagos in one city. " You have the one Chicago that's beautiful, vibrant, and very safe, and then you have the other Chicago that's poor and crime-ridden. Although most of the city's tourist attractions are well-distanced from any areas with high crime rates, it is important to understand where in Chicago you will be visiting, and avoid the neighborhoods you hear have a bad reputation.
The North Side and the downtown area, for the most part, are very safe, but the South and West Sides have the worst reputation for violence. Some areas on the South and West Sides are relatively safe, so know what neighborhoods you are visiting if going to those areas. The South Side in particular is the largest of the three Sides, which covers half the city’s land size. That means some neighborhoods, like the Hyde Park/Kenwood and Beverly/Mount Greenwood areas are pretty safe. But, remember that a lot of the places on the South Side that are deemed 'safe' or 'relatively' safe are not too far from areas that are very unsafe to be walking and sometimes to even drive through, so try not to get lost when visiting for example, the Musuem of Science and Industry in Hyde Park.