Chicago is usually the first city that comes to mind when people talk about dangerous places in Illinois. But the crime rates in a few other places in the state are even worse than Chicago’s.
It’s important to know what’s going on in the bigger picture before reading this story. Read our in-depth look at how Illinois’ murder rate compares to the rest of the country.
Why is Danville the Most Dangerous City in Illinois?
Danville is the most dangerous city in Illinois. Danville is not a good place to live because it has a crime rate 213% higher than the state average. There are 30,479 people living in Danville. Out of those, 1 in 17 will be victims of some kind of crime. There aren’t many opportunities in the city, the schools are bad, and the typical income is low. Beginning in 2020 and going through 2022 and 2023, Danville saw an unprecedented rise in crime that hasn’t stopped, even in the last few months.
Gangs are shooting at the cops. That’s how bad things were in Danville when the crime rate hit a new high point not long ago. The city has been fixed up after years of hard work. What 10 News did to find solutions that might help other places fight gun violence is being worked on for you.
“I remember waking up to a murder almost every day.” “The streets weren’t safe,” said Tyquan Graves, an investigator for the Danville Police Department who grew up in the city. A store owner was shot and killed, there was a fight at Buffalo Wild Wings, and police officers and delivery drivers were all shot at. Danville was dangerous and violent from 2016 to 2018. There were 800 cases of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
“On the south side of town, there was a group calling themselves the Danville Police Department killers, or DPDK. They were linked to a National Blood group,” Richardson said. “In 2016, two police cars were shot at in our area.” One with a police officer in the car and one while being pulled over. We hadn’t seen those things here before.
The FBI’s Intervention in Danville
At one point, Danville had the highest murder rate per person in Virginia. That’s when they had to call in outside help, like the FBI. He said, “The US Attorney’s Office for the Western District, some of their prosecutors, and some of their leaders were here with us almost every day.”
That’s what Chief Booth saw on his first day on the job in 2018. Soon after, he did the first neighborhood walk at Cardinal Village. This is now an important part of the way police work in Danville.
“A lot of young men had died there, and people didn’t trust the police.” Chief Booth said, “From the police officer’s point of view, they really thought that the people who lived there didn’t like them and didn’t want anything to do with the police.” They talked to people and knocked on doors.
After two hours, “I could tell the officers felt much better.” “Hey, not everyone here hates us,” they said. People in the area said, “Hey, not all police are bad.” “That was really important for us,” Booth said. They’ve made their work in the neighborhood better. Putting together events for kids like a summer camp.
Mayor Alonzo Jones said, “You see engagement, getting young people engaged to get parents engaged, you get to come in and engage, then everyone in the community feels like they are part of the community.” He also said that events like this make a difference. “It’s not all about arresting people and patting them down. But it’s about getting to know each other.”
Danville, Illinois, is the most dangerous city in the state, with a crime rate 213% higher than the state average. With 30,479 residents, 1 in 17 will be victims of crime. The city has experienced an unprecedented rise in crime since 2020 and continues to struggle with gun violence. The FBI’s intervention has helped improve the city’s police work, including neighborhood walks and events for kids. Danville’s mayor emphasizes the importance of engaging the community and fostering a sense of belonging for its residents.