Illinois : Safety by City
- Arlington Heights
- Crystal Lake
- Des Plaines
- East St Louis
- Fairview Heights
- Granite City
- Mount Prospect
- Oak Lawn
- Rock Island
- Tinley Park
Check just about any “Best Places” list and you’ll find Naperville, Illinois.
This city ranks high in everything good, from schools to senior care.
It sits 35 miles east of Chicago and the DuPage River runs right through the center of it.
There is an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities for residents and tourists.
Whether you want to revel in historical adventures, take a boat out fishing, or dress up for a night on the town, Naperville has it all.
Most of the hotels sit on the north and west sides of the city, providing easy access for drivers to Chicago and other surrounding suburbs.
Tours are available here on foot or by trolley or you can carve your own path through this affluent suburb.
This is also a very family-friendly destination with fun for all to have.
If you want to leave the kids behind for a romantic weekend, you can still be a kid at heart with some of the experiences unique to Naperville.
You shouldn’t feel like you are getting the full Chicago experience if you only visit Naperville.
The city is quite ripe with activities, but it’s also in its own little bubble.
You’re going to need to battle some gnarly traffic to get to the real essence of Chicago if that’s what you are seeking.
Warnings & Dangers in Naperville
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. Crime rates are incredibly low and keep getting lower. The community is engaged in social issues and policing. You aren't going to be able to so much as run a stop sign here without three people shaking their fingers at you in disappointment.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Metra and Amtrak trains go through Naperville, and Pace is the bus service for the surrounding six counties. Taxis and rideshares won't be hard to come by. You can also rent a car at the airport and drive. There's plenty of parking here. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of getting pickpocketed or having a purse snatched, but you still want to keep a close eye. In a wealthy community like this, a pickpocket could reap big rewards for a thief. Never let safety numbers make you lose sight of personal safety standards.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
You're going to face severe thunderstorms and tornado potential during spring and summer. Winter weather is assured with about two and a half feet of snow each year. Temperatures can get brutally cold in the winter as well. There's low risk on a given day, but when a weather watch or warning is issued, take notice and prepare.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being mugged here. The robbery rate is just a fraction of the state and national average. That said, Naperville Police still took 146 guns off the street in 2021, so it's not risk-free. This is, again, where basic safety precautions like not walking around with a lot of shopping bags or avoiding wandering around after dark.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Any part of the Chicago metro area, aka "Chicagoland", is going to be a medium risk. This is because of the population size and high-profile targets. Naperville itself wouldn't be a target, but there would be fallout from a chemical or otherwise violent attack in Chicago.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
This is the one area I'll give a medium risk to because identity theft cases skyrocketed in 2020 and were still high in 2021. Starting in 2019, there were just under 500 cases. In 2020, there were more than 2,000. In 2021, the number was just under 1,400. To protect yourself, never type in a PIN without hiding the keypad from prying eyes, save all receipts and shred them before throwing them out, and let your credit card company know what your daily purchase limit should be while you are traveling, so you can get fraud alerts.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women here. There is a one in 7,120 chance of being a victim of a sexual assault. The main risk is being careless when shopping because there are a lot of ways to spend money here. Use a concierge service to store your bags instead of loading your trunk in plain sight.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water in Naperville meets or exceeds all required standards and had no violations in the latest Consumer Confidence Water Quality Report.
Safest Places to Visit in Naperville
Downtown Naperville is a blend of old-world history and new-world modern amenities.
You can shop, spa, splurge, sip, and saunter here.
There are even dog-friendly patios to take your four-legged friend.
More than 150 businesses fill this space with public art along the way in the form of sculptures, murals, and historical artifacts along the Century Walk.
You can take a load off and hop on a trolley for a tour of the city.
Foodies will love the Bites & Sites tasting tour of the best restaurants in town.
Soak in a spring day at Riverwalk Park and walk the path along the river.
Check the event schedules for live musical performances here during some evenings.
The Millennium Carillon is a centerpiece of the community, installed in 1999 to ring in – literally – the new century.
You can take a tour but get ready for some serious stairsteps.
The Carillon is taller than the Statue of Liberty.
The view at the top is amazing – if you aren’t insanely afraid of heights like I am.
If the kids need to burn some energy, then the DuPage Children’s Museum is the place to go.
The museum is three stories tall, so there’s a lot to see and learn.
At least it’s not as tall as that Carillion, right?
I always give this warning when it comes to children’s museums, based on a story from my past.
I went with my sister to a similar children’s museum in St. Louis.
She was trying to keep up with a very active six-year-old while I was hanging out with the chill three-year-old.
She tried to crawl through a tunnel made for a child and knocked her head so hard that an egg-shaped wound popped up on her head.
When I finished laughing, I rounded up the kids and let her rest for a while.
Centennial Beach is the place to be on a hot summer’s day.
It’s not really a beach because Lake Michigan is about an hour away, but it’s a water wonderland in the suburbs.
The water does go as deep as 14 feet, so bring flotation devices if you are bringing kids.
For rainy days, try Bowlero or Funtopia.
From bowling retro style to laser tag to rope climbing adventures, these two locations have excitement for everyone, even my clumsy sister.
There are several golf courses in town or you can make a night of it at the Naperville Top Golf location.
For a more interactive sport, try out Whirleyball (a combo of Lacrosse and bumper cars) at the Pivot Room.
McDowell Grove Forest Preserve is on the “must-see” list for parks, up there with Riverwalk Park.
A little historical factoid here – this is where radar technology was tested, and perfected during World War II, a technology that still keeps us safe from storms today.
Places to Avoid in Naperville
What little crime there is gets more prominent on the northwest side of the city, but there really isn’t a bad part of this high-class slice of Chicago.
Naperville is one of those cities where you can feel like you need to “keep up” with the money flowing.
You might be tempted to spend more while shopping or dining and use the “You only live one!” mentality.
Be sure you make a budget and stick to what you can afford.
Some of the pricing here can rival that of New York City.
Only spend what you can afford, and it’s okay to splurge a little, but you don’t want to go home with shopping regrets for leopard-print stilettos you’ll only wear once.
Since this is suburbia, you can be assured traffic will be intense.
Naperville is a large city, in comparison to other Chicago area neighborhoods.
It can take 30 to 45 minutes just to get to the freeway as you drive across Naperville.
Always plan plenty of time so you’re not rushing big city traffic.
One more thing, avoid calling it “Ill-in-noise.”
That will drive locals crazy. It’s “Ill-in-oye.” The “S” is silent.
As someone who grew up on the Missouri/Illinois state line, our common saying was “It’s IllinOYE, there’s just one of them.
Don’t make it plural.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Naperville
- The Naperville Police Department has a very thorough and detailed crime map on its website where you can search through a range of dates, types of crime, and even look at car accident data. This is a great tool to see if crimes are getting higher or lower before you actually visit.
- Speaking of car accidents, there were 2,408 in Naperville in 2021. The main causes of accidents were related to speeding and not yielding to the right of way when turning left. Slow down and make sure you have room to turn if you don’t have an arrow when turning left.
- Car theft is down in Naperville in 2021, but in 2020 more than 300 cars were stolen. Naperville Police have a warning about a theft tactic known as “The Bump.” This is when a vehicle “bumps” you from behind, assuming you’ll pull over. This is nothing but a trick to get you out of the car. Proceed to the nearest police station if this happens and signal for the person to follow you. If they take off, try to get car details and the license plate number.
- Sign up for Naper Notify to get emergency alerts in the community from the city, fire department, police department, or weather service. You can select if you want a text, email, or phone call. You can also handpick which kinds of notifications you want to receive.
- Another great app to use is PulsePoint. This is somewhat of a scanner system where you can see the fire and police calls when they happen. I use it all the time in my community when I hear a fire truck or ambulance go by. It has an additional feature that if you are having a cardiac emergency, it will tell you or your loved ones where the closest defibrillator is while emergency crews are on the way.
- “When thunder roars, go indoors.” This is a common saying in the Midwest and South. This means if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to get hit by lightning. Go inside and stay there until 30 minutes after the last thunder.
- Naperville was hit by a tornado in June of 2021. It’s important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning, plus where a safe space is in case of a tornado. I grew up in the Midwest and whenever I arrive somewhere I’m visiting, from a mall to a restaurant to a park, I figure out where I’d go in a tornado.
- The National Weather Service for the Chicago area is located in Romeoville. You can get alerts through your mobile device or follow them on Twitter @NWSChicago. This is also a great way to share any weather pictures or videos you safely get during a storm. I send photos to my National Weather Service all the time and have been trained as a storm spotter. That’s a free class you can take to help get important weather information to the NWS office.
- If you want to go fishing in Illinois, you need a license from the Department of Natural Resources. Your home state or city fishing license won’t suffice. You can buy these online. Be sure to select the non-resident license.
- Recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois, and Naperville was one of the communities that pushed back against putting this law into action. However, the opponents lost and you can buy and use recreational cannabis in Naperville BUT!!!!! there are a lot of restrictions as far as where you can use it, how you can transport it, and if you can drive after using it. Please be sure to study this if you choose to use it during your visit.
So... How Safe Is Naperville Really?
This city has historically been one of the safest in America.
That doesn’t mean it’s crime-free, but it’s about as safe as you’ll find in a city with 150,000 people.
Even over the past three years, major crimes have gone down.
There were 1,777 in 2019 and 1,162 in 2021.
The only crime rates that weren’t down in 2021 were sexual assault (up 5% from 20 to 21) and arson (up 100% from one to two).
The biggest crime wave for officers in 2021 was the influx of cyber crimes and identity theft.
This is a city so much in a bubble it is even seeing fewer drug overdoses while most other Illinois cities are plagued by the opioid and fentanyl crisis.
You should know that while Naperville is safe, the crime trends can change with just a few miles’ drive in any direction.
You should research all areas where you’ll visit and not just assume Naperville carries over into other communities.
How Does Naperville Compare?
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- Visas - You only need a Visa at the airport when you arrive. Then you'll use the passport for all necessary legal ID situations. Start the Visa process at least four months out, just to be safe. There are several steps to getting approved.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Be sure to take that identity theft seriously, even down to using public WiFi. Never throw away a receipt that isn't shredded. I guard my PIN when making purchases as if it is the nuclear code in the president's pocket.
- Weather - You can expect all four seasons here and dress accordingly. Winters can get particularly brutal, so layer up. Summers are muggy, so you'll be sweating a lot and there's really no way around that unless you just stay in the air-conditioned indoors. Bring bug spray and good walking shoes.
- Airports - Plan for an hour to get to either O'Hare or Midway airport in Chicago. You can get just about anywhere in the world from either of those locations.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is important in a place with so much air traffic that it can lead to delays and extreme weather that can cause a ground stop for air traffic.
Naperville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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