This City Has Been Selected as Illinois’ Most Dangerous Place to Live


Illinois is known for its rich cultural diversity, dramatic natural settings, and illustrious past. However, FBI data also shows that it deals with some of the most dangerous urban regions in the country. Out of all of these, Mount Vernon is the most vulnerable city.

Why Is Mount Vernon Such a Dangerous Place?

Known for being the birthplace of actor John Malkovich, Mount Vernon, a town of about 14,000 people in southern Illinois, is the seat of Jefferson County. It is also well-known for having startlingly high crime rates, especially when it comes to violent crimes.

According to FBI data, Mount Vernon has an astounding violent crime rate of 1,658 incidents per 100,000 people, which is more than twice as high as the state and more than three times higher than the national average. These violent offenses include horrible deeds like rape, robbery, murder, and aggravated assault. A horrifying 10 murders, 34 rapes, 46 robberies, and 177 violent assaults were reported in Mount Vernon in 2023.

In addition, Mount Vernon faces a high property crime rate of 5,792 per 100,000 residents, which is over twice as high as the state average and more than twice as high as the national average. Motor vehicle thefts, larceny thefts, and burglaries are all considered property crimes. In 2023, the city had 221 burglaries, 669 larceny thefts, and 58 auto thefts reported.

What Leads to Crime in Mount Vernon and What Are Its Effects?

The consistently high crime rates in Mount Vernon are caused by a number of factors:

  1. Poverty: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mount Vernon has a poverty rate of 25.9%, which is significantly higher than the average for the state (11.5%) and the country (10.5%). Poverty frequently breeds hopelessness, frustration, and desperation, which creates an atmosphere that is favorable to criminal activities.
  2. Unemployment: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the city’s unemployment rate is 7.2%, higher than the state’s (6.2%) and the country’s (5.4%) norms. Elevated rates of joblessness can diminish earnings, prospects, and self-worth, thus heightening the probability of engaging in criminal activities.
  3. Drug Problems: In 2023, the drug overdose fatality rate in Mount Vernon was 38 per 100,000 people, higher than the state and national rates of 28 and 21 per 100,000, respectively. This indicates that the city has a serious drug problem. Substance abuse exacerbates anger, clouds judgment, and feeds addiction—all of which lead to criminal activity.
  4. Gang Activity: According to the Illinois State Police, street gangs including the Vice Lords and the Gangster Disciples are present in Mount Vernon. These gangs cause strife and terror across the neighborhood by engaging in a variety of illegal activities such as drug trafficking, robberies, extortion, and violence.

Crime’s Aftereffects in Mount Vernon

The following are significant consequences of Mount Vernon’s high crime rates:

  • Safety: Crime is a direct danger to the health and safety of locals and guests, as it can lead to physical harm, psychological trauma, and emotional suffering. It also encourages mistrust and uneasiness among neighbors.
  • Economic Impact: Because crime reduces productivity, income, and investment, it has a negative impact on the city’s economy. Businesses may decide not to operate or grow in Mount Vernon as a result of the higher expenses and hazards related to crime, and visitors may become discouraged owing to worries about their safety.
  • Reputation: Mount Vernon’s good qualities and accomplishments are overshadowed by crime, which damages the area’s standing. Residents’ sense of pride and confidence are diminished by this unfavorable image, which also affects how people view the city as a whole.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Make Mount Vernon’s Situation Better?

Although combating crime in Mount Vernon is a challenging undertaking, different stakeholders can take the following actions to help:

  1. Law enforcement: The role of law enforcement in preventing and responding to crimes can be strengthened by increased police presence, proactive patrols, interagency cooperation, and community involvement.
  2. Education: By offering high-quality instruction, encouraging social skills, and advancing civic principles, schools and other educational institutions can make a positive impact. Support services and extracurricular activities can also help kids stay motivated and involved.
  3. Community Involvement: By reporting crimes, assisting law enforcement, joining neighborhood watch organizations, and lending support to neighborhood initiatives, residents can take an active part in attempts to reduce crime.

In Summary

Despite its potential and promise, one of Mount Vernon’s most important problems is crime, which has an effect on the city’s quality of life and future. However, criminality is not an insurmountable obstacle. With teamwork and dedication, Mount Vernon can develop into a more secure and affluent community for everybody.

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