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Column exaggerates Hyde Park safety

Hyde Park is more dangerous than Maroon statistics imply.

Emmett Rensin’s column “Hyde Park Hysteria” (5/15/09) seriously mischaracterizes issues of public safety in the Hyde Park community. Rensin uses the statistics provided by the University under the Clery Act to argue that crime rates in Hyde Park are very low. However, that data only includes crimes committed on campus and other University property. Perhaps that’s all that matters to Rensin, but it represents only a tiny fraction of our community. The Chicago Police Department reveals that in the past year, there have been 162 violent crimes in Hyde Park and 912 property crimes—more than 10 times greater than Rensin’s estimates. That’s the fifth most violent  of any neighborhood in Chicago (neighboring Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Kenwood are first, third, and fourth, respectively), and the third most prevalent in property crime (Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Kenwood are first, fourth, and fifth). It is true that many of these crimes occur away from campus. Perhaps for Rensin, that means that these crimes—and their victims—are safe to ignore. For those of us who believe that crime in our community is a serious issue, even if the victims happen to be poor and black, this editorial is deeply disturbing.


James Klugman

Class of 2009

  • Ryan

    Finally, a voice of reason

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see your sources. Hyde Park is most certainly not the fifth most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago, and Kenwood and Woodlawn are probably not near the top. The most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago are more inland – places like Englewood and Fuller Park. The crime there is incomparable to Hyde Park.

    By CPD estimates, Hyde Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago. Here are some links for you to peruse – the 10th most dangerous neighborhood, West Englewood, had 655 violent crimes, considerably more than the 162 you quoted, so by that article alone Hyde Park isn’t even close to the ten most dangerous neighborhoods. (

    The University on its own website acknowledges a violent crime number around 162 (they say 167), and put this in perspective to the rest of the city, noting that Hyde Park is the seventh safest neighborhood in the city, and well below the citywide violent crime average. (

  • ross

    According to the Chicago Police Department, the three beats that roughly comprise Hyde Park have together recorded 161 violent crimes in the last 365 days. There are 77 beats in other locations throughout the city that have individually recorded 162 violent crimes or more. (A beat is a range of police coverage that is smaller than a neighborhood.)

    This data can be found at:

    To see records for violent crimes in all beats, change “Records shown” to “all.”

  • Anna Akers-Pecht

    The inaccuracy of facts and the ignorance reflected in this letter absolutely disgust me. Look at the link that Anonymous posted (—as Hyde Park’s crime rate is well below the citywide average, I would like to know how James Klugman reached the conclusion that Hyde Park’s crime rate is “the fifth most violent of any neighborhood in Chicago.” Quite frankly, Klugman seems to have pulled these statistics out of his ass, as he makes no mention of Englewood in his listing of “the most violent” neighborhoods. It scares me that Klugman, a fourth year, can have attended the University of Chicago for four whole years and STILL hold the misconception that Hyde Park is the fifth most violent neighborhood in all of Chicago. After reading this letter and the recent couple of articles in the Maroon about students’ fear of the South Side, a family friend who has lived in Hyde Park for years said to me, “The more I think that The University of Chicago and students have changed, the more I realize they’ve stayed the same.” It’s sad that while some students make an effort to forge connections with the community through the UCSC or other means, others continue to hold blatantly false misconceptions and to live in fear of the surrounding communities. I don’t pretend that all of the surrounding neighborhoods are completely safe places, but please don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re among “those of us who believe that crime in our community is a serious issue” when you yourself clearly don’t have the facts straight.

  • Dave

    The top 5 neighborhoods by violent crimes is:
    1.) Englewood
    2.) South Austin
    3.) Gresham
    4.) Lawndale
    5.) South Shore

    Not only are your facts wrong, but you’re also a complete sissy. Any one that thinks Hyde Park is dangerous has not seen real danger his/her entire life.


  • lilian

    Kenwood is definetly not in the top 5 neighborhoods for violent crime, neither is hyde park. I think the author’s facts are based on racial sterotypes and personal biased. Many minority haevy areas are precieved as worse than actuality regardless of the socioeconomic background and afflunce of the people. If crime was such a huge problem in kenwood than why is the neighborhood appreheciation rate higher than any other neighborhhod in chicago (neighborhood

  • Andy

    Total crime in neighborhoods is the wrong metric to look at as they vary widely in size. It would be better to look at it by zipcode.

    Look at the website that Anonymous posted :

    Our beloved 60637 ranks in the top 10 in the city. If I am paying a million dollar to buy a house in HP, I cannot accept crime rates of a low income neighborhood!