But, incredibly, on July 30, the local CBS News TV affiliate published an article pointing out that the crime rate in Chicago is actually at its lowest rate in 20 years.
Of course, the results were derived using some questionable logic and convenient analysis (there are more people living in Chicago today than 20 years ago, so the 414 citizens who were murdered there last year were statistically disproportionate to the 930 killed in 1994) but even local news teams have to find a ray of light in the grisly numbers.
Still, Chicago is a big city. More crime is supposed to happen there. Escaping to a smaller city in America usually means that crimes like burglary and murder should be a lot less prevalent.
It turns out, that's not necessarily true.
Especially for the 5 smaller cities cited by Movoto, the top real estate blog on the web. The site compiled a list of the 50 most dangerous cities in America, based on an exhaustive and detailed review of the FBI’s 2012 uniform crime report, the most current data available.
Rating hundreds of smaller cities, with populations running from about 40,000 to over 100,000, Movoto found that some pretty familiar names top the list of small cities with the highest crime per capita, particularly with a frighteningly high murder rate.
Names like Wilmington, Jackson and even Little Rock scored sky high for the surprising amount of violent crime creeping into the once cherished sanctity of the proverbial small town.
Rounding out the remaining five spots on the top 10 list were four cities in Florida (Pensacola, Daytona Beach, Homestead and Lauderhill) all centered in or around the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern regions of the country, and all with a previously decent reputation for safety being shattered as a result of the rise in crime in America over the last two decades, leaking from big city centers.
But, the news isn't all grim. The list does single out the "safest" small city in America, and, appropriately, it's even got a friendly name.
Anyone sick of the crime in Wilmington, Little Rock or even Chicago may want to think about moving to National City, Calif., which was rated to have the lowest crime rates out of the 50 cities studied.
Just watch out for the killer earthquakes...
Read on to see which cities made the top 5 worst places to live in "small town" America.
Despite being America's HQ for credit card financing and enjoying lighter tax burdens than most other small towns, Wilmington, Delaware tops the list for violent crimes in cities with populations under 100,000.
Just 50 miles outside of Cleveland, Canton Ohio suffers from one of the highest property crime rates in the country. And, for a town with less than 100,000 inhabitants, it managed to make it to number 8 on the list for murders in 2012.
Property crime is down, but murder and violent crime is way up in Jackson, Tennessee, topping out at number 4 on the FBI's crime statistics listings from 2012.
Rocky Mount, NC
With a state reputation for safety and high quality lifestyles, North Carolina always ranks near the top. But hotspots like Rocky Mount burst the bubble with a high murder rate for a town with just 58,000 residents.
North Little Rock, AR
Bill Clinton's not the only bad boy to come from North Little Rock, Arkansas, as the town of less than 40,000 residents scores high in property crime and not much better when it comes to murder and mayhem.