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The most common crimes in public places are pickpocketing, purse snatching, jewelry theft, and gambling scams. Keep your wallet in a front coat or pants pocket. Close your bag or purse securely and keep it close to you. Also beware of someone jostling you and of loud arguments; these could be ploys to distract your attention while another person grabs your wallet. Leave unnecessary credit cards at home, and hide valuables and jewelry from view.

Although crime on CTA buses and trains in general has declined, recently robbers have been targeting El travelers with smartphones; keep your phone and other portable electronic devices out of sight on train platforms. Several additional precautions can reduce the chance of your becoming a victim: look alert and purposeful; know your route ahead of time; have your fare ready before boarding; and keep an eye on your purse or packages during the ride. Avoid taking public transit late at night.

The city has gained a reputation in recent years for being particularly violent. While certain parts of Chicago are plagued by gun violence, they are largely segregated on the West and South Sides in areas that have long struggled with deep, intergenerational poverty. The city's tourist areas remain generally quite safe.

Distribute your cash, credit cards, IDs, and other valuables between a deep front pocket, an inside jacket or vest pocket, and a hidden money pouch. Don't reach for the money pouch once you're in public.