Chicago is like NYC in the 80s. Good areas as well as bad neighborhoods you just don’t go to.
From what I’ve read, the biggest flaw with Chicago is lack of trust. Current mayor gutted the detective division making it difficult to solve homicide cases.
Making the good better while ignoring the bad stuff, which is unfortunately not uncommon.
I’ve never been there but I’ve had friends from Chicago suburbs whose accounts of Chicago sounded a lot like NYC. I grew up in Central NJ and it was similar when going to NYC. Keep your eyes open, be politely distant of strangers (mind your own business), dress how you want to be treated and you’ll be fine.
Elizabeth NJ (next to my hometown) and Newark NJ (next to that) had a bit of that “hood” mentality, although I’ve heard it’s well defined in Chicago.
I never felt out of place in most places in Elizabeth, although some areas I knew “don’t go there”. Being and playing stupid got me out of a few scrapes but I also didn’t go there after night much.
“This is poor zone” vs “This is crime zone”.
Poor zones didn’t phase me. Crime zones I just didn’t go by.