Recently, list of the “Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois” was circulated on social media and my town was number 13 on the list, even ahead of bigger cities like Champaign and Decatur. What I don’t understand is how it ranked more dangerously than Chicago. This isn’t the first list of “bad cities.” I’ve seen it in “Worst Cities in the Midwest” and “List of Cities to Not Raise a Family.” So, I'm guessing this isn’t a contained opinion.

Although I spent most of my life trying to find a way out of town, I still love my home.

Hoopeston although isn’t the most photogenic small town in all the Midwest it’s still my home and no matter where I go, it will always be home to me. It’s where I grew up and where I’ll always feel safest.

I love that I can’t go somewhere without running into someone that I know, or my parents know.I really used to hate this, but now I really miss it, because at school I can go by myself shopping for hours and just not have to speak, like, at all. I’ll go the grocery store and some of the cashiers are people I grew up with and others are friends of my parents. When I’m home I’ll run into my elementary school teachers by the milk and friends from high school that I haven’t seen since they graduated. It’s nice to see people I know and know me and talk to someone.

I love the memories I have of home. I remember the Sweetcorn Festival and riding rides there for what felt like days with my little brother and eating too much cotton candy because I insisted that needed the big bag. I remember dance classes after school in the fall and my mom picking me up afterward and getting ice cream from Dairy Queen before it closed until spring. I remember memories of walking to the library almost every day to hide from my chores. I have so many of these its hard to pick my favorite ones.

I love my family and friends that still call it home. My mom was born and raised in that just outside of town on a farm and my dad’s family moved from Chicago when he was little for my Grandpa’s new teaching job at the high school. My dad’s mom is the only grandparent I have left. My father’s sister and her kids are the only relatives still in town, besides my parents and my little brother.

Hoopeston is where I try not to go back to too often, but I just miss it even though I love college and Normal. Home may not be the safest place in the world by the standards of someone who didn’t grow-up in my hometown but to me, it’s my favorite place (at least when I’m not there.)

(I couldn't find the original articles that I remember seeing the past few years, but here are few that I could find that all conatin my hometown (Hoopeston) as one of the top worst cities in Illinois: 150 Worst Illinois Cities to Call Home, The Worst Towns in Illinois, and 10 Worst Towns in Illinois.