America’s Most Dangerous Cities
10. Stockton, California
> Population: 292,047
> Violent Crime Per 1,000: 13.8
> 2010 Murders: 49
> Median Income: $45,730 (8.9% below national average)
> Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (9.4% above national average)
With a jobless rate of 18.4%, up from 18.1% a year ago, Stockton, California has one of the worst unemployment problems in the country. The huge percentage of unemployed residents may have contributed to horrible crime rates in the city, which is located 40 miles east of Oakland and San Francisco. Stockton was rated one of the most miserable cities to live in the country by Forbes in March, 2010. Violent crime was one of the chief measurements for its ranking. Of the 267 cities with populations over 100,000, Stockton has the 27th highest number of murders per 1,000 people and the 12th most aggravated assaults per 1,000. Last year, recognizing the crime problems in the city, the state temporarily diverted hundreds of California Highway Patrol officers to aid the city’s overwhelmed police department.
9. Rockford, Illinois
> Population: 156,180
> Violent Crime Per 1,000: 14.5
> 2010 Murders: 20
> Median Income: $36,990 (26% below national average)
> Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (4.3% above national average)
Rockford has unusually high violent crime rates for a city of its size. Most notably, the city has the fourth highest rate of aggravated assault in the country, with 10.5 cases for every 1,000 citizens in 2010. During the same period, 20 murders occurred, almost double the number in 2000. Quoted by the Rockford Register Star in 2007, Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers said that he believed the city’s “location worked against [it,]” as Rockford receives traffic from the drug markets in Madison, Chicago, and Milwaukee, resulting in heightened rates of violence.
8. Baltimore, Maryland
> Population: 639,929
> Violent Crime Per 1,000: 14.6
> 2010 Murders: 223
> Median Income: $38,772 (22.7% below national average)
> Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (1.6% below national average)
Baltimore had the eighth-highest rate of violent crime per capita in 2010 among cities with 100,000 or more residents, and the second-highest east of the Mississippi. The number of violent crimes has dropped slightly in the past year – from 9,600 to 9,300 – but the Maryland city has some of the worst rates of dangerous offenses in the country. This includes the tenth-worst aggravated assault rate – and the fourth-worst murder rate in the country.
7. Little Rock, Arkansas
> Population: 192,922
> Violent Crime Per 1,000: 15.2
> 2010 Murders: 25
> Median Income: $38,992 (22.3% below national average)
> Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2.2% below national average)
Little Rock has one of the highest rates of aggravated assault and forcible rape in the country. Since 2009, reported assaults has increased while reported forcible rapes have decreased. According to Lt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department, quoted by local station FOX16, Little Rock was “down almost 12 percent across the board on crime” in 2010. This may be accurate for many crimes, and especially nonviolent crimes, however, according to FBI data, violent crime increased from 2009 to 2010.
6. Oakland, California
> Population: 409,723
> Violent Crime Per 1,000: 15.3
> 2010 Murders: 90
> Median Income: $51,473 (2.4% above national average)
> Unemployment Rate: 11% (2% above national average)
Oakland’s violent crime dropped about 5.5% between 2009 and 2010, from about 6,800 to 6,260. The city nevertheless has the tenth-highest rate of rape, the ninth-highest murder rate, and the second highest robbery rate in the country. In 2010, there were 7.12 robberies for every 1,000 Oakland residents. According to an article in the San Fransisco Chronicle, Mayor Jean Quan has attempted to combat break-ins and theft by creating programs to keep potential wrongdoers off the streets by starting late-night basketball programs. It it unclear if these policies have worked.