10. Palm Coast, Fla.
> 5-year Increase in Violent Crime Rate: 30.4%
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2006): 245.8
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2011): 320.6
> Murders per 100,000: 1.0
In 2006, there were 191 violent crimes reported in the Palm Coast metropolitan area. By 2011, that figure had risen to 311. While the rate of robberies declined by more than 24% across the country, it increased 2.1% in the Palm Coast region. But while violent crime experienced a significant uptick, the property crime rate decreased by 15%, better than the 13.1% decline nationwide. The rate of motor vehicle thefts — which falls into the property crime category — declined 61%, significantly better than the 42.6% decline across the U.S.
9. Albany, Ga.
> 5-year Increase in Violent Crime Rate: 31.2%
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2006): 402.2
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2011): 527.7
> Murders per 100,000: 10.0
Higher rates of aggravated assaults in Albany primarily drove a substantial increase in the region’s violent crime rate. The rate of these offenses increased by more than 66%, the 10th-highest increase among all metro areas. Meanwhile, the murder rate increased by 53.8% with 16 murders were recorded in the metropolitan area of just under 160,000 people in 2011, up from 11 murders in 2006. Of particular concern is East Albany, a poor district with high rates of drug use and street gangs.
8. Pascagoula, Miss.
> 5-year Increase in violent crime rate: 35.8%
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2006): 247.7
> Violent Crime per 100,000 (2011): 336.5
> Murders per 100,000: 3.1
Despite the decrease in both murders and robberies, the violent crime rate rose by more than a third in the five-year timespan. The aggravated assault rate in Pascagoula more than doubled, one of just four metro areas with such an alarming trend. On the other hand, the property crime rate actually declined by 22.1%, the best relative improvement of any metro area on this list. Additionally, the number of burglaries decreased from 2,040 in 2006 to 1,628 in 2011, while motor vehicle theft declined by more than two-thirds. The decline in the motor vehicle theft rate in the Pascagoula area is among the 10 largest decreases of more than 300 metro areas.
7. Billings, Mont.
> 5-year Increase in violent crime rate: 42.6%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 183.8
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 262.1
> Murders per 100,000: 1.9
Like nearly all metropolitan areas on this list, Billings’ violent crime rate went up despite fewer murders and robberies because of an increase in aggravated assaults. The rate soared by over 68% between 2006 and 2011, the ninth-highest increase of all metro areas. Despite this, there were only 262.1 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2011, well below the national average rate of 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000.
6. Muncie, Ind.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 47.9%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 344.1
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 509.0
> Murders per 100,000: 1.7
Muncie’s violent crime rate rose by nearly 48% between 2006 and 2011, with the aggravated assault rate increasing by nearly 80% and the robbery rate increasing by nearly 16%. Ball State University, located in Muncie, was recently ranked the 11th most dangerous college by Business Insider, which looked at both violent and property crime data from the FBI between 2008 and 2011. Despite all this, both Muncie’s police force and fire department were downsized in 2009 due to a nearly $4 million budget shortfall.