The Most Dangerous Cities in America

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5. Memphis, Tenn.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,750.0
> Population: 657,436
> 2012 murders: 133
> Poverty rate: 27.2%
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 83.4%

Memphis had the third highest rate of aggravated assault in 2012, with 1,151.9 cases per 100,000 residents. This was up from the 1,032.3 cases per 100,000 in 2011. The city’s murder rate of 20.2 per 100,000 people and robbery rate of 514.4 per 100,000 people were also up from 2011. The high levels of crime has people in the Memphis area feeling uneasy. According to a recent Gallup survey, roughly 43% of Memphis area residents reported feeling unsafe walking at night, the highest percentage of all the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country and significantly higher than the 28% across the United States.

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4. St. Louis, Mo.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,776.5
> Population: 318,667
> 2012 murders: 113
> Poverty rate: 27.0%
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 83.9%

There were 1,120.6 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people in St. Louis in 2012, higher than all but three other cities. Moreover, the murder rate of 35.5 cases per 100,000 was the fifth highest of all cities. Although St. Louis’s violent crime was still among the highest in the country, it has improved. There were 80 less violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012 compared to 2011 — the best improvement of any city on this list, with the drop mostly attributable to 106 less robberies per 100,000 people in 2012 compared to the previous year. Law enforcement officials attributed some of the drop to an increased police presence in high-crime neighborhoods.

3. Oakland, Calif.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,993.1
> Population: 399,487
> 2012 murders: 126
> Poverty rate: 21.0%
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 79.9%

There were 1,085.9 robberies per 100,000 residents in Oakland in 2012, higher than any other city. This was also significantly higher than the 851.2 robberies per 100,000 just a year earlier. The rates of murder and aggravated assaults also increased in 2012 compared to 2011. Violent crime was not the only issue in Oakland, either — there were 6,594 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012, more than all but eight other cities, and up from 5,287.9 in 2011. Crime in the city has increased ever since the city’s police department went through a round of layoffs in 2010 due to $30.5 million deficit.

2. Detroit, Mich.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,122.6
> Population: 707,096
> 2012 murders: 386
> Poverty rate: 40.9%
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 77.4%

Detroit’s murder rate of 54.2 per 100,000 residents was the second highest in the country last year. The homicide rate in Detroit, which included 386 criminal murders and an additional 25 justifiable homicides, reached the highest level in nearly 40 years. In addition, the city’s aggravated assault rate of 1,320.8 cases per 100,000 people was also the second highest in the United States, although this was an improvement from the 1,333.6 cases per 100,000 residents in 2011. Detroit has struggled economically in recent years. The city’s 2012 unemployment rate was a whopping 18.6%, much higher than the 8.1% across the nation last year. The median household income of $25,193 was less than half the national median for 2011.

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1. Flint, Mich.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,729.5
> Population: 101,632
> 2012 murders: 63
> Poverty rate: 40.6%
> Pct. of adults with high school degree: 82.9%

With a staggering 2,729.5 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, no city had a higher violent crime rate than Flint. The city of just 101,632 people had 63 total murders and 1,930 aggravated assaults, both the highest relative to the city’s population. Flint also had nationwide highs in burglary rates and arson per 100,000 people. The sheriff of Genesee County, where Flint is located, proposed a plan to create a violent crime mobile response unit that would cost $3 million. However, Governor Rick Snyder rejected the plan because he believed resources would be better “integrated into the ongoing efforts to make Flint safer.” Like Detroit, Flint has suffered economically in recent years. The median household income was just $23,380 in 2011, the second-lowest of all 555 cities measured by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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