Cities Where Americans Don’t Feel Safe

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10. Fresno, Calif.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 57.2%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 14.1% (11th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 539.8 per 100,000 residents (58th highest)
> Poverty rate: 28.4% (5th highest)
> Population: 951,648 (74th highest)

Fresno had among the highest property crime rates in the nation in 2012, with 4,424 crimes per 100,000 residents. That year, there were nearly 730 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 people in the area, the most out of all but three other metro areas in the United States. Fresno continues to struggle with high unemployment. In December 2013, the area’s unemployment rate was 12.4%, among the highest in the nation. Like most of the cities where people do not feel safe, Fresno also had a high poverty rate of more than 28%, one of the highest rates in America. The residents’ impression of their city was also quite poor as less than 48% believed their city was getting better, well below the national rate of 59.7%.

9. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio
> Pct. feel safe at night: 56.7%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 9.6% (86th lowest)
> Violent crime rate: N/A
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (111th highest)
> Population: 364,665 (166th highest)

Like several metro areas where people felt unsafe, educational attainment rates were relatively low. Less than one in five Huntington-area residents had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2012, considerably lower than the nationwide rate of nearly 30%. In contrast to other metro areas where residents did not feel safe, a relatively low proportion of respondents, 9.6%, said they did not have enough money for shelter in the past 12 months. However, a typical household in the area made just $39,160 in 2012, among the lowest incomes. And while nearly 60% of Americans thought the city they lived in was getting better last year, just 40% of Huntington residents told Gallup their city was improving, among the worst such assessments.

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8. Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 56.3%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 13.7% (18th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 1056.8 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.9% (76th highest)
> Population: 1,341,690 (59th highest)

Memphis had the nation’s highest violent crime rate in 2012, with 1,057 such crimes per 100,000 residents. That year, the area had 155 murders, or 11.5 per 100,000 people — among the highest rates in the nation. Incidents of aggravated assault and robbery were similarly prevalent as well. Nearly 20% of area residents lived below the poverty line in 2012, compared to slightly less than 16% nationally. Memphis residents were among the most likely Americans to state they lacked money for adequate shelter, with 13.7% saying so in 2012 and 2013. Despite all of this, many residents had strong evaluations of their own lives, as only residents in three other metro areas nationwide gave higher evaluations of their prospects in the next five years.

7. Fayetteville, N.C.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 56.0%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 12.7% (29th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 501.0 per 100,000 people (71st highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (86th highest)
> Population: 377,864 (162nd highest)

Fayetteville residents were among the most likely to be victims of property crime. There were 5,359 property crimes and 1,827 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2012, both the third highest rates nationwide. Violent crime was also a problem in the area. There were more than 500 violent incidents per 100,000 area residents in 2012, well above the national rate of 386.9 per 100,000. There were also 7.9 murders per 100,000 people in the area, versus 4.7 murders per 100,000 nationwide. Like many of the cities where residents felt unsafe walking at night, Fayetteville had a poverty rate well above the national rate of 15.9%.

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6. Mobile, Ala.
> Pct. feel safe at night: 54.5%
> Pct. without money for shelter: 13.8% (16th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 552.1 per 100,000 (46th highest)
> Poverty rate: 21.1% (54th highest)
> Population: 414,233 (151st highest)

Mobile’s high violent crime rate in 2012 may be why so many residents felt unsafe at night. That year there were more than 550 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, more than in the vast majority of areas. The metro had 11.1 murders and voluntary manslaughters per 100,000 residents, among the highest rates in the country. The area also had 4,298.8 property crimes per 100,000 people in 2012, also among the highest in the country. Like many areas where residents feel unsafe at night, many residents in the area were also struggling to make ends meet, as 9% of Mobile’s households earned less than $10,000, one of the highest percentages in the country. Nearly 14% of Mobile’s population did not have enough money for shelter in the past year, among the worst rates in the nation.