Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

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Mansfield, Ohio
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Mansfield, OH
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +43.2%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 182.2 per 100,000
> 2015 violent crime rate: 261.0 per 100,000
> Murders in 2015: 3

Mansfield’s violent crime rate is well below the U.S. rate, but it is still alarmingly higher compared to what it was five years ago. In 2011, there were just 182 murders, robberies and aggravated assaults for every 100,000 area residents, one of the lowest rates among U.S. metropolitan areas and less than half the national violent crime rate. By 2015, the rate rose to 261 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, a 43.2% increase.

While Mansfield’s violent crime rate remains below the national rate even with this substantial increase, property crime levels in the area have far surpassed national levels and are a serious problem. There were over 4,000 burglaries and thefts in 2015 for every 100,000 Mansfield residents, compared to the national rate of 2,487 property crimes per 100,000 people.

Springfield, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

9. Springfield, MO
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +45.8%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 426.0 per 100,000
> 2015 violent crime rate: 621.3 per 100,000
> Murders in 2015: 15

Springfield, Missouri had a violent crime rate in 2011 of 426 incidents for every 100,000 residents, which was slightly higher than the national rate of 387 per 100,000 people. Today, the metro area’s violent crime rate has pulled away from the national rate, with 621 reported incidents per 100,000 area residents, compared to the national rate of 373 incidents per 100,000.

In a number of metropolitan areas where violent crime rose, property crime also either rose or remained high. Springfield had over 4,000 burglaries and thefts per 100,000 in 2015, 11th highest among metropolitan areas.

downtown_waterloo_iowa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +50.0%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 331.4 per 100,000
> 2015 violent crime rate: 497.0 per 100,000
> Murders in 2015: 4

Between 2011 and 2015, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area’s violent crime rate increased from 331 incidents per 100,000 residents to 497 per 100,000. Most crimes were reported in Waterloo, the metro area’s largest city. The Waterloo Police Department logged more murders in 2014 than they had in any of the previous 20 years. However, the Waterloo Police Department maintains that the high number of murders was an anomaly and not an indication of an upward trend in violence.

Murder, however, was not the primary driver increased violence in the area. There were nearly 300 more aggravated assaults in the Waterloo metro area in 2015 than in 2011. The jump in aggravated assaults was the main reason for the 50% spike in the metro area’s violent crime rate over the last five years, one of the largest increases nationwide.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 3
Source: Thinkstock

7. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +51.8%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 448.1 per 100,000
> 2015 violent crime rate: 680.1 per 100,000
> Murders in 2015: 155

Racially segregated cities tend to be more violent than more integrated cities. The Milwaukee metro area, which reported a 51.8% spike in the violent crime rate in the last half decade, is one of the most violent and racially segregated parts of the country. Particularly, the number of murders in the metro area spiked considerably. There were 155 homicides in the Milwaukee metro area in 2015 compared to 92 in 2011.

Some metro area neighborhoods most affected by violent crime are taking action. Community pride and engagement efforts in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood are showing signs of promise for long-term crime reduction.

El Centro, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. El Centro, CA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +53.3%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 270.7 per 100,000
> 2015 violent crime rate: 414.9 per 100,000
> Murders in 2015: 2

El Centro’s violent crime rate jumped in the last five years from 271 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011, which was comfortably below the national rate that year, to 415 incidents per 100,000 people in 2015 — now higher than the national rate.

The relationship between economic growth and crime in a given area is complicated. A depressed area with fewer opportunities for prosperity can potentially turn residents to criminal activities. At the same time, neighborhoods with high crime can deter economic development. In El Centro, more than one in every five members of the labor force are unemployed, by far the highest unemployment rate in the country. Also, roughly 25% of area residents live in poverty, far higher than the national poverty rate of 14.7%.