New York City used to be a perilous place. In the 1970s and ‘80s, there were between 1,444 and 2,246 murders in the city every year, and between 2,875 and 5,706 rapes. Rates of robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, car theft, and other crimes were similarly high. Today, thanks to such factors as a healthy economy, citywide redevelopment programs, and so-called quality-of-life policing, New York is considered one of the safest big cities in America.
According to the most recently released edition of the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, the most dangerous city in America lies some 880 miles southwest of Manhattan, on the Mississippi River: St. Louis, Missouri.
The report tracks violent offenses in four categories: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
While the homicide rate in St. Louis was not the nation’s highest overall, it was the highest per capita, at 67 per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of five. And with a total of 6,461 violent offenses — 2,082 per 100,000 people — the St. Louis metropolitan area earned the dubious honor of having the nation’s highest crime rate.
Some 23.8% of the area’s residents live below the poverty line (the national average is 14%), and it endures one of the highest rates of racial segregation in the country. Based on data covering crime, demography, economy, environment, health, housing, infrastructure, and leisure, 24/7 Wall St. determined last year that St. Louis was one of the three worst American cities to live in 2018.
It isn’t all bad, of course. St. Louis is home to the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the country, one of the nation’s best medical schools, and the monumental Gateway Arch — America’s tallest monument. It consistently ranks as one of the most generous cities in the country in terms of charitable donations, and is well-known for its high rate of community volunteering.
The city even has its own Little Italy, called The Hill, famous for a unique form of pasta called toasted ravioli (it’s actually fried) and a local style of pizza, thin-crusted and cut into squares or rectangles instead of wedges. Speaking of Italian cuisine, here are 20 “Italian” dishes Italians don’t actually eat.