There are a relatively few major yardsticks most Americans use when they consider where to live. Are there good jobs in the area? How is the education system? Are their recreational areas nearby? Is the housing affordable? What about the cost of living? All well and good, but what about crime? How many people want to move to a city with a high crime rate? For the cities that have them, the bar is set high to attract new residents.
While local violence and murder rates shift over time, many impoverished cities have not been able to overcome the trouble. Dying industrial cities in the Midwest often face insurmountable efforts to bring crime down. Detroit is a good example. The city does not have the resources to improve its crime situation, at least by much.
Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most dangerous town in the United States. Towns we considered are ranked by the violent crime rate — specifically, the number of violent crimes reported for every 100,000 residents. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 2,500 people and less than 25,000 people.
Explanations for the high levels of violence in these places are varied and complex. Major current events that have impacted the entire country — such as the COVID-19 pandemic and unrest fueled by the murder of George Floyd — have likely played a role in some places. Other factors, such as a lack of economic opportunity, are more endemic.
Low-income communities in the United States are disproportionately burdened by crime. One study found that individuals with family incomes of less than $15,000 annually are three times more likely to be victimized by crime than those with family incomes of $75,000 or more.
To determine the most dangerous U.S. town, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. Violent crime includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rаpе, robbery, and aggravated assault. The rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people was calculated using population data from the FBI.
We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 2,500 people and less than 25,000 people — using five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Limited data were available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though towns in these states were not excluded from the analysis.
Additional information on the number of murders are also from the 2020 FBI UCR. Poverty rates are five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.
The most dangerous town in America is Nome, Alaska. Here are the details:
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 4,205.1
> Number of violent crimes: 164 — 54th highest of 3,606 towns
> Murders reported in 2020: 2 — 142nd highest of 3,606 towns (tied)
> Poverty rate: 7.5% — 936th lowest of 3,606 towns
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 3,900