The Cities Where Violent Crime Is Soaring

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5. Rapid City, S.D.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 50.5%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 269.5
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 405.7
> Murders per 100,000: 3.1

Rapid City is just one of five metropolitan areas where the violent crime rate increased by more than 50%. The aggravated assault rate increased by more than 64%, while the robbery rate increased by 42%. The property crime rate increased 19% in the Rapid City area, despite a decline of more than 13% across the U.S. Rapid City’s increase in the property crime rate includes the second-largest increase in the motor vehicle theft rate and the sixth-largest increase in the larceny rate. Across the country, larceny rates decreased by 10.7%, while the motor vehicle theft rate decreased by 42.6%.

4. Bend, Ore.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 52.1%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 217.8
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 331.2
> Murders per 100,000: 1.3

There were 528 violent crimes in the Bend area in 2011, up from 313 in 2006. Experts often cite economic distress as a reason for increased crime, and Bend’s population was certainly hit hard by the recession. The unemployment rate in Bend was 14.1% in 2010 and 12.4% in 2011, both significantly above national figures of 9.6% and 8.9%, for the respective years. But  the metro’s property crime rate between 2006 and 2011 actually decreased by more than 13%, including a 26% decrease in the burglary rate and a more than 58% decrease in the motor vehicle theft rate. Officials in 2010 told The Oregonian newspaper that much of the property crime decline could be attributed to a crackdown on methamphetamine.

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3. Mobile, Ala.
> 5-year Increase in violent crime rate: 54.6%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 393.5
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 608.2
> Murders per 100,000: 11.3

Skyrocketing cases of aggravated assault caused Mobile’s violent crime rate to increase faster than all but two metro areas. The rate of aggravated assault soared 145.9% since 2006, the largest increase of all areas measured by the FBI. Despite the crime rate increase, Mobile’s Police Chief said earlier this year police officers are  leaving the force because job security concerns after an initiative to raise sales taxes failed, causing strain on the police budget. The police chief, along with members of city council, expressed concern that the situation would get worse due to low levels of morale.

2. Manchester-Nashua, NH
> 5-year Increase in violent crime rate: 61.7%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 157.4
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 254.5
> Murders per 100,000: 2.0

In the Manchester-Nashua area, the violent crime rate increased by more than 60%. The reason for the increase was mostly due to a spike in the aggravated assaults rate, which rose from 75.5 incidents per 100,000 incidents to 155.5 incidents in 2011. In the metro area’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua, the violent crime rate has been increasing for a long period of time. Between 1985 and 2010, the violent crime rate in Nashua jumped 151%, while the violent crime rate in Manchester soared 145%. However, most of the surrounding smaller cities and towns actually saw a decrease in the violent crime rate during that period.

1. Redding, Calif.
> 5-year Increase in violent crime rate: 103.4%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2006): 357.0
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2011): 726.1
> Murders per 100,000: 3.3

Redding is the only metropolitan area in America where the violent crime rate has doubled since 2006. In the five-year span, the aggravated assault rate rose 134.1%, the second-largest increase of all metro areas, while the rate of robberies rose 57.3%, the fifth-largest increase. The only good news in terms of violent crime is that the number of murders decreased slightly from eight to six. The city’s newspaper, The Record Searchlight, noted in 2011 that Redding’s police department employed the same number of officers as it did in 1995, when 12,000 fewer people lived there.

-By Samuel Weigley

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