Special Report

Ten U.S. Cities Where Violent Crime Is Soaring

5. Redding, Calif.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 53.8%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2007): 470.2
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2012): 723.4
> Murders per 100,000: 3.9

There were 1,298 violent crimes in the Redding metro area in 2012, up from 851 violent crimes in 2007. On a standardized, per 100,000 resident basis, violent crime rose more than 53% in that time. Additionally, property crimes rose by more than 50%, the most of any metro area reviewed, despite a nationwide 12.7% decline in such crimes during that time. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, some area residents believe that the area’s high crime rates may be related to marijuana cultivation. Officials in Shasta County — which makes up the Redding metro area — recently elected to ban outdoor growing, although the city of Redding is not included in the ban.

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4. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 65.3%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2007): 299.0
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2012): 494.2
> Murders per 100,000: 2.6

While the violent crime rate across the nation declined by 18% between 2007 and 2012, in the Hanford metro area it increased by more than 65%. In particular, incidents of rape increased by nearly 80% over that time, more than all but six other urban areas. Aggravated assaults had also increased by more than 80%in those five years. Because of the increase in violent crime, local officials have had trouble dealing with serious overcrowding issues in the local prisons. In 2012, law enforcement officials were forced to release prisoners early. They also complained they couldn’t properly discourage and deter criminals who knew of the prisons’ overcrowding problems.

3. Wheeling, W. Va.-Ohio
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 67.7%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2007): 172.6
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2012): 289.4
> Murders per 100,000: 0.0

Although the violent crime rate in the Wheeling metro area rose by more than nearly all other such areas between 2007 and 2012, the region is still relatively safe. There were zero murders in 2012, and less than 40 robberies per 100,000 residents, considerably less than the national rates of 112.9 robberies and 4.7 murders per 100,000 residents that year. Marshall and Ohio county, which are part of the Wheeling metro area, are both considered part of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. A large scale law-enforcement operation investigating narcotic trafficking in 2012 resulted in numerous indictments of criminals distributing heroin, cocaine, and pain pills throughout the area.

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2. Columbus, Ind.
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 70.1%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2007): 101.6
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2012): 172.8
> Murders per 100,000: 1.3

There were just 76 violent crimes committed in Columbus in 2007, lower than in all but one other metro area where data was available. Although the violent crime rate remained relatively low when compared with most metro areas in 2012, the rate increased by more than 70% from 2007. Motor vehicle crime was up by nearly 50% in the area between 2007 and 2012, versus a 37% decline in auto theft nationwide. The area is also home to a number of major auto parts manufacturing operations, which are critical to the area’s economy.

1. Odessa, Texas
> 5-year increase in violent crime rate: 75.5%
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2007): 468.1
> Violent crime per 100,000 (2012): 821.3
> Murders per 100,000: 3.5

There were 672.2 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents in Odessa in 2012, an increase of more than 80% since 2007. Most property crimes, such as burglary and theft, became less likely over that time period, declining by 13.8% and 19.0%, respectively. On the other hand, motor theft, in particular, increased by 17% to more than 500 incidents in 2012. Many reported auto thefts, however, may have been illegitimate, according to an officer the Odessa Police Department. Some incidents, for example, may have been insurance fraud attempts, or drunk drivers abandoning their vehicle and claiming it was stolen. Some vehicles were being stripped for scrap metal, while others being taken merely for joyrides.

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