Special Report

The Most Dangerous States in America

10. Arkansas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 445.7
> Population: 2,959,373
> Total 2013 murders: 159 (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (4th highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 84.4% (7th lowest)

There were more than 445 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Arkansans in 2013, well above the national rate of 368 per 100,000 Americans. High crime rates can be partly explained by poor socioeconomic conditions in the state. Median household income in the state was just above $40,000, the second lowest in the country. Additionally, nearly 20% of people lived below the poverty line in 2013, the fourth highest rate in the country. Arkansas residents were also among the least educated in the country — only one in five residents 25 and over had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013.

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9. Florida
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 460.0
> Population: 19,552,860
> Total 2013 murders: 972 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.0% (tied-14th highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 86.8% (19th lowest)

There were nearly 90,000 violent crimes reported in Florida in 2013, or 460 per 100,000 residents. Rapes and aggravated assaults largely contributed to the state’s high crime rates, despite the incidence of rape falling more than 11% between 2012 and 2013. Property crimes were also high, with more than 3,100 committed per 100,000 Floridians in 2013, compared to only 2,700 nationwide. The warm climate and more densely populated areas may have contributed to the high volume of crimes committed. According to a study published by Matthew Ranson, an environmental economist at Abt Associates — a public policy research and consulting firm — warmer weather may contribute to higher crime rates: “Warm weather lets people mix socially… And it is only a matter of probability that sometimes that mixture may prove volatile.”

8. Maryland
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 467.8
> Population: 5,928,814
> Total 2013 murders: 381 (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (3rd lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 89.1% (24th highest)

Unlike most dangerous states, Maryland’s high crime rate cannot be explained by economic indicators. The state’s median household income of $72,483 was the highest in the country in 2013, and only 10% of Maryland’s population lived in poverty in 2013 — well below the national rate of 15.8%. Also, nearly 38% of residents had at least a bachelor’s degree, more than 7 percentage points above the national rate. Nevertheless, nearly 468 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 residents in 2013. Baltimore’s violent crime rate of 1,401 per 100,000 city residents in 2013 — the seventh highest rate compared to other U.S. cities — may have skewed the state’s overall crime rate.

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