Special Report

The Most Dangerous States in America

7. Delaware
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 479.1
> Population: 925,749
> Total 2013 murders: 39 (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.4% (13th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 88.3% (22nd lowest)

The incidence of violent crime in Delaware fell 13% in 2013 from the year before, a much larger decline than the 5.1% drop in crime nationwide. Despite this improvement, violent crime rates were still among the highest in the nation, with nearly 480 reported per 100,000 residents. However, crime may not be as big a problem in Delaware as it appears. With such a small population, the state’s violent crime numbers are prone to sample errors and large fluctuations. Delaware and Alaska are the only states on this list where the estimated total number of violent crimes was less than 4,500. The average number of violent crimes across the 10 states on this list was more than 25,000 in 2013.

6. South Carolina
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 494.8
> Population: 4,774,839
> Total 2013 murders: 297 (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.6% (tied-8th highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 85.6% (tied-12th lowest)

With nearly 500 violent crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2013, South Carolina had the sixth highest violent crime rate in the country, despite a 11.7% decline in the violent crime rate. Between 2012 and 2013, both rape and robbery declined by at least 12% and were the largest influences on the state’s falling crime rate. Nevertheless, violent crime rates remained high in South Carolina, due in part to poor socioeconomic conditions. In 2013, South Carolina’s poverty rate was 18.6% and median household income was $44,163 — both worse than national levels.

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5. Louisiana
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 510.4
> Population: 4,625,470
> Total 2013 murders: 498 (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 83.1% (4th lowest)

More than 17% of Louisiana residents received food stamps in 2013, well above the 13.5% who did nationwide. Low incomes may be the result of low education attainment rates. Only 22.5% of Louisiana residents aged 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, among the lowest rates in the country. These relatively poor socioeconomic factors likely contributed to higher crime rates. There were 510 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2013, a 2.8% increase over 2012. While crime rates dropped across the country, Louisiana was one of a handful of states where violent crime rates increased. Criminal activity in New Orleans and Lafayette, which both reported some of the higher violent crime rates among large U.S. metro areas in 2013, also contributed largely to Louisiana’s crime problem.

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