Special Report

The Most Dangerous Cities in America

10. Stockton, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 49
> Population: 299,519
> Poverty rate: 28.1%

While Stockton was not among the 10 most violent cities in 2013, violent crime rates increased in 2014 to place the metro area among the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities. Stockton is one of two California cities to make the 10 most violent cities, along with Oakland. Though 33 American cities had more murders than Stockton, after adjusting for population, Stockton’s murder rate was the 27th highest in the nation. According to the FBI, aggravated assault is the unlawful attack of one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe bodily injury. In 2014, there were about 904 incidences of aggravated assault per 100,000 residents in Stockton, the sixth highest aggravated assault rate in the country.

Located about an hour and a half inland from San Francisco, where the median household income exceeded $85,000 in 2014, the typical Stockton household earned less than $41,000 last year. There is a strong relationship between violent crime and unemployment rates, likely at least in part because those without opportunities are more likely to resort to violent or desperate measures. Stockton had an unemployment rate of 11.5%, the fifth-highest rate of any major city in the nation.

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9. Cleveland, Ohio
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 63
> Population: 388,655
> Poverty rate: 39.2%

Although most cities with high violent crime rates tended to struggle with high poverty and low income, Cleveland struggled more than even the most violent cities. Cleveland’s median annual household income of just $24,701 was the lowest of any major U.S. city and roughly $29,000 less than the national median. Its poverty rate of 39.2% was the third highest among major U.S. cities. While Cleveland had the ninth highest violent crime rate in the country in 2014, the rate of 1,334 per 100,000 residents was an improvement by about 150 reported crimes per 100,000 in 2013, when it had the fifth-highest violent crime rate. Cleveland had a higher rate of robberies per capita than any major city other than Oakland, California, as well as the fifth most cases of rape per capita.

8. Baltimore, Maryland
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> 2014 murders: 211
> Population: 623,513
> Poverty rate: 23.6%

There were 211 homicides in Baltimore in 2014, the seventh-most murders in the country of any city last year. Among the cities with the highest violent crime rates, only Detroit had more murders. Like most dangerous cities in the country, Baltimore had a relatively high poverty rate and a low median household income. The typical Baltimore household made $42,665 last year, about $11,000 less than the national median household income of $53,657. Furthermore, the share of Baltimore residents living in poverty was over 8 percentage points higher than the national poverty rate of 15.5%.

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