Special Report

The Most Dangerous States in America

3. Tennessee
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> Population: 6,549,352
> Total 2014 murders: 371 (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)

Tennessee is one of only three states where the violent crime rate exceeds 600 reported incidents for every 100,000 residents. Aggravated assaults are more common in Tennessee than in any other state. The rate of 453 aggravated assaults for every 100,000 Tennesseans is nearly double the corresponding national rate of 233 incidents per 100,000 people. As in many of the most dangerous states, violence in cities drive up the overall crime rate. Memphis, the state’s largest city, reports a violent crime rate of 1,741 incidents for every 100,000 residents, the second highest of any large U.S. city.

Crime rates tend to be lower among populations with higher educational attainment and vise versa. Only 25.3% of adults in Tennessee have a bachelor’s degree, one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the nation.

2. Nevada
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> Population: 2,839,099
> Total 2014 murders: 170 (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Nevada’s violent crime rate of 636 incidents per 100,000 residents is the second highest of any state. A disproportionately large share of violent criminals in the United States tend to be young, unemployed men, which may be especially noteworthy in Nevada. The state has the fourth highest share of men aged 25-54 of any state, and it is tied with Mississippi for the highest unemployment rate in the country. Robberies make up a relatively large proportion of violent crimes committed in Nevada. About 210 robberies are reported for every 100,000 Nevada residents annually, by far the highest robbery rate in the country.

1. Alaska
> Violent crimes per 100,000:
> Population: 736,732
> Total 2014 murders: 41 (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Alaska’s violent crime rate is the highest of any state in the country. While murders and robberies are not as common in Alaska as they are in many of the other most dangerous states, rape and aggravated assault are highly prevalent. With roughly 105 reported rapes for every 100,000 state residents, the incidence of rape in Alaska is the highest of any state in the country and nearly triple the corresponding national rate. The rate of aggravated assault in Alaska is also disproportionately high. About 440 assaults are reported for every 100,000 people, the second highest rate in the country and nearly double the corresponding national rate.

Unlike most states with a high violent crime rate, people in Alaska are much less likely to be impoverished than most other Americans as the state has the sixth lowest poverty rate in the country. Also, only 3.9% of Alaskan households earn less than $10,000 annually, the second smallest share of any state in the country after only New Hampshire.

Click here to see the 10 safest states.

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