Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

10. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 377.5
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 480.0
Total murders (2014): 7

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area is significantly more dangerous than Iowa as a whole. While there were 273.5 violent crimes per 100,000 state residents, there were roughly 480 violent crimes for every 100,000 metro area residents. The city fares worse than the state as a whole by several economic measures as well. In Waterloo-Cedar Falls, 12.9% of residents live below the poverty line, a slightly higher share than the statewide 12.2% poverty rate. Additionally, with an unemployment rate of 4.9%, a larger share of the metro area workforce is out of a job than the 4.4% of the state’s workforce.

Violent crime has shot up by over 27% in the five years since 2010 in the metro area. While there were 629 reported incidents of violent crime in 2010, by 2014 there were more than 800 violent crimes. A spike in the number of rapes and aggravated assaults primarily accounted for the increased crime rate.

9. Alexandria, LA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 638.0
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 812.1
Total murders (2014): 10

Louisiana’s violent crime rate of 515 incidents per 100,000 residents is far higher than the nationwide crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans. One of the most violent states in the country, Louisiana is home to Alexandria, one of the most violent cities in the country. The violent crime rate in Alexandria of roughly 812 incidents per 100,000 residents is the highest of any major city in the country after only Anchorage.

While it is now one of the most violent cities in the country, Alexandria was a slightly safer city five years prior. In 2010, 638 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 in the metro area. Since then, violent crime has spiked by 27.3%.

8. Williamsport, PA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 168.2
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 218.2
Total murders (2014): 4

Violent crime in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was nearly 30% higher in 2014 compared to 2010. The number of aggravated assaults, the most common form of violent crime, jumped from 100 in 2010 to 133 in 2014. While the violent crime rate increased dramatically in those five years, the property crime rate actually dropped. Nonviolent crimes, such as larceny and burglary, decreased by 4.5% over the same time period.

Though the violent crime rate in Williamsport has risen since 2010 by more than in only a handful of other U.S. metros, it is not an especially dangerous city. While there were roughly 366 violent crimes across the country for every 100,000 people in 2014, there were only 218 incidents for every 100,000 people in Williamsport.

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