Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

7. Hanford-Corcoran, CA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 353.7
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 459.6
Total murders (2014): 7

The Hanford-Corcoran metro area was safer than the nation as a whole five years ago. Now, it is considerably more dangerous. In 2010, there were 354 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the area when the national violent crime rate was roughly 405 incidents per 100,000 people. While the national violent crime rate has since declined, violent crime has surged by nearly 30% in Hanford-Corcoran. The 2014 violent crime rate of 460 incidents per 100,000 metro area residents is higher than the 366 violent crimes per 100,000 people nationally.

According to Roman, wealthy people are more risk-averse and less likely to commit crimes than those with little or no income. In Hanford-Corcoran, 26.6% of residents live below the poverty line, a larger share than in all but a handful of other U.S. metro areas.

6. Grand Junction, CO
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 265.8
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 349.1
Total murders (2014): 3

Though Grand junction was once considerably safer than the country as a whole, the city’s violent crime rate has shot up by 31.3% over the past five years and is now roughly in line with the national rate. There were only 266 violent crimes for every 100,000 metro area residents in 2010 compared to the nationwide violent crime rate that year of 405 per 100,000 people. Now, the annual violent crime rate in Grand Junction is 349 incidents per 100,000 people, only slightly lower than the national rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people. Rapes and aggravated assaults were the biggest contributors to the area’s rising violent crime rate. There were only three murders in Grand Junction in 2010 and in 2014. In Rocky Mount, North Carolina, which has roughly the same population as Grand Junction, there were 19 murders in 2014.

5. Madera, CA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 432.3
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 578.3
Total murders (2014): 9

The violent crime rate shot up nearly 34% between 2010 and 2014 in the Madera metro area. Unlike most of the cities with spiking violent crime rates, the incidents of certain violent crimes actually declined. Though the population grew by roughly 2,300 people between 2010 and 2014, the number of reported murders, rapes, and robberies decreased. The reported number of aggravated assaults, however, drove the overall increase in violent crime, which shot up from a total of 466 assaults in 2010 to 742 in 2014. Madera’s aggravated assault rate of roughly 483 incidents for every 100,000 residents is higher than the rate in all but a handful of U.S. metro areas and considerably higher than the corresponding national rate of 233 incidents per 100,000 people.

4. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 464.1
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 634.0
Total murders (2014): 99

Milwaukee is one of the largest metro areas in the country, and also one of the most dangerous. In the last five years, the incidence of violent crime has soared by 36.6% to its current level of 634 incidents for every 100,000 residents. Though there was one fewer murder in the metro area in 2014 than in 2010, the number of reported rapes nearly doubled, and aggravated assaults became far more common, increasing from 232 incidents to 343 for every 100,000 people.

Focusing on reducing wasteful government spending, Governor Scott Walker has slashed budgets in Wisconsin. According to Roman, this has led a decrease in the number of police and correctional officers, as well as lowered the quality of training and cut the “kinds of services and programs … available to help people turn their lives around.” Milwaukee is one of two Wisconsin metro areas with a rapidly climbing crime rate.

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