Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

In places with low levels of violent crime to begin with, even slight increases in the number of incidents can have a dramatic impact on the overall violent crime rate. Despite a 39.2% spike in the violent crime rate over the past five years, Green Bay is still an especially safe city. The city’s violent crime rate of 219 incidents per 100,000 people is well below the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people and Wisconsin’s violent crime rate of 290 incidents for every 100,000 residents. As was the case in nearly all cities with increasing crime rates, a spike in the number of aggravated assaults was the primary cause of the city’s surging violent crime rate.

2. Sioux Falls, SD
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 231.7
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 327.6
Total murders (2014): 4

Sioux Falls is one of only two U.S. metro areas where the violent crime rate has surged by more than 40% over the five years since 2010. The number of people who call Sioux Falls home increased by roughly 5,000 between 2010 and 2014. The number of reported rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and murders also increased, but disproportionately faster than the population’s growth. Despite the spike in violent offenses, the crime rate in Sioux Falls is slightly lower than the national rate of 366 incident per 100,000 and roughly in line with South Dakota’s violent crime rate.

1. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
5-year increase in violent crime rate:
Violent crime per 100,000 (2010): 266.8
Violent crime per 100,000 (2014): 420.9
Total murders (2014): 3

The violent crime rate in the San Luis Obispo metro area has shot up by nearly 58% since 2010, far and away the sharpest increase of any U.S. metro area. In 2010, San Luis Obispo was once much safer than the country as a whole, but became considerably more dangerous by 2014. In 2010, only 267 violent crimes were reported in the metro area for every 100,000 people, far less than the corresponding national rate of 405 reported incidents per 100,000 people that year. The city’s current violent crime rate of 421 incidents for every 100,000 people is much higher than the national rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, only about 30 miles away, violent crime in the Santa Maria metro area decreased by 35%, one of the most precipitous drops in the country.

Click here to see the 10 cities where crime is plummeting.

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