Special Report

The Most Dangerous Cities in America

Buffalo Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

20. Buffalo, New York
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,118.6
> 2015 murders: 41
> Poverty rate: 30.9%
> Unemployment rate: 7.1%

Buffalo’s violent crime rate of 1,119 per 100,000 in 2015 was slightly more than three times the national violent crime rate. With few exceptions, nonviolent crime — which includes burglary, larceny, arson, and motor vehicle theft — tends to be higher in areas with more violent crime, and Buffalo is no different. The city’s nonviolent crime rate of 4,330 per 100,000 residents in 2015 was also much higher than the national rate of 2,487 that year. Buffalo had the sixth highest arson rate of any major U.S. city.

Atlanta, Georgia 3
Source: Thinkstock

19. Atlanta, Georgia
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,119.6
> 2015 murders: 94
> Poverty rate: 25.2%
> Unemployment rate: 6.3%

High crime rates often accompany poor economic conditions. In Atlanta, a city with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, more than a quarter of the population lives in poverty, far more than is typical in most American cities.

Despite being one of the most dangerous U.S. cities, Atlanta’s violent crime rate is actually an improvement from five years ago. The city’s 2015 violent crime rate was 14.7% is lower than it was in 2011.

Toledo, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

18. Toledo, Ohio
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,128.9
> 2015 murders: 24
> Poverty rate: 27.7%
> Unemployment rate: 5.8%

Though it was not an especially safe place to begin with, Toledo, Ohio has gotten considerably more dangerous in the last five years. The city’s violent crime rate in 2011 was 998 incidents per 100,000 people, 10% lower than the 2015 violent crime rate.

In keeping with the national trend, the incidence of aggravated assaults contributed most to the Ohio city’s total violent crime rate.

Skyline of Hartford Connecticut on a beautiful sunny day
Source: Thinkstock

17. Hartford, Connecticut
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,140.9
> 2015 murders: 32
> Poverty rate: 34.4%
> Unemployment rate: 10.4%

While the relationship between crime and education is complicated, furthering one’s education can lead to better employment and earnings opportunities, which in return may help reduce the likelihood of crime. In Hartford, just 15% of adults have a college degree, roughly half the corresponding national rate. The city ranks among the worst 10 U.S. cities in both poverty and unemployment. A lack of a strong labor market has likely contributed to the Connecticut capital’s extremely high violent crime rate.

Lansing, Michigan
Source: Thinkstock

16. Lansing, Michigan
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,157.0
> 2015 murders: 09
> Poverty rate: 29.4%
> Unemployment rate: 6.3%

Lansing is 16th most dangerous city in the country and the second most dangerous in Michigan. High crime rates often accompany poor economic conditions, and many in Lansing are struggling. Nearly 30% of the city’s population lives below the poverty line, almost double the national poverty rate.

Murders typically comprise the smallest share of violent crime and they are especially uncommon in Lansing. The city had only 9 murders in 2015, after adjusting for population, this was the second lowest murder rate of all of America’s most dangerous cities.

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