Special Report

The Most Dangerous Cities in America

Kansas City Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

10. Kansas City, Missouri
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,417.3
> 2015 murders: 109
> Poverty rate: 19.4%
> Unemployment rate: 5.5%

While the nationwide violent crime rate rose by 3.9% in 2015, the increase in Kansas City was far more dramatic. With homicide and aggravated assault rates surging, the city reported a 14.4% spike in violent crime last year. Crime in the city is up even more from five years ago. The city’s violent crime rate increased by 21.2% from 2011 through 2015, even as the nationwide rate declined by 0.7% over that period.

Oakland, California
Source: Thinkstock

9. Oakland, California
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,442.5
> 2015 murders: 85
> Poverty rate: 21.0%
> Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Nationwide aggravated assaults are more than twice as common as robberies. In a handful of cities, however, including Oakland, the robbery rate is higher than the aggravated assault rate. With 3,290 robberies, or 784 for every 100,000 residents, Oakland has the highest robbery rate in the country. There were 570 aggravated assaults reported for every 100,000 city residents, still more than double the national rate.

Evening in Little Rock
Source: Thinkstock

8. Little Rock, Arkansas
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,485.0
> 2015 murders: 32
> Poverty rate: 18.0%
> Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Property crime rates declined across the country in 2015, while violent crime rates increased. In keeping with the broader trend, Little Rock’s property crimes declined by 9.8%, while the violent crime rate increased by 6.9%. Both changes outpaced the respective 3.9% and 7.8% national changes, however.

With the sixth highest aggravated assault rate in the country, Little Rock is the only city in Arkansas to rank among the nation’s most dangerous.

Baltimore, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

7. Baltimore, Maryland
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,535.9
> 2015 murders: 344
> Poverty rate: 24.2%
> Unemployment rate: 7.7%

While murders are far less common than the other offenses that comprise violent crime, Baltimore has recently earned a national spotlight for its near-nation-leading murder rate. Baltimore has the second highest murder rate of major U.S. cities — at 55 murders for every 100,000 residents, it is more than 11 times the national murder rate. The number of murders in Baltimore have risen considerably over the last five years. There were 196 reported incidents of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in Baltimore in 2011. Last year, there were 344.

Rockford, Illinois
Source: Thinkstock

6. Rockford, Illinois
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,585.3
> 2015 murders: 19
> Poverty rate: 25.4%
> Unemployment rate: 8.3%

After Memphis, Tennessee, Rockford, Illinois has the highest rate of aggravated assault in the country. High crime areas often lack economic opportunity, and Rockford is no exception. More than a quarter of area residents live in poverty, and the city’s 8.3% unemployment rate in 2015 was nearly the highest in the country.

Rockford’s violent crime rate surged by 27.2% in 2015, one of the most dramatic increases in the country.

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