46. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia
> City violent crime rate: 309.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 195.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> City poverty rate: 12.3%
> City unemployment rate: 4.1%
Virginia is one of only four states with fewer than 200 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. A relatively safe state, even its most dangerous metro area, Virginia Beach, has a lower violent crime rate than the nation as a whole. There were 309 violent crimes in Virginia Beach for every 100,000 residents in 2015, well below the national violent crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000.
Despite a low overall violent crime rate, the murder rate in Virginia beach is disproportionately high. There were 137 homicides in the area in 2015, about 8 for every 100,000 people. In comparison, the statewide murder rate is slightly less than 5 per 100,000 people.
47. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> City violent crime rate: 324.1 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 284.4 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 10.2%
> City unemployment rate: 3.5%
There were 324 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area in 2015. While this was the highest violent crime rate in Washington state, it was lower than the national rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans. Among the 12,130 violent crimes reported were 112 murders, 3,885 robberies, and 6,952 aggravated assaults.
Crime is less likely in areas where residents have high-paying, full-time jobs and other opportunities for gainful employment. While Seattle is the most dangerous metropolitan area in Washington, the city has the most robust economy in the state. An estimated 41.2% of Seattle adults have a bachelor’s degree, the largest share of any metro area in the state. This may be one reason why just 3.5% of workers in Seattle are unemployed, the lowest unemployment rate statewide.
48. Charleston, West Virginia
> City violent crime rate: 530.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 337.9 per 100,000 (24th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 18.6%
> City unemployment rate: 4.8%
There were 530 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Charleston residents in 2015, the most of any metro area in West Virginia and far more than the state rate of 338 incidents per 100,000 people. Among the 1,173 violent crimes reported were 18 murders, 206 robberies, and 832 aggravated assaults.
Charleston is one of the cities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. While drug use is a nonviolent crime, addicts in need of money may engage in criminal activity. Many believe the rising heroin usage has led to an increase in crime in the city. Motor vehicle theft has also increased substantially. There were 619 reported motor vehicle thefts in Charleston in 2015, an increase of more than 200 automobiles from the prior year.
49. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin
> City violent crime rate: 680.1 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 305.8 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
> City poverty rate: 14.0%
> City unemployment rate: 3.5%
Milwaukee is one of only a handful of metro areas with a violent crime rate that is more than double its home state rate. Driven largely by aggravated assault and robbery, there were 680 violent crimes in Milwaukee for every 100,000 metro area residents in 2015, compared to Wisconsin’s below average rate of 306 per 100,000.
Homicide also contributed to Milwaukee’s violent crime rate more than is typical. There were 155 murders in the city in 2015, or a murder rate of 9.8 per 100,000 people — well above the 4.9 per 100,000 national murder rate and 4.2 per 100,000 statewide rate. As was the case in many cities on this list, 2015 was an especially bad year for the Midwestern city. In the first 10 months of the year alone, 2015 became the city’s deadliest year in a decade.
50. Casper, Wyoming
> City violent crime rate: 234.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 222.1 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 11.6%
> City unemployment rate: 5.9%
Wyoming has one of the lowest violent crime rates of any states. Even Casper, the most dangerous metro area in the state, is considerably safer than the nation as a whole. There were 234 violent crimes in Casper for every 100,000 residents in 2015, well below the national violent crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000.
The least populated state in the country, Wyoming had only 16 murders in 2015, fewer than a majority of cities on this list. Similarly, Casper was one of three cities on this list to report a single murder in 2015.