1. Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, Alabama
> City violent crime rate: 699.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 472.4 per 100,000 (10th highest)
> City poverty rate: 20.0%
> City unemployment rate: 6.2%
The violent crime rate in the Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville metro area of 699 incidents per 100,000 residents is the highest of all 11 metro areas in Alabama monitored by the FBI and well above the national violent crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 people.
People are more likely to turn to crime when more respectable economic opportunities are scarce, and the poor economic conditions in Anniston may be partially to blame for the high prevalence of crime in the metro area. Throughout the metro area, 20.0% of residents live in poverty and 6.2% of the workforce is out of a job, the second highest poverty and unemployment rates of any metro area in the state.
2. Anchorage, Alaska
> City violent crime rate: 1,039.5 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 730.2 per 100,000 (the highest)
> City poverty rate: 8.7%
> City unemployment rate: 6.1%
As is the case in most U.S. metro areas, aggravated assaults account for most violent crimes in Anchorage. There were 1,040 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the metro area in 2015, one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. Due in part to the prevalence of violent crime in Anchorage, Alaska’s violent crime rate is the highest of any state.
Homicide is also becoming increasingly more common in Anchorage. A rash of homicides last year prompted the FBI to assist local authorities with investigations. Anchorage police also warned residents not to travel alone at night after two bodies were found in a well-used public park in early September, the 24th and 25th murders of 2016.
3. Tucson, Arizona
> City violent crime rate: 421.4 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 410.2 per 100,000 (17th highest)
> City poverty rate: 18.9%
> City unemployment rate: 4.7%
Tucson’s violent crime rate of 421 incidents per 100,000 residents is roughly in line with the statewide rate of 410 incidents per 100,000 people. However, violent crime is slightly more common in both Tucson and Arizona than it is nationwide. Across the country, there were 373 violent crimes for every 100,000 Americans in 2015.
According to the Tucson Police Department, 31 of the 46 greater metro area 2015 homicides occurred within the city proper. The 2015 murder count marked a dramatic improvement from 2008, when the city tallied 68 murders, the most of any year in at least the last three and a half decades.
4. Pine Bluff, Arkansas
> City violent crime rate: 743.9 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 521.3 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> City poverty rate: 25.7%
> City unemployment rate: 5.1%
Pine Bluff is the most dangerous metro area in one of the most dangerous states. Though Pine Bluff is the smallest of the four metro areas monitored by the FBI in Arkansas, it had the second most murders in the state in 2015.
Still, the small metro area’s violent crime rate has improved in recent years. The police department attributes the falling crime rate to the creation of a violent crime task force and the demolition of old abandoned buildings, which often serve as a popular venue for illegal activity.
5. Stockton-Lodi, California
> City violent crime rate: 797.1 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 426.3 per 100,000 (13th highest)
> City poverty rate: 17.4%
> City unemployment rate: 7.5%
With a violent crime rate of 797 incidents for every 100,000 residents, Stockton-Lodi is the most dangerous of the 26 California metro areas considered. Crime is often more common in areas that lack economic opportunity, and 7.5% of the Stockton-Lodi labor force is unemployed, a much larger share than the 4.9% statewide unemployment rate.
As is the case in most metro areas, aggravated assault was the most common violent crime in Stockton-Lodi in 2015, followed by robbery.
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