The Most Dangerous City in Every State

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An aerial view of a Maui beach, Kahului, Hawaii
Source: Thinkstock

11. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii
> City violent crime rate: 337.7 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 293.4 per 100,000 (20th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 9.7%
> City unemployment rate: 3.0%

Hawaii is one of the safer states in the country, and even its most dangerous metro area is safer than the country as a whole. There were 338 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area in 2015, slightly below the 373 violent crimes for every 100,000 people national rate. In Urban Honolulu, the only other metro area in the state, the violent crime rate is even lower at 244 incidents per 100,000 people.

Across the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area, there were four murders in 2015, among the fewest of any city on this list.

Pocatello, Idaho
Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Pocatello, Idaho
> City violent crime rate: 264.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 215.6 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 25.3%
> City unemployment rate: 3.2%

Idaho is one of the safest states in the country. Even Pocatello, the most dangerous metro area in the state, has a lower violent crime rate that the nation as a whole. There were 264 violent crimes in the metro area for every 100,000 residents in 2015, well below the national violent crime rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 people. The Pocatello metro area is one of three on this list to report only one murder in all of 2015. As is the case with most U.S. cities, aggravated assaults are the most common violent crime in Pocatello.

Rockford, Illinois
Source: Thinkstock

13. Rockford, Illinois
> City violent crime rate: 818.8 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 383.8 per 100,000 (21st highest)
> City poverty rate: 14.3%
> City unemployment rate: 8.0%

While many Americans automatically associate violent urban crime with Chicago, a city plagued by seemingly unending gang-related homicide, Chicago is far from the the most dangerous metro area in Illinois. There were about 378 violent crimes in Chicago for every 100,000 residents in 2015, less than half the violent crime rate of 819 incidents per 100,000 people in Rockford, a city located about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.

The Department of Justice provided Rockford police with a list of recommendations to help them reduce violent crime. The DOJ’s report emphasized a community approach to reduce youth violence and recommended more robust monitoring practices for certain parolees.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana
> City violent crime rate: 674.2 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 387.5 per 100,000 (20th highest)
> City poverty rate: 13.9%
> City unemployment rate: 3.3%

With 674 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the Indianapolis metro area is the most dangerous in Indiana. Of the 164 homicides in the metro area, 144 were in the city proper, making 2015 the deadliest year in the city’s history. In an effort to reduce the incidence of violent crime, the Indianapolis Police Department is putting greater emphasis on community policing and addressing the root cause of violence by bolstering mental health services, addiction recovery support, and youth education.

Indiana is slightly more dangerous than the nation as a whole, and according to a study conducted by the nonprofit research group Violence Policy Center, Indiana has the second highest rate of black homicide victims of any state.

Waterloo, Iowa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
> City violent crime rate: 497.0 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 286.1 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 12.4%
> City unemployment rate: 3.6%

Despite a multi-year downward trend in violent crime in the city of Waterloo, Waterloo-Cedar Falls ranks as the most dangerous city in Iowa. There were 497 incidents of violent crime in the metro area in 2015 per 100,000 residents, well above the statewide violent crime rate of 286 incidents per 100,000.

In response to deadly interactions between police and citizens in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, the Cedar Falls Police Department in 2015 began employing the use of police body cameras. Use of police body cameras is controversial, but some studies show their use reduces the risk of violence when police interact with suspects.