Special Report

The Most Dangerous City in Every State

Springfield, Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

21. Springfield, Massachusetts
> City violent crime rate: 529.5 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 390.9 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> City poverty rate: 16.9%
> City unemployment rate: 4.5%

With 530 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents, Springfield is not only the most dangerous metro area in Massachusetts, but also the most dangerous in New England. The 22 murders that took place in the Springfield metro area in 2015 accounted for 17% of all murders statewide that year, even though the metro area’s population comprises only 9% of the Massachusetts population. As is the case in a majority of U.S. cities, incidence of robbery and aggravated assault contributed most to Springfield’s especially high violent crime rate.

Located around the Interstate 91 and Interstate 90 junction, the Springfield metro area is positioned along a major heroin trafficking route. Drug-related crimes are common among most cities with high violent crime rates.

Saginaw, Michigan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. Saginaw, Michigan
> City violent crime rate: 604.5 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 415.5 per 100,000 (15th highest)
> City poverty rate: 18.4%
> City unemployment rate: 5.0%

While many may immediately think of Motor City as a violent urban area in Michigan, the Detroit metro area is actually slightly safer than the Saginaw metro area. There were 605 violent crimes in Saginaw for every 100,000 residents in 2015, more than every other metro in the state. To compare, Detroit’s violent crime rate was 498 incidents per 100,000 people that year.

In March 2015, the Michigan State Police stationed a police helicopter at the Saginaw County airport to reduce response time. Later that year, the Saginaw Police Department implemented a system for citizens to report non-emergency crimes through an online portal.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
> City violent crime rate: 285.2 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 242.6 per 100,000 (12th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 9.3%
> City unemployment rate: 3.4%

There were 285 violent crimes reported in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area in 2015, by far the most of any city in Minnesota and nearly twice the violent crime rates for the state’s Rochester and Mankato-North Mankato metro areas. Still, Minnesota is one of the safest states in the nation, and Minneapolis is safer than the nation as a whole. Nationwide there were 373 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans in 2015, roughly 90 more crimes per 100,000 people than in Minneapolis.

Crime tends to be more common in areas where poverty is rampant and educational attainment is low. In Minneapolis, however, the poverty rate is relatively low at 9.3%, second lowest of any city in Minnesota. Additionally, more than 40% of adults in the metro area have a bachelor’s degree, the highest college attainment rate in the state.

Jackson Mississippi Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

24. Jackson, Mississippi
> City violent crime rate: 359.4 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 275.8 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 19.4%
> City unemployment rate: 4.2%

While East Jackson was once a major tourist destination during Mississippi’s extended prohibition era with thriving casino and nightlife industries, the city has since entered a period of economic decline, population loss, and rising crime. The metro area’s population has declined since 1980, as many of the wealthiest residents relocated to nearby suburbs and other cities. There were 359 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Jackson residents in 2015, far more than the statewide rate of 276 incidents per 100,000 residents. More than one in four violent crimes committed in Mississippi occurred in the Jackson metro area.

Springfield, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

25. Springfield, Missouri
> City violent crime rate: 621.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 497.4 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> City poverty rate: 16.8%
> City unemployment rate: 3.3%

Well over half of the 502 homicides in Missouri in 2015 took place in St. Louis. While the murder rate in St. Louis is more than three times that of Springfield, when accounting for rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies as well, Springfield is by far the most dangerous city in the state. There were 621 violent crimes in Springfield for every 100,000 residents in 2015, well above the violent crime rate of 486 incidents per 100,000 people in the St. Louis metro area.

Crime in Springfield has risen dramatically in recent years. The number of murders rose from eight in 2009 to 15 in 2015; the number of robberies from 339 to 502, and the number of aggravated assaults from 1,332 to 1,950.