Special Report

The Most Dangerous City in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

26. Missoula, Montana
> City violent crime rate: 425.2 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 349.6 per 100,000 (25th highest)
> City poverty rate: 16.0%
> City unemployment rate: 3.3%

Of the three Montana metro areas covered in the FBI UCR, Missoula is the most dangerous. While the state’s violent crime rate of 350 incidents per 100,000 people is slightly lower than the national violent crime rate of 373 per 100,000, Missoula is more dangerous than the state and the nation. There were 425 incidents of violent crime for every 100,000 residents in the metro are in 2015.

Poorer economic conditions can often be fertile grounds for violence, and Missoula’s 16.0% poverty rate is higher than any other metro area in the state as well as the statewide poverty rate of 14.6%.

Source: Thinkstock

27. Lincoln, Nebraska
> City violent crime rate: 330.0 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 274.9 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 13.7%
> City unemployment rate: 2.6%

Nebraska is not an especially dangerous state. Even in Lincoln, the most dangerous metro area in the state, the violent crime rate is lower than it is across the nation as a whole. There were 330 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Lincoln in 2015, fewer than the 373 incidents per 100,000 people nationwide. Lincoln is one of only three metro areas on this list that reported only a single murder in 2015. Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime, with a total of 638 reported incidents.

Las Vegas Strip at night - high vantage, Nevada
Source: Thinkstock

28. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada
> City violent crime rate: 815.0 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 695.9 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> City poverty rate: 15.1%
> City unemployment rate: 4.9%

The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metro area is currently experiencing an unprecedented surge in violent crime. The city’s crime rate rose from 647 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 815 per 100,000 in 2015, the highest of any metro area in Nevada and the eighth most of any city in the country. In recent years, there have been increased reports of robberies along the Las Vegas Strip, with criminals targeting tourists leaving casinos and other major attractions. There were 273 robberies reported per 100,000 residents in the Las Vegas metro area in 2015, the most of any city nationwide. Experts have blamed the spike in local crime on a police personnel shortage as well as an influx of criminals from California. California’s passing of Proposition 47, a ballot initiative that recategorized certain non-violent felonies as misdemeanors, has led to the re-sentencing and early release of more than 4,700 prisoners.

Manchester, New Hampshire
Source: Wikimedia Commons

29. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
> City violent crime rate: 281.4 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 199.3 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 8.0%
> City unemployment rate: 2.7%

Manchester, the most dangerous city in New Hampshire, is not an especially dangerous metro area — not when compared to national or regional crime levels. There were only 281 violent crimes — mostly aggravated assaults — in the Manchester metro area for every 100,000 residents, well below the 373 incidents per 100,000 national violent crime rate. Manchester is also safer than many of the New England metro areas covered by the FBI.

Still, of the 14 murders reported in New Hampshire in 2015, 13 occurred in the Manchester metro area.

Bridgeton, New Jersey
Source: Wikimedia Commons

30. Vineland-Bridgeton, New Jersey
> City violent crime rate: 583.4 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 255.4 per 100,000 (13th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 16.9%
> City unemployment rate: 5.9%

The most dangerous metro area in New Jersey, the violent crime rate in the Vineland-Bridgeton metro area of 583 incidents per 100,000 people is more than double the statewide violent crime rate. Unlike most states on this list, the Vineland metro area is the worst in the state in every category of violent crime: aggravated assault, rape, robbery, and homicide.

The metro area has something of a legacy of violence. The city’s founder, Charles Landis, in 1875 murdered a newspaper editor for reporting on his family in an unfavorable light. He was eventually acquitted of the crime on the grounds of temporary insanity.