Special Report

The Most Dangerous City in Every State

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2
Source: Thinkstock

31. Albuquerque, New Mexico
> City violent crime rate: 792.6 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 656.1 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> City poverty rate: 18.7%
> City unemployment rate: 6.2%

There were 793 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Albuquerque in 2015, the most of any metro area in New Mexico and the 10th highest violent crime rate of any city in the country. The crime rate increased from three years prior, when 645 violent crimes were reported per 100,00 people. Property crime is also on the rise in the city. Roughly 6,100 motor vehicles were stolen on Albuquerque streets in 2015 alone, almost 2,000 more than in the year prior. Adjusted for population, the Albuquerque metro area has the second highest automobile theft rate in the country.

In an effort to combat the issue, New Mexico legislators have introduced bills in both the House and Senate that, if passed, would create a database that used car dealers could use to identify stolen automobiles.

Buffalo Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

32. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, New York
> City violent crime rate: 401.8 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 379.7 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> City poverty rate: 15.7%
> City unemployment rate: 4.8%

While the Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls metro area was once a major manufacturing center and industrial hub, years economic decline have left the city with the highest violent crime rate in New York. There were roughly 400 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Buffalo residents in 2015, more than twice the rate in several other upstate metro areas, such as Glens Falls and Kingston.

In recent years, however, Buffalo has shown signs of a major economic turnaround. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed over $1.5 billion in funding for economic development projects in the metro area as part of his “Buffalo Billion” initiative, which has attracted additional investments from solar energy, information technology, and biomedical companies. Since the revitalization project began in 2012, Buffalo’s violent crime rate has fallen by more than 10%.

33. Goldsboro, North Carolina
> City violent crime rate: 494.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 347.0 per 100,000 (25th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 18.0%
> City unemployment rate: 5.4%

Crime has risen in Goldsboro in 2015, and the violent crime rate in the metro area has surpassed all cities in North Carolina. There were 494 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2015, an increase from 369 incidents per 100,000 in 2014 and far more than the statewide rate of 347 per 100,000.

Rampant poverty and unemployment are two of the largest contributors to crime. Goldsboro’s unemployment rate of 5.4% is the second highest in North Carolina. Close to half of all unemployed workers in Goldsboro live in poverty, which partially accounts for the high poverty rate in the city overall. Some 18.0% of Goldsboro residents live in poverty, compared to 16.4% of North Carolina residents across the state and 14.7% of Americans nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

34. Fargo, North Dakota
> City violent crime rate: 249.3 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 239.4 per 100,000 (10th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 11.1%
> City unemployment rate: 2.5%

There is not much variance in the incidence of violent crime across North Dakota’s three metro areas tracked by the FBI. While Fargo is the most dangerous metro area in the state, it is still a relatively safe place. There were 249 violent crimes in the metro area in 2015 for every 100,000 residents, only slightly more than the violent crime rate in Bismarck, the safest metro area in the state, with 227 incidents per 100,000.

The six homicides reported in Fargo in 2015 accounted for 29% of all murders statewide, roughly in proportion with the city’s population as a percent of the total state population.

Toledo, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

35. Toledo, Ohio
> City violent crime rate: 583.6 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 291.9 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 17.2%
> City unemployment rate: 4.9%

While the state of Ohio is slightly safer than the nation as a whole, not all corners of the state are devoid of danger. Toledo’s violent crime rate of 584 incidents per 100,000 people is well above the national violent crime rate of 373 per 100,000. Like in many larger U.S. cities, the situation appears to be only getting worse in Toledo. While the city proper had 24 homicides in 2015, the number jumped substantially to 38 the following year.

The prevalence of violent crime in Toledo may be partially attributable to an inadequately staffed police force. As of 2016, continuing a long standing problem, Toledo had the lowest police officer-to-citizen ratio of any large city in Ohio.