Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Cities in America

Source: f11photo / Thinkstock

25. Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee
> Violent crime rate: 1,102 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 81
> Poverty rate: 18.6%
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%

In Nashville, there were approximately 7,400 reported incidents of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder last year. Adjusting for the population, there were over 1,102 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 city residents.

Both violent and nonviolent crime tend to occur in neighborhoods with very low incomes. Generally, cities with higher crime tend to have greater concentrations of extremely low income households. However, in Nashville, just 7.7% of city households earn less than $10,000 annually, only slightly more than the national share of households with extremely low incomes of 7.2%. High unemployment also tends to correlate with higher incidence of crime, but Nashville’s 2016 annual unemployment rate of 3.6% is one of the lowest in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Chicago, Illinois
> Violent crime rate: 1,106 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 765
> Poverty rate: 22.3%
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Chicago has recently become a symbol of urban crime in the United States after the murder rate spiked by nearly 50% last year. There were 765 murders in the Windy City in 2016, more than twice than in New York City — a city with three times the population. President Donald Trump suggested that if conditions did not improve in Chicago he “will send in the Feds!” Through mid-September, there have already been over 500 homicides in the city, putting it on track to match or surpass last year’s total.

Murder is only one part of Chicago’s violence problem. There were over 30,000 violent crimes in the city last year, or over 1,100 for every 100,000 people. Over half of these crimes were incidents of aggravated assault.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Minneapolis, Minnesota
> Violent crime rate: 1,109 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 35
> Poverty rate: 21.9%
> Unemployment rate: 3.4%

Violent crime is commonplace in Minneapolis. The city has above average rates of murder and aggravated assault. The city has the 10th highest rates of robbery and rape among major cities. For every 100,000 Minneapolis residents, there were 109 reported rapes and 442 Robberies last year, much more than the respective national rates of 40 and 103 per 100,000 people. The city’s 2016 rape and robbery rates are effectively unchanged from 2015.

Generally, the major U.S. cities with severe violent crime either have declining populations, or populations growing at a slower rate than the rest of the country. Minneapolis is one of only two metro areas with population increases of at least 10% over the last decade.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Buffalo, New York
> Violent crime rate: 1,110 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 44
> Poverty rate: 31.4%
> Unemployment rate: 6.3%

Many cities in upstate New York have been struggling with long-term economic decline. This tough economic climate has translated to increased unemployment, lower incomes, and a higher incidence of crime. While violent crime is high in several cities in upstate New York, none compare to Buffalo. In a city of just over a quarter million people, there were about 2,900 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults, or just over 1,100 violent crimes for every 100,00 residents. One of the largest contributors to the area’s high crime rate is the prevalence of robberies in Buffalo. There were 408 robberies per 100,000 Buffalo residents reported in 2016, nearly four times the national figure.

Source: photoBeard / Thinkstock

21. Albuquerque, New Mexico
> Violent crime rate: 1,112 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 61
> Poverty rate: 19.2%
> Unemployment rate: 5.8%

Crime in Albuquerque increased substantially over the past year. While nationwide the number of violent crimes reported annually rose by 4.1% from 2015 to 2016, the number of crimes in Albuquerque rose 15.5% — one of the sharpest increases of any city. There were 18 more murders, 271 more robberies, and 573 more aggravated assaults compared to 2015. In total, there were 1,112 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Albuquerque residents in 2016, nearly three times the national rate of 386 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans.

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