Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Cities in America

Source: Thinkstock

10. Oakland, California
> Violent crime rate: 1,426 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 85
> Poverty rate: 20.4%
> Unemployment rate: 5.3%

There were 1,426 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Oakland residents in 2016, far more than the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 residents. Crime is far more prevalent in Oakland than in neighboring San Francisco, where the violent crime rate is 711 incidents per 100,000 residents. One of the largest contributors to the area’s high crime rate is the high prevalence of robberies in Oakland. There were 724 robberies per 100,000 Oakland residents in 2016, the most of any city other than Cleveland, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland. Oakland also has the most motor vehicle thefts per capita in the country. There were 1,623 incidents of grand theft auto for every 100,000 residents in the city in 2016, nearly seven times the national rate.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Little Rock, Arkansas
> Violent crime rate: 1,531 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 42
> Poverty rate: 17.8%
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%

There were 1,531 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Little Rock in 2016, the ninth most of any U.S. city and the second most of any city with a population between 100,000 to 200,000 residents. One of the largest contributors to the Little Rock’s high violent crime rate is the high prevalence of aggravated assault in the city. There were 1,100 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents reported in Little Rock in 2016, the sixth most of any large city and more than four times the national rate. In response to increasing crime in the area, the Little Rock Police Department increased its street patrol presence in August 2017. There were 264 sworn officers per 100,000 Little Rock residents in 2016, among the most of any city.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
> Violent crime rate: 1,533 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 141
> Poverty rate: 28.7%
> Unemployment rate: 5.8%

Milwaukee ranks in the top 15 for every component of violent crime other than rapes per capita. Milwaukee has the 15th worst murder rate, the ninth worst aggravated assault rate, and — with 547 reported incidents per 100,000 people — the fifth worst robbery rate of all U.S. cities. That figure is more than five times the national rate of 103 robberies reported per 100,000 residents.

Cities with high violent crime rates often tend to have high property crime rates as well. There were 1,029 reported incidents of motor vehicle theft per 100,000 residents in Milwaukee in 2016 the 11th highest rate among large U.S. cities and more than four times the national vehicle theft rate.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Cleveland, Ohio
> Violent crime rate: 1,631 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 135
> Poverty rate: 36.2%
> Unemployment rate: 6.9%

Crime is often more prevalent in areas with widespread poverty. In Cleveland, an estimated 36.2% of residents live in poverty, and 20.6% of households earn less than $10,000 a year — the fourth and third largest such shares of any major U.S. city. High unemployment is also associated with a high prevalence of crime. Cleveland’s unemployment rate of 6.9% is far greater than the 4.9% national rate. In 2016, there were 1,631 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Cleveland — the seventh most of any major U.S. city.

One factor that can contribute to crime is a poor relationship between local police and the community. This may have worsened in recent years, as a 2014 U.S. Department of Justice investigation concluded that the Cleveland Police Department had used excessive force against citizens, violated constitutional rights, and had inadequately policed its own officers.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Kansas City, Missouri
> Violent crime rate: 1,655 per 100,000
> 2016 murders: 129
> Poverty rate: 19.0%
> Unemployment rate: 4.9%

Kansas City is one of several large metro areas largely responsible for the national increase in violent crime. The 18.0% spike in the number of violent crimes from 2015 to 2016 in Kansas City is far more than the 4.1% national increase over that period and among the most of any city. The increase was largely driven by a surge in murders and aggravated assaults. In total, there were 1,655 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Kansas City residents in 2016, more than four times the national rate. There were 129 homicides last year, the most in Kansas City since 2008.