Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

Print Email

Source: Alma mater / Wikimedia Commons

46. Virginia
> Metro area: Harrisonburg
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +37.3% (metro area) +10.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 163 (metro area) 218 (state)
> 2016 murders: 3 (metro area) 484 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.9% (metro area) 4.0% (state)

All major categories of violent crime — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — increased in Harrisonburg between 2011 and 2016. There were also significant increases in property crime and burglaries in the area over this period. Despite the increase, Harrisonburg is a relatively safe metro area. There were only 163 violent crimes in the metro area per 100,000 people in 2016, below both the state and national rates of 218 and 386 per 100,000, respectively.

Source: Thinkstock

47. Washington
> Metro area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +7.0% (metro area) +2.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 353 (metro area) 302 (state)
> 2016 murders: 101 (metro area) 195 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.5% (metro area) 5.4% (state)

The majority of metro areas in Washington state reported declining violent crime rates between 2011 and 2016. However, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area did not fit in with the broader trend. The incidence of violence in the metro area is now 7.0% higher than it was five years ago, the largest increase of any metro area in the state. The increasing incidence of violence in the state’s largest metro area likely played a considerable roll in driving the violent crime rate up statewide.

Source: BackyardProduction / iStock

48. West Virginia
> Metro area: None
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +13.4% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 358 (state)
> 2016 murders: 81 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 6.0% (state)

West Virginia has no metropolitan statistical areas that can be compared across this five-year period. However, the statewide incidence of violent crime in West Virginia rose by 13.4% from 2011 to 2016, from 316 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 358 per 100,000 in 2016. Despite the increase, the state’s violent crime rate remains lower than the national rate of 386 per 100,000 residents.

Source: Thinkstock

49. Wisconsin
> Metro area: Sheboygan
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +13.9% (metro area) +29.1% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 155 (metro area) 306 (state)
> 2016 murders: 2 (metro area) 229 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.5% (metro area) 4.1% (state)

Sheboygan’s 13.9% five-year increase in violent crime is the largest among Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas, yet is still less than the state’s overall spike of 29.1%. Violent crime in the area increased even as there was economic improvement during that time. The poverty rate dropped from 11.5% in 2012 to 5.4% in 2016, one of the lowest poverty rates nationwide. From 2012 to 2016 the poverty rate dropped rapidly, from 11.5% to 5.4%. The Sheboygan metro area’s unemployment rate of 2.6% as of December 2017 is also especially low. The national jobless rate at the time was 4.1%.

Source: Cliff / Wikimedia Commons

50. Wyoming
> Metro area: Cheyenne
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +3.1% (metro area) +11.4% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 252 (metro area) 244 (state)
> 2016 murders: 8 (metro area) 20 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.1% (metro area) 5.3% (state)

While in many states, increases in violent crimes are often driven by spikes in crime in the state’s metropolitan area, this is not the case in Wyoming. Statewide, the violent crime rate increased by 11.4% over the past five years, yet the largest increase among Wyoming’s metropolitan areas was just 3.1%. While violent crime did not rise by much in Cheyenne, the situation there is far from ideal. For instance, the murder rate in the area increased from 2.2 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 8.2 per 100,000 in 2016. For comparison, the national murder rate is 5.3 per 100,000.