Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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1. Alabama
> Metro area: None
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +26.7% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 532 (state)
> 2016 murders: 407 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 6.0% (state)

Crime data for each of Alabama’s 10 metro areas the FBI tracks is not comparable from 2011 to 2016 due to changes in reporting methods. As a result, the metro area with the largest increase in violent crime is unidentifiable. However, Alabama as a whole reported one of the largest five-year increases in violent crime of any state.

There were 532 violent crimes in the state for every 100,000 people in 2016, a 26.7% increase from the rate in 2011 of 420 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the U.S. violent crime has remained effectively unchanged from 387 incidents per 100,000 in 2011 to 386 in 2016.

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2. Alaska
> Metro area: Anchorage
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +41.3% (metro area) +32.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 1,115 (metro area) 804 (state)
> 2016 murders: 28 (metro area) 52 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 5.9% (metro area) 6.6% (state)

Anchorage, Alaska’s 41.3% increase in violent crime over the past five years is among the larger increases of metropolitan areas on this list. It is also significantly greater than the 19.4% increase recorded in Alaska’s other major metro area, Fairbanks, and the statewide 32.6% uptick in violent crime.

Currently, the Anchorage metro area ranks among the most dangerous in the country. There were 1,115 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2016, the second most of any U.S. metro area.

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3. Arizona
> Metro area: Tucson
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +14.5% (metro area) +15.8% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 496 (metro area) 470 (state)
> 2016 murders: 49 (metro area) 380 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.9% (metro area) 5.3% (state)

Like the state of Arizona as a whole, Tucson’s violent crime rose during the last five years. The metro area’s violent crime rate increased from 433 incidents to 496 incidents per 100,000 people — a 14.5% increase that closely mirrors the state’s violent crime increase of 15.8%. While violent crime is on the rise in Tucson and Arizona as a whole, crime is not on the rise in every metro area in the state. In the Flagstaff and Prescott metro areas, violent crime is down by 12.0% and 18.9%, respectively.

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4. Arkansas
> Metro area: Hot Springs
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +27.1% (metro area) +14.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 652 (metro area) 551 (state)
> 2016 murders: 4 (metro area) 216 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.3% (metro area) 4.0% (state)

Even as the violent crime rate remained effectively unchanged nationwide over the past half decade, it rose by close to 15% in Arkansas. It also rose in each of the state’s four metro areas with comparable data, but none had as large of an increase as Hot Springs, where the violent crime rate rose by 27.1%, from 513 incidents per 100,000 in 2011 to 652 per 100,000 in 2016. Other, non-violent types of crime also rose in Hot Springs. For example, the motor vehicle theft rate in the metro area increased by 26% over the same period.

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5. California
> Metro area: San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +58.7% (metro area) +8.3% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 396 (metro area) 445 (state)
> 2016 murders: 4 (metro area) 1,930 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.3% (metro area) 5.4% (state)

The San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande metropolitan area’s 58.7% five year increase in violent crime is the sixth largest increase of any U.S. metro area. In stark contrast, the nearby Visalia-Porterville metro area’s violent crime rate dropped by 18.7% over the same period. One sliver of positive news for San Luis Obispo is that the violent crime rate fell slightly from 2014 to 2016 after a considerable increase from 2012 to 2014. Despite the increase, the metro area is about as safe as the U.S. as a whole, with a violent crime rate of 396 incidents per 100,000.