Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii
> Metro area: None
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +7.7% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 309 (state)
> 2016 murders: 35 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.0% (state)

Due to inconsistent reporting methods, five year changes in the crime rates in Hawaii’s two metro areas — Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina and Urban Honolulu — are not calculable. Currently, each ranks among the safer U.S. metro areas, with 273 and 335 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, respectively.

Across Hawaii as a whole, the incidence of violent crime has crept up over the last five years. There were 309 violent crimes per 100,000 state residents in 2016, a 7.7% increase from 287 crimes per 100,000 in 2011.

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12. Idaho
> Metro area: Boise City
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +16.8% (metro area) +14.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 244 (metro area) 230 (state)
> 2016 murders: 17 (metro area) 49 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.7% (metro area) 3.8% (state)

Boise City’s violent crime rate has risen steadily over the past five years, from 209 incidents per 100,000 people in 2011 to 244 in 2016. The metro area’s 16.8% violent crime rate increase between 2011 and 2016 is slightly above the state’s 14.6% increase. However, Boise’s violent crime rate remains well below the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000. Like many metropolitan areas with low crime rates, Boise’s poverty and unemployment rates are below the comparable national rates.

Source: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

13. Illinois
> Metro area: Danville
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +37.3% (metro area) +1.6% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 808 (metro area) 436 (state)
> 2016 murders: 0 (metro area) 1,054 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 7.2% (metro area) 5.9% (state)

The 37.3% increase in Danville’s violent crime rate over the last five years is surprising when considering the state of Illinois’ mild 1.6% increase over the same period. In many of the state’s other major metropolitan areas the violent crime rate decreased substantially, including a 19.5% drop in Decatur, a 19.7% decrease in Kankakee, and a 22.5% decline Champaign-Urbana. Danville’s population has declined over this period of increased violence, dropping from 81,871 in 2011 to 78,439 in 2016.

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14. Indiana
> Metro area: Michigan City-LaPorte
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +79.5% (metro area) +22.0% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 301 (metro area) 405 (state)
> 2016 murders: 2 (metro area) 439 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 5.9% (metro area) 4.4% (state)

In the last half decade, the violent crime rate across Indiana climbed by 22.0%, a larger increase than in the vast majority of states. Crime rates were driven up in part by a dramatic increase in violent crime in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area. Between 2011 and 2016, the violent crime rate in the metro area jumped 79.5% from 168 incidents per 100,000 residents to 301 incidents.

Despite recording the largest increase in violent crime in the state, Michigan City-LaPorte is safer than both Indiana and the country as a whole. The metro area’s violent crime rate of 301 incidents per 100,000 residents is well below the statewide rate of 405 per 100,000 and nationwide rate of 386 per 100,000.

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15. Iowa
> Metro area: Dubuque
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +56.5% (metro area) +13.7% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 243 (metro area) 291 (state)
> 2016 murders: 2 (metro area) 71 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.6% (metro area) 3.7% (state)

Over the past five years, violent crime increased by at least 10% in every major metropolitan area in Iowa for which data is available with the single exception of Ames, where it fell by more than 40%. However, in the metro area of Dubuque, the violent crime rate increased by 56%, from 155 incidents per 100,000 people to 243 per 100,000. That figure is still well below the national violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000, as is the violent crime rate of nearly every metro area in Iowa with the exception of Waterloo and Davenport. Unemployment has been correlated with violent crime, and Dubuque, like every other relatively safe Iowa metro area, has an unemployment rate that falls below the national figure of 4.9%.