Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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Source: America's Power / Wikimedia Commons

16. Kansas
> Metro area: Topeka
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +4.1% (metro area) +7.5% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 392 (metro area) 380 (state)
> 2016 murders: 21 (metro area) 111 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.1% (metro area) 4.2% (state)

The violent crime rate in Topeka, Kansas climbed by 4.1% in the last half decade, the largest reported increase of any metro area in the state. Despite the increase, Topeka is not the most dangerous metro area in Kansas. In Wichita, there were 709 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2016, well above the comparable 391 per 100,000 rate in the Topeka metro area.

Across Kansas as a whole, there were 380 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people, up 7.5% from the year before.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

17. Kentucky
> Metro area: Owensboro
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +1.1% (metro area) -2.5% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 143 (metro area) 232 (state)
> 2016 murders: 2 (metro area) 260 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.6% (metro area) 5.0% (state)

Due to inconsistent data collection methods, Owensboro is the only one of the five metro areas in Kentucky for which five-year crime rate changes are calculable. Between 2011 and 2016 the metro area’s violent crime rate increased by a negligible 1.1%, while the prevalence of violent crime fell by 2.5% across the state as a whole.

Despite the uptick, Owensboro is one of the safest regions in the state. The metro area’s violent crime rate of 143 incidents per 100,000 is lower than in all but one other metro area in the state and well below the rate across Kentucky as a whole of 232 violent crimes per 100,000.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Louisiana
> Metro area: Monroe
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +85.5% (metro area) +1.9% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 1,187 (metro area) 566 (state)
> 2016 murders: 20 (metro area) 554 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 6.1% (metro area) 6.1% (state)

Violent crime in the Monroe metro area in Louisiana increased by more than 80% in the last five years. There were 1,187 violent crimes per 100,000 metro area residents in 2016, the highest violent crime rate not just of metro areas in the state, but also metro areas nationwide. The biggest single cause of the increase is the higher incidence of aggravated assault. The number of reported incidents of assault in the Monroe area rose from 941 in 2011 to 1,716 in 2016.

Like many metropolitan areas with high incidence of violent crime, Monroe’s population struggles with high poverty. In Monroe, 24% of the population lives at or below the poverty line, 10 percentage points above the national poverty rate.

Source: Thinkstock

19. Maine
> Metro area: Bangor
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +19.6% (metro area) +0.5% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 96 (metro area) 124 (state)
> 2016 murders: 0 (metro area) 20 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.8% (metro area) 3.9% (state)

The Bangor, Maine metropolitan area’s violent crime rate increased by 19.6% from 2011 to 2016. Compared to the state’s slight increase of 0.5%, Bangor’s increase is notably greater. In other areas in the state crime decreased. For example, in the Lewiston-Auburn area, violent crime fell 11.7% over the same period.

Despite the increase, Bangor is one of the safest metro areas in the country. There were only 96 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2016, a fraction of the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000.

Source: Thinkstock

20. Maryland
> Metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +9.9% (metro area) -4.5% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 710 (metro area) 472 (state)
> 2016 murders: 395 (metro area) 481 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.4% (metro area) 4.3% (state)

The violent crime rate in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area between 2011 and 2016 jumped by nearly 10% — even as the statewide crime rate fell by 4.5%. Up from 646 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2011, Baltimore’s current annual violent crime rate of 710 incidents per 100,000 ranks among the highest of any metro area in the country.

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area’s crime rate is driven in large part by violence in the city of Baltimore. Of the 395 homicides across the metro area, 318 occurred in Baltimore, making 2016 the second deadliest year in the city’s history.