Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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Source: Protophobic / Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> Metro area: Pittsfield
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +24.9% (metro area) -12.0% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 513 (metro area) 377 (state)
> 2016 murders: 3 (metro area) 134 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.4% (metro area) 3.7% (state)

The violent crime rate in Massachusetts fell by 12% over the last five years — the fifth largest decline among states. However, in the Pittsfield metro area, located in the far west of the state, the violent crime rate rose by about 25% over the same period, from 411 incidents per 100,000 to 513 incidents per 100,000 people.

While Pittsfield’s increase over the last five years puts its violent crime rate well above both the state and national crime rates, it does not match the typical profile of a high crime city. Pittsfield’s poverty rate of 9.8% is well below the national figure of 14.0%. Also, the metro area’s median household income and high school and college attainment figures are above the corresponding national values.

Source: Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

22. Michigan
> Metro area: Bay City
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +35.0% (metro area) +3.1% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 370 (metro area) 459 (state)
> 2016 murders: 3 (metro area) 598 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 5.2% (metro area) 4.9% (state)

While the incidence of violent crime in some parts of Michigan such as Saginaw and Flint decreased substantially in recent years, in others, such as Lansing-East Lansing and Battle Creek, violent crime rates increased significantly. The Bay City metro area had the worst increase, with a 35% surge in violent crime from 2011 to 2016. Still, Bay City’s violent crime rate of 370 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2016 is much lower than some other areas. For instance, Battle Creek’s violent crime rate is 747 incidents per 100,000.

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23. Minnesota
> Metro area: None
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +9.7% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 243 (state)
> 2016 murders: 101 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 3.9% (state)

Due to a lack of data, five-year changes in violent crime rates among Minnesota’s five metro areas are unavailable. Across the state as a whole, the incidence of violent crime increased by nearly 10%, more than in most states. Despite the increased violence, Minnesota is one of the safest states in the country. There were 243 violent crimes in the state for every 100,000 people in 2016, fewer than in all but eight other states.

Even Minnesota’s urban areas are relatively safe places. The violent crime rate in each of the state’s five metro areas is below 300 incidents per 100,000 people, and in three it is below 200 per 100,000. For reference, the U.S. violent crime rate is 386 incidents per 100,000 people.

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24. Mississippi
> Metro area: None
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +4.0% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 281 (state)
> 2016 murders: 238 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 5.8% (state)

Due to insufficient data, the five-year change in the violent crime rate in Hattiesburg, Mississippi — the one metro area in the state for which the FBI tracks crime statistics — is incalculable. Statewide, the violent crime rate climbed by 4.0% in the last five years, one of the smaller increases of any state.

Today, both Mississippi and the Hattiesburg metro area are safer than the U.S. as a whole. There were 199 violent crimes in Hattiesburg and 281 in Mississippi for every 100,000 people, each well below the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 people.

Source: Tim Kiser / Wikimedia Commons

25. Missouri
> Metro area: St. Joseph
> 5-yr. change in crime rate: +52.6% (metro area) +16.1% (state)
> 2016 violent crimes per 100,000: 420 (metro area) 519 (state)
> 2016 murders: 10 (metro area) 537 (state)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.1% (metro area) 4.5% (state)

There was a 52.6% spike in violent crime in the St. Joseph metropolitan area between 2011 and 2016. The violent crime rate increased from 275 incidents per 100,000 in 2011 to 420 per 100,000 five years later. The incidence of rapes more than doubled over this period, increasing from 22.7 per 100,000 to 47.4. Similarly, the incidence of murder also more than doubled, increasing from 3.1 per 100,000 to 7.9.