25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

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Source: Alberto Bernal Gtz. / Thinkstock

25. San Angelo, TX
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +32.7%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 251.4 per 100,000 (total: 287)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 333.5 per 100,000 (total: 403)
> December unemployment rate: 3.4%
> Poverty rate: 11.8%

While violent crime has remained relatively flat nationwide over the last five years, in San Angelo the crime rate rose from 251 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 334 per 100,000 in 2016 — one of the largest increases of any metro area. Crime is closely tied to changes in economic conditions and will often increase if incomes in an area decline or poverty and unemployment rise. While the U.S. median household income rose 7.4% over the last five years, incomes remained statistically stagnant in San Angelo.

Despite the spike in crime, San Angelo’s violent crime rate is still lower than the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +33.5%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 331.4 per 100,000 (total: 559)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 442.4 per 100,000 (total: 756)
> December unemployment rate: 3.2%
> Poverty rate: 14.6%

Over the last five years, the violent crime rate in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa metro area climbed by 33.5%. The metro area used to be safer than the nation as a whole, but due to a climbing violent crime rate over the past half decade, even as the U.S. violent crime rate remained relatively flat, that is no longer the case. There were 442 violent crimes in the area for every 100,000 residents in 2016, more than the 386 per 100,000 U.S. violent crime.

The area’s surge in violent crime coincided with slower than typical economic improvement. While the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 8.9% to 4.9% over the last five years — a 4 percentage point improvement — the jobless rate in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area fell by just 1 percentage point over the same period, from 5.5% to 4.5%.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Binghamton, NY
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +33.5%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 216.7 per 100,000 (total: 548)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 289.3 per 100,000 (total: 704)
> December unemployment rate: 5.5%
> Poverty rate: 16.0%

There were 289 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Binghamton in 2016, up from 217 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011. While the violent crime rate in the city surged 33.5% over the last five years, the property crime rate fell 19.1%. There were 2,128 burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 Binghamton residents in 2016, down from 2,629 property crimes per 100,000 in 2011.

Crime often fluctuates with income and poverty, rising in areas that become poorer and falling in areas gaining wealth. While the U.S. median household income rose 7.4% over the last five years and the poverty rate fell from 15.9% to 14.0%, incomes and poverty in the Binghamton metro area did not improve meaningfully.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Fort Wayne, IN
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +33.6%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 223.5 per 100,000 (total: 935)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 298.5 per 100,000 (total: 1,288)
> December unemployment rate: 3.0%
> Poverty rate: 14.5%

While the violent crime rate nationwide has remained largely unchanged from five years ago, in Fort Wayne crime rose from 224 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 299 per 100,000 in 2016. The 33.6% increase in violent crime was the second largest spike of any metro area in Indiana and one of the largest in the country. Despite the increase, Fort Wayne’s violent crime rate remains far below the national rate of 386 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans.

Like many metro areas with increasing violent crime rates, Fort Wayne’s economy is relatively stagnant. As the national poverty rate fell from 15.9% in 2012 to 14.0% in 2016 and the median household income rose 7.4%, poverty and incomes remained statistically unchanged in Fort Wayne.

Source: Thinkstock

21. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +33.8%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 277.7 per 100,000 (total: 1,590)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 371.7 per 100,000 (total: 2,352)
> December unemployment rate: 2.6%
> Poverty rate: 9.5%

The violent crime rate in the Des Moines-West Des Moines metro area is 33.8% higher now than it was five years ago. With the exception of a slight dip in violent crime in 2013, the incidence of violent crime has increased in the metro area in each of the last five years. Despite the increase, Des Moines remains a relatively safe place. There were 372 violent crimes for every 100,000 metro area residents in 2016, slightly lower than the 386 per 100,000 U.S. violent crime rate.

A rising crime rate coincided with an expanding population in the metro area. The number of people living in Des Moines-West Des Moines increased by 7.8% over the last half decade, making it one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country.