25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

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Source: Asher196 / Wikimedia Commons

20. Bay City, MI
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +35.0%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 273.9 per 100,000 (total: 295)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 369.7 per 100,000 (total: 389)
> December unemployment rate: 5.7%
> Poverty rate: 15.9%

The violent crime rate rose 35.0% in Bay City over the past five years, from 274 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 370 per 100,000 in 2016 — the largest increase of any metro area in Michigan and one of the largest nationwide. Despite the increase, Bay City’s violent crime rate remains far below the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

As is the case in many metro areas with increasing violent crime rates, some economic conditions are relatively stagnant in Bay City, Michigan. While nationwide the poverty rate fell from 15.9% to 14.0% over the past five years, Bay City’s poverty rate remained effectively unchanged over the same period.

19. Chico, CA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +35.7%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 258.8 per 100,000 (total: 576)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 351.2 per 100,000 (total: 790)
> December unemployment rate: 5.1%
> Poverty rate: 19.9%

The violent crime rate in Chico rose from 259 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 351 per 100,000 residents in 2016. The 35.7% increase in violent crime was the third largest of any metro area in California and one of the largest in the country. There was also a substantial increase in property crime in the city. The property crime rate rose 34.5% over the past five years, from 2,415 instances of burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 3,248 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016 — the second largest increase in the nation.

While crime tends to rise with unemployment, Chico’s unemployment rate has fallen by more than half over the past five years, from 13.7% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2016 — one of the largest declines in the nation.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Albuquerque, NM
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +36.1%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 662.0 per 100,000 (total: 5,938)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 901.0 per 100,000 (total: 8,173)
> December unemployment rate: 5.5%
> Poverty rate: 16.9%

With a violent crime rate of 901 documented incidents per 100,000 residents, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the most dangerous metro areas in the United States. The metro area is also a far more dangerous place than it was five years ago. Since 2011, the incidence of violent crime in New Mexico’s largest metro area climbed by 36.1%, one of the steepest increases in the country.

The city of Albuquerque is taking active measures to reduce crime in the coming months and years. In February 2018, officers from the New York City Police Department worked with officers in Albuquerque to find areas for improvement. Mayor Tim Keller believes the city can benefit from the help as New York City reported a 75% reduction in crime over the last 35 years. Additionally, the the city council recently voted to raise taxes, partially in order to bolster staffing in the city’s police department.

Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

17. Alexandria, LA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +36.2%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 677.9 per 100,000 (total: 1,053)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 923.2 per 100,000 (total: 1,422)
> December unemployment rate: 4.9%
> Poverty rate: 19.7%

The violent crime rate in Alexandria, Louisiana, of 923 incidents for every 100,000 residents is higher than in all but three other metro areas tracked by the FBI. As is the case nationwide, aggravated assaults accounted for the vast majority of reported violent crimes in the city in 2016. And as is the case with every other metro area on this list, Alexandria is a far more dangerous place now than it was five years ago. Since 2011, the incidence of reported violent crimes climbed by 36.2% across the metro area.

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy announced in September 2017 plans to create a new division within the police department to engage with at risk youth. Whether or not the mayor’s plan will help to reduce the violent crime rate in the city remains to be seen.

Source: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

16. Danville, IL
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +37.3%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 588.7 per 100,000 (total: 482)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 808.3 per 100,000 (total: 634)
> December unemployment rate: 6.0%
> Poverty rate: 20.9%

The incidence of violent crime in the Danville metro area increased by 37.3% over the last five years, even as the violent crime rate nationwide remained relatively flat. As a result of the steep increase, there were 808 violent crimes in the metro area per 100,000 residents in 2016, more than double the comparable rate nationwide of 386 per 100,000. Despite the near nation-leading violent crime rate and increase in crime, the metro area reported no homicides in 2016 compared to three in 2011. As is the case in nearly every metro area, aggravated assault accounted for the bulk of reported violent crimes in Danville in 2016.

Economically depressed areas are more likely to report higher crime rates. In Danville, 20.9% of the population lives below the poverty line, a far greater share than the 14.0% U.S. poverty rate.