Special Report

25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

Source: Thinkstock

15. Harrisonburg, VA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +37.3%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 118.4 per 100,000 (total: 150)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 162.6 per 100,000 (total: 214)
> December unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Poverty rate: 18.1%

The violent crime rate in Harrisonburg rose from 118 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 163 per 100,000 in 2016. The increase of 37.3% was the largest spike of any Virginia metro area and one of the largest of any metro area nationwide. The city also recorded a slight increase in property crime. While nationwide the number of burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 Americans fell by 15.7% over the past five years, in Harrisonburg it rose by 3.9%, from 1,312 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 1,363 per 100,000 in 2016.

Despite the increase, the violent and property crime rates in Harrisonburg remain far lower than the national rates of 386 violent incidents and 2,451 property crimes per 100,000 Americans, and among the lowest in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Logan, UT-ID
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +38.8%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 47.7 per 100,000 (total: 61)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 66.2 per 100,000 (total: 90)
> December unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Poverty rate: 12.3%

Not all metro areas with a rising violent crime rate are dangerous. Logan is one such area. Violent crime in Logan, Utah, is up 38.8% from half a decade ago. Despite the increase, the city is the safest metro area of those tracked by the FBI. There were only 66 reported violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2016, nearly one-sixth the comparable U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 people. Unadjusted for population, there were a total of just 90 reported violent crimes in Logan in 2016.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Albany, GA
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +39.2%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 527.7 per 100,000 (total: 841)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 734.8 per 100,000 (total: 1,121)
> December unemployment rate: 5.2%
> Poverty rate: 25.0%

The incidence of violent crime climbed by 39.2% in the Albany metro area in the last five years. Today, with a violent crime rate of 735 incidents per 100,000 residents, Albany is the most dangerous metro area in Georgia for which data is available. Though murder comprises the smallest share of all violent crimes in the metro area, it is a bigger problem in Albany than in any other metro area on this list. There were about 12 homicides in the metro area for every 100,000 people in 2016, more than double the U.S. murder rate of 5 per 100,000.

Crime rates are often higher in economically depressed areas, and in the Albany metro area, 1 in every 4 residents live in poverty, a far greater share than the 14.0% U.S. poverty rate.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Anchorage, AK
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +41.3%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 789.2 per 100,000 (total: 2,454)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 1,114.9 per 100,000 (total: 3,519)
> December unemployment rate: 6.7%
> Poverty rate: 7.2%

After climbing by a near nation-leading 41.3% in the last five years, the violent crime rate in Anchorage, Alaska, is the second highest of any metro area tracked by the FBI. There were 1,115 violent crimes in the metro area for every 100,000 residents in 2016, nearly three times the violent crime across the U.S. as a whole.

Disengaged members of society are more likely to commit serious crimes than actively engaged citizens, and the relatively high unemployment rate in Anchorage may be indicative of too few jobs to support the population. As of December, 6.7% of the metro area’s workforce were out of a job, one of the highest unemployment rates of any U.S. metro area and well above the comparable 4.1% U.S. rate.

Source: Thinkstock

11. Springfield, MO
> 5-yr. violent crime rate change: +41.7%
> 2011 violent crime rate: 426.0 per 100,000 (total: 1,867)
> 2016 violent crime rate: 603.6 per 100,000 (total: 2,775)
> December unemployment rate: 3.1%
> Poverty rate: 15.8%

Springfield, Missouri, is one of only a dozen metro areas to report a more than a 40% spike in the violent crime rate in the last five years. Violent crime in the city increased from 426 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 604 per 100,000 in 2016, climbing steadily almost every year.

As is the case nationwide, aggravated assault accounted for the majority of violent crimes in the Springfield metro area. There were 1,926 reported cases of aggravated assault in the metro area in 2016, more than four times the number of robberies, the next most common violent crime.

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