1. Anniston, Alabama
> City violent crime rate: 3,310 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 532 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> City poverty rate: 32.1%
> City unemployment rate: 5.9%
Anniston, the most violent city in Alabama, also ranks as the most violent in the United States. Violent crimes are an FBI designation consisting of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. There were 3,310 violent crimes in Anniston for every 100,000 residents in 2016, nearly nine times the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 people that year and more than six times the state violent crime rate of 532 per 100,000.
As is the case nationwide, aggravated assault accounted for the vast majority of violent crimes in Anniston in 2016.
2. Anchorage, Alaska
> City violent crime rate: 1,144 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 804 per 100,000 (the highest)
> City poverty rate: 8.1%
> City unemployment rate: 6.0%
Anchorage is the most dangerous city in the most dangerous state. There were 804 reported incidents of violent crime in Alaska for every 100,000 residents in 2016, more than double the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 per 100,000 the same year. In Anchorage, there were 1,144 violent crimes for every 100,000 in 2016.
Alaska’s high crime rate is driven largely by violence in Anchorage. About 57% of the state’s 5,966 reported incidents of violent crime in 2016 occurred within the city limits.
3. Tucson, Arizona
> City violent crime rate: 795 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 470 per 100,000 (12th highest)
> City poverty rate: 25.1%
> City unemployment rate: 4.7%
Driven largely by robbery and aggravated assault, Tucson’s violent crime rate is the highest of any city in Arizona. Property crime — an FBI designation comprising burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — is also a problem in Tucson. There were 5,859 reported property crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2016, the most of any city in the state and more than double the statewide property crime rate of 2,451 per 100,000.
For a variety of reasons, low-income areas are prone to higher crime rates, and in Tucson, more than one in every four residents live in poverty, well above the statewide poverty rate of 17.7% and the nationwide rate of 15.1%.
4. West Memphis, Arkansas
> City violent crime rate: 1,858 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 551 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> City poverty rate: 31.3%
> City unemployment rate: 4.9%
Across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee, is the small city of West Memphis, Arkansas. West Memphis shares more than just a name and a border with the Tennessee metropolis — it has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. The city of less than 25,000 people had close to 500 reported incidents of violent crime, and adjusting for population had the seventh highest violent crime rate of any city. Memphis, Tennessee, has the ninth highest violent crime rate in the country, and both cities have the highest violent crime rate in their respective states.
5. Barstow, California
> City violent crime rate: 1,511 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 445 per 100,000 (15th highest)
> City poverty rate: 36.7%
> City unemployment rate: N/A
Of the nearly 300 cities in California, Barstow is the most dangerous. There were 1,511 violent crimes in Barstow for every 100,000 people in 2016, more than three times the statewide violent crime rate of 445 per 100,000. Local authorities point to a range of causes for the high crime rates in the region, including drugs and insufficient resources to reintroduce ex-convicts into society.
Like many of the cities on this list, a large share of Barstow residents are poor. Some 36.7% of area residents live below the poverty line, more than double the 15.8% state poverty rate and the 15.1% U.S. rate.