Special Report

The Most Dangerous City in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

11. Honolulu, Hawaii
> City violent crime rate: 335 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 309 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
> City poverty rate: 12.1%
> City unemployment rate: 2.2%

With a 2016 violent crime rate of 309 incidents per 100,000 people, Hawaii is a relatively safe place. Even in Honolulu, the state’s most dangerous city, the violent crime rate of 335 incidents per 100,000 was well below the comparable 386-per-100,000 rate nationwide.

According to criminologist John Roman, states with relatively strict gun laws and isolated from regions with fewer firearm restrictions tend to be safer. Not only is Hawaii geographically isolated, but its gun laws are stricter than those in most other states.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho Falls, Idaho
> City violent crime rate: 424 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 230 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 15.2%
> City unemployment rate: 2.8%

Idaho is a relatively safe state, and even its most dangerous city, Idaho Falls, is only slightly more dangerous than the U.S. as a whole. In 2016 Idaho Falls had a violent crime rate of 424 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants compared with the country’s rate that same year of 386 per 100,000. As has been true across the country, aggravated assault accounted for the majority of the city’s violence in 2016: Idaho Falls reported only one homicide.

Source: Paul Sableman / Wikimedia Commons

13. East St. Louis, Illinois
> City violent crime rate: 2,828 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 436 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> City poverty rate: 44.7%
> City unemployment rate: 7.9%

East St. Louis is the most violent city in Illinois and the country’s fourth most violent. In 2016 this Midwest city reported a violent crime rate of 2,828 incidents per 100,000 residents, more than six times the state’s rate for the year. Homicide accounts for a large share of the city’s violence: East St. Louis logged a 2016 murder rate of more than 100 murders per 100,000 residents, the highest rate of any U.S. city by a wide margin. As of the end 2017, less than one quarter of the city’s murders for that year had been solved. City officials have attributed the low clearance rate to its understaffed police force’s facing a steady year-over-year uptick in homicides.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

14. Elkhart, Indiana
> City violent crime rate: 1,507 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 405 per 100,000 (20th highest)
> City poverty rate: 27.1%
> City unemployment rate: 2.9%

In 2016 Elkhart, Indiana, registered a violent crime rate of 1,507 incidents per 100,000 residents, a ratio that’s more than three times the comparable state figure . The city’s murder rate of 28.6 cases per 100,000 people is more than four times the state’s rate of 6.6 murders per 100,000. As has been the case throughout much of the country, Elkhart’s high incidence of violent crime can be attributed in part to drug trafficking and drug abuse.

Source: Michael J. Kearney / Wikimedia Commons

15. Clinton, Iowa
> City violent crime rate: 884 per 100,000
> State violent crime rate: 291 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> City poverty rate: 16.6%
> City unemployment rate: 4.4%

Iowa is a relatively safe state. For all of 2016, its violent crime rate was just 291 incidents per 100,000 residents, well below the nation’s 386-per-100,000 rate at the time. Not all parts of the state fared as well, however. Clinton, a city on Illinois’ western border, racked up a 2016 rate of 884 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, three times Iowa’s rate and the highest of any city in the state. Despite this, Clinton is the only municipality on this list with no reported murders in 2016.

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