Special Report

Most Dangerous States in America

Source: photoquest7 / Getty Images

5. Nevada
> Violent crime rate: 556 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 274 (21st most)
> Imprisonment rate: 890 adults per 100,000 (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th highest)
> Most dangerous city: North Las Vegas

Nevada ranks as the fifth most dangerous state with violent crime rate of 556 incidents reported per 100,000 people. The state’s murder rate and robbery rate each rank as the third highest in the country.

Though the Nevada’s 2017 violent crime rate is among the highest, it considerably lower than it was the previous year. The state’s violent crime rate in 2016 was 678 incidents per 100,000 residents — then the third highest in the country. The 18.0% drop in violent crime in 2017 was the largest of any state.

Source: CrackerClips / Getty Images

4. Louisiana
> Violent crime rate: 557 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 582 (10th most)
> Imprisonment rate: 1,270 adults per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (2nd highest)
> Most dangerous city: Monroe

While nationwide the number of murders fell 0.7% from 2016 to 2017, in Louisiana the number of homicides rose 4.9% from 555 to 582. Adjusted for population, there were 12.4 murders reported per 100,000 residents in Louisiana in 2017, more than twice the national homicide rate of 5.3 murders per 100,000 Americans and by far the most of any state.

Though there is no one single cause of violent crime, it tends to be more common in areas facing economic challenges. In Louisiana, just 23.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree — the fourth lowest college attainment of any state — which likely reduces the earning potential of many area residents. Approximately one fifth of residents live in poverty, the largest share of any state other than Mississippi.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Tennessee
> Violent crime rate: 652 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 527 (14th most)
> Imprisonment rate: 930 adults per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.0% (10th highest)
> Most dangerous city: Memphis

For every 100,000 Tennessee residents, there were 483 aggravated assaults reported in the state. That is nearly double the aggravated assault rate nationwide. Tennessee also has the ninth highest murder rate of U.S. states, with 7.8 homicides per 100,000 people.

In Tennessee, violent crime is especially concentrated in urban areas. In six cities — Memphis, Nashville, Dyersburg, Dickson, Millington, and Chattanooga — the violent crime rate is more than 1,000 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Source: ferrantraite / Getty Images

2. New Mexico
> Violent crime rate: 784 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 148 (20th fewest)
> Imprisonment rate: 930 adults per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (2nd highest)
> Most dangerous city: Espanola

There were a total of 784 violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — reported per 100,000 New Mexico residents in 2017, far above the national rate of 394 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the second most of any state. Approximately 70% of all violent crime was reported in New Mexico’s urban areas. In Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, there were 1,369 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, among the most of any U.S. city. In Española, which is located about 70 miles northeast of Albuquerque, there were 2,934 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the most of any city in New Mexico and nearly the most nationwide.

While the relationship between income and crime is complicated, violent crime tends to be more common in poor areas with limited access to economic opportunities. In New Mexico, 19.7% of the population lives in poverty, and 4.6% of the workforce is unemployed — the second highest poverty rate and fourth highest unemployment rate of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Alaska
> Violent crime rate: 829 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 62 (13th fewest)
> Imprisonment rate: 800 adults per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Anchorage

Alaska is by far the most dangerous state in America. And the state’s violent crime rate of 829 reported incidents per 100,000 residents is more than double the national rate, and growing. The violent crime rate was 3.0% higher in 2017 than in 2016. Homicide is partially driving the increase. The 2017 murder rate of 8.4 homicides per 100,000 people — the sixth highest of any state — was 20% higher than the previous year.

Alaska has the highest rates of rape and aggravated assault in the country. For every 100,000 state residents, there were 117 rapes and 575 aggravated assaults in 2017 — both more than double the corresponding national rates.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.