Special Report

Most Dangerous States in America

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35. Mississippi
> Violent crime rate: 286 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 245 (24th most)
> Imprisonment rate: 1,260 adults per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (the highest)
> Most dangerous city: Greenwood

Mississippi’s violent crime rate of 286 reported incidents per 100,000 residents is well below the U.S. violent crime rate of 394 per 100,000. Mississippi is far safer than other states in the region. Not only is the state’s violent crime rate lower than most U.S. states, but also each of Mississippi’s bordering states — Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana — each have some of the highest violent crime rates in the country.

Despite a low overall violent crime rate, Mississippi has the eighth highest murder rate in the country, at 8.2 per 100,000.

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34. Iowa
> Violent crime rate: 293 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 104 (18th fewest)
> Imprisonment rate: 560 adults per 100,000 (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.7% (12th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Clinton

Iowa is one of many Midwestern states that are far safer than the nation as a whole. There were just 293 violent crimes for every 100,000 state residents in 2017, compared to 394 per 100,000 nationwide.

Despite ranking as a safer place than most states, Iowa reported a substantial spike in murders and non-negligent homicides in 2017. There were 104 murders in the state last year, a nation-leading jump of 42.5% from the 73 murders reported the previous year.

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33. Ohio
> Violent crime rate: 298 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 710 (6th most)
> Imprisonment rate: 790 adults per 100,000 (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (17th highest)
> Most dangerous city: Cleveland

Aggravated assault is the most common type of violent crime in both Ohio, and the nation as a whole. Still, such crimes are less common in Ohio than in much of the rest of the country. The state’s assault rate of 142 reported incidents per 100,000 people is well below the U.S. rate of 249 aggravated assault per 100,000 Americans.

The low rate of assault is the reason why Ohio has a relatively low violent crime rate. The other types of violent crimes — murder, rape, and robbery — all happen more frequently in Ohio than they do in the United States as a whole.

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32. Washington
> Violent crime rate: 305 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 230 (25th fewest)
> Imprisonment rate: 530 adults per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (14th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Fife

With lower than average rates of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault, Washington is one of the safer states in the country. However, the state’s violent crime rate increased slightly over the past year, rising 0.3% from 2016 to 2017.

States with lower violent crime rates also tend to have lower property crime rates, but that is not the case in Washington. There were 3,174 property crimes — which includes larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft — reported per 100,000 Washington residents in 2017, the fifth most of any state.

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31. Nebraska
> Violent crime rate: 306 per 100,000
> Total 2017 murders: 43 (11th fewest)
> Imprisonment rate: 610 adults per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (13th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Omaha

The Midwest is home to about 21% of the U.S. population and accounts for about 20% of all violent crime. Nebraska is one of the safer states in the region, reporting 306 incidents of violent crime for every 100,000 residents.

Crime in Nebraska is heavily concentrated in Omaha, the largest city in the state. There were 2,909 violent crimes in Omaha in 2017, about half of the 5,873 total incidents statewide that year.

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