16. Kansas: Wichita
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +36.9% (metro area) +16.5% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 724 (metro area) 413 (state)
> 2017 murders: 44 (metro area) 160 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.1% (metro area) 3.6% (state)
Five years ago, Wichita, Kansas, had the highest violent crime rate of the state’s three major metropolitan areas and the 51st highest rate of U.S. metro areas considered, at 529 incidents per 100,000 people. That rate rose to 724 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2017, climbing to 15th highest of U.S. metro areas in 2017. That 36.9% increase well exceeds the state’s 16.5% increase in violent crime rate.
17. Kentucky: Elizabethtown-Fort Knox
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +49.1% (metro area) +1.4% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 113 (metro area) 226 (state)
> 2017 murders: 5 (metro area) 263 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.7% (metro area) 4.9% (state)
The violent crime rate in the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox metro area climbed by 49.1% in the last five years, by far the largest increase of any metro area in the state. Over the same period, Kentucky’s violent crime rate inched up by just 1.4% and the U.S. violent crime rate fell by 1.3%. In Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, the aggravated assault rate more than doubled, and the murder rate more than quadrupled.
Despite the surge in violence, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox remains the safest metro area in the state and one of the safest in the country. There were just 113 violent crimes for every 100,000 Elizabethtown-Fort Knox residents in 2017 — half of Kentucky’s violent crime rate and less than a third of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.
18. Louisiana: Houma-Thibodaux
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +11.4% (metro area) +12.1% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 325 (metro area) 557 (state)
> 2017 murders: 10 (metro area) 582 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 5.5% (metro area) 5.1% (state)
The Houma-Thibodaux metro area in southeastern Louisiana reported an 11.4% increase in violent crime between 2012 and 2017 — the most of any metro area in the state with comparable data. Still, Houma-Thibodaux remains a relatively safe metro area in a dangerous state. Houma-Thibodaux’s violent crime rate of 325 incidents per 100,000 is by far the lowest of any Louisiana metro area. Across the state as a whole, there were 557 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2017 — well above the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000. In Monroe, the state’s most dangerous metro area, there were 935 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017.
19. Maine: Lewiston-Auburn
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +7.5% (metro area) -1.4% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 157 (metro area) 121 (state)
> 2017 murders: 0 (metro area) 23 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.1% (metro area) 3.3% (state)
In Lewiston-Auburn, the most dangerous metro area in Maine, the violent crime rate of 157 per 100,000 is less than half the 383 per 100,000 national rate. Lewiston-Auburn was also the only metro area in the state to report an increase in violence in the last five years. The metro area’s crime rate rose by 7.5%, driven by climbing rates of rape and aggravated assault.
Across Maine, there were just 23 homicides in 2017, less than a quarter of the total number of murders in every U.S. metro area considered with a similar population size to Maine. With a violent crime rate of just 121 incidents per 100,000 people, Maine is the safest state in the country.
20. Maryland: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +26.0% (metro area) +4.9% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 783 (metro area) 500 (state)
> 2017 murders: 413 (metro area) 546 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.3% (metro area) 4.1% (state)
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson is by far the most dangerous metro area in Maryland and one of the most dangerous in the United States. The metro area’s violent crime rate spiked by 26.0% in the last five years and currently stands at 783 incidents per 100,000 people — well above both the statewide violent crime rate of 500 per 100,000 and the national rate of 383 per 100,000. Much of the violence in Baltimore is attributable to gang activity.
Earlier this year, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced plans to commit $13 million to reduce violent crime in Baltimore. Much of that money will be allocated to a new joint strike task force made up of 200 law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local jurisdictions.
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