Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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36. Oklahoma: Tulsa
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +4.2% (metro area) -2.8% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 566 (metro area) 456 (state)
> 2017 murders: 90 (metro area) 242 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.5% (metro area) 4.3% (state)

All three of Oklahoma’s major metropolitan areas for which data is available — Oklahoma City, Lawton, and Tulsa — have above average violent crime rates, but while the rate declined in the first two cities over the last five years, it increased by 4.2% in Tulsa. The Northeast Oklahoma city ranks among the 50 worst in the country in all four categories of violent crime. It also had the 21st highest motor vehicle theft rate of any metro area in 2017.

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37. Oregon: Corvallis
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +25.1% (metro area) +13.8% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 139 (metro area) 282 (state)
> 2017 murders: 3 (metro area) 104 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.3% (metro area) 4.1% (state)

Of all metro areas in Oregon for which comparable data is available, Corvallis reported the steepest increase in violent crime over the last five years. The rates of rape, robbery, and aggravated assault all increased between 2012 and 2017, and the murder rate in the city more than doubled. Overall, the metro area’s violent crime rate climbed by 25.1% in the last five years, while the incidence of violence across the state as a whole increased 13.8%.

Despite the surge in violence, Corvallis is a safe city in a relatively safe state. The metro area’s violent crime rate of 139 incidents per 100,000 and Oregon’s violent crime rate of 282 per 100,000 are each well below the national rate of 383 per 100,000.

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38. Pennsylvania: Gettysburg
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +27.7% (metro area) -10.2% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 141 (metro area) 313 (state)
> 2017 murders: 1 (metro area) 739 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.7% (metro area) 4.9% (state)

Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate fell by 10.2% between 2012 and 2017. Over that period, most cities in the state also reported declining crime rates. Gettysburg was a notable exception. Across the broader Gettysburg metro area, the violent crime rate increased by 27.7% between 2012 and 2017. Over that period, the robbery rate more than doubled, and the rape rate nearly doubled. Of the other 12 Pennsylvania metro areas for which comparable data is available, Lancaster is the only one to also report a sharp increase in violent crime. During the five-year period, Lancaster’s violent crime rate jumped by 24.1% to 208 incidents per 100,000 people — slightly higher than Gettysburg’s violent crime rate of 141 per 100,000.

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39. Rhode Island: None
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: -8.0% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 232 (state)
> 2017 murders: 20 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.5% (state)

Rhode Island’s lone major metropolitan area, Providence, has a history of organized crime. Despite this, crime is both uncommon and on the decline in the state capital. The city’s rates of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault each fell by more than 10% over the last five years. Property crime in the city also fell substantially over that period, including a nearly 50% decline in the burglary rate.

Falling crime in Providence might be due to an improving employment situation in the city. In 2012, 10% of Providence’s labor force was unemployed, roughly 2 percentage points above the national annual unemployment rate that year. As of 2017, Providence’s unemployment rate had fallen to 4.5%, roughly in line with the national unemployment rate.

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40. South Carolina: Florence
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +53.7% (metro area) -9.4% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 836 (metro area) 506 (state)
> 2017 murders: 48 (metro area) 390 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.8% (metro area) 4.3% (state)

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of people living in Florence, South Carolina, fell by 0.9%. Despite the population decline, the number of violent crimes in the city climbed from 1,132 to 1,724. As a result, the violent crime rate across the broader metro area surged by 53.7%, and Florence now ranks among the most dangerous metro areas in the United States. There were 836 violent crimes for every 100,000 Florence residents in 2017, more than double the 383 per 100,000 national violent crime rate.

Florence’s surging crime rate was a stark departure from the broader trend across the state as a whole. Over the last five years, every other metro area in South Carolina with comparable data reported a decline in violent crime, and the state’s violent crime rate improved by 9.4%.

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