Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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41. South Dakota: Rapid City
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +25.5% (metro area) +34.7% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 480 (metro area) 434 (state)
> 2017 murders: 7 (metro area) 25 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.5% (metro area) 3.3% (state)

The violent crime rate climbed by 25.5% in Rapid City, South Dakota, over the last five years. In Sioux Falls, the only other metro area in the state, the violent crime rate rose by a relatively modest 17.2%. Rapid City is also more dangerous than Sioux Falls. There were 480 violent crimes for every 100,000 metro area residents in 2017 compared to 355 per 100,000 in Sioux Falls. There were 434 violent crimes in for every 100,000 people across South Dakota as a whole.

As violent crime rates climbed in Rapid City, the overall property crime rate fell by 16.6%. Not all property crime rates improved, however. Motor vehicle theft became 33.9% more common in the last five years — and Rapid City has the dubious distinction of being the motor vehicle theft capital of the state.

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42. Tennessee: Memphis
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +10.6% (metro area) +1.2% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,168 (metro area) 652 (state)
> 2017 murders: 220 (metro area) 527 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.3% (metro area) 3.7% (state)

Tennessee has the third highest violent crime rate of any state, and Memphis is one of the major reasons why. Memphis had the highest violent crime rate of any U.S. city in 2012, and things have only gotten worse. The city’s violent crime rate rose from 1,056 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2012 to 1,168 to per 100,000 in 2017.

While murder represents a small share of total violent crimes, it is worth noting that the number of homicides in Memphis increased by more than 40%, from 155 to 220.

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43. Texas: Amarillo
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +20.6% (metro area) +7.4% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 634 (metro area) 439 (state)
> 2017 murders: 17 (metro area) 1,412 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.0% (metro area) 4.3% (state)

After reporting a 20.6% surge in violent crime, Amarillo is now one of the most dangerous metro areas in Texas, second only to Odessa. There were 634 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Amarillo in 2017 — well above the 439 per 100,000 statewide violent crime rate and the 383 per 100,00 national rate.

Though, overall, violent crime increased in Amarillo, not all types of violent crime became more common in the metro area. The robbery rate fell by by 14.9% between 2012 and 2017. The improvement was not nearly enough to offset the rates of rape, aggravated assault, and homicide, which soared over the same period by 82.8%, 22.9%, and 52.4%, respectively.

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44. Utah: Logan
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +49.3% (metro area) +16.1% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 80 (metro area) 239 (state)
> 2017 murders: 4 (metro area) 73 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 2.7% (metro area) 3.2% (state)

The violent crime rate soared by nearly 50% in Logan, Utah, between 2012 and 2017, the largest increase of any metro area in the state. The increase was driven almost entirely by a 123.6% surge in the metro area’s rape rate. Despite the increasing violent crime rate, Logan remains one of the safest cities in the United States. There were only 80 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2017, about a fifth of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

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45. Vermont: None
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: 14.0% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 143 (state)
> 2017 murders: 8 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.0% (state)

The three safest states in the country are located in the New England region, and Vermont is one of them. There were 143 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017 — the second lowest rate of any state and less than half the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Burlington, the only metro area in the Green Mountain State, lacks comparable crime data between 2012 and 2017. Burlington’s 2017 violent crime rate of 178 incidents per 100,000 people, while higher than the statewide rate, is well below the U.S. violent crime rate. As is the case across Vermont, aggravated assault is most commonly reported crime in Burlington.