Special Report

Cities Where Crime Is Soaring in Every State

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46. Virginia: Lynchburg
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +23.4% (metro area) +9.5% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 192 (metro area) 208 (state)
> 2017 murders: 7 (metro area) 453 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 4.3% (metro area) 3.8% (state)

Violent crime is a relatively minor issue in Virginia compared to most states. The state’s violent crime rate of 208 incidents per 100,000 residents is the fourth lowest among states, and all six metro areas with available data in the state have violent crime rates below the national rate.

The violent crime rate in Lynchburg increased by 23.4% in the past five years, but even with that increase, the metro area’s violent crime rate of 192 incidents per 100,000 people is still well below the national rate. Lynchburg’s robbery rate of 25 incidents per 100,000 residents is just slightly over one-quarter of the national robbery rate of 98 robberies per 100,000 Americans.

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47. Washington: Walla Walla
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +46.6% (metro area) +3.0% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 336 (metro area) 305 (state)
> 2017 murders: 1 (metro area) 230 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 5.0% (metro area) 4.8% (state)

Violent crime is more common now in most of the metro areas in Washington than it was half a decade ago. Overall, the violent crime rate inched up by 3.0% across the state between 2012 and 2017. Of the state’s 11 metro areas with a comparable crime data, Walla Walla reported the largest increase in violent crime over the last five years. Driven by increases in reported rapes and aggrevated assaults, the violent crime rate in Walla Walla surged by 46.6%.

Despite increased rates of violence across the state, every metro area in Washington — including Walla Walla — has a lower violent crime rate than the national rate of 383 per 100,000.

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48. West Virginia: Parkersburg-Vienna
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +29.3% (metro area) +10.9% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 436 (metro area) 351 (state)
> 2017 murders: 8 (metro area) 85 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 5.6% (metro area) 5.2% (state)

Of West Virginia’s four metropolitan areas with available data, only the Parkersburg-Vienna area has a violent crime rate higher than the national rate of 382 incidents per 100,000 people. Parkersburg is also the state’s metro area with the largest increase in violent crime over the last five years.

The rise in violent crime has been uneven in the metro area. Aggravated assault represents the most common type of violent crime, and Parkersburg’s violent crime increase is due mostly to a 35% surge in the aggravated assault rate. Meanwhile, the robbery rate in Parkersburg plummeted.

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49. Wisconsin: Wausau
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +28.1% (metro area) +14.0% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 160 (metro area) 320 (state)
> 2017 murders: 4 (metro area) 186 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.0% (metro area) 3.3% (state)

The violent crime rate increased in five metro areas in Wisconsin over the last five years. Nowhere did rates of violence increase faster in the state than Wausau. The central Wisconsin metro area reported a 28.1% increase in the incidence of violent crime between 2012 and 2017. Across the state as a whole, the violent crime rate increased by a relatively modest 14.0%.

Despite the increase, Wausau remains a relatively safe city. There were just 160 violent crimes for every 100,000 area residents in 2017 — a fraction of the violent crime rate of 681 per 100,000 in Milwaukee, the most dangerous metro area in Wisconsin.

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50. Wyoming: Cheyenne
> 5-yr. Change in crime rate: +22.4% (metro area) +17.9% (state)
> 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 295 (metro area) 238 (state)
> 2017 murders: 5 (metro area) 15 (state)
> 2017 unemployment: 3.7% (metro area) 4.2% (state)

The violent crime rate climbed by 17.9% in Wyoming between 2012 and 2017, rising in each of state’s metro areas — by 11.9% in Casper and 28.1% in Cheyenne. Not only did Cheyenne have the largest increase in the incidence of violent crime, but also it is the most dangerous metro area in the state. There were 295 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Cheyenne in 2017 compared to 220 per 100,000 in Casper and 238 per 100,000 across the state.

Cheyenne also has Wyoming’s highest property crime rate. There were 2,843 property crimes for every 100,000 people in Cheyenne in 2017, compared to 2,615 per 100,000 in Casper.

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