Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

Warfare is the most harrowing example of violence. While the United States is actively engaged in military campaigns abroad, war, in the traditional sense, has not been fought on our soil in over 150 years. Still, violence manifests itself in this country in other ways.

The most common form of violence in the United States today is violent crime — a broad classification comprising four types of offenses: aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. Nationwide, there were 382.9 reported violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017, according to the FBI

Another, perhaps less obvious, type of violence common in the United States are lawful punishments, specifically arrest and detention. There are currently 440 state and federal prisoners in the United States for every 100,000 people. 

Additionally, in a perfectly peaceful society, there would be no need for small arms, the type typically used for self defense. Because accurate handgun ownership data is unavailable nationwide, suicide by firearm is commonly used as a proxy. 

Rates of violent crime, incarceration, and suicide carried out with a firearm are not uniform across the country, and some states are far more violent places than others. 24/7 Wall St. created an index of these measures to identify the most peaceful and most violent states. 

Generally, violence tends to be less common in areas with more economic opportunity. Many of the most violent states also have some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Meanwhile, the most peaceful states tend to have strong economies and low unemployment. These are the states with the best and worst economies

Across the country, in peaceful and more violent states alike, violent crimes tend to be concentrated in metropolitan areas. In many states, a single high-crime city can contribute considerably to overall higher levels of violence — these are the most dangerous cities in each state.

Click here to see America’s most violent and peaceful states
Click here to read our methodology

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