Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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5. Arkansas
> Violent crime rate: 554.9 per 100,000 residents (6th highest)
> Murder rate: 8.6 per 100,000 residents (5th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 598 per 100,000 residents (4th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.7% (24th lowest)

There were 16,671 violent crimes in Arkansas in 2017, or 554.9 per 100,000 people, a higher rate than in all but five other states. Arkansas also has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. There are 598 people in prison for every 100,000 state residents, the fourth highest incarceration rate among states.

The state’s higher than average violent crime rate is driven up in large part by a near nation-leading incidence rate of aggravated assault. There were 413.6 aggravated assaults reported in the state for every 100,000 people in 2017. Nationwide, there were 248.9 per 100,000.

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4. Missouri
> Violent crime rate: 530.3 per 100,000 residents (7th highest)
> Murder rate: 9.8 per 100,000 residents (2nd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 532 per 100,000 residents (7th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.2% (13th lowest)

There were 9.8 murders in Missouri for every 100,000 people in 2017, the second highest murder rate of any state, trailing only Louisiana, and nearly double the national murder rate of 5.3 per 100,000. Murders in Missouri are disproportionately concentrated in urban areas. Nearly 90% of homicides in the state in 2017 were committed in metropolitan areas, while less than three-quarters of the state’s population lives in metro areas. One city in Missouri is particularly violent, topping the list of the 25 most dangerous cities in America.

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3. Tennessee
> Violent crime rate: 651.5 per 100,000 residents (3rd highest)
> Murder rate: 7.8 per 100,000 residents (9th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 429 per 100,000 residents (17th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.5% (21st lowest)

Tennessee’s violent crime rate of 651.5 reported incidents per 100,000 people is the third highest among states, trailing only Alaska and New Mexico. The high rate of violence in the state is driven largely by incidents of aggravated assault. There were 482.9 aggravated assaults for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017, the third highest rate of any state and well above the national rate of 248.9 per 100,000.

As is often the case, violence is concentrated in urban areas in Tennessee. Roughly 86% of all violent crimes and 91% of murders were committed in metropolitan areas, though those same areas are home to just 77.6% of the state’s population.

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2. Alaska
> Violent crime rate: 829.0 per 100,000 residents (the highest)
> Murder rate: 8.4 per 100,000 residents (6th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 258 per 100,000 residents (12th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 6.6% (the highest)

Alaska has the highest violent crime rate of any state. There were 829 reported incidents of violent crime in the state for every 100,000 people in 2017, more than double the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000.

Violence in Alaska is not limited to crimes committed against others. Suicide is also relatively common in the state. There were 25 suicides for every 100,000 state residents over the last five years, nearly double the 13.2 per 100,000 national rate. Additionally, no state has a higher share of firearm-related suicides than Alaska. There were 15.8 firearm suicides per 100,000 people in the state in the last five years, compared to the national rate of 6.6 per 100,000 people.

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1. Louisiana
> Violent crime rate: 557.0 per 100,000 residents (4th highest)
> Murder rate: 12.4 per 100,000 residents (the highest)
> Incarceration rate: 719 per 100,000 residents (the highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.9% (3rd highest)

Louisiana has the highest murder rate in the United States. There were 12.4 murders in the state for every 100,000 residents in 2017 — the only state where murders were more than twice as common as they were nationwide. For reference, the national murder rate was 5.3 incidents per 100,000 people. Louisiana has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, and deadly violence is often carried out with firearms in the state. There were 10.5 murders committed with a firearm in Louisiana for every 100,000 people in the last five years, the most of any state and more than double the national rate of 4.1 per 100,000.

Murders in Louisiana are disproportionately concentrated in urban areas. One Louisiana metro area tops the list of the U.S. cities with the most gun violence.

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