Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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35. Oregon
> Violent crime rate: 281.8 per 100,000 residents (15th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.5 per 100,000 residents (10th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 364 per 100,000 residents (25th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.2% (13th highest)

Oregon ranks among the more peaceful states due largely to a lower than average violent crime rate. There were 281.8 reported incidents for every 100,000 people in the state, compared to 382.9 per 100,000 nationwide. As is the case nationwide, violence in Oregon is concentrated in cities. Only about 15% of violent crimes in the state are reported outside of metropolitan areas.

While violent crimes are relatively uncommon in the state, non-violent crimes are. There were 2,986 property crimes for every 100,000 people in Oregon in 2017, more than in all but six other states.

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34. Idaho
> Violent crime rate: 226.4 per 100,000 residents (6th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 residents (4th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 447 per 100,000 residents (14th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 2.8% (7th lowest)

Far safer than most other states, the murder rate in Idaho of 1.9 incidents per 100,000 people is among the lowest of any state. Rates of rape and aggravated assault are also below the national averages, and Idaho’s robbery rate of 11.4 incidents per 100,000 people is the lowest of any state and a fraction of the national rate of 98.1 per 100,000. While such acts of violence are relatively rare in Idaho, other forms of violence are not.

Idaho has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country — and greater than average rates of gun violence. Due primarily to suicides carried out with a firearm, there were 14.4 deaths by firearm for every 100,000 state residents compared to 10.9 per 100,000 nationwide.

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33. Wisconsin
> Violent crime rate: 319.9 per 100,000 residents (22nd lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.2 per 100,000 residents (18th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 391 per 100,000 residents (22nd highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.0% (11th lowest)

The incidence rate of every form of violent crime — rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder — is lower in Wisconsin that it is nationwide. Overall, there were 319.9 reported violent crimes in the state for every 100,000 people, below the 382.9 per 100,000 national violent crime rate.

Gun violence is relatively rare in Wisconsin. There were 9.9 deaths by firearm in the state for every 100,000 people over the last five years, compared to 10.9 per 100,000 nationwide. Not all parts of the state have low rates of gun violence, however. One Wisconsin city ranks among the 10 worst cities for gun violence nationwide.

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32. Wyoming
> Violent crime rate: 237.5 per 100,000 residents (10th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.6 per 100,000 residents (12th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 429 per 100,000 residents (17th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.1% (15th highest)

There were 237.5 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Wyoming in 2017, well below the national violent crime rate of 382.9 incidents per 100,000 people. While crimes like murder, robbery, and aggravated assault are less common in Wyoming than nationwide, other forms of violence are more common.

Suicide by firearm is a bigger problem in Wyoming than in nearly all other states. There were 448 firearms suicides over the last five years, or about 15 for every 100,000 people — the third highest rate of any state, trailing only Montana and Alaska.

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31. California
> Violent crime rate: 449.3 per 100,000 residents (15th highest)
> Murder rate: 4.6 per 100,000 residents (23rd lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 328 per 100,000 residents (19th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.2% (13th highest)

Violent crime is slightly more common in California than it is nationwide. There were 449.3 incidents of violent crime reported for every 100,000 people in 2017, compared to 382.9 per 100,000 nationwide. Additionally, two of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States in the last two decades were committed in California.

Despite higher rates of violence, California locks up a smaller share of its citizens than most other states. California’s incarceration rate of 328 per 100,000 residents is also lower than that of the majority of states.

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