Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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30. Colorado
> Violent crime rate: 368.1 per 100,000 residents (23rd highest)
> Murder rate: 3.9 per 100,000 residents (22nd lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 351 per 100,000 residents (24th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.3% (15th lowest)

Of the four categories of violent crime — rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder — rape is the only one with a higher incidence rate in Colorado than nationwide. There were 68.8 reported rapes for every 100,000 Colorado residents in 2017 compared to 41.7 per 100,000 nationwide. Overall, however, Colorado’s violent crime rate of 368.1 is slightly below the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000.

Like several other western states, Colorado has a higher rate of gun violence than is typical nationwide. Two of the 18 deadliest mass shootings in the last 20 years were carried out in Colorado.

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29. South Dakota
> Violent crime rate: 433.6 per 100,000 residents (18th highest)
> Murder rate: 2.9 per 100,000 residents (16th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 453 per 100,000 residents (12th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.0% (11th lowest)

South Dakota’s violent crime rate of 433.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people is well above the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000. Violent crime in the state is driven up by higher than average rates of rape and aggravated assault.

South Dakota’s incarceration rate of 453 prisoners for every 100,000 state residents falls roughly in the middle of the rank of state incarceration rates. Similarly, the rate of deaths by firearm in the state is closely aligned with the national rate of 10.9 deaths for every 100,000 people over the last five years.

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28. Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 208.2 per 100,000 residents (4th lowest)
> Murder rate: 5.3 per 100,000 residents (24th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 437 per 100,000 residents (16th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.0% (11th lowest)

Virginia’s violent crime rate of 208.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people is one of the lowest of any state and well below the national rate of 382.9 per 100,000. However, while violent crime in general is not especially common in the state, Virignia’s murder rate is slightly higher than average. There were 5.4 murders for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017 compared to 5.3 per 100,000 nationwide.

Virginia has relatively lax gun laws compared to many other states, but gun violence is not especially common in the state. There were 10.9 firearm deaths for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017, in line with the national firearm fatality rate.

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27. Pennsylvania
> Violent crime rate: 313.3 per 100,000 residents (21st lowest)
> Murder rate: 5.8 per 100,000 residents (19th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 375 per 100,000 residents (25th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3% (10th highest)

Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate of 313.3 incidents per 100,000 people is lower than in most states and well below the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000. While some forms of violence — such as several components of violent crime like rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — are relatively rare in the state, other forms of violence not considered in violent crime statistics, are more common than usual. For example, there were 14.1 suicides involving a firearm for every 100,000 state residents over the last five years, slightly higher than the comparable national rate of 13.2 per 100,000.

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26. Ohio
> Violent crime rate: 297.5 per 100,000 residents (18th lowest)
> Murder rate: 6.1 per 100,000 residents (15th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 441 per 100,000 residents (15th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.6% (7th highest)

Aggravated assault is by far the most commonly reported violent crime in the United States, with 248.9 reported incidents per 100,000 people. In Ohio, the aggravated assault rate is far lower than average, with just 141.6 incidents per 100,000 people. Partially as a result, Ohio’s overall violent crime rate is far lower than the national rate.

While Ohio is generally safer than the U.S. as a whole, as evidenced by the lower violent crime rate, parts of the state are not safer. In Ohio’s most dangerous city, the violent crime rate is more than quadruple the national violent crime rate. Additionally, Ohio’s murder rate of 6.1 per 100,000 people is considerably higher than the national murder rate of 5.3 per 100,000.

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