Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

20. North Carolina
> Violent crime rate: 363.7 per 100,000 residents (24th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.8 per 100,000 residents (20th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 341 per 100,000 residents (21st lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9% (21st highest)

North Carolina’s violent crime rate of 363.7 incidenter per 100,000 people is slightly below the national rate of 382.9 per 100,000. The only component of the overall violent crime rate that is higher than average in North Carolina is the murder rate. There were 5.8 murders for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017 compared to 5.3 per 100,000 nationwide.

Gun violence is also more common in North Carolina than it is nationwide. There were 12.6 deaths by firearm, including suicides, for every 100,000 North Carolina residents in the last five years compared to 10.9 per 100,000 nationwide.

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19. Delaware
> Violent crime rate: 453.4 per 100,000 residents (13th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.6 per 100,000 residents (22nd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 420 per 100,000 residents (19th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.8% (25th lowest)

Only 12 states have a higher violent crime rate than Delaware’s rate of 453.4 reported incidents per 100,000 people. The state’s relatively high rate of violent crime is driven largely by higher than average rates of robbery and aggravated assault.

Despite the higher than average rates of violence, Delaware locks up a smaller than typical share of its citizens. The state’s incarceration rate of 420 per 100,000 people is 19th highest among states.

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. West Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 350.7 per 100,000 residents (23rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 4.7 per 100,000 residents (24th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 392 per 100,000 residents (21st highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 5.3% (2nd highest)

Gun violence is far more common in West Virginia than it is across the U.S. as a whole. Due primarily to a high rate of suicide by firearm, there were 15.3 gun deaths for every 100,000 people in West Virginia in over the last five years, well above the 10.9 per 100,000 national rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 350.7 incidents per 100,000 people, however, is slightly lower than the national rate of 382.9 per 100,000.

Homicide in West Virginia is disproportionately concentrated in cities. Though only about 62% of the state population lives within metro areas, 73% of murders in the state are committed in metropolitan areas.

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17. Michigan
> Violent crime rate: 450.0 per 100,000 residents (14th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.7 per 100,000 residents (21st highest)
> Incarceration rate: 397 per 100,000 residents (20th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.1% (15th highest)

Only 13 states have a higher violent crime rate than Michigan. There were 44,826 violent crimes reported in the state in 2017, or 450 for every 100,000 people.

Violent crime in Michigan — homicide in particular — is disproportionately concentrated in urban areas. Nearly 90% of all violent crimes and 93% of murders in the state are committed in metropolitan areas, even as metro areas are home to only about 82% of the total population. Dozens of cities across the country have violent crime rates well more than double the comparable national rate. These are the 25 most dangerous cities in America — and two of them are in Michigan.

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16. Indiana
> Violent crime rate: 399.0 per 100,000 residents (21st highest)
> Murder rate: 6.0 per 100,000 residents (16th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 389 per 100,000 residents (23rd highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.4% (20th lowest)

Indiana has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. States with the least restrictive gun laws typically tend to have higher than average rates of gun violence, and Indiana is no exception. There were 13.5 deaths by firearm for every 100,000 people in the state over the last five years, slightly more than the 10.9 per 100,000 nationwide rate.

The relatively high rate of gun violence in Indiana has contributed to a slightly higher than average violent crime rate. Driven by higher than average rates of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault, there were 399 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017, compared to 382.9 per 100,000 nationwide.

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