Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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15. Texas
> Violent crime rate: 438.9 per 100,000 residents (16th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.0 per 100,000 residents (25th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 553 per 100,000 residents (6th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9% (21st highest)

There were 438.9 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Texas in 2017, above the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000. The rate of violence in the state is driven up in part by gun violence.

There were 15,547 deaths attributable to gun violence in Texas over the last five years, and well over half of them were suicides — the most of any state in the country. Even accounting for Texas’s large population, the gun death rate of 11.4 per 100,000 is above the 10.9 per 100,000 national rate. Texas has been home to some of the worst mass shootings in the United States in the last 20 years. These are the 18 worst mass shootings in the U.S. since Columbine.

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14. Georgia
> Violent crime rate: 357.2 per 100,000 residents (25th lowest)
> Murder rate: 6.7 per 100,000 residents (13th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 506 per 100,000 residents (9th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9% (21st highest)

The vast majority of the most violent states are in the South, and Georgia is one of them. Though the overall violent crime rate in the state of 357.2 per 100,000 people is slightly lower than the national average, Georgia’s murder rate is higher than average. There were over 700 homicides in Georgia in 2017 or 6.7 per 100,000 people. Nationwide, the murder rate is 5.3 per 100,000.

Georgia also has a high incarceration rate, locking up 506 people for every 100,000 residents, more than in all but eight other states.

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13. Maryland
> Violent crime rate: 500.2 per 100,000 residents (11th highest)
> Murder rate: 9.0 per 100,000 residents (4th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 317 per 100,000 residents (17th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.9% (21st highest)

Maryland is one of only 11 states to report more than 500 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017. The state’s murder rate of 9 homicides for every 100,000 people is well above the 5.3 per 100,000 national rate and higher than the murder rate in all but three other states. Robbery is also more common in Maryland than any other state. There were 185.1 robberies for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017, nearly double the national robbery rate of 98.1 per 100,000.

Many of the violent crimes reported in Maryland are committed in Baltimore. The city is one of the 25 most dangerous cities in America as well as one of the 10 U.S. cities with the most gun violence.

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12. Arizona
> Violent crime rate: 508.0 per 100,000 residents (9th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.9 per 100,000 residents (17th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 569 per 100,000 residents (5th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.8% (5th highest)

Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates of any state. For every 100,000 state residents, there are 569 inmates at state and federal prisons, fourth highest in the country.

The higher than average incarceration may be due in part to the relative prevalence of serious crimes like aggravated assault and robbery, the two most widely reported components of the violent crime rate. Overall, there were 508 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the state in 2017, well above the national violent crime rate of 382.9 per 100,000.

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11. Oklahoma
> Violent crime rate: 456.2 per 100,000 residents (12th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.2 per 100,000 residents (14th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 704 per 100,000 residents (2nd highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.4% (20th lowest)

Oklahoma ranks among the most violent states not only due to a far higher than average violent crime rate of 456.2 per 100,000 people in the state, but also because of the prevelance of gun violence — particularly suicide. There were 17.4 total deaths by firearm for every 100,000 people over the last five years and 11.5 suicides involving firearms per 100,000 over the same period. Nationwide, there were 10.9 firearms deaths and 6.6 firearm suicides between over that period.

Violent crimes in Oklahoma are disproportionately committed in urban areas. Even though just 67.6% of state residents live in metropolitan areas, over 85% of murders and 77% of all violent crimes were committed in metro areas.

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