There were 369 violent crimes committed in 2018 for every 100,000 Americans, nearly the lowest violent crime rate in the United States in more than three decades. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., John Roman, a senior fellow with NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, explained that the latest crime statistics reflect an encouraging continuation of a long-term trend.
“If you are under the age of 40, you’ve never been safer than you are today,” Roman said.
Of course, crime is a local phenomenon. Despite the overall decline in violence nationwide, some U.S. cities have violent crime rates today that are well more than double the nationwide peak rate of 758 incidents per 100,000 people reported in 1991. Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crimes rates — a population-adjusted measure of incidents of rape, robbery, homicide, and aggravated assault — to identify America’s most dangerous cities. Only the 294 midsize and large cities tracked by the FBI with populations of at least 100,000 were considered.
The cities with the highest violent crime rates tend to share other socioeconomic characteristics — notably, a lack of economic opportunity. In the vast majority of cities on this list, poverty and unemployment rates are higher than they are nationwide. Some of these cities even rank among the poorest in the country. Here is a look at the poorest city in each state.
Often, these cities are former manufacturing hubs clustered in the industrial Midwest. Cities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio have all been affected by the decline of American manufacturing and now have some of the highest crime rates in the country. Though manufacturing is making a comeback in a handful of cities across the country, it will likely never be the economic pillar it once was in cities like Detroit, Indianapolis, and Cleveland — each of which ranks on this list.
It is important to note that a high violent crime rate does not mean an entire city is unsafe. Even within a given city, violence is hyper-local. “It’s block by block,” Roman said. “You can be in a part of the city that has deep poverty and few jobs and most of the blocks are very safe.”