Special Report

America's Most Dangerous Cities

Stockton, California
Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

10. Stockton, California
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,399.6 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 33
> Poverty rate: 22.4%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 6.9%

Of the five California cities to rank on this list, Stockton is the most dangerous. There were 4,383 violent crimes reported in the city in 2018 — or about 1,400 for every 100,000 people. The city’s robbery rate of 385 incidents per 100,000 people and aggravated assault rate of 943 per 100,000 each ranks as the eighth highest among U.S. cities.

Like most cities on this list, economic opportunities are relatively limited in Stockton. An average of 6.9% of the labor force in the city were out of a job in 2018, well above the 3.9% national unemployment rate.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Source: Aneese / iStock

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,413.0 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 99
> Poverty rate: 27.4%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 4.0%

Milwaukee is by far the most dangerous mid- to large-size city in Wisconsin and one of the most dangerous in the Midwest. There were 1,413 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018. In Green Bay, the second most violent city in the state tracked by the FBI, there were 459 violent crimes for every 100,000, nearly one-third the rate in Milwaukee.

The city is seeking to reduce violence through a program known as Cure Violence, which is based on a model that has been shown to be effective in other urban areas like Brooklyn and Chicago. The model involves paying and training community insiders to anticipate violence in a community and intervene before it breaks out.

Little Rock, Arkansas
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8. Little Rock, Arkansas
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,446.1 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 40
> Poverty rate: 17.8%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.5%

The capital of Arkansas ranks among the most dangerous large cities in the United States. There were 1,446 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018, nearly quadruple the 369 per 100,000 national violent crime rate.

Non-violent crimes like burglary and larceny are also relatively common in Little Rock. There were 6,548 property crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018, the third most among U.S. cities. For context, the national property crime rate is 2,200 per 100,000.

7. Cleveland, Ohio
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,449.6 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 86
> Poverty rate: 35.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 6.5%

Of the six Ohio cities home to at least 100,000 people that are tracked by the FBI, Columbus is the only one that does not rank on the 50 most dangerous cities nationwide, while Cleveland is the most dangerous. There were 1,450 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in Cleveland in 2018, compared to 495 per 100,000 in Columbus and 369 per 100,000 nationwide.

Violent crime rates are typically driven primarily by cases of aggravated assault, and in Cleveland, there were 3,257 aggravated assaults reported in 2018, more than double the 1,575 reported in Columbus, a city with a population more than twice the size of Cleveland’s.

Kansas City, Missouri
Source: tomofbluesprings / Getty Images

6. Kansas City, Missouri
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,590.3 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 137
> Poverty rate: 17.3%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.5%

Kansas City ranks as the second most dangerous midsize to large city in Missouri and the sixth most dangerous nationwide. There were 7,842 violent crimes reported in the city of fewer than half a million people in 2018. For reference, there were 5,360 violent crimes reported in San Diego — a city with a population of about three times that of Kansas City — the same year. The most dangerous parts of Kansas City include Downtown, Lykins, and Shoal Creek.

Recently, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas as well as the mayors of Columbia, Springfield, and St. Louis to discuss crime reduction strategies.

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