Special Report

America's Most Dangerous Cities

Nashville, Tennessee
Source: benedek / Getty Images

20. Nashville, Tennessee
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,113.1 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 91
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: N/A

The Nashville metro area is one of only 20 midsize or large cities nationwide with a violent crime rate that is more than triple the national rate of 369 per 100,000.

Aggravated assaults are the most common form of violence in the city, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the 7,641 violent offenses reported in 2018 — and the problem only appears to be getting worse. Cases of aggravated assault are up a staggering 23% in the city so far in 2019. According to Nashville police, the most dangerous parts of the city this year include Opry Mills, East Thompson Lane, and Murfreesboro Pike. It should be noted that the reporting agency is the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, but these rates and figures apply to the city of Nashville.

19. New Orleans, Louisiana
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,163.3 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 147
> Poverty rate: 25.4%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 5.0%

Of the three Louisiana cities to rank on this list, New Orleans is the most dangerous. There were 1,163 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018, well above the violent crime rate of 920 per 100,000 in Baton Rouge, the state’s second most dangerous city.

New Orleans’ homicide rate of 37 murders per 100,000 people is the fifth highest among mid- to large-size American cities. There were 147 murders total in the city of about 400,000 last year, more than the 132 committed in Phoenix, a city four times the size of New Orleans.

Wichita, Kansas
Source: benkrut / Getty Images

18. Wichita, Kansas
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,179.9 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 38
> Poverty rate: 16.9%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.9%

Wichita’s violent crime rate, the 18th highest of all cities in the country, is driven largely by cases of aggravated assault. About 75% of the 4,622 violent crimes reported in the city last year were classified as aggravated assault.

Police officials in Wichita are concerned that gang activity may lead to increased violence. The city’s police chief is urging lawmakers to fund prevention programs that will reduce gang activity and ultimately, violent crime.

Indianapolis, Indiana
Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Indianapolis, Indiana
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,272.8 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 162
> Poverty rate: 20.1%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.5%

Indianapolis is the most dangerous mid- to large-size city in Indiana and the 17th most dangerous nationwide. There were 1,273 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2018, higher than the rate of 1,039 per 100,000 in South Bend, the second most dangerous city in the state, and more than triple the 369 per 100,000 national violent crime rate.

As is often the case, firearms are frequently used in violent crimes carried out in Indianapolis. In an attempt to stem the tide of gun violence, community leaders and police are holding gun buyback events in the city with thousands of dollars available for those who participate.

Oakland, California
Source: yhelfman / Getty Images

16. Oakland, California
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,273.7 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 70
> Poverty rate: 18.7%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 3.4%

There were nearly 5,500 violent crimes committed in Oakland, California, in 2018, or 1,274 for every 100,000 city residents, a higher violent crime rate than in all but 15 other large cities nationwide. Robbery, in particular, is a major problem in Oakland. The city’s robbery rate of 610 incidents per 100,000 people is the second highest in the country, trailing only Baltimore’s. For context, the robbery rate nationwide is 86 per 100,000.

In recent years, the Oakland Police Department has gotten a better handle on gun violence with the aid of a computer program called Law Enforcement Analysis Portal developed by a group of tech entrepreneurs in nearby Silicon Valley. The program can collate and analyze troves of crime data, including arrest notes, license plate numbers, and gun trace reports.

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