Special Report

America's Most Dangerous Cities

Anchorage, Alaska
Source: Chilkoot / Getty Images

15. Anchorage, Alaska
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,309.6 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 26
> Poverty rate: 8.1%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 5.5%

Rape is one of four violent crime classifications as defined by the FBI, and in Anchorage, there were 210 rapes reported for every 100,000 people, the highest rate of any U.S. city with a population of at least 100,000. For context, the national rape rate is 43 per 100,000. As is the case in most cities, however, aggravated assault is the most commonly reported crime in anchorage. About 65% of the 3,824 violent offenses committed in the city in 2018 were aggravated assaults.

Springfield, Missouri
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14. Springfield, Missouri
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,316.0 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 16
> Poverty rate: 25.7%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 2.7%

Driven disproportionately by incidents of rape and aggravated assault, the violent crime rate in Springfield, Missouri, of 1,316 incidents per 100,000 people is among the highest among midsize or large cities in the United States. As is often the case in dangerous cities, other, non-violent crimes are also common in Springfield. There were 7,019 property crimes — a category that includes motor vehicle theft and burglary — for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018, the second highest of any major U.S. city. Nationwide, there were 2,200 property crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018.

San Bernardino, California
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13. San Bernardino, California
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,333.1 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 49
> Poverty rate: 30.6%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 5.2%

Only 12 U.S. cities home to 100,000 people or more have a higher violent crime rate than San Bernardino, California. There were nearly 3,000 incidents of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide in the city in 2018 — or 1,333 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. For reference, the national violent crime rate was 369 per 100,000 last year.

High crime areas often have limited economic opportunities — and San Bernardino is a case in point. The annual unemployment in the city is 5.2%, and 30.6% of the population lives below the poverty line. Nationwide, the annual unemployment rate is just 3.9%, and the poverty rate of 14.6% is less than half that of San Bernardino.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
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12. Albuquerque, New Mexico
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,364.8 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 69
> Poverty rate: 18.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 4.5%

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the rates of murder and rape are more than double the corresponding rates nationwide. The aggravated assault rate, meanwhile, is more than three times as high as it is across the country as a whole, and the city’s robbery rate of 353 incidents per 100,000 people is more than quadruple the national robbery rate.

Non-violent crimes like burglary and motor vehicle theft are also relatively common in Albuquerque. There were 6,179 property crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2018, more than in all but five other U.S. cities. For context, the national property crime rate is 2,200 per 100,000.

Rockford, Illinois
Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

11. Rockford, Illinois
> 2018 violent crime rate: 1,386.5 per 100,000 people
> 2018 homicides: 23
> Poverty rate: 22.2%
> 2018 unemployment rate: 6.8%

Of the three cities in Illinois to rank on this list, Rockford is the most dangerous. While the city of Chicago regularly makes national news for its staggering rates of gun violence, the Windy City’s violent crime rate of 1,006 incidents per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the violent crime rate of 1,386 per 100,000 people in Rockford. As is often the case, Rockford’s violent crime rate is driven largely by cases of aggravated assaults. About three out of every four violent crimes reported in the city are aggravated assaults.

Cities with high crime rates often have struggling economies, and in Rockford, joblessness is a major problem. The city’s annual unemployment rate of 6.8% is well above the unemployment rate nationwide of 3.9%.

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