Special Report

Most Dangerous States in America

Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

45. New Jersey
> Violent crime rate: 208.1 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 286 (20th highest)
> Imprisonment rate: 278 adults per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.5% (5th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Camden

At 209 per 100,000, the violent crime rate in New Jersey is among the lowest of any state in the country. The state also has the lowest rate of rape in the country, with 16.0 reported incidents per 100,000 people, a fraction of the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000.

While the state as a whole is relatively safe, there are still parts of New Jersey that rank among the most dangerous places in the country. In Camden, for example, there were 1,638 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in 2018, more than four times the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000. Additionally, Trenton has a violent crime rate of 1,161.7 per 100,000 and Asbury Park has a violent crime rate of 1,107.1 per 100,000.

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44. Kentucky
> Violent crime rate: 211.9 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 244 (21st highest)
> Imprisonment rate: 682 adults per 100,000 (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.9% (6th highest)
> Most dangerous city: Covington

Kentucky has the second lowest violent crime rate in the South after Virginia and the seventh lowest violent crime rate among all states. There were 211.9 reported incidents of violent crime in the state for every 100,000 people in 2018 compared to 380.6 per 100,000 nationwide.

Crime is generally higher in poorer areas — but Kentucky is something of an exception. The state’s 16.9% poverty rate is sixth highest in the country and well above the 13.1% national rate. Additionally, the state’s 4.1% annual unemployment rate is slightly higher than the comparable 3.9% national rate.

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43. Wyoming
> Violent crime rate: 212.2 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 13 (3rd lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 560 adults per 100,000 (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (17th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Cheyenne

Wyoming has a violent crime rate of 212.2 incidents per 100,000 people, the lowest of any state west of the Mississippi and eighth lowest nationwide. Even in some of the safest states in the country, there can be cities with crime rates many times higher than the U.S. as a whole. But in Wyoming, even the cities are relatively safe.

Cheyenne ranks as the most dangerous city in the state but still has a lower concentration of violent crime than the U.S. as a whole, with a violent crime rate of 322.5 incidents per 100,000 compared to 380.6 per 100,000 nationwide.

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Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

42. Rhode Island
> Violent crime rate: 219.1 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 16 (4th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 212 adults per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd highest)
> Most dangerous city: Woonsocket

There were 2,317 violent crimes reported in Rhode Island in 2018, or 219.1 for every 100,000 people. Aggravated assault was the most commonly reported violent crime in the state, accounting for over half of all reported incidents.

Crime in Rhode Island tends to be concentrated in the cities. In Woonsocket, for example, there were 589.8 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018, well above the 380.6 per 100,000 national rate. In Providence, the capital and the state’s largest city, there were 454.6 violent crimes for every 100,000 people.

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41. Minnesota
> Violent crime rate: 220.4 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 106 (19th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 249 adults per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (7th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Minneapolis

Minnesota has the lowest violent crime rate of any state in the Midwest and the 10th lowest violent crime rate among states. There were 12,369 violent crimes reported in the state in 2018, or 220.4 per 100,000 people — well below the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000.

As is the case in most states, Minnesota reported a dip in violent crime in the last year. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of violent crimes in the state fell by 7.3%, more than most states and a stronger improvement than the 3.0% national decline.

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