Special Report

Most Dangerous States in America

35. Ohio
> Violent crime rate: 279.9 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 564 (9th highest)
> Imprisonment rate: 567 adults per 100,000 (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9% (16th highest)
> Most dangerous city: Cleveland

There were 32,723 violent crimes reported in Ohio in 2018, a 5.5% decline from the previous year. The state’s violent crime rate of 279.9 per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the 380.6 per 100,000 national violent crime rate.

While Ohio as a whole is a relatively safe state, a couple of Ohio cities rank among the most dangerous places in the country. In Cleveland, for example, there were 1,449.6 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018, nearly four times higher than the national violent crime rate. In Canton, there were 1,196.8 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, more than triple the national rate.

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Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

34. North Dakota
> Violent crime rate: 280.6 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 18 (5th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 295 adults per 100,000 (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.7% (12th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Williston

While most states reported a decline in violent crimes from 2017 to 2018, the number of murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults committed in North Dakota remained unchanged from the previous year. Still, North Dakota’s violent crime rate of 280.6 incidents per 100,000 people is lower than the comparable rate in most states.

Crime rates tend to be higher in urban areas, and in North Dakota there are a handful of cities with crime rates well above the national rate. In Williston, for example, there were 518.4 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in 2018, well above the national average of 380.6 per 100,000.

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33. Nebraska
> Violent crime rate: 284.8 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 44 (11th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 362 adults per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (16th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Omaha

Overall, violent crime is less common in Nebraska than it is nationwide. There were 284.8 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the state in 2018, below the 380.6 per 100,000 national violent crime rate. However, rape, one of the four components of the violent crime rate, is more common in Nebraska than it is in much of the rest of the country. There were 63.9 reported incidents of rape for every 100,000 Nebraskans in 2018, the eighth highest rate among states and well aboe the national rate of 42.6 incidents per 100,000 people.

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32. Oregon
> Violent crime rate: 285.5 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 82 (17th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 461 adults per 100,000 (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.6% (25th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Portland

Unlike most states, Oregon reported an uptick in violent crime over the last year. There were 11,966 incidents of robery, rape, murder, and aggravated assault in the state in 2018, a 2.9% increase from the previous year. Still, Oregon’s violent crime rate of 285.5 incidents per 100,000 is below that of most states and well below the national rate of 380.6 per 100,000.

Most states with lower than average violent crime rates also have low property crime rates, but Oregon is a notable exception. There were 2,894.0 property crimes for every 100,000 people in the state in 2018 compared to 2,199.5 per 100,000 nationwide.

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Source: Courtesy of Governor Jim Justice via Flickr

31. West Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 289.9 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 67 (16th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 492 adults per 100,000 (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.8% (4th highest)
> Most dangerous city: Beckley

West Virginia reported the largest decrease in violent crime of any state between 2017 and 2018. There were 5,236 violent crimes in the state in 2018, a 20.2% decrease from the previous year. Nationwide, the number of reported violent crimes fell by 3.0% over the same period. In 2017, there were 361.2 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in West Virginia. In 2018, there were 289.9.

Still, parts of West Virginia are far more dangerous. In Beckley, the most dangerous city in the state, there were 905.5 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018, more than double the national rate of 380.6 per 100,000.

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