Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Cities in America

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15. Anchorage, Alaska
> Violent crime rate in 2019: 1,245 per 100,000 people (3,581 total)
> Total homicides reported in 2019: 32
> 2019 poverty rate: 9.2%
> 2019 annual unemployment rate: 5.1%
> 2019 population: 287,731

Anchorage is one of just 15 U.S. cities with a violent crime rate of more than 1,200 incidents per 100,000 people. The majority of the city’s violent crimes were aggravated assaults, at 830 assaults per 100,000 residents. Anchorage has the third highest rate of rape in the nation, reporting 188 rapes per 100,000 residents, well above the nationwide rate of 43 per 100,000.

Unlike nearly all of the other cities on this list, Anchorage residents tend to be financially well off. The typical household in the city earns over $83,000 annually, and Anchorage has a 9.2% poverty rate — well below the 14.1% U.S. poverty rate.

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14. Oakland, California
> Violent crime rate in 2019: 1,272 per 100,000 people (5,520 total)
> Total homicides reported in 2019: 78
> 2019 poverty rate: 17.6%
> 2019 annual unemployment rate: 3.4%
> 2019 population: 434,036

Across the U.S., aggravated assault is the most common violent crime, with 250 reported offences per 100,000 people. Robbery is the second most common, though it is well behind aggravated assault, with 82 incidents per 100,000 people nationwide. In Oakland, however, there were more robberies — 659 per 100,000 — than aggravated assaults, at 509 per 100,000.

Oakland, which has the second highest rate of robbery of any major city, also reported outsized shares of several nonviolent crimes. The city led the nation with 1,161 car thefts per 100,000 residents, which is more than five times the U.S. rate. It also ranked third with 4,660 thefts per 100,000.

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13. San Bernardino, California
> Violent crime rate in 2019: 1,319 per 100,000 people (2,858 total)
> Total homicides reported in 2019: 46
> 2019 poverty rate: 28.4%
> 2019 annual unemployment rate: 4.8%
> 2019 population: 216,715

Nationwide, there were 82 robberies reported for every 100,000 Americans in 2019. In San Bernardino, California, there were 418 robberies per 100,000, the fifth highest rate among all major cities.

Like many other cities with high crime rates, San Bernardino has a relatively high poverty rate. The city’s 28.4% poverty rate is more than double the nationwide poverty rate. San Bernardino also has a relatively high unemployment rate, at 4.8%.

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12. South Bend, Indiana
> Violent crime rate in 2019: 1,331 per 100,000 people (1,357 total)
> Total homicides reported in 2019: 14
> 2019 poverty rate: 23.8%
> 2019 annual unemployment rate: 4.0%
> 2019 population: 101,944

South Bend is the most dangerous large city in Indiana. There were 1,331 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 people in 2019, over three and a half times the reported crime rate nationwide. The murder rate in the city of 14 incidents per 100,000 people is nearly triple the national homicide rate, and the aggravated assault rate of 1,001 incidents per 100,00 people is four times the national rate.

South Bend’s high rates of violence have continued into 2020, prompting some residents to demand more street lights and security cameras. City officials, including the mayor and chief of police, have acknowledged these requests and are taking steps to address them.

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11. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
> Violent crime rate in 2019: 1,332 per 100,000 people (7,874 total)
> Total homicides reported in 2019: 97
> 2019 poverty rate: 26.6%
> 2019 annual unemployment rate: 4.5%
> 2019 population: 590,923

Milwaukee ranks as the 11th most dangerous large city in the United States and the sixth most dangerous in the Midwest. Nearly 100 murders were committed in Milwaukee in 2019, or 16 for every 100,000 people — more than three times the national homicide rate of 5 per 100,000.

Crime rates tend to be higher in lower-income areas, and Milwaukee is one of the poorest cities in the country. Most households in the city earn about $40,000 a year or less — $20,000 less than the national median household income — and more than one-quarter of all residents live below the poverty line, compared to 14.1% of all Americans.

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