Special Report

25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

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25. Flagstaff, AZ
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +32.5%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 461 per 100,000 people (total: 664)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 348 per 100,000 people (total: 481)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+42.2%)

The 2019 violent crime rate in the Flagstaff metro area was 32.5% higher than it was half a decade ago. There were 461 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in Flagstaff in 2019, compared to 348 per 100,000 in 2014.

The increase in the overall violent crime rate was driven by a 42.2% surge in aggravated assault — which is the most commonly reported violent crime, both in Flagstaff and the U.S. as a whole. Meanwhile, rates of some other less common forms of violence, like homicide and robbery, actually declined in Flagstaff between 2014 and 2019.

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24. Columbus, IN
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +33.2%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 146 per 100,000 people (total: 122)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 110 per 100,000 people (total: 88)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Rape (+298.3%)

Columbus, Indiana, reported a 33.2% increase in its population-adjusted violent crime rate between 2014 and 2019. Meanwhile, over the same period, the national violent crime rate remained effectively flat.

Despite the uptick, Columbus remains a relatively safe city. There were 146 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the Columbus metro area in 2019, less than half the U.S. violent crime rate of 367 incidents per 100,000 people.

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23. Topeka, KS
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +33.8%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 493 per 100,000 people (total: 1,143)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 368 per 100,000 people (total: 863)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+81.6%)

In 2014, the violent crime rate in Topeka, Kansas, of 368 incidents per 100,000 people was closely in line with the national violent crime rate that year. As of 2019, Topeka’s violent crime rate stood at 493 incidents per 100,000 people, well above the comparable national rate, which is little changed from where it stood five years ago.

The 33.8% five-year increase in the population-adjusted violent crime rate in Topeka is among the largest of any U.S. metro area. Of the four categories of offences classified as violent crimes, murder climbed the most. There were 16 cases of homicide reported in the metro area in 2019, up from nine in 2014.

Source: Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) / Wikimedia Commons

22. Jonesboro, AR
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +34.9%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 556 per 100,000 people (total: 743)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 412 per 100,000 people (total: 522)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+57.7%)

The numbers of homicides and rapes reported for every 100,000 people in Jonesboro, Arkansas, each increased by over 50% between 2014 and 2019. The population-adjusted aggravated assault rate increased by 38.5% over the same period. All told, the 2019 violent crime rate in Jonesboro of 556 incidents per 100,000 people is 34.9% higher than it was five years earlier.

Higher levels of violent crime can reduce overall quality of life in an area and result in depressed real estate values. Over the five years from 2014 to 2019, the median home value in Jonesboro rose by 23.8%, well below the national increase of 32.7% over that time.

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21. Akron, OH
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +35.1%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 372 per 100,000 people (total: 2,616)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 275 per 100,000 people (total: 1,944)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+75.4%)

Akron is the only metro area in Ohio — but one of many in the Midwest — to report near-nation leading increases in violent crime over the last five years of available data. The number of violent offenses reported in the city for every 100,000 people was 35.1% higher in 2019 than it was in 2014.

Despite the large increase, Akron is about as safe as the U.S. as a whole. The metro area violent crime rate of 372 per 100,000 is closely in line with the national rate of 367 per 100,000.

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