Special Report

25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

Source: Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

20. Bay City, MI
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +38.3%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 384 per 100,000 people (total: 396)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 277 per 100,000 people (total: 296)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+80.3%)

The 2014 violent crime rate in Bay City, Michigan, of 277 incidents per 100,000 people was well below the comparable national rate of 366 per 100,000. As of 2019, however, after a 38.3% increase in population-adjusted violent crime, driven primarily by a surge in cases of aggravated assault, the violent crime in Bay City stands at 384 per 100,000, slightly higher than the national rate of 367 per 100,000.

Crime can make any area less desirable as a place to live and result in stagnant or depressed property values. In Bay City, the median home value increased by just 4.1% between 2014 and 2019. Meanwhile, the typical American home increased by 32.7% from half a decade ago.

Source: Edfallere / Wikimedia Commons

19. Albany-Lebanon, OR
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +39.8%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 137 per 100,000 people (total: 175)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 98 per 100,000 people (total: 117)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+88.0%)

The violent crime rate in the Albany-Lebanon, Oregon, metro area is 39.8% higher now than it was five years ago. Despite the increase, the metro area remains among the safest in the country. The local violent crime rate of 137 incidents per 100,000 people is less than half the comparable national rate of 367 per 100,000.

Of the four categories of offences classified as violent crimes, murder climbed the most in Albany-Lebanon. There were six cases of homicide reported in the metro area in 2019, up from three in 2014.

Source: Ron Reiring / Wikimedia Commons

18. Albuquerque, NM
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +40.9%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 1,043 per 100,000 people (total: 9,580)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 740 per 100,000 people (total: 6,692)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+110.4%)

Crime is a growing problem in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There were a total of 9,580 violent crimes reported in the city in 2019, or 1,043 for every 100,000 people — nearly triple the national violent crime rate of 367 incidents per 100,000 people.

Now one of the most dangerous metro areas in the country, Albuquerque’s violent crime rate is 40.9% higher than it was half a decade ago. Homicide had the largest population-adjusted increase among violent offences in Albuquerque. There were 10 murders for every 100,000 people in the metro area in 2019, up from 4.8 per 100,000 in 2014.

Source: yenwen / Getty Images

17. Anchorage, AK
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +41.6%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 1,195 per 100,000 people (total: 3,657)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 844 per 100,000 people (total: 2,672)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+170.7%)

Anchorage is one of only 18 U.S. metro areas to report a more than 40% increase in violent crime between 2014 and 2019. Not only does Anchorage have one of the fastest growing violent crime rates, it also has the highest. There were 1,195 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the metro area in 2019, more than three times the national violent crime rate of 367 incidents for every 100,000 people.

No type of violent crime increased faster in Anchorage than homicide in the last five years. There were a total of 13 murders reported in the metro area in 2014. In 2019, there were 34. Many homicides committed locally that year were attributed to drug-related activity.

16. Altoona, PA
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +43.0%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 333 per 100,000 people (total: 406)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 233 per 100,000 people (total: 294)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Rape (+130.3%)

Altoona, Pennsylvania, reported a 43% increase in its population-adjusted violent crime rate between 2014 and 2019. There were 333 violent incidents in the city for every 100,000 people in 2019, up from 233 per 100,000 five years earlier.

Crime detracts from overall quality of life in any city, and the uptick in violence in the metro area may be driving some people away. Altoona’s population declined by 3.4% over the same five-year period, even as the U.S. population expanded by 2.9%.

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