Special Report

25 Cities Where Crime Is Soaring

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5. Eau Claire, WI
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +63.3%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 214 per 100,000 people (total: 363)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 131 per 100,000 people (total: 217)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Murder (+400.0%)

The violent crime rate climbed by 63.3% from 2014 to 2019 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the second largest increase of any Midwestern metro area and fifth largest nationwide. Though the local violent crime rate of 214 incidents per 100,000 is considerably higher than it was half a decade ago, it remains well below the national violent crime rate of 367 per 100,000.

Often, an uptick in the overall violent crime rate can occur even as specific types of violent crime become less common. In Eau Claire, however, all major types of violent crime became more common in the last five years. Rates of robbery and aggravated assault each climbed by over 30%, while the number of rapes reported per 100,000 people surged 156%, and the murder rate spiked by 400%.

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4. Greensboro-High Point, NC
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +65.2%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 530 per 100,000 people (total: 4,098)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 321 per 100,000 people (total: 2,396)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Rape (+132.4%)

The Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina, metro area reported a 65.2% jump in its population-adjusted violent crime rate over the last five years, more than any other metro area in the South.

Though just five years ago violent crime was less common in the metro area than it was nationwide, it is now considerably more common. The violent crime rate in the metro area climbed from 321 incidents per 100,000 people in 2014 to 530 per 100,000 in 2019. Nationwide, the violent crime rate is effectively unchanged at 367 per 100,000 people.

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3. Scranton – Wilkes-Barre, PA
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +77.0%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 401 per 100,000 people (total: 2,220)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 227 per 100,000 people (total: 1,272)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+133.5%)

The Scranton metro area in northeastern Pennsylvania reported a 77% increase in violent crime between 2014 and 2019. The increase was driven in large part by a 133.5% increase in the number of aggravated assaults for every 100,000 people. The annual violent crime rate in the Scranton area stands at 401 incidents per 100,000 people, above the 367 per 100,00 national rate.

Though violent crime is now more common in Scranton than it was half a decade ago, property crime in the metro area has become less common. There were 1,260 incidents of property crime, like burglary and motor vehicle theft, for every 100,000 people in the city in 2019, down 38.5% from 2,048 per 100,000 in 2014.

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2. Las Cruces, NM
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +94.9%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 557 per 100,000 people (total: 1,215)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 286 per 100,000 people (total: 611)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+151.2%)

The 2019 violent crime rate in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is nearly double what it was five years earlier. Driven by a surge in cases of aggravated assault and an increase in homicides, the metro area’s annual violent crime rate stands at 557 incidents per 100,000, compared to 286 per 100,000 in 2014.

Murders committed in the city in 2019, as well as many other felonies, were drug related, according to local officials. The city, located in southern New Mexico near Mexico, has been inundated in recent years by illegal drugs from south of the border.

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1. Kokomo, IN
> 5-yr. change in violent crime rate: +144.6%
> Violent crimes in 2019: 555 per 100,000 people (total: 458)
> Violent crimes in 2014: 227 per 100,000 people (total: 188)
> Violent crime with largest pop.-adj. 5-yr. increase: Aggravated assault (+221.2%)

Kokomo, Indiana reported a 144.6% increase in violent crime between 2014 and 2019, according to FBI data. As is often the case in areas with rising rates of violence, aggravated assault was the primary driver of the increase, as the population-adjusted number of cases surged by 221.2%. The annual violent crime rate in the Kokomo area stands at 555 incidents per 100,000 people, well above the 367 per 100,00 national rate.

According to local law enforcement officials, the nation-leading spike in the violent crime rate is not necessarily attributable to a surge in crime. In 2015, Kokomo switched to a new reporting system that broadened the types of crime classified as aggravated assaults. However, homicides, rapes, and robberies have also each increased in the metro area far more than they have nationwide since 2014 .

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