The United States has gotten safer in the past few decades. The violent crime rate (including aggravated assaults, robberies, rapes and murders/nonnegligent manslaughters) has declined steadily from nearly 750 incidents for every 100,000 Americans in 1993 to 366.7 incidents per 100,000 in 2019.
Yet, not every part of the country can be considered safe. While in some states the violent crime rate is less than half of the national rate, in others, it is more than double.
To determine the most dangerous state in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2019 for all 50 states, with data coming from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
There is a well-established link between poverty and crime, as America’s poorest states tend to be its most violent. For instance, New England states tend to have relatively high incomes and low poverty rates, and every state in the region ranks as one of the safest in the country. Most of the nation’s most dangerous states are located in the South, where incomes are typically among the lowest and poverty rates among the highest.
Violent crime occurs most frequently in U.S. urban areas. Even in many of the safest states, there are cities with very high violent crime rates. Similarly, it is no coincidence that many of the states with the highest rates of violent crimes are also home to some of America’s most dangerous cities. In some cases, a single city can account for over one-quarter of all violent crime in an entire state. Here is a look at the most dangerous cities in the country.
Alaska is the most dangerous state in America, and by a relatively wide margin. The state reported 867.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, well more than double the U.S. violent crime rate of 366.7 incidents per 100,000. Total murders in Alaska in 2019 reached 69, the 24th fewest among all states. The number of people incarcerated in the state stands at 244 per 100,000, the 12th lowest rate among the states.
Unlike every other state with one of the 10 highest violent crime rates, Alaska has a relatively low poverty rate. Just 10.1% of state residents live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of Americans overall. Many of Alaska’s 731,000 residents live in very remote locations, making it difficult for law enforcement to assist victims of violent crimes or track down potential perpetrators.