Special Report

American Metro Areas With the Highest Murder Rates

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The U.S. murder rate is at its highest level in nearly two and half decades. A total of 21,570 murders were committed nationwide in 2020, up nearly 30% from the previous year — the largest annual increase on record. 

The rash of deadly violence came during a tumultuous year in American history. The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures and left millions of Americans out of work. The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer rattled confidence in American law enforcement and sparked nationwide protests. Firearm sales soared, resulting in the proliferation of tens of millions of new guns. Here is a look at the states where gun sales are surging

Some experts speculate that each of these factors likely played a role in the rising homicide rate. While it may be years before the precise causal factors are identified, the effects are being felt in communities across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists homicide as a contributing factor in the historic 1.5-year decline in life expectancy in the U.S. last year — trailing only COVID-19 and accidental deaths, like drug overdoses, in significance. 

Currently, the national murder rate stands at 6.5 homicides for every 100,000 people. In many U.S. cities, however, murder rates are far higher than the national average. Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 U.S. metro areas with the most murders. Metropolitan areas are ranked on their murder rate — the number of reported murders for every 100,000 people in 2020. 

The majority of the metro areas with the highest homicide rates are located in Southern states — including five in Louisiana alone. 

Despite the rise in homicide nationwide, murder is by far the least common form of violent crime, accounting for less than 2% of all criminal violence. Still, in most of the metro areas with the highest homicide rates, the overall violent crime rate exceeds the national violent crime rate of 399 incidents per 100,000 people. 

Click here to see metro areas with the highest murder rates

To determine the 50 metro areas with the most murders, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed murder figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. The rate of murders per 100,000 people was calculated using population data from the FBI.

Limited data were available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though these places were not excluded from analysis. Only metro areas for which the boundaries defined by the FBI match the boundaries as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau were considered. 

Additional information on the violent crime rate  is also from the 2020 FBI UCR.

Source: ianmcdonnell / Getty Images

50. Yuma, AZ
> Murder rate: 9.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 20 — 112th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 330.7 — 124th lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 216,821 — 133rd lowest of 291 metros

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Source: Aaron Yoder / iStock via Getty Images

49. South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI
> Murder rate: 9.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 30 — 84th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 655.2 — 34th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 323,697 — 116th highest of 291 metros

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

48. Tulsa, OK
> Murder rate: 9.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 94 — 33rd highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 591.5 — 48th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,005,482 — 39th highest of 291 metros

Source: ferrantraite / Getty Images

47. Albuquerque, NM
> Murder rate: 9.4 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 87 — 36th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,006.4 — 7th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 923,729 — 43rd highest of 291 metros

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

46. Fresno, CA
> Murder rate: 9.4 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 94 — 33rd highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 596.7 — 47th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 996,752 — 40th highest of 291 metros

Source: Leadinglights / Getty Images

45. Jackson, TN
> Murder rate: 9.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 17 — 124th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 624.6 — 38th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 178,525 — 108th lowest of 291 metros

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44. Lubbock, TX
> Murder rate: 9.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 31 — 82nd highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 919.4 — 10th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 324,679 — 113th highest of 291 metros

Source: Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) / Wikimedia Commons

43. Jonesboro, AR
> Murder rate: 9.6 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 13 — 141st lowest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 659.6 — 33rd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 135,377 — 59th lowest of 291 metros

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

42. Kokomo, IN
> Murder rate: 9.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 8 — 98th lowest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 604.0 — 44th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 82,444 — 11th lowest of 291 metros

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

41. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, SC
> Murder rate: 9.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 22 — 106th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 326.9 — 122nd lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 226,652 — 140th lowest of 291 metros

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

40. Fort Wayne, IN
> Murder rate: 9.9 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 41 — 62nd highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 334.9 — 126th lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 415,629 — 96th highest of 291 metros

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39. Jacksonville, FL
> Murder rate: 9.9 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 156 — 19th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 499.8 — 70th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,580,803 — 26th highest of 291 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

38. Richmond, VA
> Murder rate: 9.9 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 129 — 23rd highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 215.7 — 51st lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,303,052 — 31st highest of 291 metros

Source: CrackerClips / Getty Images

37. Corpus Christi, TX
> Murder rate: 10.0 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 43 — 61st highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 738.0 — 18th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 430,354 — 93rd highest of 291 metros

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Source: Tobias Kleinlercher / Wikimedia Commons

36. Grants Pass, OR
> Murder rate: 10.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 9 — 109th lowest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 287.7 — 101st lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 87,577 — 14th lowest of 291 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

35. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
> Murder rate: 10.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 210 — 11th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 440.6 — 96th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 2,042,966 — 21st highest of 291 metros

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34. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
> Murder rate: 10.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 183 — 14th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 351.8 — 140th lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,773,594 — 24th highest of 291 metros

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

33. Killeen-Temple, TX
> Murder rate: 10.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 48 — 53rd highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 377.2 — 128th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 464,991 — 87th highest of 291 metros

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

32. Rapid City, SD
> Murder rate: 10.4 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 15 — 131st highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 665.1 — 28th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 143,884 — 70th lowest of 291 metros

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

31. Battle Creek, MI
> Murder rate: 10.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 14 — 135th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 663.6 — 30th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 133,509 — 58th lowest of 291 metros

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30. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
> Murder rate: 10.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 452 — 4th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 570.2 — 52nd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 4,308,550 — 8th highest of 291 metros

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Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

29. Pueblo, CO
> Murder rate: 10.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 18 — 120th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 722.2 — 20th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 168,374 — 92nd lowest of 291 metros

Source: benkrut / Getty Images

28. Rockford, IL
> Murder rate: 10.8 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 36 — 72nd highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 770.7 — 16th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 332,940 — 109th highest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

27. Stockton, CA
> Murder rate: 11.0 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 84 — 39th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 722.8 — 19th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 763,250 — 59th highest of 291 metros

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26. Trenton-Princeton, NJ
> Murder rate: 11.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 41 — 62nd highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 358.6 — 144th lowest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 367,006 — 107th highest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

25. Odessa, TX
> Murder rate: 11.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 19 — 116th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 697.1 — 22nd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 169,268 — 94th lowest of 291 metros

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24. Charleston-North Charleston, SC
> Murder rate: 11.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 93 — 35th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 446.2 — 94th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 819,676 — 54th highest of 291 metros

Source: Cypress Landing / Wikimedia Commons

23. Greenville, NC
> Murder rate: 11.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 21 — 109th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 364.6 — 140th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 182,129 — 114th lowest of 291 metros

Source: wellesenterprises / Getty Images

22. Monroe, LA
> Murder rate: 11.6 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 23 — 100th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,308.5 — 2nd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 199,081 — 121st lowest of 291 metros

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

21. Charleston, WV
> Murder rate: 11.8 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 30 — 84th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 536.3 — 61st highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 254,717 — 142nd highest of 291 metros

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

20. Greensboro-High Point, NC
> Murder rate: 12.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 95 — 32nd highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 576.2 — 51st highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 777,379 — 57th highest of 291 metros

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Source: Ron Reiring / Wikimedia Commons

19. Decatur, IL
> Murder rate: 12.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 13 — 141st lowest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 525.6 — 64th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 102,740 — 27th lowest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

18. Lawton, OK
> Murder rate: 12.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 16 — 128th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 603.0 — 45th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 125,862 — 50th lowest of 291 metros

Source: LPETTET / Getty Images

17. Bakersfield, CA
> Murder rate: 12.9 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 116 — 26th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 692.3 — 23rd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 897,941 — 44th highest of 291 metros

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

16. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
> Murder rate: 13.1 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 206 — 12th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 678.2 — 25th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,575,891 — 27th highest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

15. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR
> Murder rate: 13.1 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 98 — 31st highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 938.8 — 9th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 747,089 — 61st highest of 291 metros

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14. St. Louis, MO-IL
> Murder rate: 14.3 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 402 — 5th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 497.0 — 72nd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 2,802,055 — 13th highest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

13. Alexandria, LA
> Murder rate: 14.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 22 — 106th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 967.8 — 8th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 151,268 — 77th lowest of 291 metros

Source: sshepard / Getty Images

12. Albany, GA
> Murder rate: 15.8 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 23 — 100th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,008.1 — 6th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 145,715 — 72nd lowest of 291 metros

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Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images

11. Baton Rouge, LA
> Murder rate: 16.8 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 144 — 21st highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 565.9 — 53rd highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 855,151 — 49th highest of 291 metros

Source: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

10. Danville, IL
> Murder rate: 17.4 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 13 — 141st lowest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,050.3 — 5th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 74,737 — 6th lowest of 291 metros

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

9. Saginaw, MI
> Murder rate: 17.5 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 33 — 78th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 794.6 — 14th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 188,889 — 118th lowest of 291 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

8. Flint, MI
> Murder rate: 18.6 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 75 — 42nd highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 577.6 — 50th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 402,374 — 97th highest of 291 metros

Source: felixmizioznikov / Getty Images

7. Florence, SC
> Murder rate: 19.0 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 39 — 69th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 860.2 — 11th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 205,067 — 125th lowest of 291 metros

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock

6. Macon-Bibb County, GA
> Murder rate: 19.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 44 — 58th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 707.9 — 21st highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 229,395 — 141st lowest of 291 metros

Source: makasana / Getty Images

5. Sumter, SC
> Murder rate: 19.9 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 28 — 89th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 812.0 — 13th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 140,399 — 66th lowest of 291 metros

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

4. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
> Murder rate: 21.6 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 85 — 38th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 683.0 — 24th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 392,827 — 100th highest of 291 metros

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

3. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
> Murder rate: 21.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 277 — 9th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 624.3 — 39th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,275,017 — 32nd highest of 291 metros

Source: benedek / iStock via Getty Images

2. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
> Murder rate: 24.2 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 327 — 7th highest of 291 metros
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,358.8 — the highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 1,348,509 — 30th highest of 291 metros

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Source: Paul Sableman (Flickr user: pasa47) / Wikimedia Commons

1. Pine Bluff, AR
> Murder rate: 27.7 per 100,000 people
> Murders reported in 2020: 24 — 97th highest of 291 metros (tied)
> Violent crimes per 100k people: 1,097.8 — 4th highest of 290 metros
> Population within reporting jurisdiction: 86,540 — 13th lowest of 291 metros

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