Cases of aggravated assault spiked by 12% in the United States in 2020. The increase, which was the driving force behind the 5% year-over-year uptick in the overall U.S. violent crime rate, pushed the aggravated assault rate to its highest level in over a decade.
According to the FBI, aggravated assault is an unlawful physical attack on one person by another with the purpose of causing severe injury or harm. Aggravated assaults are often carried out using a deadly weapon, such as a knife, handgun, or blunt object. Most cases of aggravated assault are committed in private residences, though a large share also take place on public streets or sidewalks.
Aggravated assault is by far the most commonly reported violent crime in the United States, accounting for about 70% of the 1.3 million violent offenses reported in 2020. Rates of aggravated assault vary across the country, however, and in some places, aggravated assault is far more common than in others.
Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most aggravated assault cases. States are ranked by their aggravated assault rate — specifically, the number of reported aggravated assault cases for every 100,000 residents.
Depending on the state, aggravated assault rates range from as low as 58 reported incidents per 100,000 people to as high as 616 per 100,000. Nationwide, the aggravated assault rate stands at 280 per 100,000.
Aggravated assault is one of four broad categories of violent crime — along with rаpe, robbery, and homicide — and states with higher than average aggravated assault rates also often have higher than average overall violent crime rates.
To determine the state with the most assaults, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed aggravated assault figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. The rate of assaults 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 states were not excluded from analysis.
Additional information on the violent crime rate is also from the 2020 FBI UCR. Poverty rates are one-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.