Violent crime inched up by about 5% in the United States in 2020. The increase was led by a 29% surge in homicides — the largest such increase on record. Not all forms of criminal violence increased in frequency last year, however. Continuing a multi-decade downward trend, the robbery rate declined in the U.S. in 2020 and is now at its lowest level since at least the mid-1980s.
According to the FBI, robbery is a crime in which force or the threat of force or violence is used to take, or attempt to take, anything of value from another person. The largest share of robberies in the United States are committed on streets or sidewalks. Handguns are the most commonly used weapon in robberies, and more often than not, among the cases where a suspect can be identified, the offender and victim are strangers to one another.
Despite the long-term decline in robberies nationwide, there were still nearly a quarter of a million robbery cases reported in the U.S. in 2020, accounting for about 19% of all reported violent crimes — and in some parts of the country, robbery is far more common than average.
Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the cities with the most robberies. Cities are ranked by their robbery rate — specifically, the number of reported robberies for every 100,000 residents. Only cities with populations of 25,000 or more were considered.
In every city on this list, the robbery rate is at least three times higher than the national rate of 73.9 per 100,000 people. Though these cities span the country, California is home to a dozen of them, far more than any other state.
Robbery is only one of four broad categories of violent crime — along with rаpe, aggravated assault, and homicide — and every city on this list also has a higher than average overall violent crime rate.
To determine the cities with the most robberies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed robbery figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. The rate of robberies per 100,000 people was calculated using population data from the FBI.
We included cities that have more than 25,000 people based on five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Limited data was available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though cities in these states were not excluded from analysis.
Additional information on the violent crime rate is also from the 2020 FBI UCR. Poverty rates are five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.