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 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 has been 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 50 towns with the most robberies. Towns are ranked by their robbery rate — specifically, the number of reported robberies for every 100,000 residents. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 2,500 people and less than 25,000 people.
In every town on this list, the robbery rate is at least double the national rate of 73.9 per 100,000 people. Though the largest share of the towns on this list are located in the South, California alone is home to eight of them, 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 town on this list also has a higher than average overall violent crime rate.