Special Report

American Towns With the Highest Assault Rates

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 50 towns with the most aggravated assault cases. Towns are ranked by their aggravated assault rate — specifically, the number of reported aggravated assault cases for every 100,000 residents. We defined towns based on population thresholds, having at least 2,500 people and less than 25,000 people.

The aggravated assault rate nationwide stands at 280 per 100,000. In the towns on this list, aggravated assault rates range from 1,113 reported incidents per 100,000 people up to 2,925 per 100,000. The majority of towns on this list are located in the South, including eight in Arkansas alone. None are in the Northeast. 

Aggravated assault is one of four broad categories of violent crime — along with rаpe, robbery, and homicide — and every town on this list also has an overall violent crime rate more than double the 399 per 100,000 national rate. 

Click here to see towns with the most assaults
Click here to see our detailed methodology

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