Special Report

This Is America's Most Dangerous Town

There are relatively few major yardsticks most Americans use when they consider where to live. Are there good jobs in the area? How is the education system? Are there recreational areas nearby? Is the housing affordable, the cost of living?

And then there is crime. How many people want to move to a city with a high crime rate? Cities with high crime rates have to set high bars in other factors to attract new residents. (This is the town with the most murders in every state.)

The most dangerous town in America is Nome, Alaska, which reported 4,205 violent crimes per 100,000 people — more than 10 times the national violent crime rate of 399 for every 100,000 people. The town of 3,900 residents had 164 violent crimes and two murders in 2020, according to FBI data. Nome’s five-year poverty rate of 7.5% is relatively low. The comparable national poverty rate is 13.4%.

Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most dangerous towns in the United States. Towns are ranked by the violent crime rate — the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people. Violent crime includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rаpе, robbery, and aggravated assault.

While local violence and murder rates shift over time, many impoverished cities have not been able to overcome the problem. Dying industrial cities in the Midwest often face insurmountable efforts to bring crime down. Detroit is a good example. The city does not have the resources to improve its crime situation, at least by much. (These, on the other hand, are America’s safest cities.)

Explanations for the high levels of violence in the towns on this list are varied and complex. Major current events that have impacted the entire country — such as the COVID-19 pandemic and unrest fueled by the murder of George Floyd — have likely played a role in some places. Other factors, such as a lack of economic opportunity, are more endemic.

Low-income communities in the United States are disproportionately burdened by crime. One study found that individuals with family incomes of less than $15,000 annually are three times more likely to be victimized by crime than those with family incomes of $75,000 or more.

Click here for the most dangerous towns in America

Methodology

To determine the most dangerous U.S. town, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. Violent crime includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rаpе, robbery, and aggravated assault. The rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people was calculated using population data from the FBI.

We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 2,500 people and less than 25,000 people — using five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Limited data were available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though towns in these states were not excluded from the analysis.

Additional information on the number of murders are also from the 2020 FBI UCR. Poverty rates are five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.