Special Report

This Is America's Most Dangerous City

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5. Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI
> Violent crime rate: 1,088 per 100,000 people (18,894 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +10.5%
> Homicide rate: 22.3 per 100,000 people (387 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: N/A

With a violent crime rate of 1,088 incidents per 100,000 people, Detroit is by far the most dangerous metro area in Michigan and the most dangerous in the Midwestern United States. There were 387 murders reported in the Detroit area in 2020, or 22.3 for every 100,000 people — the third highest homicide rate of any metro area.

Deadly violence in the city has continued in 2021. As of July, homicides in the city were on pace to eclipse the number reported in 2020.

4. Pine Bluff, AR
> Violent crime rate: 1,098 per 100,000 people (950 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +22.6%
> Homicide rate: 27.7 per 100,000 people (24 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 23.6%

Pine Bluff, Arkansas, ranks as the most dangerous metro area in the state and fourth most dangerous nationwide. Following a 22.6% year-over-year increase, Pine Bluff’s violent crime rate stands at 1,098 incidents per 100,000 people, nearly three times higher than the U.S. violent crime rate. In an encouraging break from the national trend, however, homicides declined in the metro area last year, from 28 in 2019 to 24 in 2020.

According to Pine Bluff Mayor Shirely Washington, the area’s high crime rates are one of the factors contributing to steep population decline in the area. Between 2010 and 2020, Pine Bluff reported a 12.5% population decline, the largest drop of any U.S. metro area over that period.

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3. Anchorage, AK
> Violent crime rate: 1,171 per 100,000 people (3,576 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: -1.9%
> Homicide rate: 5.9 per 100,000 people (18 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 10.0%

Despite a 1.9% annual decline in the violent crime rate, Anchorage, Alaska, is the most dangerous metro area in the Western United States and the third most dangerous metro nationwide. There were 3,576 violent crimes reported in Anchorage in 2020, or 1,171 for every 100,000 people, nearly three times the national violent crime rate.

In a break from the national trend, homicide cases declined precipitously in Anchorage, from 34 in 2019 to 18 in 2020. According to a police spokesperson, homicides in the metro area typically involve domestic disputes and, increasingly, drugs.

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2. Monroe, LA
> Violent crime rate: 1,309 per 100,000 people (2,605 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +61.0%
> Homicide rate: 11.6 per 100,000 people (23 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 26.0%

Five of the 50 U.S. metro areas with highest violent crime rates are located in Louisiana. Of those, Monroe ranks as the most dangerous. More than 2,600 violent crimes were reported in the metro area in 2020, or 1,309 for every 100,000 people — more than three times the U.S. violent crime rate. The near nation-leading levels of violence in the city are partially the result of a crime surge that drove the violent crime rate up by 61% from 2019 to 2020.

The city police chief attributes the rise to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to a rise in drug activity and use of illegal firearms.

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1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
> Violent crime rate: 1,359 per 100,000 people (18,324 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +21.3%
> Homicide rate: 24.2 per 100,000 people (327 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 15.4%

The Memphis, Tennessee, metro area ranks as the most dangerous city in the United States. More than 18,000 violent crimes were reported in the metro area in 2020, or 1,359 for every 100,000 people — more than three times the U.S. violent crime rate. The number of homicides committed in Memphis climbed by 38%, from 237 in 2019 to 327 in 2020. At 24.2 per 100,000 people, the homicide rate in Memphis is the second highest of any U.S. metro area.

Deadly violence continues to rise in Memphis. The city has reported more homicides so far in 2021 than it had over the comparable period the previous year. City leaders have plans to curtail criminal violence in the city, but reportedly need hundreds more police officers to execute those plans. The department is reportedly offering a $15,000 signing bonus in order to aid in the recruitment effort.

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