Special Report

This Is America's Most Dangerous City

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50. Hot Springs, AR
> Violent crime rate: 583 per 100,000 people (582 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +11.3%
> Homicide rate: 9.0 per 100,000 people (9 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 17.4%

Hot Springs is one of five metro areas in Arkansas to rank among the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. There were 583 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the metro area in 2020, well above the national violent crime rate. The local violent crime rate is also rising rapidly — increasing by 11.3% in the last year, more than double the national increase.

Crime in the United States is often disproportionately concentrated in poor communities, and in Hot Springs, 17.4% of the population live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of the U.S. population.

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49. Tulsa, OK
> Violent crime rate: 591 per 100,000 people (5,947 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +11.7%
> Homicide rate: 9.3 per 100,000 people (94 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 13.6%

WIth a violent crime rate of 591 incidents per 100,000 people, Tulsa, Oklahoma, ranks among the 50 most dangerous metro areas in the country. The local homicide rate of 9.3 murders per 100,000 is also among the highest of U.S. metro areas and well above the 6.5 per 100,000 national rate.

Violent crime has risen rapidly in the metro area last year, up nearly 12% over 2019. Some local officials attribute the high and rising crime rates in the area to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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48. Fresno, CA
> Violent crime rate: 597 per 100,000 people (5,948 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: N/A
> Homicide rate: 9.4 per 100,000 people (94 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 20.6%

Fresno is one of four California metro areas to rank among the 50 most dangerous cities in the United States. Nearly 6,000 violent crimes were reported in Fresno in 2020, or 597 for every 100,000 people.

Rates of violence are often higher in places with limited economic opportunity — and in Fresno, 20.6% of the population live below the poverty line and average unemployment in 2020 was 11.3%. This compares to the national 12.3% poverty rate and 8.1% jobless rate that year. Local police point to gang activity as a driver of violence in the area.

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47. Merced, CA
> Violent crime rate: 599 per 100,000 people (1,660 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +8.2%
> Homicide rate: 8.7 per 100,000 people (24 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 16.8%

Merced is one of several metro areas in California’s Central Valley to rank among the 50 most dangerous cities in the country. A total of 1,660 violent crimes were reported in the metro area in 2020, or 599 for every 100,000 people. Like much of the country, Merced is suffering from a surge in violent crime, particularly homicide. There were 24 murders in the metro area in 2020, double the number reported in 2019. The spike in homicide contributed to an 8.2% increase in the overall violent crime rate.

While violence is on the rise in Merced, property crimes are becoming less common. Over the last year, cases of motor vehicle theft have fallen by 4.1% in the metro area, burglaries were down 10.2%, and cases of larceny theft have declined by nearly 20%.

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46. Lawton, OK
> Violent crime rate: 603 per 100,000 people (759 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: -15.8%
> Homicide rate: 12.7 per 100,000 people (16 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 17.8%

Lawton is the most dangerous metro area in Oklahoma and one of the 50 most dangerous in the United States. There were a total of 759 violent crimes reported in the metro area in 2020, or 603 for every 100,000 people. The local homicide rate is especially high. With 12.7 murders for every 100,000 people, homicide is nearly twice as common in Lawton as it is on average nationwide.

Rates of violence are relatively high in Lawton despite falling 15.8% since 2019. The decline was driven by fewer reported cases of rаpe and aggravated assault.

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