Special Report

This Is America's Most Dangerous City

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30. Niles, MI
> Violent crime rate: 664 per 100,000 people (1,013 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +20.6%
> Homicide rate: 5.2 per 100,000 people (8 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 16.2%

After jumping 20.6% year over year, the violent crime rate in the Niles, Michigan, metro area stands at 664 incidents for every 100,000 people — higher than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas. The increase was driven by a 38% surge in cases of aggravated assault and a 60% spike in homicide cases.

As is often the case in metro areas with high rates of criminal violence, Niles is home to a disproportionately large share of residents facing severe financial hardship. The local poverty rate of 16.2% is considerably higher than the comparable 12.3% national rate.

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29. Rapid City, SD
> Violent crime rate: 665 per 100,000 people (957 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +25.0%
> Homicide rate: 10.4 per 100,000 people (15 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 11.0%

Rapid City is the only metro area in South Dakota, and one of 13 in the Midwest, to rank among the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. There were 957 violent crimes reported in Rapid City in 2020, or 665 for every 100,000 people — a 25% increase from the previous year.

While reports of every category of violent crime increased in Rapid City in 2020, none climbed more than homicide. A total of 15 murders were committed in the metro area last year, triple the reported number in 2019.

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28. Springfield, IL
> Violent crime rate: 667 per 100,000 people (1,369 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +14.1%
> Homicide rate: 5.8 per 100,000 people (12 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 12.2%

There were 1,369 violent crimes reported in the Springfield, Illinois, metro area in 2020, or 667 for every 100,000 people. Like much of the country, Springfield is suffering from a surge in violence. Though reported cases of rаpe and robbery declined in the area year over year, homicides climbed by 20% and cases of aggravated assault surged by nearly 25%.

Springfield is one of three metro areas in Illinois to rank among the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. In early November 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order classifying the gun violence afflicting much of the state as a public health emergency. The creation of the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, tasked with coordinating efforts to prevent violence, is one of the measures the executive order will implement.

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27. Amarillo, TX
> Violent crime rate: 673 per 100,000 people (1,787 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +13.0%
> Homicide rate: 6.8 per 100,000 people (18 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 14.4%

There were 1,787 violent crimes reported in the Amarillo, Texas, metro area in 2020, or 673 for every 100,000 people. Like much of the country, Amarillo is suffering from a surge in violence. Though reported cases of rаpe and robbery declined in the area year over year, homicides climbed by 12.5% and cases of aggravated assault surged by 21%. As a result, the overall violent crime rate climbed 13% year over year.

Rising rates of violence have continued into 2021 in Amarillo. City police report an uptick in gun violence — often involving stolen firearms — and homicide.

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26. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
> Violent crime rate: 678 per 100,000 people (10,688 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +17.4%
> Homicide rate: 13.1 per 100,000 people (206 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 11.8%

Milwaukee-Waukesha is the only metro area in Wisconsin to rank among the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. After jumping 17.4% year over year, the violent crime rate in the metro area stands at 678 incidents for every 100,000 people — higher than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas. The increase was led by an 86% surge in homicides, from 111 in 2019 to 206 in 2020.

The majority of homicides in Milwaukee proper in 2020 were committed in an area that, due to redlining and other racist housing policies, is both poor and predominantly Black. Some local officials connect the rising violence in the area to an influx of firearms and increased tensions between police and the communities they serve.

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