Special Report

This Is America's Most Dangerous City

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25. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
> Violent crime rate: 683 per 100,000 people (2,683 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +21.3%
> Homicide rate: 21.6 per 100,000 people (85 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 22.2%

Following a 21.3% spike, the violent crime rate in the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, metro area stands at 683 per 100,000 — higher than in the vast majority of U.S. metropolitan areas. The increase was led by homicides, which more than doubled from 41 in 2019 to 85 in 2020.

Deadly violence in the area has continued to surge into 2021, prompting Shreveport’s chief of police to step down following a vote of no confidence from the city council. Local experts claim that the pandemic has exacerbated existing socioeconomic problems, like poverty, that are linked to crime. An estimated 22.2% of metro area residents live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of all Americans.

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24. Bakersfield, CA
> Violent crime rate: 692 per 100,000 people (6,216 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +11.5%
> Homicide rate: 12.9 per 100,000 people (116 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 19.1%

There were 6,216 violent crimes reported in the Bakersfield, California, metro area in 2020, or 692 for every 100,000 people. Like much of the country, Bakersfield is suffering from a surge in violence. Though reported cases of rаpe and robbery declined in the area year over year, aggravated assault cases climbed by 20.8% and homicides surged by 38.1%. As a result, the overall violent crime rate climbed 11.5% year over year.

Local police officials attribute high and rising crime, in part, to a statewide reduction in prison populations, which has resulted in the release of some violent offenders after serving less than half of their sentence.

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23. Odessa, TX
> Violent crime rate: 697 per 100,000 people (1,180 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: -20.9%
> Homicide rate: 11.2 per 100,000 people (19 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 10.4%

In a break from the national trend, the violent crime rate in Odessa, Texas, fell considerably in 2020. Still, despite the 20.9% decline from the previous year, the metro area’s violent crime rate of 697 incidents for every 100,000 people is one of the highest of any U.S. metro area.

Local police confirm that crime rates have continued to decline in Odessa in 2021. To reduce violence, Odessa police have focused on getting illegal firearms off the streets.

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22. Macon-Bibb County, GA
> Violent crime rate: 708 per 100,000 people (1,624 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: +55.7%
> Homicide rate: 19.2 per 100,000 people (44 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 19.2%

The Macon-Bibb County metro area in Georgia is one of only 22 nationwide with a violent crime rate exceeding 700 incidents per 100,000 people. There were 1,624 violent crimes reported in the area in 2020, or 708 for every 100,000 people.

Like much of the country, Macon is suffering from a surge in violence. Though reported cases of robbery declined in the area year over year, aggravated assault cases surged by 91.9% and homicides more than doubled, from 21 in 2019 to 44 in 2020. As a result, the overall violent crime rate spiked 55.7% year over year.

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21. Pueblo, CO
> Violent crime rate: 722 per 100,000 people (1,216 total crimes)
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: N/A
> Homicide rate: 10.7 per 100,000 people (18 total homicides)
> Poverty rate: 17.9%

Pueblo is the only Colorado metro area — and one of only 10 in the Western U.S. — to rank among the 50 most dangerous cities in the country. There were 1,216 violent crimes reported in the area in 2020, or 722 for every 100,000 people. Violence in the Pueblo metro area is being driven by gang activity and firearms. There were over 200 shootings in the city proper in 2020 — including 161 drive-by shootings — and four gang-related homicides.

As is often the case in metro areas with high rates of criminal violence, Pueblo is home to a disproportionately large share of residents facing severe financial hardship. The local poverty rate of 17.9% is considerably higher than the comparable 12.3% national rate.

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