Special Report

This City Has the Highest Murder Rate in America

The number of murders in the United States rose by 30% last year to 21,570, according to the FBI. The Pew Research Center reports that the rate of increase was the largest since 1905, though even after a careful examination of the figures, Pew could offer no comprehensive explanation for the increase. The COVID-19 pandemic could be among the reasons. So could wrenching social change. One data point that does stand out is that guns were involved in 77% of all murders. (These are the states with the most gun violence.)

Currently, the national murder rate stands at 6.5 homicides for every 100,000 people. In many U.S. cities, however, murder rates are far higher. The city with the highest per capita murder rate in the country is St. Louis, Mo,, recording 88.1 homicides per 100,000 people. (These are America’s most dangerous cities.)

To identify the city with the highest murder rate and to show where some 49 other cities rank, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed total murder numbers from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The rates of murders per 100,000 people were calculated using population data from the FBI.

Limited data was available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though these places were not excluded from analysis. Additional information on each city’s violent crime rate is also from the 2020 UCR. We included only cities with a population of more than 25,000 people according to five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Click here to see the American cities with the highest murder rate

Despite the rising homicide numbers nationwide, murder is by far the least common form of violent crime, accounting for less than 2% of all criminal violence. (In addition to murder, the FBI classifies nonnegligent manslaughter, rаpe, robbery, and aggravated assault as violent crimes.) Still, in nearly every city with the highest homicide rates, the overall violent crime rate also exceeds the national violent crime rate of 399 incidents per 100,000 people.