Special Report

States Where Crime Is Soaring

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During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. violent crime rate rose to its highest level in a decade. The increase was driven by a rise in aggravated assault and, most notably, a historic 29% surge in homicides that made 2020 the deadliest year in the United States since the mid-1990s.

Violent crime is a broad category of offenses that includes rаpe, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder. All told, more than 1.3 million violent crimes were reported in the U.S. – or 399 for every 100,000 people – in 2020, an increase of 18 incidents per 100,000 people from the previous year. 

The violent crime trend was not uniform across the country, however. In several states, the violent crime rate fell between 2019 and 2020. In others, violence spiked much more than the national average. 

Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where crime is soaring. States are ranked by the year-over-year change in violent crimes reported for every 100,000 residents, from the largest decline, to the largest increase. 

Surges in violence in much of the United States came during a tumultuous year. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools and left millions of Americans out of work. Footage of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer rattled confidence in American law enforcement and sparked nationwide protests. Firearms sales soared, and tens of millions of new guns proliferated across communities nationwide. While experts speculate that each of these factors likely played a role, it may be years before the precise causal factors are identified. Here is a look at the states buying the most guns

Encouragingly, Alaska and New Mexico, the two states with the highest violent crime rates, reported a decline in criminal violence in 2020. Still, many of the states that reported the largest increases in violence had higher than average violent crime rates to begin with. Half of the 10 states that reported the largest increase in criminal violence are located in the South. States with the largest increases in violence are also more likely to have higher levels of underlying socioeconomic problems, such as poverty. Here is a look at the city where the most people live below the poverty line in every state.

Click here to see the states where crime is soaring
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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50. Maryland
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 54.5 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 24,215 (17th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 27,511 (14th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 399.9 (23rd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 454.4 (10th highest)
> Population: 6,045,680

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49. Alabama
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 51.1 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 22,322 (20th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 24,769 (18th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 453.6 (14th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 504.7 (7th highest)
> Population: 4,903,185

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48. New Mexico
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 45.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 16,393 (24th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 17,302 (25th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 778.3 (2nd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 824.0 (2nd highest)
> Population: 2,096,829

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47. Nevada
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 35.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 14,445 (22nd lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 15,334 (23rd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 460.3 (12th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 496.1 (9th highest)
> Population: 3,080,156

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46. Vermont
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 33.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 1,081 (the lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 1,293 (2nd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 173.4 (3rd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 207.2 (5th lowest)
> Population: 623,989

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45. Alaska
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 27.2 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 6,126 (12th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 6,346 (14th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 837.8 (the highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 865.0 (the highest)
> Population: 731,545

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44. Massachusetts
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 19.9 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 21,288 (21st highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 22,662 (20th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 308.8 (19th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 328.7 (25th lowest)
> Population: 6,892,503

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43. Indiana
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 13.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 24,161 (18th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 25,006 (17th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 357.7 (24th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 371.5 (24th highest)
> Population: 6,732,219

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42. New Hampshire
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 11.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 2,000 (4th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 2,152 (4th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 146.4 (2nd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 158.1 (2nd lowest)
> Population: 1,359,711

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41. New Jersey
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 11.4 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 17,353 (25th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 18,382 (22nd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 195.4 (5th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 206.7 (4th lowest)
> Population: 8,882,190

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40. Hawaii
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 10.4 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 3,576 (7th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 3,745 (8th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 254.2 (10th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 264.5 (14th lowest)
> Population: 1,415,872

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39. Washington
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 9.6 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 22,596 (19th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 23,095 (19th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 293.7 (16th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 303.3 (20th lowest)
> Population: 7,614,893

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38. Maine
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 7.5 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 1,466 (3rd lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 1,562 (3rd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 108.6 (the lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 116.1 (the lowest)
> Population: 1,344,212

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37. Connecticut
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 3.0 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 6,459 (14th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 6,583 (15th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 181.6 (4th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 184.6 (3rd lowest)
> Population: 3,565,287

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36. Oregon
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 1.8 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 12,380 (20th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 12,382 (21st lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 291.9 (15th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 293.7 (16th lowest)
> Population: 4,217,737

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35. Virginia
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 0.7 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 17,925 (25th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 17,916 (23rd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 208.7 (6th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 209.4 (6th lowest)
> Population: 8,535,519

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34. California
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 0.1 fewer crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 174,026 (the highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 174,341 (the highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 442.0 (16th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 442.1 (12th highest)
> Population: 39,512,223

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33. New York
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 2.8 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 70,339 (4th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 70,260 (4th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 363.8 (25th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 361.0 (25th highest)
> Population: 19,453,561

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32. Florida
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 5.4 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 83,368 (3rd highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 81,291 (3rd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 383.6 (25th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 378.2 (23rd highest)
> Population: 21,477,737

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31. Rhode Island
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 8.1 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 2,440 (5th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 2,357 (6th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 230.8 (7th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 222.7 (9th lowest)
> Population: 1,059,361

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30. Delaware
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 9.2 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 4,262 (8th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 4,128 (9th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 431.9 (17th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 422.7 (15th highest)
> Population: 973,764

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29. Idaho
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 10.0 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 4,432 (9th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 4,162 (10th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 242.6 (9th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 232.6 (10th lowest)
> Population: 1,787,065

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28. Illinois
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 10.7 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 53,612 (5th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 52,601 (5th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 425.9 (18th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 415.3 (18th highest)
> Population: 12,671,821

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27. Ohio
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 12.8 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 36,104 (11th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 34,618 (11th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 308.8 (18th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 296.0 (17th lowest)
> Population: 11,689,100

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26. Iowa
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 15.9 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 9,601 (18th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 9,086 (18th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 303.5 (17th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 287.6 (15th lowest)
> Population: 3,155,070

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25. Wyoming
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 19.3 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 1,364 (2nd lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 1,247 (the lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 234.2 (8th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 215.0 (7th lowest)
> Population: 578,759

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24. Kansas
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 19.5 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 12,385 (21st lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 11,811 (20th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 425.0 (19th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 405.5 (19th highest)
> Population: 2,913,314

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23. South Carolina
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 20.6 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 27,691 (15th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 26,307 (15th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 530.7 (7th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 510.1 (6th highest)
> Population: 5,148,714

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22. Oklahoma
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 22.3 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 18,255 (24th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 17,279 (24th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 458.6 (13th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 436.3 (14th highest)
> Population: 3,956,971

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21. Utah
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 23.8 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 8,471 (16th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 7,588 (16th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 260.7 (12th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 236.9 (11th lowest)
> Population: 3,205,958

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20. Texas
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 24.7 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 131,084 (2nd highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 122,263 (2nd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 446.5 (15th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 421.8 (16th highest)
> Population: 28,995,881

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19. Wisconsin
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 26.3 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 18,861 (23rd highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 17,305 (25th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 323.4 (20th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 297.1 (18th lowest)
> Population: 5,822,434

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18. North Dakota
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 27.6 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 2,518 (6th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 2,302 (5th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 329.0 (21st lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 301.4 (19th lowest)
> Population: 762,062

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17. Nebraska
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 29.5 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 6,473 (15th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 5,887 (13th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 334.1 (22nd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 304.6 (21st lowest)
> Population: 1,934,408

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16. Mississippi
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 30.0 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 8,638 (17th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 7,779 (17th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 291.2 (14th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 261.2 (13th lowest)
> Population: 2,976,149

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15. West Virginia
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 37.0 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 6,352 (13th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 5,725 (12th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 355.9 (23rd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 318.9 (23rd lowest)
> Population: 1,792,147

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14. Arizona
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 37.7 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 35,980 (12th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 32,603 (12th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 484.8 (9th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 447.1 (11th highest)
> Population: 7,278,717

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13. Kentucky
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 38.4 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 11,600 (19th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 9,872 (19th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 259.1 (11th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 220.7 (8th lowest)
> Population: 4,467,673

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12. Colorado
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 38.4 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 24,570 (16th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 22,149 (21st highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 423.1 (20th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 384.6 (21st highest)
> Population: 5,758,736

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11. Michigan
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 39.4 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 47,641 (7th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 43,793 (6th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 478.0 (10th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 438.6 (13th highest)
> Population: 9,986,857

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10. Minnesota
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 40.0 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 15,698 (23rd lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 13,395 (22nd lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 277.5 (13th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 237.5 (12th lowest)
> Population: 5,639,632

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9. North Carolina
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 40.6 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 44,451 (9th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 39,773 (8th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 419.3 (21st highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 378.7 (22nd highest)
> Population: 10,488,084

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8. Missouri
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 43.1 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 33,385 (13th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 30,680 (13th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 542.7 (6th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 499.6 (8th highest)
> Population: 6,137,428

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7. Montana
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 51.9 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 5,077 (11th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 4,472 (11th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 469.8 (11th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 417.9 (17th highest)
> Population: 1,068,778

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6. Tennessee
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 73.8 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 46,328 (8th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 40,908 (7th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 672.7 (3rd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 598.9 (3rd highest)
> Population: 6,829,174

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5. Georgia
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 73.9 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 42,850 (10th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 34,666 (10th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 400.1 (22nd highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 326.2 (24th lowest)
> Population: 10,617,423

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4. Louisiana
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 79.7 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 29,704 (14th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 26,072 (16th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 639.4 (5th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 559.7 (5th highest)
> Population: 4,648,794

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3. Pennsylvania
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 83.6 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 49,793 (6th highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 39,160 (9th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 389.5 (24th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 306.0 (22nd lowest)
> Population: 12,801,989

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

2. Arkansas
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 91.1 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 20,363 (22nd highest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 17,547 (24th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 671.9 (4th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 580.8 (4th highest)
> Population: 3,017,804

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1. South Dakota
> 1-yr. change in violent crime rate: 104.3 more crimes per 100k people
> Violent crimes reported in 2020: 4,476 (10th lowest)
> Violent crimes reported in 2019: 3,523 (7th lowest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2020: 501.4 (8th highest)
> Violent crimes per 100K people in 2019: 397.1 (20th highest)
> Population: 884,659

Methodology 

To determine the states where crime is soaring, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the change in violent crime rate per 100,000 people from the FBI’s 2019 and 2020 Uniform Crime Reports. Violent crime includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rаpe, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Limited data was available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though these states were not excluded from analysis. Because some state and local agencies changed reporting practices between 2019 and 2020, the figures are not comparable, and these areas were excluded.

Population figures are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. However, these estimates were not used to calculate crime rates. Crime rates per 100,000 people were calculated using population figures provided by the FBI in the 2020 and 2019 UCR.

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