Special Report

America's Least Dangerous States

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The FBI recently released its annual Uniform Crime Report, and according to the latest data, there were 334 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people nationwide in 2021. Violent crime is a broad category that consists of four types of the most serious offenses: robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and homicide. 

Historically, the UCR has provided crime statistics at the national level as well as a comprehensive snapshot of crime in each of the 50 states. But this year, the picture is incomplete. 

Due to a change in reporting systems – from the legacy Summary Reporting System to the new National Incident-Based Reporting System – many police departments across the country did not submit crime data to the FBI. As a result, nine states were excluded from this year’s UCR: Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania. 

Whether or not 2021 crime estimates for these places will eventually be released remains to be seen – but for the states with available data, the latest UCR offers some useful insight into 2021 violent crime trends. 

Violent crime is a broad category that consists of four types of the most serious offenses: robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and homicide. There were a reported 334 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide in last year. But in some parts of the country, criminal violence is far less common than average. 

Using violent crime data from the FBI’s 2021 UCR, 24/7 Wall St. identified the least dangerous states in America. In each of the 26 states on this list, the violent crime rate is lower than the national rate. We also considered the homicide rate – a component of the overall violent crime rate – in each of these states. (Here is a look at the states where the most murders are committed with a gun.)  

The states on this list span the country – though the five states with the lowest violent crime rates are in the New England region. 

Violent crime is often more common in economically disadvantaged areas with high poverty rates and lower levels of social integration. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey shows that in the majority of the states on this list, the poverty rate is below the national rate of 12.8%. (Here is a look at the poorest town in every state.) 

Click here to see America’s least dangerous states.

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26. North Carolina
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 323.0
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 34,083 (4th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 8.5 (9th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 898 (2nd highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 13.4% (13th highest of 41 states)

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25. Delaware
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 322.3
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 3,234 (8th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 8.6 (8th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 86 (13th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (19th lowest of 41 states)

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24. Oregon
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 320.8
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 13,622 (21st highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 4.4 (17th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 186 (18th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (19th highest of 41 states)

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23. West Virginia
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 316.1
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 5,636 (14th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 7.2 (13th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 129 (15th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 16.8% (3rd highest of 41 states)

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22. Georgia
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 306.2
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 33,058 (6th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 7.5 (11th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 811 (4th highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (11th highest of 41 states)

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21. Washington
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 295.6
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 22,877 (11th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 3.9 (15th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 305 (15th highest of 41 states — tied)
> Poverty rate: 9.9% (5th lowest of 41 states)

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20. Ohio
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 287.7
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 33,886 (5th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 7.2 (14th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 849 (3rd highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 13.4% (14th highest of 41 states)

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19. Wisconsin
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 282.2
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 16,638 (17th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 5.2 (19th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 305 (15th highest of 41 states — tied)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (12th lowest of 41 states)

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18. Minnesota
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 278.1
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 15,872 (19th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 3.4 (13th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 193 (19th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 9.3% (3rd lowest of 41 states)

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17. Iowa
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 274.7
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 8,770 (17th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 2.2 (7th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 70 (11th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (15th lowest of 41 states)

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16. Indiana
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 272.2
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 18,527 (14th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 6.5 (18th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 439 (12th highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (20th highest of 41 states)

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15. Massachusetts
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 269.8
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 18,845 (13th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 1.8 (5th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 126 (14th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 10.4% (9th lowest of 41 states)

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14. North Dakota
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 245.6
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 1,903 (5th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 1.7 (4th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 13 (2nd lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (14th lowest of 41 states)

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13. Kentucky
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 240.4
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 10,838 (19th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 8.7 (7th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 392 (13th highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (4th highest of 41 states)

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12. Utah
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 225.5
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 7,528 (16th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 2.5 (9th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 84 (12th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (2nd lowest of 41 states)

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11. Arizona
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 218.3
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 15,885 (18th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 3.7 (14th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 267 (19th highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 12.8% (16th highest of 41 states)

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10. Nebraska
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 217.3
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 4,266 (11th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 2.3 (8th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 46 (10th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (11th lowest of 41 states)

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9. Wyoming
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 214.9
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 1,244 (2nd lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 5.2 (20th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 30 (6th lowest of 41 states — tied)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (16th lowest of 41 states)

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8. Idaho
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 212.1
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 4,031 (10th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 2.0 (6th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 38 (9th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (13th lowest of 41 states)

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7. Mississippi
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 201.8
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 5,952 (15th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 7.6 (10th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 224 (20th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 19.4% (2nd highest of 41 states)

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6. Virginia
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 193.8
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 16,752 (16th highest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 6.2 (19th highest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 540 (10th highest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 10.2% (7th lowest of 41 states)

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5. Rhode Island
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 183.8
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 2,014 (6th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 3.0 (11th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 33 (8th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (17th lowest of 41 states)

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4. Vermont
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 170.3
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 1,097 (the lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 1.1 (the lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 7 (the lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (8th lowest of 41 states)

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3. Connecticut
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 150.1
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 5,411 (13th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 4.0 (16th lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 143 (17th lowest of 41 states)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (6th lowest of 41 states)

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2. New Hampshire
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 126.9
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 1,763 (4th lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 1.2 (2nd lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 16 (3rd lowest of 41 states — tied)
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (the lowest of 41 states)

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1. Maine
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2021: 107.7
> Total violent crimes, 2021: 1,478 (3rd lowest of 41 states)
> Murders per 100,000 people, 2021: 1.2 (3rd lowest of 41 states)
> Total murders, 2021: 16 (3rd lowest of 41 states — tied)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (18th lowest of 41 states)

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