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Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States!

December 21st, 2019 most dangerous cities in the united states

Crime in the United States

After you pass the police test and becoming a law enforcement officer, it’s time to get down to business. Of course, not all US cities are equal; some carry a much higher crime rate than others. Here, we review the most dangerous cities in the United States to bring you up to scratch.

Crime rates within the United States have fluctuated. From 1963, there was a sharp increase in crime – which continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, before calming down from the mid-1990s. Since then, crime has significantly reduced in the US, with crime rates now reflecting the same rate it was before the 1960s.

According to the United States Office on Drugs and Crime, the homicide rate between 2005 and 2012 in the US was 4.9 per 100,000. For comparative purposes, this is three times higher than Canada and six times higher than Germany and Italy. Similarly, we see higher figures for rape, robbery or aggravated assault compared to other developed countries.

For example, the United States registers 26.8 rapes per 100,000 people, whereas in Australia this figure is 18, and in Germany, the figure is just 9 (2013 reports). In the case of aggravated assault, the US registers a figure of 241 per 100,000 people, whereas in Australia this figure is 47 per 100,000, and in Germany, the figure rests at 88 per 100,000 people.

In 2011, Maine was registered as the state with the lowest level of violent crime (132 per 100,000), whereas Tennessee has the highest level of violent crime, with an average of 608 per 100,000 people. Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, has a significantly higher average rate of violent crime – estimated to be almost 1,400 crimes per 100,000 people (2011 estimates). The city of Louisiana has had the highest rate of homicide compared to any other US city, which in 2017 was 12.4 homicides per 100,000 people.

Louisiana has had this title for 27 years in a row.  

Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

The cities below are considered the most dangerous cities based on average violent crime rates in comparison to the total number of people who reside in that city.

City Population Violent Crime Rate
Detroit 713,239 2,137 per 100,000
St. Louis 320,454 1,857 per 100,000
Oakland 395,317 1,683 per 100,000
Memphis 652,725 1,583 per 100,000
Birmingham, Al 213,258 1,483 per 100,000
Atlanta 425,433 1,433 per 100,000
Baltimore 626,848 1,417 per 100,000
Stockton 295,136 1,408 per 100,000
Cleveland 397,106 1,363 per 100,000
Buffalo 262,484 1,238 per 100,000

General Crime Rates

The following values are against a total estimated US population of 325,719,178.

You can learn more about crime rates in the United States by visiting the FBIs official website.

Crime (2017 estimates) Rate
Homicide 5.3 per 100,000
Rape 41.7 per 100,000
Robbery 98 per 100,000
Aggravated assault 248.9 per 100,000
Total violent crime 382.9 per 100,000
Burglary 430.4 per 100,000
Larceny-theft 1,694.4 per 100,000
Motor vehicle theft 237.4 per 100,000
Total property crime 2,362.2 per 100,000

Final Thoughts

Though many of these statistics are far from welcoming, they do represent a snapshot of a much wider trend. For example, the homicide rate in 1700 was 30 people per 100,000. A century later, in 1800, this figure fell to 20, and by 1900, this figure fell further to just under 10 per 100,000.

As we discussed earlier, crime rates did increase in the post-WW2 era, with a spike from the 1970s to the early 1990s. For example, violent crime increased by 4 times between 1963 and 1992, before falling thereafter. There are several reasons why crime has fallen since the mid-1990s:

  • Number of police officers has significantly increased over this period.
  • President Clinton provided over $30 billion in federal aid (via the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act) to law enforcement agencies, and to the prison service itself.
  • Increase in the number of prisoners in jail.
  • As abortion was legalized and fewer children were born into poverty and crime-ridden zones, it reduced the population size of potential criminals.
  • Incomes have risen steadily over the period.

These are just a handful of reasons why crime has reduced. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

As a police officer in the United States, you are charged with the duty of lowering these figures yet further. Though we’ve reviewed some of the most dangerous cities in the United States, there is – unfortunately – crime in every city and every town throughout the land.

It is incumbent upon you to meet this challenge head-on.

Check back to our police test blog for more great content on crime, punishment, and all-things police test related.


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