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The 20 Most Violent Cities in the U.S.

St. Louis

Crime has been rising in the U.S. in the last few decades, and it's only getting worse. Violent crime can be defined as a crime where the perpetrator uses force to commit a crime or threatens to use force on a victim. Violent crimes include assault, rape, murder, robbery, manslaughter, sexual assault, and kidnapping.

Crime rate is a critical factor many consider when moving to new cities or traveling. While national crime levels are easier to perceive, people don't often think that crime is up in their cities and neighborhoods. In 2020, The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, there were 538,203 violent crime incidents reported in the United States by 9,991 law enforcement agencies that submitted data to the National Incident-Based Reporting system.

Violent crime rates vary from city to city as some experience higher rates than average. As expected, areas with the highest crime rates also have higher unemployment rates, poor housing conditions, and poor education levels. These conditions encourage the formation of gangs. The lack of police funding also motivates violent crimes.

20. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is the third most populated city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles. People living in Chicago are 2,746,388, according to the 2020 census, with a population density of 12,124 people per square mile. Chicago's poverty rate is 17.33%, with the average household income in the city at $90,713.

According to the Chicago Police Department's crime statistics, in 2022, the reported violent crime cases were 479 murder cases, a slight decrease from 2021's 565, 1,437 sexual assault cases, 4,158 for aggravated assault, 5,764 robbery cases, 13,395 theft cases, and 5,150 burglary reports. The crime rate in the city increased by 38% compared to 2021.


19. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota, with a population of 429,954 and a population density of 7,962 people per square mile. The city has an 18.28% poverty rate and an average household income of $89,282.

Minneapolis's reported violent crime cases have gone up over the last year, with the government raising concerns over the rising gun violence cases. There are 6,517 reports of assault, 64 murder cases, 1,333 robbery reports, and 547 reports of sexual assault. With 964 gun law violations and 408 gunshot wound victims.

New Orleans

18. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans city is the most populous in Louisiana, with 338,997 people. The city's poverty rate is 23.03%, with an average household income of $71,938. The city is famous for its culture, with unique music and cuisine. It hosts one of the largest annual festivals in the U.S., Mardi Gras.

A report by The Center Square, showed that the city of New Orleans was on track to becoming the murder capital in the U.S. as halfway through the year, the city has already reported 161 murders, which is already 42 more than the count at the same time last year. The year 2021 saw 218 murders, and with the current murder pace in the city, that number is expected to rise in 2022.


17. Lansing, Michigan

Lansing is the Michigan state capital. It has a population of 112,644 people, a poverty level of 22.70%, and an average household income of $52,976. According to the latest crime statistics report by the Lansing Police Department, in 2019, the city had 983 aggravated assault reports, 178 robberies, 140 sexual assault reports, and 12 murders. That number is projected to have gone up significantly in 2020 and 2021, with 36 murders in 2021.


16. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is a city in Tennessee and is the most populated city in the state, with a population of 689,447. The city's average house value is $264,600. The poverty rate is 14.38%, and the average household income is $83,438. Nashville is considered the national capital for country music and is famously dubbed the "Music City."

Despite the joys that music brings to the soul, Nashville is also one of the most violent cities in the country. In 2021, there were 109 reported murders, 5,717 assault cases, 1,776 robberies and 376 reports of sexual assault.


15. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is the biggest Alaska state city, with a population of 291,247 people. This city is home to 40% of Alaska's population. The city has an unemployment rate lower than most violent cities at 8.8%, an average household income of $109,988, and a median house value of $320,000.

Anchorage has consistently been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The crime rate in Anchorage is 46% higher than that of Alaska, with the city reporting the most number of criminal activities in the whole state. The city's crime rates for 2019 were 2,344 cases of aggravated assault, 621 cases of robbery, 540 reports of sexual assault, and 32 homicides.


14. Oakland, California

Oakland is the county seat of Alameda County, California. It is also the largest city, with a population of 440,646 as of 2020. The city has a 14.63% poverty rate with an average household income of $108,297. The average rental costs in the city are $1,500 a month, with the median house value being $730,000.

If you visit Oakland, your chances of encountering a violent crime are 1 in 77. According to an Oakland Police Department report, the city experienced a 21% increase in shootings from 2020 and a 12% increase in robbery cases. In 2021, there were 2,730 reports of aggravated assault, 2,515 robberies, 365 reported cases of sexual assault, and 102 murder cases.

San Bernardino

13. San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino is a city in California and is the county seat of San Bernardino County. According to the 2020 census, it has 222,101 people. The average household income is pretty low at $49,287, and 23% of its population lives below the poverty line. The San Bernardino Police Department uniform crime reporting statistics for 2021 showed there were 58 murder cases, 1,458 aggravated assault reports, 502 robberies, and 119 sexual assault reports. Violent crimes in the city went up by 13% from 2020.


12. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana and is the most populated city in the state. In the 2020 census, the population of the city was 887,642. It has a 16% poverty rate and an average household income of $50,813, with the city median house value at $145,200. In 2021, the Indianapolis Police Department reported 216 murder cases, 4,809 assault reports, 2,168 reports of robbery, and 216 murder cases. The reported murder cases in Indianapolis far surpassed those in all other cities in the state of Indiana.


11. Springfield, Missouri

Springfield is a city in Missouri. It is also Green County's county seat. The 2020 census showed that 169,176 people lived in the city. With a poverty rate of 21% and an average household income of $38,000, which is almost half of the country's average household income, Springfield's crime rate is the highest in the whole of Missouri.

A report by Area Vibes shows that the latest violent crime reports in 2021 as 1,970 assault reports, 375 reports of robbery, 178 sexual assault cases, and 22 murders. Violent crimes in the city were 289% more than the national average.


10. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is the most populated city in New Mexico, with a population of 564,559 as of 2020. Over 16% of its population lives under poverty levels, and the average household income in the city is $53,936. The city is famous for its annual hot air balloon festival. Film lovers are also familiar with the city from the famous crime series Breaking Bad.'

Last year, Albuquerque recorded 5,592 cases of assault, 1,439 robberies, 441 sexual assault reports, and 80 murder cases. Compared with the national average reports of violent crimes, the city surpasses them by 246%.


9. Stockton, California

Stockton city is in California and is the county seat of San Joaquin. The city has a population of 320,804 people, and 16% live below the poverty level. The average household income is $58,393. In 2021, assault cases were reported in 2,883, sexual assault reports were 190, robberies were 918, and 56 murders were reported. According to Uniform Crime Reporting statistics by the Stockton PD, reported crimes from the beginning of 2022 up to July were; 1,553 aggravated assaults, 542 robberies,71 rape cases, and 30 homicides.


8. Cleveland, Ohio

The city of Cleveland is located in the state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County. The city has a population of 372,624 people. 32% of the people in Cleveland live below poverty levels, and the average household income is only $31,838. In 2019, Cleveland reported a total of 5,791 violent crimes, according to FBI data. In 2021, violent crime reports rose to 6,281 with assault topping the list at 4,135 cases, 1,593 robberies, 393 rape cases, and 160 murders. Violent crimes in the city were 327% more than the national average.


7. Rockford, Illinois

Rockford is a city in Illinois with a population of 148,655. The city has a 21% poverty rate and an average household income of $44,771. According to a Rockford news report, Last year, Rockford had a total of 2,331 violent crimes with reports of 1,874 aggravated assault cases, 255 robberies, 24 homicides, and 102 rape cases. Violent crime rates in the city were 203% more than the national average.


6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The city of Milwaukee is the most populated in Wisconsin. The city has a population of 577,222 people, with 24% of the population living below the poverty level. The average household income of the city is $43,125. According to a mid-year review by the Milwaukee PD, Homicide reports had gone up to 110 as compared to 80 in 2021. Aggravated assault reports were 3,517, and the city had 849 robberies and 227 sexual assault reports. Violent crimes in the city were 312% over the national average.

Little Rock

5. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and the most populated city in the state. 202,591 people live in the city, and 15% live below the poverty level. The average household income of the city is $53,620. Violent crime has increased by 12% in the last five years, with 377% more violent crimes than the national average.

According to the latest crime statistics by Little Rock PD, the total violent crime reports as of September 12, 2022, were 2650. 55 Homicide offenses and sexual assault reports were 133, 294 robberies, and 2168 aggravated assault cases.


4. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is a city in Tennessee and is the county seat of Shelby County. It is the second most populous city in the state after Nashville, with 633,104 people. Memphis gained a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Last year. The city reported 15,310 Violent crimes, with 12,479 assaults contributing to a massive chunk of the crime reports. 2,131 robberies, 411 sexual assault reports, and 289 murders made the city of Memphis get into numerous lists of the most dangerous places in the U.S.


3. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is the most populated city in Maryland, with a population of 585,708, according to the 2020 census. The city has a 20% poverty rate, with an average household income of $52,164. The Baltimore Police Department crime map, in the last 365 days, there have been 5,600 reports of aggravated assault, 343 homicides, 3,333 robberies, and 763 shootings.


2. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan. With a population of 639,111. The city has a 33% poverty level, and its average household income is $32,498. Detroit is at the top of the list of the most dangerous and violent cities in the U.S. The high crime rate has been chiefly contributed by the lack of enough police officers in the city.

Last year, Detroit recorded 11,565 assault cases, 1,850 robberies, 685 sexual assault reports, and 330 murders. The city has one of the top murder rates in the whole country. According to FBI data, in 2019, there were 275 murders. The violent crime rate in the city is 462% above the national average.

St. Louis

1. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is the second biggest city in Missouri. The city has a population of 301,578 people, and 20% live below the poverty level. The average household income in the city is $45,782. St. Louis has become synonymous with high crime rates, especially murders.

St. Louis has been continuously ranked among the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Last year, the city reported 199 murders and was named by Statista as the most dangerous city in the U.S by murder rate per 100,000 people. In 2020, St. Louis had 263 murders, 234 sexual assault cases, 1,242 robberies, and 4,278 assault cases. The city's violent crime rate is 420% higher than the national average.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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