Cities Journal

These Are America’s Most Dangerous Cities


Overall crime figures have improved drastically in the United States in the last two decades, but this does not mean that crime is not a huge problem anymore. In some American cities, it is a much bigger problem than in some other parts and the Neighborhood Scout website decided to do a comprehensive overview of the most dangerous parts of the United States. More precisely, they used the FBI’s numbers to come up with the list of 100 Most Dangerous American Cities for 2016.

Neighborhood Scout looked at all cities with a population of over 25,000 and they gathered data not only from the FBI, but from all other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (more than 18,000 of them). The data they gathered was the latest fully vetted data, meaning for the period before 2015. Still, as this is the latest data available , it is the most recent comprehensive study. Of course, they created their list by looking at relative numbers of crimes, meaning dividing their total number with 1,000 residents.

It should be pointed out that this list is only concerned with violent crimes, meaning homicide, rape, aggravated assault and armed robbery. Some cities that are notorious for the high levels of property crime may not even be present on the list. So, without further ado, let’s see what the list looks like.

In first place, we find East St. Louis, Illinois as the most dangerous city in all of the United States with the crime rate of 36.26 (the national median is 3.8). The numbers for East St. Louis are simply horrifying. For instance, whereas in the rest of the United States, the murder rate for 1,000 people is 0.04, in East St. Louis it is 1.01. When we are talking rape, the national rate is 0.37 and in East St. Louis it is 2.32. Perhaps the most staggering number is what your chances are of becoming a victim of a violent crime in East St. Louis. They are 1 in 28. In the state of Illinois, the chances are 1 in 270.


The second most dangerous city in the United States is Camden, New Jersey with the overall violent crime rate of 20.32, which stands in stark contrast both to the crime rate of New Jersey which is only 2.61 and the national one of 3.8. You are ten times more likely to get killed in Camden than in the rest of the country and more than six times more likely to get robbed. If you decide to go to Camden, your chances are 1 in 49 that you will become a victim of a violent crime. In the rest of New Jersey, the chances are 1 in 383.

A city that has for some time been considered the crime capital of America, Detroit, Michigan, “only” made it to third spot. This is thanks to their violent crime rate of 20.09. They boast roughly the same murder rate as Camden, while rape and robbery are somewhat less “popular” in Motor City. You have a 1 in 50 chance to become a victim of a violent crime in Detroit. Detroit’s numbers are especially dire since it is a major city, meaning its total numbers are also extreme.

Alexandria, Louisiana is the fourth most dangerous city in the United States, with a violent crime rate of 17.81. We can see a major drop off in murder and especially rape numbers in Alexandria as opposed to the three most dangerous cities on the list. In fact, its rape rate is half that of the national average. However, their murder, robbery and assault rates are still just horrifying.

The fifth most dangerous American city is Wilmington, Delaware, somewhat of a surprise for most people. Its overall violent crime rate is 17.59 and it is particularly bad when it comes to murders. You are ten times more likely to be murdered in Wilmington than in the rest of the country. The assault numbers are also quite appalling.

Going through all 100 cities is beyond the scope of this article, but we could mention some major cities that made it to the list. For instance, Oakland, CA is in the 9th spot and  St. Louis, MO is in 10th. Milwaukee, WI is in 15th, Baltimore, MD is in 19th, Atlantic City, NJ is in 21st, Cleveland, OH is in 23rd and Atlanta, GA is in 26th. You can check out the list in its entirety here.

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