America's Most Dangerous Cities

America is a great place to live and visit, and there are many cities and communities that are fairly safe and secure for their residents. Unfortunately, the United States is also home to some not-so-safe cities with high crime rates. According to the National Institute of Justice, violent crime includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, and murder. And the bad news is that many cities in America have high rates of violent crime, which makes them much more dangerous than other comparably-sized metro areas.

According to USA Today, the 2017 national average for violent crime is 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, but the dangerous cities on this list have significantly higher crime rates. We took a look at data from SafeWise — which recently released a list of the most dangerous cities of 2021 — and also included information from slightly older reports to compile this list. Most reports include information from the FBI, which annually tracks the rate of crime across the country.

Half of the residents in Anchorage, Alaska, feel unsafe

Part of Alaska is located within the Arctic Circle, and most of the state features permafrost — permanently frozen rock and sediment. According to Britannica, half of the state is considered a tundra without any trees. Indeed, those who live in Alaska must cope with long, dark, cold winters, which can be difficult on the psyche. Disturbingly, almost 50% of Alaskans don't feel safe where they live, according to Cove. And their fears are backed up by statistics: Violent crime in the state has been on the rise.

Anchorage is the state's largest city and also one of its most dangerous. It often goes head to head with Detroit, Michigan, as the number-one dangerous city in the United States. The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Anchorage is one in 76. The city also has a lot of property crime, which affects one out of 20 residents. Even though almost 100 officers are on hand to deal with criminal situations, it's difficult to keep crime under control. It's also disturbing because while many states' violent crime rates are decreasing, crime in Alaska is getting worse. According to 2018 data, a sexual assault occurs in Alaska every seven hours, so it's one of the most dangerous states for women.

Detroit, Michigan, has a problem with illegal firearms

Known as "Motor City," Detroit, Michigan, is famous for its automotive history: It's where Henry Ford developed the automotive assembly line and released the world's first mass-produced car, the Model T. It's also famous for being the birthplace of Motown Records. But while the city has undeniable historic value, it's one of the most dangerous in America. According to Fox 2, Detroit topped the FBI's list of most dangerous cities in 2019 largely due to its violent crime rate — it experienced a reported 13,040 murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults that year.

Residents in the city experience a rate of 1,965 violent crimes per 100,00 people. According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, one of the biggest contributing factors is the proliferation of illegal guns and using firearms to settle disagreements. In addition, 2020 statistics were just as troubling due to the effects of COVID-19 on the general public. Towards the end of 2020, non-fatal shootings had increased 50%, while homicides were up 23%. In 2019, 275 people in Detroit were murdered, according to CBS News. The good news is that the rate of violent crimes in Detroit has generally been on the downswing. However, fatal and non-fatal shootings have been increasing.

The quality of life in St. Louis, Missouri, could be better

You probably know St. Louis, Missouri, for its famous stainless steel arch that's featured in most images of the city. According to PlanetWare, it has been referred to as the "Gateway to the West" because it's where Europeans left to conquer the Wild West. Travelers can visit a botanical garden, zoo, museums, and other attractions in the city. Unfortunately, it's one of America's most dangerous cities. A 2020 report from CBS noted that 194 people were murdered there in 2019, and it has a violent crime rate of 1,927 per 100,000 people, according to The Telegraph.

The FBI's Crime Data Explorer reports that between 2018 and 2019, crimes increased from 5,525 to 5,792, and fewer were cleared (2,159 in 2019 compared to 2,233 the previous year). A recent U.S. News & World Report list of the best places to live gave St. Louis a score of 6.3 out of 10. It was penalized for a lack of desirability, its quality of life, and net migration using data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI, U.S. Department of Labor, and other sources. In addition, the outlet listed St. Louis as the fourth most dangerous place to live and the 130th best place to retire.

Crime is increasing in Memphis, Tennessee

Visitors and residents love Memphis for its musical heritage and culture. It's a great place to explore on foot or if you enjoy going to nightclubs. You can tour Elvis Presley's Graceland, take a riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River, visit Sun Studio, or simply hang out on the famous Beale Street. Unfortunately, you have to be on your toes if you visit Memphis because it's one of the most dangerous cities in America. According to 2020 statistics, those in Memphis have a one-in-90 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, reports WGNS Radio. There is also a one-in-25 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

The most recent data from the FBI reveal there are 11.07 violent crime incidents per 1,000 residents in Memphis, and the property crime rate is 39.9 per 1,000 residents. And crime is getting worse: Memphis Data Hub data reveals that violent crime increased 9% over the last year. In addition, the risk of being murdered in Memphis is one in 5,722, while the risk of being a victim of motor vehicle theft is one in 241.

Aggravated assault is a problem in Lubbock, Texas

If you're not familiar with Lubbock, Texas, it's located in the northwestern part of the state and was the birthplace of Buddy Holly, one of rock and roll's most famous icons. The city features the Buddy Holly Center, the West Texas Walk of Fame, the Museum of Texas Tech University, and the Moody Planetarium. Lubbock, however, is a dangerous city, according to a report by SafeWise (via KCBD News). Using FBI data, the report examined violent crime and property crime in metro areas with at least 300,000 residents.

The good news is that Lubbock has fewer murders than many other dangerous cities. However, there has been an increase in violence due to lockdowns imposed following the pandemic, which has led to more domestic disputes. It's also dangerous because it experiences a high rate of drunk driving deaths, according to Hettler Insurance Agency. When it comes to violent crime, aggravated assault is a large problem — between 300 and 400 rapes take place each year in the South Plains area. And there is a lot of property crime in Lubbock, including burglary, larceny-theft, vehicle theft, and arson. The city also experiences an average of four tornadoes a year.

Springfield has the highest crime rate in Missouri

Located in the southwestern part of Missouri, Springfield is home to several colleges and universities as well as some interesting attractions, including underground caverns, an interactive science museum, and the Dickerson Park Zoo. It's also home to a botanical garden, a baseball team, and the world's largest fork. Yet it has one of America's highest crime rates (regardless of city size) at a rate of 94 per 1,000 residents, according to Neighborhood Scout. Indeed, Springfield has the highest crime rate in the state, and people have a one-in-11 chance of becoming a victim of either a violent or property crime.

Some of the violent crimes that occur in the city include rape, murder, non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. A person's chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes is one in 65. Burglary, larceny over $50, and arson are also common, and the chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes is one in 13. There's also a one-in-99 chance that your car will be stolen.

Crime in San Francisco, California, Is 'scary' for residents and tourists

San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, which you can drive over or traverse on foot or bicycle. You can also visit Alcatraz Island, home of the famous penitentiary; Fisherman's wharf; Chinatown; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants; and many other attractions. Many visitors to California spend time in San Francisco because it's an appealing place to explore. Yet, it's not the safest place to hang out. Homicides have increased since 2019, and Mayor London Breed revealed in a 2021 press conference that the city has a problem with gun violence, reported by KRON4. Illegal ghost guns are a particular issue, and there were 119 fatal and non-fatal shootings halfway through 2021.

The number of rapes (19 cases in June) was labeled "concerning," while aggravated assaults increased slightly. Burglaries also had a "troubling" increase over 2020, with 3,717 reported incidents. Meanwhile, 70% of residents reported in June 2021 that their quality of life has declined over the past few years, according to ABC 7 News. Rodney Fong, the president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, explained: "I think everyone feels the Asian hate crime, the number of car break-ins, the blatant shoplifting that we see in stores, and that's scary. That's scary for residents, that's scary for tourists coming to San Francisco." Crime is so bad, 44% of voters said in a survey they want to move out of the city in the next few years.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a crime occurs every 41 minutes

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi, Texas, is a great place for beach lovers and features attractions such as an aquarium, botanical garden, museums, galleries, and other places for the whole family. It's also one of the best spots in North America to go kiteboarding, windsurfing, kite flying, and sailing because of its high-speed winds. Yet it gets a grade of a D+ when it comes to overall crime for CrimeGrade because a crime occurs every 41 minutes in the city. In America, 74% of cities are safer than Corpus Christi.

The crime rate is 39.49 per 1,000 residents, but it's worse in some sections of the city compared to others (not uncommon for large cities). For example, a person's chance of being a victim of crime is one in 11 in the north neighborhoods but one in 67 in the southwestern sections. Assaults are the most prevalent in Corpus Christi, followed by robbery, rape, and murder. Other criminal issues include theft, burglary, and drug crimes.

The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area in Louisiana Got a D for crime

Greater Shreveport, located in northwestern Louisiana, includes three parishes: Caddo, Bossier, and DeSoto. If you enjoy gambling, the Shreveport–Bossier City metropolitan area is a great place to go due to its handful of casinos. The area also has a wildlife refuge, the Mardi Gras Museum, and activities for children, including the game and entertainment center Party City. However, Shreveport/Bossier City has a crime rate of 55 per 1,000 residents, according to Neighborhood Scout. A person has just a one-in-18 chance of becoming a victim of a violent or property crime.

Overall, not many other communities of its size (68,159 residents) have a crime rate as high as Bossier City. CrimeGrade gave the city a D+ for violent crime incidents and a D for property crime incidents. Without taking the population into consideration, the majority of crimes occur in the central areas of Bossier City, amounting to approximately 573 per year. The top crimes to be aware of in Bossier City are assault, theft, burglary, and vandalism, and the odds of being a victim of property crime is one in 21 or 47 per 1,000. According to FBI data, motor vehicle theft is particularly prolific in the city — a person's chance of getting his or her car stolen is one in 178.

Stockton, California, has twice as many crimes as the national average

Stockton is located in California's central valley. You can enjoy nature by walking some of the trails at the Oak Grove Regional Park or take children to the Micke Grove Zoo. There's also the Haggin Museum, Pixie Wood's Children's Park, the Stockton 99 Speedway, and the intriguing Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple. The downside is that Stockton is one of the state's most dangerous cities in America, with twice as many crimes as the national average, according to Van Life Wanderer. Even worse, Stockton has almost four times as many violent crimes compared to the national average.

The city's elevated crime rate is likely due to Stockton's high rates of gang activity, poverty, and unemployment. One problem is there is not much economic opportunity for its residents, over 20% of whom are living in poverty (more than twice the national average). Common crimes include robbery, assault, burglary, theft, and arson. Stockton also has some of the highest homicide and sexual assault rates in the United States. Overall, violent crimes are 268% higher, and property crimes are 87% higher compared to the national average. Interestingly, a 2019 ABC News report found that most of the violent crime in the city is due to gang activity.

Walking downtown at night in Bakersfield, California, is a bad idea

If you travel two hours north of Los Angeles, you will come across Bakersfield, California, which is located near the Sequoia National Forest. The city is known for its Basque restaurants, arts district, antique row, and the Kern County Museum, which includes a group of more than 50 historic buildings, according to Visit California. Nearby the city is the 93,000-acre Wind Wolves Preserve, which is a great place to enjoy nature's bounty. The city is also famous for its country music stars Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, according to Up Homes. Unfortunately, it has a crime rate of 47 per 1,000 residents, which is high compared to other cities that are the same size. Needless to say, it's a good idea to avoid walking alone in the downtown area at night.

Bakersfield has a violent crime rate of one per every 21 residents. Its overall crime rate is 54% higher than the national average, and it has been increasing over the past few years. Some of the worst parts of the city are the following neighborhoods: Lakeview, Rio Bravo, East Bakersfield, and Southgate. The city also has a problem with pollution, which affects the air quality. Notably, Bakersfield is part of Kern County, which produces 66% of the state's oil. As a result, Bakersfield is a dangerous place for people who suffer from asthma and chronic lung issues.

Birmingham, Alabama, has more homicides than Chicago, Detroit, and other larges cities

Southern hospitality is a staple in Birmingham, Alabama, which is home to several great golf courses as well as a variety of parks and trails for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. According to the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city is an excellent place to eat soul food and barbecue while taking a break from visiting its art museum, motorsports museum, or the Civil Rights Institute. But it's not exactly the safest city in America. In fact, according to data from the FBI, city police officials, and the U.S. Census Bureau, it has a higher homicide rate than most other cities, including Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C., per ABC 33/40 News.

In 2019, Birmingham experienced 50.56 murders per 100,000 residents. In comparison, Chicago had 18.26 murders per 100,000 residents. As of May 2021, there were 43 homicides. Overall, the crime rate in Birmingham is 112% higher than the national average, according to Ackerman Security. The worst crime? Aggravated assault. It accounted for almost 70% of violent crimes in 2018. In addition, about one in 15.8 residents are robbed annually.