The Most Dangerous Cities In The US

Baltimore commonly ranks highly on the list of most dangerous cities in the US.

According to the FBI, violent crime rates in cities within the United States are generally decreasing. While the violent crime rate average for the country was around 611 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1997, today the number sits in the 300s. However, there are still some cities that face a higher than average crime rate.

As crime is a social problem, many of the motivations behind crimes committed can include things such as lack of access to basic necessities, poverty, gang-related violence and more. Below is a list of cities in the United States with the highest violent crime rates, which could be called the country's most dangerous. All data is from the FBI's complete 2018 crime report.

A list of the safest cities in the United States is available here.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities

A police cruiser. Image credit: ArtOlympic/Shutterstock

10. Indianapolis, Indiana - 1,334 

Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana, is the tenth most violent city in the United States. Over recent years, the city has seen a leap in homicide rates. Between 2012 and 2014, it was reported that the murder rate in Indianapolis increased by nearly 50%.

9. Albuquerque, New Mexico - 1,369.1

The New Mexico city of Albuquerque has a violent crime rate more than four times the US average. Property crime is especially high in Albuquerque. Although only around a quarter of the state's population lives in the city, its crime rates represent nearly half of the state's total. 

8. Stockton, California - 1,414.6

Stockton, California ranks as the eighth most dangerous city in the United States, with 1,414.6 violent crimes committed for every 100,000 people. The aggravated assault rate in Stockton is particularly high, at 2,962 per 100,000 people.

7. Cleveland, Ohio - 1,556.8

Cleveland ranks seventh on the list of the United States' most dangerous cities. Its violent crime rate is 1556.8 incidences for every 100,000 people. Like many other cities battling violent crime, problems like high unemployment, rampant poverty, and urban decay have all influenced Cleveland's high crime rate.

6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 1,597.4 

Crime in Milwaukee is higher than the US average, giving it a ranking as number four on the list of the country's most dangerous cities. Although Milwaukee ranks lower than the national average for rates of aggravated assault, other crime rates such as homicide, rape, and robbery are all higher than average in the city.

5. Kansas City, Missouri - 1,654

Kansas City is the fifth most dangerous city in the United States and the second entry on this list from Missouri. There is an average of 1,654 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Kansas City. The high rate of violent crime in Kansas City can be partially attributed to its homicide rate, which is higher than other cities of its size. The homicide rate of Kansas City sits at around 23.5 murders per 100,000 people, much higher than the country's average of 5 per 100,000.

4. Memphis, Tennessee - 2,003 

Number four on the list is Memphis, Tennessee, with 2,003 violent crimes per 100,000 people. For the past ten years or so, Memphis has been ranked among the most dangerous cities in the country. It has been theorized that a major contributing factor to the rise of crimes in the city is a high poverty rate together with increasing unemployment.

3. Baltimore, Maryland - 2,027

Baltimore ranks third with a violent crime rate of 2,027 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. Both robbery and assault are problems in Baltimore. Unfortunately, much of the crime in Baltimore has been linked to illegal drug trafficking and a stubborn poverty rate. The homicide rate in Baltimore is also very high, standing at around 55.7 per 100,000 people.

2. Detroit, Michigan - 2,056.7

Detroit, Michigan, has the second-highest violent crime rate in the United States with 2,056.7 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Some of the most common crimes in the city are aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, rape, armed robbery, murder and non-negligent manslaughter. It is important to note that crime in Detroit, in general, has been decreasing over recent years. The number of murders and homicides in the city have been lower than previous years, with 267 homicides in 2018. 

1. St. Louis, Missouri - 2,082.3

With a violent crime rate of 2,082.3 per 100,000 people, St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the United States. Since the 1990s, crime in this Missouri city had been steadily increasing, but in recent years, crime does seem to be decreasing slightly. St. Louis is notable for having the highest murder rate in the country at 66 homicides per 100,000. This rate is still far behind the most dangerous cities in the world, which can have a murder rate of over 100 per 100,000.

Crime Rates of Major Cities

It may be surprising to note that some of the country's biggest cities are not on this list. New York City has a violent crime rate of 538.89 per 100,000 people, which is considerably lower than the entries on this list. Los Angeles, the second-most populated city in the country, has a violent crime rate of 761 per 100,000 inhabitants according to the FBI.

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

RankCityStateViolent Crime Rate (Per 100,000 People)
1St. LouisMissouri2,082.3
4MemphisTennessee 2,003.3
5Kansas CityMissouri1,724.3
9AlbuquerqueNew Mexico1,369.1
12San BernardinoCalifornia1,291.1
14NashvilleTennessee 1,138.2
15New OrleansLouisiana 1,121.4
20Baton RougeLouisiana1,026.8
22BuffaloNew York1,019.3
23North Las VegasNevada1,014.7
24WashingtonDistrict of Columbia948.7

More in World Facts