United States: The most dangerous cities you should know about

Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis have the highest violent crime rates in the US, with several other cities following close behind.


According to the FBI, violent crime rates in cities within the United States are 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 who have a higher than average crime rate. As crime is a social problem, many of the motivations between crimes committed can include things such as lack of police funding, issues with armed robberies, 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 most recent complete crime report (from 2016).

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

10. Indianapolis, Indiana – 1,374.39 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People


Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana, is the 10th 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 percent.

9. Stockton, California – 1,420.79 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People


Stockton, California ranks as the ninth most dangerous city in the United States, with 1,420.79 violent crimes committed for every 100,000 people. The aggravated assault rate in Stockton is particularly high.

8. Oakland, California – 1,425.65 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Oakland, California

Oakland, California, comes in eighth with a violent crime rate of 1,425.65 per 100,000. Crime has been a problem in Oakland since at least the late 1960s. Rates of robbery are high in Oakland, with robberies targeting around 1 person out of every 91 city residents.

7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 1,533.01 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Crime in Milwaukee is higher than the US average, giving it a ranking as number seven 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.

6. Cleveland, Ohio – 1,630.91 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland ranks sixth on the list of the United States’ most dangerous cities. Its violent crime rate is 1,630.91 incidences for every 100,000 people. Like many other cities who battle violent crime, problems like high unemployment, rampant poverty, and urban decay have all influenced Cleveland’s high crime rate.

5. Kansas City, Missouri – 1,654 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is the fifth most dangerous city in the United States, and the second entry on this list from Missouri. There are 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 average of 5 per 100,000.

4. Baltimore, Maryland – 1,780.44 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore ranks fourth with a violent crime rate of 1,780.44 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. Both robbery and assault are problems in Baltimore. Unfortunately, much of the crime in Baltimore has ben linked to illegal drug trafficking and a stubborn poverty rate. The homicide rate in Baltimore is also very high, standing at around 57.8 for 2017.

3. Memphis, Tennessee – 1,819.98 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

Memphis, Tennessee

Number three on the list is Memphis, Tennessee, with 1,913.2 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.

2. St. Louis, Missouri – 1,913.15 Violent Crimes per 100,000 People

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, has the second highest violent crime rate in the United States with 1,913.2 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Since the 1990s, crime in this Missouri city has been steadily increasing. However, in recent years, crime does seem to be decreasing slightly. St. Louis is notable for having the highest murder rate in the country.

1. Detroit, Michigan – 2,046.52 Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People

Detroit, Michigan

With a violent crime rate of 2,046.5 per 100,000 people, Detroit is the most dangerous city in the United States. 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 reached their lowest in 47 years as only 298 murders and intentional homicides were reported. However, in the first three months of 2015, homicide rates in the city had risen by about 25% as compared to the same period in the last year. This contributed to the city’s position as the US city with the highest crime rate. Detroit currently ranks as the 42nd most dangerous city in the world.

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