most dangerous cities in america

most dangerous cities in america
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If you had to guess which town in the United States was the single most violent, would you have picked tiny Industry, California? Probably not. Most of us would likely name St. Louis or Baltimore, maybe Chicago or New York.

Surely few, if any, would point to the 204-person Industry, a suburb about 22 miles away from downtown Los Angeles. But, according to the most recent federal crime statistics, Industry’s rate of violent crime is an astonishing 35,784.31 per 100,000 people, nearly 10,000% higher than the overall U.S. violent crime rate.

The FBI reported that a total of 73 violent crimes took place in Industry in 2017 (1 murder, 5 rapes, 36 robberies and 31 aggravated assaults). With the city’s tiny population, that makes for an eye-popping crime rate.

But in addition to the tiny population, digging into the city’s economy reveals why Industry’s crime rate is so high — it’s almost entirely industrial. There are 15 times more companies in Industry than people. Basically, the crime rate is so high because nobody actually lives there.

So it’s not really fair to call Industry the most violent or dangerous city in the country. Then which one is? Let’s examine which cities are most dangerous — and break down which violent crimes are most prevalent in which cities.

most dangerous cities in america
most dangerous cities in america

most dangerous cities in america 2204

Acts of violent crime entail individuals engaging in behaviours that involve threatening, attempting, or causing physical harm to another person or property. Such offences encompass scenarios where violence is either the primary objective or a means to achieve other ends. The gravity of these crimes varies based on factors such as the presence of weapons, the extent of harm inflicted on victims, and the criminal history of the perpetrator. Examples of violent crimes include sexual assault, manslaughter, homicide, aeroplane hijacking, terrorism, rape, shootings, and kidnapping.

In the United States, the rate of violent crime stood at approximately 369 incidents per 100,000 individuals in 2018. While this marks the lowest rate observed in over three decades, it’s imperative to note that violent crime remains a prevalent issue. Moreover, its occurrence is not uniformly distributed across the nation, with urban areas typically experiencing higher rates. Certain cities, in particular, exhibit greater levels of danger than others.

Most Dangerous Cities in the US 2024

Detroit boasts a staggering violent crime rate of 2,007.8 incidents per 100,000 individuals, notably recording a total of 261 homicides in 2018. Remarkably, it stands as the sole midsize or large city in the United States to surpass the 2,000 mark in violent crime incidents. Despite its current population of less than 700,000, Detroit reported approximately 13,500 violent crimes in 2018—an alarming figure surpassing cities with double its population.

The city’s stark economic challenges have contributed to an annual unemployment rate of 9.0% and a striking 37.9% of residents living below the poverty line. These economic hardships exacerbate social tensions and exacerbate the conditions conducive to violent crime.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States 2024

St. Louis
Kansas City
Little Rock

While a city with a high violent crime rate may alarm some, it’s crucial to understand that such a statistic doesn’t necessarily render the entire city unsafe. Within any urban area, violence tends to be hyper-localized, often concentrated in specific neighbourhoods or even on a block-by-block basis.

Furthermore, the title of “most dangerous city” in the United States frequently changes from year to year. Determining this designation involves analysing two key factors. Firstly, researchers assess a city’s violent crime rate. Secondly, they consider the likelihood that a random individual passing through the area will become a victim of some form of crime. These combined metrics provide a more nuanced understanding of a city’s safety profile, highlighting the localised nature of crime and its impact on public perception.

NOTE: In its assessment of the most dangerous cities in the United States, 24/7 Wall Street conducted a comprehensive analysis of data from the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report. This analysis encompassed key indicators such as each city’s rates of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Importantly, only cities with populations exceeding 100,000 individuals were considered in this evaluation.

Additionally, the study took into account the poverty rate and unemployment rate for each city. These economic factors were included in the analysis due to their well-established correlation with crime rates. By examining both crime data and socioeconomic indicators, 24/7 Wall Street aimed to provide a thorough understanding of the safety profiles of various urban areas across the nation.

Most Dangerous Cities in America


The research conducted for this paper required an examination of what constitutes a “dangerous” city and not just what cities have a high crime rate. There are many types of danger and this paper will seek to identify those types, and which cities exemplify that type. This paper will examine three different criteria: crime rate as a measure of safety, risk of natural disaster, and health risks. Only the top cities in each of these categories will be examined.

This paper will argue that not only is identifying dangerous cities important, but that it is also important to be able to define what type of danger a city faces. This paper will examine and define what it means to be a “dangerous” city. It is important for city officials, future residents, and possible visitors to identify what type of risk a city faces and how likely it is that such a risk will cause injury or harm. This could mean anything from a high risk of injury or death from violent crime or natural disaster, to a low risk of infectious disease. The definition of a dangerous city is a city that has a high risk for its residents to suffer injury or harm.

Definition of Dangerous Cities

A “dangerous city” can be defined in many different ways – statistically, geographically, politically, economically, and culturally. For the purposes of this study, The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States, and the authors of this report, have chosen to adopt a statistical definition of a dangerous city. This is primarily due to the fact that the authors are actuarial scientists, and they have access to an extensive arsenal of statistical tools for identifying and evaluating the risk of a given event happening to a person or thing in a specific time and place.

Another advantage of a statistical definition is that it allows for a ranking of those cities which are the most and least dangerous. This makes identification of cities to be avoided, or at least to take extra precautions in, relatively simple. This is a very useful tool for various businesses and organizations, and indeed different members of communities.

It is also useful when later trying to evaluate whether a given anti-crime measure has been successful, or deciding whether one city is safer than another for the purposes of migration. Statisticians will also note that a statistical definition presupposes that a dangerous city is one where the risk of some adverse event befalling a person or thing is higher than in other cities. This is considered a reasonable definition in most cases, however, we will in fact devote an entire section of this report to the heavier risk experienced by different groups within the same city. This is primarily due to the fact that an explanation as to why some cities are more dangerous than others is beyond the scope of this report.

Factors Contributing to Danger

Geography and climate are often large factors. Cities with warm weather, particularly arid desert regions such as Phoenix, El Paso, and Las Vegas, are more likely to experience crime than cold or rainy cities. Analysis of over 9,000 U.S. cities with populations over 75,000 using the U.S. Census 2000 data found that cities where the weather is warmer have more crime, and that the difference is statistically significant. A one-degree increase in temperature is associated with a 1.41 case increase in the per capita murder rate.

Another geographic factor is larger city size. Larger cities tend to have more crime than smaller ones. Analyses have consistently shown the most robust predictor of crime rates is city size. This is supported by the fact that over half (54%) of violent crimes in the U.S. occur in cities with populations of over 250,000, despite these cities only making up 30% of the U.S. population.

Size affects crime in a number of ways. First, many of the factors listed here are more likely to be found in large cities than small ones. For example, large cities tend to have more poverty than small cities, and the population density of large cities tends to be a breeding ground for subcultures of violence to thrive. Furthermore, larger cities tend to have outdated infrastructure for the size of their population and may have a higher crime rate as a result of problems such as a lack of efficient transportation, education, or garbage disposal.

Importance of Identifying Dangerous Cities

To avoid these scenarios, however, knowledge concerning safe places to live is an entire necessity. With importance thereof, comes the requirement of having the information available. If an individual or family knows of a dangerous area in their prospective town or city, this can influence their decision on whether to move there or not.

A teacher or professor offered a job in an area they know little about has a right to know whether the neighborhood near their potential workplace is safe for them to commute daily. Students seeking higher education away from home acquire student housing in a town that they are unfamiliar with might use information regarding that town’s safety to make better a more informed decision regarding their housing. All of this and more concerns the acquisition and availability of information concerning the safety of specific areas of towns, cities, and regions. With the knowledge of dangerous areas, and equally important, the knowledge of where to acquire the information, there is a lesser likelihood of a person being caught in a dangerous situation that could otherwise been prevented. This essay discusses the importance of recognizing and knowing the dangers within towns and cities in America, focusing on the significance of having that knowledge available and the affects of applying it.


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