Most Dangerous Cities in USA

Just over a year after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida where a gunman claimed the lives of 17 students and teachers, gun violence and the prevalence of violent crime in the United States remain hot button issues in American society.

Undoubtedly, the US has remarkably high rates of violent crime compared to other developed nations in Europe and Asia, especially in certain regions, but what is the underlying cause behind these numbers? Could it be the nation’s lax gun laws and the ease of acquiring a firearm, or is there another explanation?

Is this about gun control or the lack thereof?

The strictness of gun laws seems to play a role in violent crime rates, as the states with well over their share of cities in the top 100 (Table 1), like Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and Alabama, all have rather lax gun laws. However, there are exceptions: New Jersey, home to five cities in the top 100, and Illinois, home to three (including #98 Chicago) have very strict gun laws.

​Although mass shootings are becoming increasingly common in American life, the violent crime and prevalence of gun murders plaguing America’s most dangerous cities aren’t best explained by lax gun laws, rates of gun ownership, or one-off rampages (although, these do have an effect), but rather, by income inequality.

Where there is a high poverty rate, and little opportunity to earn a decent wage, we find high homicide rates and a prevalence of other types of violent crime.

The American communities suffering the hardest at the hands of violent crime are also some of the most impoverished in the country, with some of the highest unemployment rates, to boot.

Is this the most dangerous city in America?

Let’s look at the two communities that top the list: Anniston, AL (#1) and Bessemer, AL (#2) (see table 1 below). Both are small cities in Alabama that boasted bustling economies in decades past but have since fallen on hard times following the phenomenon of deindustrialization in the late 20th century.

​Bessemer was once a hub of manufacturing and ore mining activity and home to a large Pullman Standard railroad car manufacturing factory, but as these industries dried up and/or moved elsewhere, unemployment rose, and with it, violent crime.

Now, Anniston and Bessemer are plagued by unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average, while the service industry jobs that have replaced manufacturing jobs in these communities often don’t come close to providing a decent living wage. The same phenomenon is seen all across the top 100: economic disenfranchisement leading to higher instances of violent crime.

MostDangerousCIties-heatmap 1

Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in America, 2019

Per violent crime rate average, per 1,000 people, police adequacy, population >= 10,000.
RankCityStateViolent crime rate per 1,000
1AnnistonAlabama34.34297427
2BessemerAlabama29.85584219
3Florida CityFlorida22.75890299
4McKeesportPennsylvania21.25423891
5St. LouisMissouri20.82285906
6DetroitMichigan20.56673306
7BaltimoreMaryland20.27014907
8MemphisTennessee20.0332432
9Camden CountyNew Jersey19.67725003
10Opa LockaFlorida19.49844012
11FlintMichigan19.45033901
12Pine BluffArkansas18.47118959
13PrichardAlabama18.26484018
14Muskegon HeightsMichigan18.07899128
15West MemphisArkansas17.7903367
16DanvilleIllinois17.40627391
17Alexander CityAlabama17.29517092
18Kansas CityMissouri17.24308586
19Highland ParkMichigan17.01217812
20CrowleyLouisiana16.35191156
21Little RockArkansas16.33603259
22DarbyPennsylvania16.15326822
23ChesterPennsylvania16.09580979
24MilwaukeeWisconsin15.97364106
25WilmingtonDelaware15.96042039
26RockfordIllinois15.88199223
27Myrtle BeachSouth Carolina15.76868574
28SaginawMichigan15.6825619
29GallupNew Mexico15.4284462
30CamdenArkansas14.99683802
31North AdamsMassachusetts14.90577695
32HammondLouisiana14.87060641
33College ParkGeorgia14.66895731
34InksterMichigan14.55352738
35SusanvilleCalifornia14.49979187
36AlexandriaLouisiana14.41704973
37Riviera BeachFlorida13.6958536
38Asbury ParkNew Jersey13.60500766
39GreenwoodSouth Carolina13.54537271
40SpringfieldMissouri13.38835723
41IndianapolisIndiana13.3396418
42ScottsboroAlabama13.09686221
43East PointGeorgia13.06659205
44OaklandCalifornia12.99318687
45CambridgeMaryland12.99013712
46BogalusaLouisiana12.97935103
47San BernardinoCalifornia12.91085755
48TrentonNew Jersey12.85749902
49ArtesiaNew Mexico12.83500161
50KinstonNorth Carolina12.7939974
51Vinita ParkMissouri12.74749119
52FarmingtonNew Mexico12.67708842
53FlorenceSouth Carolina12.66612916
54TexarkanaTexas12.61812998
55EmeryvilleCalifornia12.61381672
56BarstowCalifornia12.56866989
57Benton TownshipMichigan12.54005852
58NewburghNew York12.35754986
59Union CityGeorgia12.24007561
60ShawneeOklahoma12.23010244
61WheelingWest Virginia12.2076776
62MuskogeeOklahoma12.06837875
63AnchorageAlaska12.03289802
64HendersonNorth Carolina12.0282863
65CocoaFlorida11.99014509
66KalamazooMichigan11.97172941
67BluefieldWest Virginia11.92353173
68Los LunasNew Mexico11.91472918
69NatchitochesLouisiana11.86830015
70TiftonGeorgia11.76957653
71SelmaCalifornia11.76612806
72CharlestonWest Virginia11.72419447
73ElktonMaryland11.64999367
74HarrisburgPennsylvania11.5564298
75ClintonIowa11.55412815
76TroyAlabama11.46694215
77Nashville MetropolitanTennessee11.38171873
78LansingMichigan11.35836013
79JacksonMichigan11.30339406
80AlbanyGeorgia11.2964253
81Red BluffCalifornia11.29225775
82El DoradoArkansas11.28334338
83DyersburgTennessee11.25692271
84Niagara FallsNew York11.24315387
85New OrleansLouisiana11.21407383
86DicksonTennessee11.191405
87Helena-West HelenaArkansas11.12263173
88Daytona BeachFlorida11.07098455
89MinneapolisMinnesota11.01269539
90Atlantic CityNew Jersey11.01007746
91ChicagoIllinois10.98858867
92HoustonTexas10.95227811
93HartfordConnecticut10.92838369
94BridgetonNew Jersey10.90748687
95HolyokeMassachusetts10.82791526
96West ColumbiaSouth Carolina10.77559966
97MarionArkansas10.76400129
98YorkPennsylvania10.76225004
99OzarkAlabama10.71502164
100ArvinCalifornia10.70593735

Is this the other most dangerous city in America?

Next, we wanted to look at the most dangerous large cities in the United States, so we excluded all communities with a population less than 100,000. Rather than just consider the violent crime rates of these cities, we also factored in a “police adequacy” score, which is the total number of crimes divided by the number of police officers servicing the city.

Employing these calculations yields some surprising results, with few of the usual suspects like Detroit, Chicago, or Baltimore appearing on the list. Instead, mid-sized cities in the Pacific Northwest and California dominate the ranking.

Four Washington cities appear in the top ten, as well as Billings, Montana (#3) and Portland, Oregon (#9), also in the region. These results tell a different story than what you usually encounter when hearing about the crime problem in America, but the issue is complex and multi-faceted.

California cities, located all over the state, account for a whopping 28 positions on the list. This may indicate that the overburdened police forces in these cities encounter a higher amount of crime than they are capable of policing.

MostDangerousLargeCIties heatmap 2

Top 100 Most Dangerous Large Cities in America, 2019

Per violent crime rate average, police adequacy, population >= 100,000). The Crime Score is the index that combines Normalized crime rate and Police adequacy.
RankCityStateCrime Score
1SpringfieldMissouri0.767828695
2SpokaneWashington0.749935645
3BillingsMontana0.723097584
4TacomaWashington0.719377157
5VallejoCalifornia0.716943948
6AnchorageAlaska0.71605993
7KentWashington0.713783156
8RentonWashington0.708033763
9PortlandOregon0.704302058
10DavenportIowa0.699437336
11PuebloColorado0.698556722
12ModestoCalifornia0.697833363
13WichitaKansas0.692869094
14BakersfieldCalifornia0.692015163
15OaklandCalifornia0.689643814
16AntiochCalifornia0.68875917
17Little RockArkansas0.681923575
18San BernardinoCalifornia0.676706846
19TulsaOklahoma0.671136415
20San AntonioTexas0.67055464
21IndependenceMissouri0.670155923
22IndianapolisIndiana0.665182981
23TucsonArizona0.665032295
24Pompano BeachFlorida0.658606708
25BerkeleyCalifornia0.657702607
26SalinasCalifornia0.651501527
27SpringfieldIllinois0.649348064
28KnoxvilleTennessee0.646383035
29TallahasseeFlorida0.642456176
30GreshamOregon0.64214641
31MemphisTennessee0.641475949
32Costa MesaCalifornia0.637844128
33ChattanoogaTennessee0.637024782
34Des MoinesIowa0.636767618
35RockfordIllinois0.635939716
36MinneapolisMinnesota0.635281367
37EverettWashington0.635181968
38RenoNevada0.629239442
39San AngeloTexas0.628679898
40EvansvilleIndiana0.625795148
41SalemOregon0.624793832
42Corpus ChristiTexas0.624727343
43VancouverWashington0.62453566
44ConcordCalifornia0.624019624
45TopekaKansas0.623881265
46LansingMichigan0.623609756
47GlendaleArizona0.62339135
48RiversideCalifornia0.62212986
49South BendIndiana0.621115942
50VisaliaCalifornia0.620685965
51SeattleWashington0.620594675
52LexingtonKentucky0.619363312
53VenturaCalifornia0.619155861
54ShreveportLOUISIANA0.619018506
55San FranciscoCalifornia0.618273556
56DowneyCalifornia0.617460457
57ColumbiaSouth Carolina0.616862623
58EugeneOregon0.616589458
59FresnoCalifornia0.613930678
60FairfieldCalifornia0.613606951
61Oklahoma CityOklahoma0.612745356
62RichmondCalifornia0.610352007
63FargoNorth Dakota0.610216662
64ColumbiaMissouri0.609009309
65OmahaNebraska0.608657591
66AkronOhio0.608104577
67Garden GroveCalifornia0.606799743
68LafayetteLouisiana0.606205028
69BeaumontTexas0.605977283
70San JoseCalifornia0.604272725
71LakewoodColorado0.603591415
72PomonaCalifornia0.601949764
73OrlandoFlorida0.599773336
74Baton RougeLouisiana0.599042753
75HoustonTexas0.598831586
76Nashville MetropolitanTennessee0.59857062
77ColumbusOhio0.598403581
78North Las VegasNevada0.594745768
79Sioux FallsSouth Dakota0.59154341
80North CharlestonSouth Carolina0.591217643
81PhoenixArizona0.590746813
82BellevueWashington0.590351364
83OdessaTexas0.590175915
84SacramentoCalifornia0.589574585
85Cedar RapidsIowa0.588804593
86MesquiteTexas0.58735419
87FullertonCalifornia0.587003723
88El MonteCalifornia0.586904977
89DurhamNorth Carolina0.584999156
90West CovinaCalifornia0.584781091
91Kansas CityMissouri0.582779907
92FremontCalifornia0.582169827
93St. LouisMissouri0.581853251
94West Palm BeachFlorida0.580614947
95MurfreesboroTennessee0.579415288
96St. PetersburgFlorida0.578016539
97HaywardCalifornia0.577819761
98Fort LauderdaleFlorida0.577815484
99ClovisCalifornia0.576053487
100Miami GardensFlorida0.575906515

Does population size matter when ranking America's dangerous cities?

Many of the communities in Table 1 are relatively small, with most having populations hovering in between 10K and 30K. In smaller cities, it only takes a few violent crimes to lend a significant boost to the crime rate.

However, many of these communities are adjacent to larger metropolitan areas, such as #4 McKeesport, PA (population: 19,731), which is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and Florida City, FL falling just outside of the Miami border.

Many of these smaller communities have violent crime rates similar to the most dangerous neighborhoods of the larger cities they are adjacent to, and in many cases, they border these neighborhoods. The difference is that the larger cities also have more affluent, low crime areas that lower their overall violent crime rates, while their smaller satellite cities do not.​

Looking at the cities with the highest increase in violent crime (Table 3), we do not find booming megalopolises, but rather smaller communities just breaking the population threshold.

In essence, it is the smaller cities that actually may have the greatest ongoing risk of violent crime. Baton Rouge, LA (#16), Louisiana’s capital city, is the outlier here, with a population of 227,715.

HighestIncreaseinViolentCrimes heatmap 3

Cities with the highest increase in violent crime

Population >= 10,000. The crime rate in 2017 minus the crime rate in 2016. If it is positive, that means the crime rate went up; in some cities, the crime rate increased more than other cities; the rank captures which cities have the highest increase in crime rates.
RankCityStateChange in crime rate ranking, per 1,000
1FairfieldAlabama35.38883343
2EmeryvilleCalifornia33.05277001
3CrowleyLouisiana27.23889588
4MayfieldKentucky22.75296825
5MagnoliaArkansas22.36848483
6CambridgeMaryland20.70533436
7LebanonMissouri17.52995153
8RiverdaleGeorgia16.62145704
9ZacharyLouisiana15.3129598
10MillingtonTennessee14.94921909
11MuskegonMichigan14.33314302
12KeokukIowa14.03528729
13GoodlettsvilleTennessee13.89001197
14East PointGeorgia13.81823237
15BemidjiMinnesota13.81798387
16Baton RougeLouisiana13.3293702
17Fox LakeIlliinois12.64958372
18Arkansas CityKansas12.58435569
19DouglasArizona12.44601565
20ElizabethtonTennessee12.34136734
21TiftonGeorgia12.23844069
22Beverly HillsCalifornia12.22796402
23RogersMinnesota12.15972878
24Granite CityIllinois11.75244136
25HomewoodIllinois11.549497
26SaralandAlabama11.41931744
27PaysonArizona11.33090935
28GreerSouth Carolina11.22596116
29MiamiOklahoma11.20960594
30El CerritoCalifornia11.08965644
31OttumwaIowa11.02552662
32PinevilleLouisiana10.65711463
33VincennesIndiana10.44070001
34BelmontNorth Carolina10.40007691
35MerriamKansas10.21047565
36EdgewaterFlorida10.13043236
37FarmingtonNew Mexico9.957216669
38GrandviewMissouri9.48763306
39Panama CityFlorida9.269999124
40RadcliffKentucky9.259549659
41LeesburgFlorida9.156046349
42East WindsorConnecticut9.146695949
43BristolVirginia8.939233903
44HaysvilleKansas8.863271823
45AuburnAlabama8.837354901
46BessemerAlabama8.710984079
47WindsorConnecticut8.676499193
48East Grand RapidsMichigan8.534606586
49MemphisTennessee8.464779678
50GautierMississippi8.288952318
51BardstownKentucky8.17814829
52GadsdenAlabama8.152763436
53St. JosephMissouri8.101308308
54BillingsMontana8.100145482
55Highland ParkMichigan8.032202768
56TaylorvilleIllinois7.934669931
57MuskogeeOklahoma7.921678948
58MoberlyMissouri7.849337815
59CamdenArkansas7.830855782
60StoughtonWisconsin7.80256563
61Sauk VillageIllinois7.790122704
62KingsportTennessee7.734682666
63StaffordTexas7.724299849
64PrichardAlabama7.684063929
65AlbuquerqueNew Mexico7.620129131
66DefianceOhio7.608639921
67OpelousasLouisiana7.576058658
68FlorenceAlabama7.489299399
69FreeportIllinois7.470669392
70ThomasvilleNorth Carolina7.388543725
71WoodburnOregon7.382296576
72San FranciscoCalifornia7.311918657
73CeresCalifornia7.291313494
74Maple Shade TownshipNew Jersey7.099280956
75ClintonIowa7.091208252
76Central MarinCalifornia7.07456679
77AlbanyGeorgia7.072364085
78SturgisMichigan6.952466936
79Great BendKansas6.890857406
80Fairfield TownshipOhio6.882081328
81Santa ClaraCalifornia6.851820127
82ValdostaGeorgia6.847283559
83South MiamiFlorida6.837884554
84CordeleGeorgia6.829704174
85Kings MountainNorth Carolina6.824478031
86AndoverKansas6.814508469
87Swatara TownshipPennsylvania6.752305311
88LakewoodOhio6.733518079
89OxfordAlabama6.652529805
90Southern Regional York CountyPennsylvania6.647038624
91GreenbeltMaryland6.63829943
92Pleasant HillCalifornia6.636523124
93Santa MonicaCalifornia6.589431382
94PlainvilleConnecticut6.582761895
95LincolnwoodIllinois6.571616234
96OzarkMissouri6.541356323
97StreetsboroOhio6.429699322
98Muskegon HeightsMichigan6.390527875
99FitchburgWisconsin6.382372035
100BryantArkansas6.322247118

Is violent crime decreasing in America?

Despite the high violent crime rates plaguing these cities, there is evidence that, overall, the violence is lessening, and will continue to do so.

Nationwide, the violent crime rate fell 0.9%, overall, despite rises in the cities found in Table 4. Most American communities experienced a net decrease in murder rate and violent crime.

While the trend of declining violent crime across the board offers up some hope for American cities besieged by violence and murder, many of them have deep-seated issues that have plagued their neighborhoods for decades, and it is not entirely clear where the solution lies.

In addition, even if ranked among the “worst” trends for larger cities, many of these cities still have negative crime trending (reduced violent crime over time). The “surprise” is that cities of such size make up a minority of the 100 cities with high violent crime rates. This may be an artifact of our information system. More attention is paid to the events of a large city from outside that city. Small cities’ events tend to not be propagated as far in the media.

LargeCitieswithHighestCrimes heatmap 4

Large cities with the highest increase in violent crime

Population >= 100,000. The crime rate in 2017 minus the crime rate in 2016. If it is positive, that means the crime rate went up; in some cities, the crime rate increased more than other cities; the rank captures which cities have the highest increase in crime rates.
RankCityStateChange in crime rate ranking, per 1,000
1Baton RougeLouisiana13.3293702
2MemphisTennessee8.464779678
3BillingsMontana8.100145482
4AlbuquerqueNew Mexico7.620129131
5San FranciscoCalifornia7.311918657
6Santa ClaraCalifornia6.851820127
7AnchorageAlaska5.772541404
8PortlandOregon5.474339463
9ChattanoogaTennessee5.43792489
10BerkeleyCalifornia5.397739354
11GreshamOregon5.152564725
12MinneapolisMinnesota4.118798448
13BaltimoreMaryland3.965880132
14SpringfieldMissouri3.877629251
15New OrleansLouisiana3.754146612
16PeoriaIllinois3.64768966
17FairfieldCalifornia3.637668526
18ClarksvilleTennessee3.619785695
19SunnyvaleCalifornia3.575459923
20St. PaulMinnesota3.398781043
21ColumbiaMissouri3.264835266
22ElizabethNew Jersey3.204308289
23IndependenceMissouri3.200892272
24RichmondCalifornia3.075459114
25SalemOregon3.007235654
26El MonteCalifornia2.99396657
27BridgeportConnecticut2.868308866
28St. LouisMissouri2.795029948
29SpringfieldIllinois2.692224788
30InglewoodCalifornia2.66757046
31Kansas CityMissouri2.565637555
32DavenportIowa2.436057637
33Palm BayFlorida2.434437856
34North Las VegasNevada2.345587969
35FullertonCalifornia2.218249148
36OaklandCalifornia2.207173198
37Simi ValleyCalifornia2.182940304
38Overland ParkKansas2.13822742
39OmahaNebraska1.932003381
40Miami GardensFlorida1.904804781
41HaywardCalifornia1.885473269
42Des MoinesIowa1.765402456
43Coral SpringsFlorida1.748503884
44Santa RosaCalifornia1.697980304
45EvansvilleIndiana1.59796126
46Nashville MetropolitanTennessee1.571584488
47FremontCalifornia1.558579322
48High PointNorth Carolina1.545060145
49Jersey CityNew Jersey1.5290249
50MurfreesboroTennessee1.383229336
51LansingMichigan1.36991868
52Little RockArkansas1.363035069
53AllenTexas1.334373065
54KilleenTexas1.323352716
55Edison TownshipNew Jersey1.26357433
56Rancho CucamongaCalifornia1.24894425
57ShreveportLouisiana1.232750698
58WichitaKansas1.192280684
59NapervilleIllinois1.179864909
60NewarkNew Jersey1.132814758
61VisaliaCalifornia1.081318319
62Los AngelesCalifornia1.043436167
63SyracuseNew York1.020376571
64BoiseIdaho1.004629332
65Fort CollinsColorado0.967734167
66San JoseCalifornia0.957661497
67DenverColorado0.956025992
68RochesterNew York0.946634094
69PatersonNew Jersey0.911694206
70BurbankCalifornia0.88490611
71ConcordCalifornia0.779714249
72GilbertArizona0.770535339
73Santa ClaritaCalifornia0.677310872
74PhoenixArizona0.668646766
75ChicagoIllinois0.661658205
76ChandlerArizona0.65783521
77Moreno ValleyCalifornia0.639198436
78Garden GroveCalifornia0.593275228
79SalinasCalifornia0.530985122
80Pompano BeachFlorida0.527632424
81North CharlestonSouth Carolina0.474461909
82DentonTexas0.460258619
83CarlsbadCalifornia0.456597533
84FriscoTexas0.440899911
85Grand PrairieTexas0.43949332
86CaryNorth Carolina0.427698793
87HillsboroOregon0.352389429
88NorwalkCalifornia0.348587685
89McKinneyTexas0.336967231
90Santa AnaCalifornia0.324093576
91Broken ArrowOklahoma0.27805118
92AuroraColorado0.23286123
93TorranceCalifornia0.211859723
94Ann ArborMichigan0.175472406
95Thousand OaksCalifornia0.137212449
96El PasoTexas0.092558492
97BeaumontTexas0.039400182
98ElginIllinois0.034571671
99San MateoCalifornia0.032842541
100Newport NewsVirginia0.031950818

Another way to rank America's most dangerous cities?

Table 5 is an interesting way to look at cities with violent crime issues from a different perspective, by averaging a city’s violent crime rate with its increase in violent crime over the last year of available data. This allows us to examine cities with already serious crime issues while taking stock of their potential for further crime increases in the future.

On this list, we find Memphis, Tennessee (#1), Baltimore, Maryland (#3), and St. Louis, Missouri (#6), mid-sized cities plagued perennially with gun murders and other violent crime.

However, there are some surprises, as well, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana (#10), Anchorage, Alaska (#4) and Minneapolis, Minnesota (#8). These cities aren’t the first to be mentioned when discussing American cities with severe crime issues, but are brought up in the ranking by their significant increases in violent crime in the past year, and may get more national attention in coming years.

LargeCitiesAveragedViolentCrimeRate heatmap 5

Large cities averaged violent crime rate with increase in violent crime

Population over 100,000. We created a ranking based on Change in crime rate between 2016 and 2017. Then we created a ranking based on Violent crime rate 2017. We averaged the two ranks. The final ranking that combines the worst violent crime worst increase in overall crime rate is shown in the last column. Some cities are tied because of the same average of two ranks.
RankCityStateChange in crime rate rankViolent crime rate rankAveraged violent crime rate with increase in violent crime rate
1MemphisTennessee243
2AlbuquerqueNew Mexico4107
3BaltimoreMaryland1338
4AnchorageAlaska71511
5SpringfieldMissouri141112.5
6Baton RougeLouisiana12814.5
6St. LouisMissouri28114.5
8MinneapolisMinnesota121915.5
9ChattanoogaTennessee92316
10New OrleansLouisiana151816.5
11Kansas CityMissouri31518
12OaklandCalifornia361324.5
13SpringfieldIllinois292527
14Little RockArkansas52629
15Nashville MetropolitanTennessee461631
16RichmondCalifornia243931.5
17North Las VegasNevada343132.5
18BridgeportConnecticut274134
18LansingMichigan511734
20San FranciscoCalifornia57037.5
20ElizabethNew Jersey225337.5
22PeoriaIllinois166138.5
23WichitaKansas582943.5
24ShreveportLouisiana573345
25Miami GardensFlorida405547.5
25ChicagoIllinois752047.5
27DavenportIowa326649
28InglewoodCalifornia307251
29NewarkNew Jersey604351.5
30RochesterNew York684255
31KilleenTexas545856
32St. PaulMinnesota209356.5
33ClarksvilleTennessee1810159.5
33North CharlestonSouth Carolina813859.5
35Los AngelesCalifornia625960.5
35BeaumontTexas972460.5
37BerkeleyCalifornia1011261
38PortlandOregon811863
38EvansvilleIndiana458163
40Pompano BeachFlorida804763.5
41Des MoinesIowa428764.5
42BillingsMontana312865.5
43OmahaNebraska399466.5
44IndependenceMissouri2311167
44High PointNorth Carolina488667
44PhoenixArizona746067
47SyracuseNew York637468.5
48ColumbiaMissouri2112774
48PatersonNew Jersey697974
50DenverColorado678274.5
51FairfieldCalifornia1713475.5
52Palm BayFlorida3312378
53CincinnatiOhio1243680
54MurfreesboroTennessee5011482
55LancasterCalifornia1036282.5
56Jersey CityNew Jersey4912084.5
57SalinasCalifornia799587
57DetroitMichigan172287
59HoustonTexas1542187.5
60KnoxvilleTennessee1404492
61El MonteCalifornia2615992.5
62PhiladelphiaPennsylvania1523593.5
63SalemOregon2516494.5
64GreshamOregon1118095.5
65MilwaukeeWisconsin186796.5
66AuroraColorado9210498
67Santa RosaCalifornia4415398.5
68VictorvilleCalifornia12876102
69AkronOhio12778102.5
69GainesvilleFlorida13669102.5
71HartfordConnecticut18722104.5
72Grand RapidsMichigan14271106.5
72HuntsvilleAlabama17340106.5
74RockfordIllinois2068107
75AntiochCalifornia102113107.5
76Oklahoma CityOklahoma16254108
77JacksonvilleFlorida11899108.5
77MontgomeryAlabama12097108.5
79HaywardCalifornia41178109.5
79Santa AnaCalifornia90129109.5
81San JoseCalifornia66154110
82VallejoCalifornia17448111
83PomonaCalifornia116109112.5
84Newport NewsVirginia100126113
85ManchesterNew Hampshire14485114.5
86Fort WorthTexas122108115
87BostonMassachusetts14388115.5
88New YorkNew York117115116
89Moreno ValleyCalifornia77161119
90NorwalkCalifornia88151119.5
91VisaliaCalifornia61179120
92DallasTexas18457120.5
93Santa ClaraCalifornia6239122.5
93Corpus ChristiTexas17075122.5
95ConcordCalifornia71175123
96San BernardinoCalifornia23314123.5
97AllentownPennsylvania110138124
97WacoTexas126122124
99VenturaCalifornia104147125.5
99IndianapolisIndiana23912125.5
101PalmdaleCalifornia112143127.5
101FresnoCalifornia149106127.5

Methodology

Crime data analysis

Law enforcement agencies from cities, metropolitan areas, counties, universities, state, tribal and other agencies across the country submit crime data to the FBI using their Uniform Crime Reporting system. The data is made available for the public to view, download and analyze.

This is a two-part study. In the first part, we analyzed data as reported by agencies from cities – mostly police departments from cities. In the second part of the study, we analyze data submitted by the university and campus police departments of universities and colleges across the country.

We used FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting tool to collect data for the year 2017. Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and the incidence of crime. See Table 1 for a summary of coverage. 

Crime data coverage

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI website, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

The set of rankings uses a larger weight to Violent crime than Property crime. We assigned twice the weight to Violent crime than Property crime. Then we transformed the Total crime rate variable using x’ = log(x+1) so that the skewness is reduced. Then we normalized it using x’/max(x’) transforming the final number to a score between 0 and 1.

We computed a new variable called Police Adequacy = TotalCrimes / Number of police employees. We consider that smaller Police adequacy statistic is, safer the city is. We transformed and normalized Police adequacy also, resulting in a crime score between 0 and 1. Next, we combined the two scores to create a score for each city.

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