Spanning across a vast land mass and accommodating a diverse population, the United States exhibits varying crime statistics among its states.
This article delves into the analysis of the top ten most dangerous states in America, focusing on the fluctuations in violent crime rates over the course of 2020 to 2022.
As you read, you will gain insight into the factors contributing to the crime disparities between different regions, shedding light on the complexities of crime trends in the United States.
10 Most Dangerous States in the US (2023)
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
These states face high crime rates, murder, homicide, and violent crime. They are considered the most dangerous in the US as of 2023.
Alaska holds the title for the most dangerous state in the United States, due to its high combined violent and property crime rates. With a population of 736,081, the crime rate in 2022 stood at 32.14 per 1,000 people.
Among the prominent types of crime in Alaska are aggravated assaults, accounting for 4,222 incidents, and sexual assaults, with 1,132 reported cases. The latter is particularly troubling as it ranks among the highest incidences of sexual assault nationwide.
2. New Mexico
New Mexico demonstrates a high prevalence of violent crimes in the United States, with numerous incidents occurring yearly, especially in Albuquerque, one of the country’s most dangerous cities.
In 2021, this southwestern state criminologically recorded over 12,000 assault cases and more than 2,000 robbery events.
Property-related offenses, such as burglaries and vehicle thefts, are also alarmingly widespread.
In particular, Albuquerque, Gallup, and Farmington cities have some of the highest crime rates within New Mexico.
Tennessee has a significant crime rate, with 31.65 incidents per 1,000 residents in its population of approximately 6,917,000. In 2021, over 221,000 criminal instances were reported, with 46,428 being violent crimes.
While property crime is more widespread, especially burglary and personal theft, violent crime remains a concern in certain urban areas like Memphis and Nashville.
Despite growth and change in the state, addressing crime in these areas remains a priority.
With a population of over 3 million, Arkansas has a concerning level of violent crime.
In 2020, the violent crime rate was 672.7 per 100,000 people, indicating that residents face a 1 in 148 possibility of encountering such an incident.
Property crime is also a significant issue in the state, with residents having a 1 in 38 chance of being victimized by theft-related offenses.
In 2021, nearly 24,000 cases of burglary and vehicle theft were reported. Cities such as West Memphis,
Little Rock, and Helena have the highest crime rates within Arkansas.
Arizona, a state known for its stunning national parks, also grapples with high crime rates, making it one of the more dangerous states in the USA.
While some cities like Scottsdale experience minimal crime, others, such as Tempe and Phoenix, see crime as an ongoing concern in numerous neighborhoods.
From 2020 to 2021, the FBI Crime Data Explorer reported that violent crime in Arizona increased by 8.6%. The most common incidents during this period were robbery and assault, which amounted to 32,201 cases.
Additionally, the state recorded 504 murders. Given these statistics, the probability of an individual in Arizona falling victim to a violent crime is 1 in 199.
Louisiana holds a concerning position among the most dangerous states in America, with crime rates surpassing the national average in both property and violent offenses.
Cities such as Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans display alarmingly high murders, contributing to the state’s elevated violent crime rate. In 2022, New Orleans’ crime rate soared to an astonishing 150% above the national average.
Property crime is also prevalent in Louisiana, with the 2021 rate of burglary and theft reaching 29.71 incidents per 1,000 residents, significantly above the national average of such crimes.
Missouri is known for its high crime rates, especially murder and other violent acts. In a single year, the state recorded 723 murders, which translates to 11.8 per 100,000 residents.
Furthermore, Missouri experiences a high occurrence of other violent crimes like assault, robbery, and rape, with a rate of 543 such incidents per 100,000 people.
Notably, some cities within Missouri, like St. Louis, have crime rates significantly exceeding the national average. St. Louis had a crime rate in 2020 that was 234% higher than the national average.
8. South Carolina
South Carolina holds a reputation for being one of the riskier states in the US due to its high crime rates.
With a population of over 5 million, the state experiences a crime rate of 5.4 per 1,000 individuals, surpassing the national average of 4 per 1,000.
The state witnesses elevated instances of violent crimes; in 2020, close to 22,000 robberies were documented. Additionally, murder rates were at .11 per 1,000 inhabitants that year, exceeding the national average of .07 per 1,000.
9. South Dakota
In South Dakota, with a population of 895,376, the crime rate is quite notable considering its relatively low population. The state experienced a violent crime rate of 5.05 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2021, leading to a 1 in 198 chance of encountering such crimes.
Notably, murder and rape rates surpass the national average, and over 3,000 assault incidents were reported in 2021. Furthermore, South Dakota ranks second-highest in drunk driving arrests nationwide and records many alcohol-related driving fatalities.
Michigan holds the 10th position among the most violent states in the US. In 2020, the state experienced over 40,000 violent crime incidents, about 4.73 per 1,000 residents.
An upward trend in both violent and property crimes throughout Michigan can be observed. Cities such as Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Saginaw have the highest violent crime rates.
Notably, in 2021, Detroit reported 14,509 murders, a number significantly higher than other cities of similar size.
Most Dangerous States in the USA Summarized
Crime rates differ across states, and even within high-crime states, safe regions exist that are undergoing transformation or are already deemed secure.
Nonetheless, these ten states exhibit the highest crime rates, encompassing concerns like increasing violence, safety measures, natural disaster risks, terrorist threats, and personal and residential security.
Methodology for Determining the Most Dangerous States in America
To identify the most dangerous states in America, we analyzed crime rates, such as violent crime and property crime, per capita.
Data was obtained from multiple reliable sources, such as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. This analysis considers crime statistics from 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors contribute to a state’s danger level?
Factors contributing to a state being considered dangerous include crime rates (such as violent crimes like homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery), traffic fatalities, workplace injuries, and emergency preparedness, among others.
These factors can vary significantly among states, making some more dangerous than others.
Variations in crime rates among U.S. states
Crime rates in the United States can differ greatly among states. Factors such as population density, poverty levels, education, and unemployment rates can all influence crime rates in different areas. Consequently, some states may have higher crime rates than others.
States with the highest violent crime rates
Based on available data, some states with the highest rates of violent crimes include Louisiana, which ranks 47th for Financial Safety and 49th for Emergency Preparedness, and New Mexico, which has one of the highest numbers of traffic fatalities (2.1 per 10,000 motor vehicles) and a murder rate of 8 per 100,000 inhabitants per year.
Urban vs. rural safety comparison across states
Urban and rural areas can differ significantly in safety levels, with urban areas often experiencing higher crime rates due to population density and socioeconomic disparities.
However, rural areas might have higher rates of traffic fatalities and workplace injuries. The safety of urban and rural areas within a state can contribute differently to the overall danger level of the state.
Correlation between socioeconomic factors and crime rates
Socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, education level, and unemployment rates, can directly correlate with crime rates in different states. States with higher levels of poverty and unemployment and lower levels of education might experience higher crime rates than states with more stable socioeconomic conditions.
Evolution of dangerous state rankings over recent years
The ranking of dangerous states may change over time due to fluctuations in factors such as crime rates, traffic fatalities, and workplace injuries.
In some cases, states may see improvements in safety levels due to policy changes, economic improvements, or increased law enforcement efforts. On the other hand, worsening socioeconomic conditions or other contributing factors might increase danger levels in certain states.