The Getaway
The Most Dangerous Cities in America

America is a country known for its hospitality and generosity however crime continues to plague the most dangerous cities in America. Factors in the rates of crime include poverty, gang violence, armed robberies, and lack of police funding. The good news is that violent crime has decreased dramatically in the past quarter century. Most notable is the decrease in property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft. FBI reports show the drop in crime rates across the country although many citizens believe the crime rates to be higher than they are.


01 Detroit, Michigan

dangerous cities in america

Kyle Stopczynski / Getty Images

The violent crime rate in Detroit, Michigan is 2,123 crimes per 100,000 people making it the most dangerous city in America. It is important to note that the rates of crime in Detroit have been decreasing. The city’s crime rates have been the highest of other American cities since the 1970s. Most common crimes include:

  • Drug-related
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Rape
  • Armed robbery
  • Murder
  • Non-negligent manslaughter


02 Oakland, California

dangerous cities in the us

Oakland, California’s crime rate is 1,993 crimes per 100,000 people making it the second most dangerous city in America. The city’s crime rate started escalating in the 1960s. Although it ranks high on the list of America’s most dangerous cities, there has been significant progress in crime reduction. Crimes committed with guns are mostly in neighborhoods that are plagued by poverty. Most crimes connect to the city’s drug trade as it is a major center for heroin and cocaine distribution. The rates of robbery are high, and the narcotics trade incites gang violence with the use of weapons.

DianeBentleyRaymond / Getty Images


03 St. Louis, Missouri

dangerous cities america

The crime rate in St. Louis, Missouri is one of the highest in America with 1,777 crimes committed per 100,000 people. Crime rates peaked in 1993 and have been steadily on the decrease. The homicide rates are high compared to other states in America. Men commit most murders. Many of the crimes are centralized in a triangular area in the north part of St. Louis.

pawel.gaul / Getty Images


04 Memphis, Tennessee

dangerous cities in the country

Memphis, Tennessee is the fourth most dangerous city in the United States. Crime rates are 1,750 per 100,000 people. This populous city has been amongst the top violent cities for the past ten years. Violent crime is decreasing. Two factors contributing to the high crime rate include poverty and a high unemployment rate.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images


05 Stockton, California

dangerous cities in the states

Stockton, California ranks fifth on the list of America’s top ten most dangerous cities having a crime rate of 1,548 crimes per 100,000 people. Aggravated assault is the most committed crime in the city. The incidents of rape and homicide have gone up slightly. Other crimes are decreasing including property crimes and burglary.

f1monaco31 / Getty Images


06 Birmingham, Alabama

most dangerous cities

Birmingham, Alabama, the most populated city in the state, ranks sixth in the top ten most dangerous cities in America. The crime rate is 1,518 per 100,000 people. Like other cities in the United States, the poverty rate is high in areas prone to acts of crime. Another major factor in crime is the region’s problem with the drug trade. The upside is that the rates of crime have been decreasing since their peak in the mid-1990s.

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images


07 Baltimore, Maryland

dangerous cities in the USA

The city of Baltimore, Maryland is the largest city in the state; it has a crime rate of 1,405 crimes per 100,000 people making it the seventh most dangerous city in America. While many neighborhoods are safe, there are areas where the region is infested with violent crimes in the city proper. The violent crime rates are higher than the national average.

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images


08 Cleveland, Ohio

most dangerous cities in the us

Cleveland, Ohio has a crime rate of 1,384 crimes per 100,000 people making it the eight most dangerous city in America. Homicide and robbery rates have increased. There was a noticeable decrease in the numbers of rapes, non-fatal shootings, and aggravated assaults. Citizens have a one in five chance of becoming a victim of a crime.

ChrisBoswell / Getty Images


09 Atlanta, Georgia

what are the most dangerous cities

The ninth most dangerous city in America is Atlanta, Georgia; there are on average 1,379 crimes committed per 100,000 people. The city is a major access point in the drug trade creating conditions favorable for narcotics-related crimes. Most crimes are committed in the western parts of the city and the neighborhoods of Grove Park, Center Hill, and Bankhead.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images


10 Buffalo, New York

what are the most dangerous cities in the US

Buffalo, New York has a crime rate of 1,238 crimes per 100,000 people. It is the tenth most dangerous city in America. The crime rates have been decreasing from the high levels in the 1990s. Because of the city’s 30 percent poverty rate, the police are finding it difficult to lower the number of incidents. Gang patrols helped to lower the homicide rates; murder incidents are the lowest they have been in ten years.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images


11 Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont is a Town in South East Texas

Although it may not be the most dangerous city in America, Beaumont, with a population of around 118,000, ranks near the top for murder and other violent crimes. In fact, one among every 94 people across the city is likely to become a victim. Beaumont lies about 85 miles east of Houston, an area of the state that regularly deals with major destruction due to hurricanes and their aftermath. According to crime analytics, the neighborhoods with the highest number of crimes are in the northeastern sections of the city.


12 Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga Tennessee Downtown Riverfront Aerial

Statistics show that the state of Tennessee has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. Top tourism experts have named Chattanooga one of the best travel destinations in the country, but when compared to other cities with similar population sizes, Chattanooga's crime rates are extremely high. The number of rapes, murders, armed robberies, and assaults across the city is among the highest in the U.S., with one out of every 93 people being a potential victim. Motor vehicle theft is a huge issue here as well, with an 85% increase in 2020.


13 Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown skyline.

Located about halfway between Boston and New York City, Connecticut has long been a popular destination for skiers, hikers, and history buffs. But Hartford, the capital city of Connecticut, deals with two major problems — crime and a struggling economy. Unemployment and poverty rates are high here, which economists say have led to increased criminal activity. In the first six months of 2019, there were 505 violent crimes across the city, including 11 murders. Around 225 people reported stolen vehicles, and residents reported 181 burglaries.


14 Houston, Texas

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

When you look at population numbers across Texas, Houston is not only one of its largest cities but also one of its most diverse. There are more than 145 languages spoken by residents of this metropolis, which takes up about 655 miles in the southeast part of the state. By July 2021, statisticians say population numbers will surpass 2.4 million residents, with millions of visitors traveling to the city each year. It has the sixth-highest number of robberies when compared with other larger cities in the U.S. and experiences more than double the national murder rate. Between January of 2018 and June 2019, more than 13,000 people reported that they were victims of aggravated assault.


15 Chicago, Illinois

chicago skyline from the park franckreporter / Getty Images

More than 70 community areas and 100 neighborhoods making up the city of Chicago. Despite a police force of more than 13,000, around 3 million people live in the Windy City, with millions more traveling here for both business and pleasure. That leads to a long list of criminal opportunities and numerous potential victims. Overall, the city ranks low on the list for personal safety. Crime statistics data shows that overall crime numbers dropped in 2019. Law enforcement investigated 492 murders. However, within Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, more than 700 murders occurred by the end of 2020, along with 4000 shootings.


16 Minneapolis, Minnesota

USA, Minnesota, Minneapolis, St. Paul, skyline from Raspberry Island Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

Although the state of Minnesota ranks as one of the safest in the U.S., the city of Minneapolis doesn't fare as well. FBI statistics released in 2021 show that 46 murders occurred here in 2019. Local police say 2020 was worse, with 49 homicides occurring within the first eight months of the year. For every 100,000 residents, 926 of them are victims of a violent crime. The city is most dangerous after dark, especially in poorly lit areas and in the downtown area, although muggings occur around the clock.


17 New Orleans, Louisiana

Wrought iron balconies along Frenchman Street in New Orleans. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

It may be one of the top travel destinations in the world, but it's also one of the most dangerous cities in America. The state of Louisiana ranks at the bottom of the list of safe states, landing in 49th place. Each year, there is an average of 4,500 violent crimes in New Orleans alone, and the city's total crime rate is 160% higher than the national rate. In 2019, police investigated 121 murders within the city limits, and 359 individuals reported a rape. Driving can be treacherous as well. More than 8300 people were injured in car crashes in 2020 in the New Orleans area.


18 Lansing, Michigan

Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

One out of every 89 people in Lansing is likely to become a victim of violent crime, according to crime statistics. Overall crime rates here are 58% above the national average, but violent crimes are 191% higher. In 2019, police investigated 12 murders, 983 assaults, and 140 sexual assaults in the city. Only 20% of residents deem it to be a safe community to live in. Around half of those polled describe the city's crime as "rampant."


19 Anchorage, Alaska

The view of 4th Avenue the the main commercial venue in Anchorage. Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images

The largest city in Alaska, Anchorage, has a population of around 283,000 people and sits within the Anchorage metropolitan area, which has a total of 385,000. More than 40% of its residents live inside Anchorage's city limits. Demographic experts say that the city is on the verge of a growth spurt, which will include both a population increase with new employment opportunities and economic growth. Drug-related crimes, muggings, and break-ins are significant problems. In 2019, there were 32 murders, 540 sexual assaults, and 621 robberies in Anchorage. Each year, Alaska's crime numbers land it at the top of crime data lists. A shortage of police officers in recent years has made the issues worse.


20 San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside–San Bernardino metropolitan area and that serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Few would guess that San Bernardino — an eclectic, Southern California travel destination east of Los Angeles — had a crime rate that was 2.3 times the national average and higher than 97.8% of other U.S. cities. With 46 murders, 75 cases of arson, 2,078 auto thefts, and 140 sexual assaults in 2019, this city deals with significant crime issues. Additionally, statistics show 743 registered sex offenders living in San Bernardino.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.