18 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States 2024

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The United States is known for a variety of factors, both positive and negative, and its crime rate is often a topic of discussion both domestically and internationally.

The perception of the U.S. as having high crime rates can be attributed to several factors, including media coverage of crime, the prevalence of crime in some urban regions, and statistical comparisons with other countries.

This eye-opening journey is not just a list but a narrative that seeks to understand the underlying factors contributing to the crime rates in these areas.

From socioeconomic disparities to systemic issues, we explore the multifaceted reasons behind the statistics. We’ll take you from the streets of cities with notorious reputations to lesser-known locales where crime is an everyday reality, offering insights into the lives of those who navigate these spaces.

As we unveil the 18 cities that stand out in the 2024 rankings, our goal is not to stigmatize but to inform and foster a dialogue on how communities, law enforcement, and policymakers can work together to transform these areas into safer, more thriving environments.

A spike in high crime rates goes hand in hand with cities that are often highly populated but underfunded. Many cities or towns like these have high unemployment rates, increased substance abuse, and low income. 

Here are the 23 most dangerous cities in the us.

1. Detroit, Michigan

In 2022, Time Magazine honored Detroit as one of the World’s Greatest Places, recognizing it under the Newfound Glory category. Despite achieving significant financial recovery since its 2013 bankruptcy filing, the city continues to grapple with a high crime rate, placing it among the most perilous cities in the United States.

Detroit frequently appears atop lists of violent cities, with its population of over 600,000 experiencing approximately 22 crimes daily. This statistic indicates that the city’s rate of violent crime is nearly six times higher than the national average in the US, affirming its status as one of America’s most hazardous cities.

2. Monroe, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana, consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous places in the US. The national average crime rate stands at 22.7 incidents per 100,000 people, yet Monroe’s rate soars to 95.2 incidents per 100,000 people each year.

This translates to a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of crime for anyone in Monroe.

3. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is celebrated as the birthplace of rock ‘n roll and the heartland of blues music. Located along the Mississippi River, it boasts a population of nearly 700,000. The city offers a vibrant nightlife, though visitors and residents alike are advised to stay vigilant due to its notably high crime rate, which ranks among the highest in the nation.

Contrary to the trend in many other cities listed, the crime rate in Memphis has been on an upward trajectory over the years. In 2019, the city recorded 12,367 violent crimes and 39,860 cases of aggravated assault. By 2021, the daily crime rate had escalated to approximately 31 incidents per day.

4. Springfield, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri, distinct from its namesake in Illinois, is a smaller city with a population of 172,000. Despite its size, it attracts families eager to explore its numerous museums and aquariums.

Yet, the city’s crime rate is concerning, registering approximately 1,504 incidents per 100,000 people. Its rate of violent crime is nearly three times higher than the national average. Assaults and thefts are particularly common in Springfield, presenting a 1 in 14 chance of falling victim to property crime.

5. St Louis, Missouri

This prominent Midwestern city, famed for the iconic Gateway Arch, family attractions, and celebrated figures such as T.S. Eliot, Josephine Baker, and Maya Angelou, also harbors a less favorable reputation due to its exceptionally high crime rate.

With a population nearing 300,000, St. Louis faces considerable challenges, including significant homelessness and substance abuse issues. As reported by the New York Times, it is considered the most dangerous city in the USA, primarily due to its severe violent crime issues. Notably, in 2022, it recorded the highest murder rate in the country, with a staggering 60% increase.

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, a picturesque city in New Mexico, is celebrated for hosting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, its desert climate, and its deep-rooted history enriched with traditional Mexican heritage.

Despite a slight decrease in its crime rate in recent years, the city, being the most populous in New Mexico with approximately 950,000 residents, still faces challenges with crime. The opportunities for pickpocketing, mugging, and scams are more prevalent due to its size.

The city’s average crime rate is reported at about 1,352 incidents per 100,000 people.

Remember Breaking Bad, anyone?

7. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage stands as one of America’s most stunning cities to visit, boasting vast mountains and open spaces perfect for skiing and snow activities that attract large numbers of visitors each winter.

Regrettably, the city is not without its crime concerns, frequently appearing on lists of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Alaska faces a growing issue with alcohol and domestic violence, posing an increased risk of violent attacks, especially towards women travelers.

Furthermore, despite its expansive outdoor spaces, Anchorage remains an urban area where vigilance against pickpocketing and muggings is necessary. The robbery rate in the city is approximately 60% higher than the national average, underscoring the need for caution.

8. Rockford, Illinois

Known as the ‘Forest City’, this destination beautifully blends urban and natural elements, drawing numerous visitors. However, it also frequently appears on lists of the most dangerous cities in the US.

With a population of approximately 330,000, individuals face a 1 in 71 chance of falling victim to a violent crime. Given the heightened risks of pickpocketing, theft, and muggings—rates that are double the national average—it’s advisable to keep valuables hidden and to opt for public transportation over car rentals for safer travel.

9. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, affectionately known as ‘Charm City,’ boasts a wealth of attractions that draw many visitors each year. It is celebrated as the birthplace of the National Anthem, renowned for serving the best crab cakes, and admired for its vibrant marine life.

Regrettably, the city is also notorious for its escalating crime rate. In the first half of 2022, Baltimore experienced a record-breaking 179 homicides, marking the deadliest period in its history. Theft, particularly car break-ins, poses another significant challenge, accounting for more than half of all reported incidents.

10. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, the capital city situated along the Arkansas River, is nestled in a state celebrated for its stunning natural attractions, including the United States’ only active diamond mine, picturesque lakes, and rejuvenating hot springs.

Despite these attractions, the high crime rate in Little Rock deters many potential visitors. The likelihood of becoming a crime victim is alarmingly high, with about a 1 in 55 chance. On average, the city witnesses approximately 9 crimes each day. The most common offenses in Little Rock are property crimes, including burglary, car theft, and robbery.

11. Stockton, California

Stockton, in comparison to many other California locales, offers a favorable affordability rate. The city is celebrated for attractions like the Haggin Museum, the trails at Oak Grove Regional Park, and the Stockton Arena.

Nevertheless, recent months have seen a worrying uptick in crime rates, particularly in terms of gun violence. Among its approximately 330,000 residents, there’s a 1 in 79 chance of falling victim to crime.

12. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is renowned for its stunning Lake Michigan vistas and prolific beer breweries, yet it’s also infamous for the dark legacy of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Despite this, the city’s high crime rate has not seen a decline.

With a population of 580,000 residents, individuals in Milwaukee face a 1 in 61 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime. Assaults and robberies are particularly prevalent, with the rate of robberies in the city being almost nine times higher than the national average.

13. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is celebrated for its rich array of museums, vibrant music history, and the iconic Polish boy hot dogs. However, the city’s high crime rate, which varies across different neighborhoods, tends to overshadow these positive attributes.

Frequently listed among the most dangerous cities in the United States, Cleveland reports over 1,656 incidents of crime per 100,000 residents, a figure that exceeds the national average by more than 300%. Consequently, the likelihood of becoming a victim of violent crime in Cleveland is approximately 1 in 59.

14. Oakland, California

Located just a 20-minute journey east of San Francisco Bay, California, Oakland is celebrated for attractions like Lake Merritt, the Fox and Paramount theaters, and its splendid beaches, gardens, and parks.

However, the city’s significant crime rate might dissuade some potential visitors. With a poverty rate of around 15%, the odds of becoming a crime victim in Oakland stand at 1 in 77. Nevertheless, by staying vigilant for opportunistic crimes and avoiding walking alone or late at night, visitors can still safely enjoy what the city has to offer.

15. Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw is often overlooked in favor of Detroit when considering Michigan destinations, despite its agricultural charm and natural beauty that appeal to many families.

With a modest population of approximately 44,000, which is gradually declining, Saginaw presents a unique set of challenges. Here, the likelihood of becoming a victim of violent crime is 1 in 42, with murder and assault constituting the majority of such incidents.

While Saginaw may not experience the high crime rates of its more populous counterpart, Detroit, the relatively small number of residents means that the individual risk of falling victim to crime is somewhat increased.

16. Pueblo, Colorado

Situated in Colorado’s southern region, Pueblo faces challenges with a crime rate that surpasses national averages, especially in terms of violent offenses. Economic struggles and drug-related problems are frequently mentioned as key factors fueling this issue.

There are active initiatives aimed at rejuvenating the community and fostering economic development, with the aspiration that these efforts will simultaneously reduce crime levels. With a population of 113,287, Pueblo recorded 1,813 violent crimes and 7,118 property crimes over a 12-month period, translating to a violent crime rate of 16 per 1,000 residents.

17. Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, a lively port city located on Puget Sound, has experienced its share of crime, particularly in specific neighborhoods. Despite being celebrated for its thriving art scene and dynamic waterfront, issues related to gang activity and property crimes have raised concerns.

The city, with a population of 221,112, reported 3,488 violent crimes and 18,500 property crimes over a span of 12 months. This results in a violent crime rate of approximately 15.77 per 1,000 people.

18. Lansing, Michigan

As Michigan’s capital, Lansing is a center for political and cultural events. Nonetheless, some areas within the city have seen significant levels of violent crime.

With a population of 112,764, Lansing recorded 3,101 violent crimes and an equal number of property crimes within a year. This establishes a violent crime rate of 12.61 per 1,000 residents.

Final Thoughts on the Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

So, what is the most dangerous city in the US? The United States of America is a big country with a great mix of cultures and people from all over the world. And the title of worst city in America depends on which metrics are used. We have covered some of the most violent cities in the US as well as the cities with the highest crime rates. 

Many countries have sites that show the good and the bad, so I tried to highlight the positive reasons why you should visit these fantastic cities. And, while it may seem scary now, knowing which places offer the best and least safety while traveling is essential to prepare yourself better.

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