50 Most Dangerous Cities in America

Written by | Updated April 12, 2019

If you’re looking to put down roots far from the sounds of sirens and stories of crime, you would do well to opt for a town in regions other than the southern United States. This is according to the latest FBI report detailing the most dangerous cities in the country.

Of the fifty most crime-ridden cities on our list, all but fifteen were located east of New Mexico and south of the Mason-Dixon line. Other notable hot spots were Michigan, with six of the fifty most dangerous cities, and New Mexico, with three cities that made our list.

Opioid addiction and loose gun laws no doubt contribute to the violence in the region. However, lay the map of poverty in the US over that of crime and the two are almost a perfect match.

Take, for example, Anniston, Alabama. With thirty-three violent crimes and seventy-seven property crimes per 1,000 people, this town experiences more crime per capita than anywhere else in the country. Meanwhile, nearly a third of its 22,000 residents live in poverty. From the smallest towns (Wellston, Michigan, and Bel-Ridge, Missouri) to the biggest cities on the list (Detroit and Memphis), the poverty level remains stubbornly high at a fourth to a third of the population.

This is compared to Lewisboro, New York, the town with the least amount of crime in the country. Located an hour northeast of Manhattan, its median household income is just shy of $160,000.

Rank State City Population Violent crimes per 1000 Property crimes per 1,000
1 Alabama Anniston 22,205 33.10 77.10
2 Missouri Wellston 2,326 30.09 55.46
3 Louisiana Monroe 49,677 30.05 93.52
4 Georgia Oakwood 4,218 29.63 342.58
5 Alabama Bessemer 26,592 28.69 90.37
6 New Mexico Espanola 10,030 26.72 55.53
7 Florida Opa Locka 16,835 22.22 64.27
8 Alaska Bethel 6,522 21.62 33.27
9 Florida Cocoa 17,825 20.70 67.88
10 Michigan Detroit 669,673 20.47 47.23
11 South Carolina Hartsville 7,837 19.65 104.25
12 Missouri St. Louis 314,507 19.13 59.31
13 South Carolina Dillon 6,648 19.10 109.06
14 Georgia College Park 14,724 18.95 95.42
15 Alabama Alexander City 14,695 18.85 44.71
16 South Carolina Lake City 6,809 18.80 64.47
17 Arkansas West Memphis 24,818 18.58 48.35
18 Louisiana Alexandria 47,936 18.42 85.34
19 Michigan Muskegon Heights 10,785 18.36 53.41
20 Tennessee Memphis 656,434 18.20 56.35
21 North Carolina Lumberton 21,683 18.12 138.27
22 Alabama Selma 19,283 18.05 77.37
23 Michigan Benton Harbor 9,963 17.97 43.96
24 Maryland Baltimore 618,385 17.80 47.78
25 Delaware Wilmington 72,183 17.80 49.10
26 Texas Robstown 11,596 17.42 34.24
27 Michigan Highland Park 10,810 17.39 27.94
28 New Mexico Gallup 23,528 17.26 70.04
29 New Mexico Belen 7,127 17.12 75.35
30 Alabama Prichard 22,299 17.00 55.02
31 Missouri Bel-Ridge 2,719 16.92 40.09
32 South Carolina Myrtle Beach 31,864 16.88 137.93
33 Tennessee Brownsville 9,795 16.85 46.96
34 Missouri Pine Lawn 3,447 16.83 33.36
35 Missouri Kansas City 478,364 16.55 43.57
36 Ohio Cleveland 386,227 16.31 53.16
37 Michigan Ecorse 9,213 16.17 37.23
38 Alabama Lanett 6,451 16.12 82.78
39 Arkansas Pine Bluff 43,976 16.03 63.35
40 Florida Belle Glade 18,405 16.03 52.49
41 Michigan Flint 97,548 15.84 34.07
42 South Carolina Camden 7,132 15.70 79.78
43 Alabama Scottsboro 14,711 15.57 34.40
44 West Virginia Charleston 49,429 15.52 79.69
45 Wisconsin Milwaukee 600,193 15.33 40.64
46 Arkansas Little Rock 198,800 15.31 68.98
47 Louisiana Opelousas 16,557 15.10 79.91
48 Indiana Elkhart 52,505 15.07 43.12
49 Alabama Boaz 9,729 15.01 42.45
50 Texas Bellmead 10,212 14.88 72.66

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for  Best Home Security Systems of 2018.

If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email info@safewise.com.

Written by Tamarra Kemsley

Tamarra graduated with a BA in communications in 2012 and with an MA in Islam and the Middle East from Jerusalem's Hebrew University in 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @tamarranicole. Learn more

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  • GinaMarie

    I know that you’ll probably never read this but, while I appreciate your interest in the statistics associated with this list, I think you’re looking for the wrong break down. I too am interested to know how this statistical data is gathered (like what sources) and I’m interested to know what crimes were taken into consideration. So I’m with you on that for sure.
    But it’s kind of a weird comment to ask if the assults/incidents are black on black, white on white, white on black, black on white. I don’t know why I felt so compelled to question you on this and please understand it’s just friendly discourse however what difference would really make to consider race.
    I think what I’m asking is at least in this capacity as far as danger is concerned it seems like you would be indicating that for instance black on black crime wouldn’t play as big of a factor and your consideration on safety of a city or at least in a location that you choose to live. And I mean there’s totally nothing wrong with that. I’m all about realistic statistics, I’m not about being politically correct whatsoever. I think that even if the crime let’s say happens to be black on black in an urban or a lower socioeconomically sufficient neighborhood that still affects the overall criminality and/or mentality of that city.
    Does that make sense? So I guess I’m not really sure why the further differentiation of that particular statistic matters to you. Unless you just want to know then I get it but how does it matter to deciding safety of a city?

    • davehogue

      Hi, GinaMarie. You spent a lot of time on this. I think the racial make up of criminals might change our thinking on how to reduce crime or more effectively distribute police power. In this neighbor hood there is almost no crime, haven’t seen a police car in years. On the other hand about 10 miles from here, the police travel in pairs. I don’t consider myself racist,but there is a tremendous difference in the racial make up of the 2 locations.
      Merry Christmas, Dave.

  • Legatus legionis

    Lose gun laws? On the contrary, these cities have struck gun control laws. Chicago for example is well known for depriving citizens of their 2nd Amendment Rights. In cities where citizens are allowed to conceal carry, crime drops significantly.