Do we think it’s because expensive tolls are breakin’ people? Jobs are scarce? Low wages? Yes, all three and then some. So, it would be in your best interest to take a look below at RoadSnacks’ list of the most dangerous places in West Virginia for 2020 before you make any life changing decisions.
How do we know? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 31 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 2,000 residents. We discovered that West Virginia has some pretty interesting statistics when it comes to violent and property crime compared to the national average. West Virginia is winning the arson game, but losing in murder and aggravated assault. And, shockingly, the city with the most assaults and murders in the state has less than 30,000 residents.
Now, it’s not all bad in West Virginia. The state’s good angel is definitely looking out for the state’s safest cities. The ying to that yang, however, is that West Virginia has its fair share of dangerous cities too; and folks, they’re pretty dangerous. And if you guessed that most of West Virginia’s problems are centered around the state’s largest cities, you guessed right. Cities like Huntington are losing their war on crime.
Want to know the rest of the most dangerous cities in West Virginia that could use a hug? Keep reading.
It’s not lost on us that many of West Virginia’s cheapest places are also the state’s most dangerous–this is usually how it works. And this is definitely what is happening in West Virginia’s number one most dangerous city: rent is cheap, jobs are scarce, and crime is high.
So, where is the most dangerous place in West Virginia for 2020? That would be, Beckley.
If you want to know where the rest of the most dangerous places in West Virginia are located, take a look at the list below; and if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, head to the bottom.
Learn more about the safest places in West Virginia.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In West Virginia
- Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- Cheapest Places To Live In West Virginia
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In West Virginia
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020
Beckley ranks 1st overall for dangerous places in West Virginia.
In 2018, residents faced a 1 in 110 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Beckley’s violent crimes have risen 8% in recent years, meaning it’s on track to overtake the role of most dangerous city in West Virginia in the not too distant future.
Charleston ranks relatively poorly in both categories of crime in West Virginia.
That left Charleston’s residents with a 1 in 143 shot of being the victim of violence in 2018. Additionally, it ranked 1st for property crime.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 605 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,117 (5th most dangerous)
More on Dunbar: Data
Dunbar, with a population of 7,262 ranks as the 3rd most dangerous city based on 2018 data.
Between 2017-2018, violent crime fell, leaving residents a 1 in 165 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
Property crime also dropped during these years, meaning Dunbar may be off this list in another year if the trend keeps up.
Located in the heart of the Mountain State, Moorefield has the 10th worst rate of property crime in the state, with residents facing a 1 in 4th chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.
The city had a 1 in 120 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2018.
Coming in 5th place for the most dangerous places in West Virginia is a city that neighbors the state’s capital, Charleston.
Here residents face a 1 in 262 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, and a 1 in 21.4 shot for property crime.
Property crime has been pretty consistent lately, while violent crime is on an upward trend, meaning it may overtake some of the other cities in a few years if the situation continues.
Nitro has seen a continuous drop in crime of late — just not at a quick enough rate to get it off this list.
And with residents still facing a 1 in 25.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime, there’s little cause for celebration. In fact, the latest FBI report shows that there were 25 violent crimes in a town of only 6,509 in 2018.
The largest city in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, and home of the first US post office, Martinsburg, places 7th for the most dangerous place in the state.
As far as violent crime goes, the chance of falling victim to property crime is a 1 in 32.3 chance.
As one of the only cities on this list with a growing population, Martinsburg has seen moderate decreases in its crime over the past few years as well.
Vienna is way out on Route 26 near Wyoming. If you’re passing through, lock your car doors. Residents here have a 1 in 29.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime, which is the second highest in the state.
Job growth is negative here, which isn’t a good sign. Crime is typically contained on the south end of town.
Located on the southern edge of West Virginia, Bluefield has been nicknamed “Nature’s Air Conditioned City.”
While that sounds nice, the 6th place ranking in violent crime sounds much more sinister.
The 1 in 187 chance of being the victim of a violent crime may be one reason why the population of Bluefield has been halved since the 50’s.
Wheeling’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 10th most dangerous city in West Virginia might stain that saying a bit.
Wheeling residents have a 1 in 83.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year.
Violent crime has also gone up nearly 30% between 2017-2018, with a higher than 1 in 117 chance of being the victim of violence.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in West Virginia for 2020?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered West Virginia cities over 2,000 in population. That left us with 31 cities in West Virginia.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 31 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in West Virginia — Beckley. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in West Virginia.
Locking It All Up In West Virginia
The latest FBI crime data shows that Beckley ranks as the most dangerous city in West Virginia for 2020.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Beckley and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in West Virginia:
- Charles Town (Pop. 6,060)
- Weirton (Pop. 18,542)
- Wellsburg (Pop. 2,560)
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- Best Places To Retire In West Virginia
- Richest Cities In West Virginia
- Safest Places In West Virginia
- Worst Places To Live In West Virginia
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In West Virginia?