The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In The United States For 2021


We used science and data to let you know which cities have a ‘yuge’ crime problem.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most dangerous cities in America. This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment — don’t freak out.

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No one wants to believe that they live in a dangerous city. But the fact of the matter is that your city may not be as safe as the city next door.

But instead of running and hiding under the covers, it’s better to get informed — which cities in America should you pay a little more attention to your surroundings as you walk home from work?

What is the most dangerous city in America? It turns out that, based on the most recent FBI Crime data, St. Louis, MO has attained the throne of the city with the highest crime rate. It ranked as the most dangerous city in America for 2021 based on the data.

This our time ranking the most dangerous cities in America.

You might be thinking to yourself at this point — where’s Chicago?? Isn’t that some kind of post-apocalyptic, world war 3 type city?

Well, it actually ranks #71 on the most dangerous list with a pretty normal overall crime rate.

And while these places are some of the most dangerous in America, you have to remember America is a safe place to live relative to the rest of the world. Be glad you don’t live in Caracas, Venezuela where the murder rate is 2x higher than any US City (Here’s looking at you Detroit).

Read on to learn more about our methodology or skip to the end for a full chart of the data with the crime rate for each city.

Or for more reading on places across America check out:

The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In America For 2021

St. Louis, MO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 300,521.0
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,927 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,183 (3rd most dangerous)
More on St. Louis:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

And where’s the most dangerous city in the United States? That would be St. Louis.

St. Louis ranks as the 2nd most violent place you can live in the nation. And have you ever heard of East St. Louis? That’s not even in the same state of St. Louis, and that place makes most small towns look like a fairytale. Last year, more than 200 people were murdered in St Louis. That’s like 2 out of three days that someone here gets ghosted.

Sure, most of the crimes that happen here are between rival gangs, and within certain neighborhoods. But that doesn’t mean the violence doesn’t spill into other parts of St. Louis. Fact is, if you live in St. Louis, you can’t feel safe at all.

As the sun sets in St. Louis each day, MOST of the city’s hard working, church going, community loving people are safe. But never really safe.

Springfield, MO

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 169,235.0
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,519 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,792 (most dangerous)
More on Springfield:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Heading back to the midwest, we stop at our 2nd most dangerous city in America, Springfield, Missouri. The issue here is property crimes — Springfield ranks as having the worst property crime per capita of any city in the country.

And it seems like things are just getting worse here. Springfield is also the nation’s 5th most violent city, too. It’s not like Springfield is as bad as Chicago, Detroit or even St. Louis, it’s that, statistically, there’s a higher percentage of a person in Springfield getting robbed or attacked than in larger cities.

Wow.

Of the about 2,200 violent crime reports in Springfield in 2019, about 67 percent were aggravated assaults. Police say more than half of those aggravated assaults were domestic assaults. That means about a third of all the violent crime reports in the city in 2015 were domestic assaults, which took place between family members, roommates or intimate partners.

Memphis, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 650,410.0
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,901 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,128 (4th most dangerous)
More on Memphis:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Now to Tennessee we go, and we visit Memphis, the 3rd most dangerous city in America. Memphis is the largest city in the top ten, and it’s also the 3rd most violent of all the cities we’re going to talk about.

That means Memphis is rough.

Memphis may just be the worst city in America in many categories. Residents faced a 1 in 49 chance of being raped, assaulted, or murdered last year which is a 5% higher rate than the previous reporting year. There are perhaps 10,000 gang members in Shelby County. Why is Tennessee so violent? Like many of the states we’ve discussed earlier, poverty, high drug use and a lack of solid jobs are all contributing factors. A lot of property crime from druggies and other low lifes breaking into property, looking for drugs or money for drugs

Seems like they can’t find enough cops in Memphis to deal with the some of the people who make their city such a dangerous one.

Little Rock, AR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 198,382.0
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,516 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,122 (5th most dangerous)
More on Little Rock:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

We go a couple of states over, in Arkansas, where we visit Little Rock.

Arkansas is another poor state in the south with a far-higher than average number of murders, rapes, assaults and robberies per capita. If you live in the Natural State, don’t leave your car doors unlocked; there were more than 7,100 vehicles stolen in the state of Arkansas in 2017.

Little Rock is rough. It’s in the top 5 for both violent AND property crimes in America. It’s always on some list of most dangerous places in the US for one year or another. For a city its size, 50 murders a year is sky high. It’s not Memphis rough, but in a lot of places, it’s straight dangerous.

Oakland, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 434,036.0
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,271 (13th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,420 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Oakland:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Oakland, Oaktown, O-Town, Bump City. You get the point.

While people continue to migrate from San Francisco to Oakland to avoid insane property prices, they aren’t moving to avoid crime. Oakland ranks over thirty spots higher than San Francisco on the crime ranking. Oakland has the 10th highest violent crime rank in the country and the fifteenth highest property crime rate. There’s even a Wikipedia page devoted to crime in Oakland.

In many areas of Oakland, you don’t want to drive through at night. About 80 people a year get killed in Oakland – which is about once every four days. If you’re young, black and poor, statistically, you will look like you’re in a gang. And if you’re a white guy driving a Prius, looking for directions, well, that just won’t go over very well.

Wichita, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 390,080.0
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,141 (17th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,321 (11th most dangerous)
More on Wichita:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Wichita came to prominence in the 19th century as a classic Wild West town, an important stop for cowboys as they drove cattle to the railroads. (Check out the city’s Old Cowtown Museum for a taste of these rowdy origins.)

Since then, the community has grown up to become one of the region’s major urban centers, with a population of 390,080. Unfortunately, it still keeps some of the violence associated with those Wild West days. In fact, Wichita ranks as the number 6.0 most dangerous spot in the U.S.

Over the course of a year, the city suffered 4,451 violent crimes, including 35 murders. That equates to a rate of 1,141 per 100k people. Overall, Wichita’s crime rate runs 160% above the national average.

New Orleans, LA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 394,498.0
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,144 (16th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,292 (13th most dangerous)
More on New Orleans:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Once one of the most important cities in the country, New Orleans has faced its share of trauma during the 21st century. From Hurricane Katrina to urban blight, the Crescent City has become synonymous with poverty and high crime rates. In fact, it stands as the number 7.5 most violent city in America.

During a single year, New Orleans reported 4,516 violent crimes. For a city of just 394,498 people, that equates to a crime rate of 1,144 per 100k people. The murder rate is even more shocking, with a total of 121 killings in a 12-month period.

Don’t completely count out New Orleans, though. It still has great cultural significance, in events like the

8. Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 181,848.0
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,070 (20th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,557 (9th most dangerous)
More on Chattanooga:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

When you think of dangerous cities in the south, Chattanooga may not come to mind first. But the numbers tell another story.

It’s too bad that for the most part, Chattanooga is a decent Tennessee city. But if you look at specific crime areas you quickly realize that the vast majority of the crime is concentrated in a relatively small area that is easily avoidable (it’s literally the “other side of the tracks” from downtown). And, when crime does occur downtown, typically it’s a result of the homeless or drug addicts looking for a quick buck.

Meaning, Chattanooga criminals aren’t necessarily the brightest individuals.

North Charleston, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 115,312.0
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 966 (28th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,019 (6th most dangerous)
More on North Charleston:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

A suburb of Charleston, South Carolina’s biggest city, North Charleston suffers from issues related to poverty and affordability. More than a fifth of the 115,312 residents suffer below the poverty line. At the same time, housing costs put home ownership out of the reach of most people. Given these conditions, you can see why the city confronts such a dramatic crime problem.

The result: one of the most violent places in the U.S. North Charleston’s violent crime rate tracks at 966 per 100k people, with 1,114 such violations over the course of a year. That figure includes 26 murders.

There are benefits to life in North Charleston. Not least of these: access to gorgeous coastal landscapes at places like Riverfront Park.

Cleveland, OH

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 381,829.0
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,516 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,467 (27th most dangerous)
More on Cleveland:  DataCrime | Cost Of Living

Like many former industrial hubs scattered along the Great Lakes, Cleveland has faced economic dislocation in recent decades. The changing financial situation has manifested itself in increased crime, leaving this city of 381,829 one of the country’s most violent places.

Violent crimes happen at a rate of 1,516 per 100k people. That means that over the course of a year, Cleveland will see 5,791 such incidents. This includes 92 murders.

Still, life in Cleveland isn’t all bad. The city has its attractions, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Breaking Down Crime In The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities In America

Breaking Down Crime In The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities In America

How We Determined The Most Dangerous Cities In America for 2021

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 second release of 2019 data, specifically the Uniform Crime Report.

So what criteria did we use? Have a look:

  • Violent Crimes Per Capita
  • Property Crimes Per Capita

We ranked each city from 1 to 214 for the two criteria with 1 being the most dangerous score. We then 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 the country — St. Louis. You can download the data here. Read on for a bit more on why these cities have such high crime rates.

Or check out the safest cities in America.

Locking It All Up – The Most Dangerous Cities In The US

The final returns from the FBI’s data set show that St. Louis ranks as the most dangerous city in America for 2021.

However, there will be a new data set coming out early this year. At that point we can revisit St. Louis’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.

Here’s a look at the safest cities in America according to the data:

  1. Cary
  2. Thousand Oaks
  3. Allen

For more reading on the dangerous side check out:

Most Dangerous Cities In The United States For 2021

Rank City Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
1 St. Louis, MO 4 300,521.0 1,927 6,183
2 Springfield, MO 5 169,235.0 1,519 7,792
3 Memphis, TN 1 650,410.0 1,901 6,128
4 Little Rock, AR 3 198,382.0 1,516 6,122
5 Oakland, CA 8 434,036.0 1,271 6,420
6 Wichita, KS 7 390,080.0 1,141 5,321
7 New Orleans, LA 20 394,498.0 1,144 5,292
8 Chattanooga, TN 9 181,848.0 1,070 5,557
9 North Charleston, SC 14 115,312.0 966 6,019
10 Cleveland, OH 16 381,829.0 1,516 4,467
11 Detroit, MI 15 663,502.0 1,965 4,302
12 Baltimore, MD 13 597,239.0 1,858 4,311
13 Tulsa, OK 10 401,700.0 986 5,311
14 Baton Rouge, LA 18 220,648.0 936 5,290
15 Lubbock, TX 22 259,208.0 1,008 4,606
16 South Bend, IN 29 101,944.0 1,331 4,214
17 Houston, TX 37 2,355,606.0 1,072 4,319
18 Anchorage, AK 11 287,731.0 1,244 4,261
19 San Bernardino, CA 24 216,715.0 1,318 4,190
20 Minneapolis, MN 56 431,016.0 925 4,517
21 Stockton, CA 35 313,604.0 1,396 3,943
22 Tacoma, WA 21 218,650.0 845 5,220
23 Kansas City, MO 19 495,964.0 1,431 3,855
24 Washington, DC 33 705,749.0 977 4,245
25 Columbia, SC 36 133,790.0 775 5,252
26 Shreveport, LA 23 187,556.0 779 4,899
27 Dayton, OH 27 140,427.0 962 4,039
28 Salt Lake City, UT 26 202,426.0 712 5,657
29 Spokane, WA 17 220,432.0 689 5,919
30 Cincinnati, OH 34 303,335.0 844 4,302
31 Springfield, IL 28 114,393.0 777 4,440
32 Orlando, FL 30 292,120.0 738 4,826
33 Peoria, IL 57 110,955.0 1,043 3,749
34 San Francisco, CA 40 886,007.0 669 5,505
35 Topeka, KS 55 125,655.0 712 4,990
36 Vallejo, CA 66 122,657.0 845 4,028
37 Richmond, CA 45 110,988.0 931 3,773
38 Beaumont, TX 44 118,562.0 1,046 3,615
39 New Haven, CT 54 130,494.0 895 3,799
40 Rockford, IL 41 145,719.0 1,174 3,326
41 San Antonio, TX 78 1,559,166.0 708 4,324
42 Oklahoma City, OK 46 657,890.0 722 4,091
43 Knoxville, TN 32 188,666.0 667 4,350
44 Pompano Beach, FL 59 113,536.0 792 3,767
45 Toledo, OH 58 273,505.0 952 3,462
46 Greensboro, NC 98 298,025.0 818 3,688
47 Fort Lauderdale, FL 65 184,765.0 594 4,915
48 Fayetteville, NC 65 209,614.0 875 3,526
49 Des Moines, IA 60 218,384.0 712 4,090
50 Miami Gardens, FL 67 113,786.0 739 3,788
51 West Palm Beach, FL 52 112,798.0 761 3,750
52 Amarillo, TX 48 201,036.0 719 3,897
53 Durham, NC 85 280,282.0 729 3,807
54 Independence, MO 81 116,931.0 589 4,654
55 Denver, CO 73 728,941.0 748 3,743
56 Tallahassee, FL 51 195,104.0 696 3,978
57 Seattle, WA 47 763,706.0 585 4,495
58 Buffalo, NY 43 255,686.0 990 3,245
59 Akron, OH 62 197,882.0 900 3,319
60 Portland, OR 64 662,114.0 544 5,203
61 Dallas, TX 84 1,363,295.0 862 3,321
62 Evansville, IN 76 117,700.0 612 4,177
63 Corpus Christi, TX 70 329,320.0 794 3,445
64 Berkeley, CA 87 122,788.0 503 5,094
65 Modesto, CA 61 216,542.0 811 3,317
66 Rochester, NY 77 205,769.0 748 3,470
67 Lafayette, LA 74 126,694.0 524 4,304
68 Odessa, TX 106 123,468.0 1,038 2,935
69 Davenport, IA 42 102,392.0 594 3,826
70 Lansing, MI 72 118,953.0 1,103 2,820
71 Chicago, IL 69 2,707,064.0 943 2,982
72 Omaha, NE 101 470,481.0 612 3,643
73 Gainesville, FL 63 135,085.0 686 3,488
74 High Point, NC 110 113,307.0 730 3,288
75 Milwaukee, WI 68 590,923.0 1,332 2,554
76 Syracuse, NY 97 142,438.0 792 3,133
77 Miami, FL 88 480,505.0 593 3,667
78 Phoenix, AZ 79 1,688,722.0 698 3,314
79 Colorado Springs, CO 109 479,648.0 585 3,666
80 Jacksonville, FL 103 909,142.0 647 3,309
81 Tucson, AZ 38 548,374.0 688 3,272
82 Bakersfield, CA 89 388,080.0 455 4,141
83 Hartford, CT 49 122,245.0 858 2,800
84 St. Paul, MN 102 310,263.0 564 3,612
85 Elizabeth, NJ 96 128,753.0 719 3,027
86 Springfield, MA 92 154,306.0 905 2,595
87 Sacramento, CA 108 513,934.0 627 3,182
88 Aurora, CO 99 380,600.0 735 2,918
89 Tempe, AZ 91 196,499.0 452 3,776
90 Norfolk, VA 117 242,813.0 545 3,461
91 St. Petersburg, FL 100 267,696.0 595 3,209
92 Las Cruces, NM 128 103,520.0 496 3,580
93 Waco, TX 90 139,870.0 571 3,288
94 Mesquite, TX 127 143,078.0 478 3,632
95 Richmond, VA 94 230,721.0 462 3,499
96 Kent, WA 112 131,003.0 370 3,969
97 Columbus, OH 111 906,120.0 503 3,307
98 Rialto, CA 134 103,965.0 572 3,028
99 Austin, TX 135 986,062.0 400 3,710
100 Spokane Valley, WA 135 100,983.0 307 4,421

Dangerous Places By State