The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In America 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

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

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

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

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 America 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

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

23 thoughts on “The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In America For 2021

    1. The figures do not lie but liars figure. Sam Sparks must think that if one woman can have a baby in nine months, three women could do it in three.

  1. I hate to even spend any time on this, but here are facts. The number of burglaries in a population does not equate to danger. Pueblo, CO has it’s city angst just as do others. Where your facts about unemployment come from are baffling; According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pueblo’s rate of unemployment as of March was 3.7%, not 12%. The saddest part is that this kind of rubbish journalism brings down entire communities- and they start to believe it themselves.
    If you’d like to ever stop by to experience our town, I’ll show you a burgeoning university that was Division II national football champions a couple of years ago. I’ll show you a great community college with a national ranking. I’ll show you great neighborhoods virtually untouched by crime. I’ll show you a fantastic arts center with a recognized children’s museum, and a slew of other great museums. I’ll take you to one of three independent theater companies. I’ll show you our convention center that is about to undergo a huge expansion, right on our beautiful and growing Riverwalk, Bith of which are funded by our citizens. I’ll introduce you to proud citizens that tax themselves to spur economic development. We have a beautiful parks system, zoo, and internationally accredited fire and police departments. We enjoy Broadway shows and concerts in our newly krestored city auditorium. The Colorado State Fair has called Pueblo home for over 100 years.
    We are a rough and tumble, blue collar town that continues to survive the downturn of our steel industry while adding new green businesses.
    Paul Harvey extolled the virtues of our city, as I am certain you would as well if you spent some time here.
    Pueblo is a city that I am proud to call my home. And I refuse to let less than 1% of our population who choose to be criminals define who we are.
    Please stop by, I’ll gladly show you my town!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. You said it better than I ever could have. I live in Springfield Missouri and this list is damaging to say the least. Springfield is a wonderful City and doesn’t deserve this rap.

      1. As a fellow Springfield resident, the list does make Springfield to seem like some kind of hell on earth, but let’s be honest also: the burglary/theft rate is absolutely astronomical here at the moment. It’s sad, but every town has the problems. At least it’s property crime and not violent crime! 🙂

  2. So did you just accidentally skip over or intentionally decide not consider the paragraph in bold on the FBI page this article links to? You know, the one that says this data is inaccurate and incomplete and should not be used for comparison or ranking because it would lead to inaccurate results that are misleading? It then gives you a link to learn how to do correctly apply statistics to crime data and also how to acquire complete data.
    You sir, are part of the problem. Intentionally misleading people and keeping them ignorant, scared and angry. Hope your paycheck for this “false reporting” got you a couple of Chili’s dinners at least.

  3. What a bunch of morons at this rag!!! It clearly says not for comparing cities by this data, yet they publish it and claim it as fact in bold print! Uggghhhhh! I hope no one graduated college that works roadsnacks as my faith in higher education is falling by the second!

  4. What about ranking by most murders per capita?

    1. Chicago
    2. Detroit
    3. New Orleans
    4. Jacksonville
    5. Aurora
    6. Los Angeles
    7. Atlanta
    8. Miami
    9. North Omaha
    10. Orlando

  5. I do not believe this, I know that Macon, Ga. is not the place it was in the 90’s when I was a home health nurse there, I don’t even want to drive through it now…must less work as a home health nurse…too dangerous.

  6. “America is a safe place to live relative to the rest of the world” ?
    I live in Norway and the murder rates are much lower here.

  7. Your so called Facts are absurd, Athens Tn.a small Country town is no.6 most violent crimes,Blaaaaaaa! I LIVED there 30 yrs my son still lives there! TOTAL BS!!!#! MEMPHIS Tn. I live here its absolutely the most Violent Racist City in America!

  8. Train stops at Springfield for cheeseboards? . . . “BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD! Great idea and there will be lots of support. Go for it Springfield with all the ideas and energy you can muster !

  9. I don’t see any mention of Texas cities where criminals are coyotes or MS-13 hit men from across the border. Are those criminals undocumented thereby not tallied in any locality?

  10. I tripped over this site accidentally as a link turned up in search results while I was tracking down info on a couple of sickmaking murders w/a name in common (MT/perp & CA/victim), of course found the name intriguing – who doesn’t love to eat on the road? – and even got a little warm-fuzzy moment at its location since I have friends in Durham. It looked @ first promising as a source of information alternative to city-data. While in the stats at the end I was happy to see that my hometown of Washington has dropped to 27 from 44 in this category, before getting there on reading this 1 article, I was shocked at its sloppiness. I was given to wonder before reading the 5/9/17 comment by Mark as to this contributor Kolmar’s education level, but it’s long been my view that them as have some framed Piece of High-Class Toilet Paper [1976] on their wall somewhere, aka college diploma, whether on TV or in writing, routinely express themselves with jawdropping inarticulateness [e.g. TheWeatherChannel, which is busted out with such overeducated idiots]. I practically dread to see anymore of this site after this, since just this 1 sample is riddled with not only the most ridiculously easy-to-avoid/correct typos [FOUR!!! in ONE sentence alone! (4th paragraph)], but this Kolmar here addresses his readers in the most patronizing/condescending fashion, “how typical” of newsdummies, e.g. “It’s the dot way out to the top in the graph higher on the page” re: St. Louis. “Not exactly appetizing scenery” to either eat by or spark hunger for more. Kudos to the Snackers for their hardly easy work setting all this up, but if this 1 sample is demonstrative of its overall execution – including the other readers’ enlightening observations – then, as in the tearjerking yet uplifting 40-year-old G. Rafferty song [different context], they “still got a long way to go” to achieve solid legitimacy. But they’ll fall as short of that mark as a 75-yard field goal try if they merely go Screw ‘Em! & continue on their unmerry way farting out their common-senseless Kollege Knowledge, structurally & statistically. “That would be … unfortunate.”

  11. To be fair, I haven’t researched data for all these cities but I disagree with your claim about Chicongo. According to City-Data.com the National average for all crime 280.2 per 100,000 people, Chicago is 510.7 per 100,000 people, almost double the National average. It also ranks quite high in violent crime rather than just petty crime and has some of the highest murder rates in the country. So No, it’s not about average and should be on the list in my opinion.

  12. I was recently in Memphis TN. The 1st time i was there. It is an absoulte hell hole. A policeman actually stopped and spoke to me and asked me to leave the city. He told me that he was amazed that i had not been shot and killed. I was in an area where there are alot of gang members and crack dealers. I was waiting to get into the post office. The complete city was a mess frim top to bottom. Honestly, if Elvis was alive today i really dont think he would still be living in Memphis.

  13. This list seems pretty spot on, like actually, except for one thing: Where on earth is Cleveland?! That place has crime everywhere! Especially on the east side!

    Other than that, like I said, the list seems accurate.

    ~ Gabriel

  14. Your city list is misleading. Property Crimes Per Capita is generally an annoyance. Having your car broken into or your credit card stolen is not life threatening. Being caught in a random drive by shooting is. Stick to violent crimes as being dangerous.

  15. Athens Tn.a small Country town is no.6 most violent crimes,Blaaaaaaa! I LIVED there 30 yrs my son still lives there! TOTAL BS!!!#! MEMPHIS Tn. I live here its absolutely the most Violent Racist City in America!

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