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, Memphis, TN has attained the throne of the city with the highest crime rate. It ranked as the most dangerous city in America for 2020 based on the data.
This our sixth 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 as the 62nd most dangerous 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 Memphis).
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:
Breaking Down Crime In The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities In America
How We Determined The Most Dangerous Cities In America 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 second release of 2019 data, specifically the 2018 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 — Memphis. Read on for a bit more on why these cities have such high crime rates.
Or check out the safest cities in America.
1. Memphis, TN
Rank Last Year: 1
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,943 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,405 (4th most dangerous)
Memphis is the largest city in the top ten, coming in with a population a cool 100K larger than Albuquerque. And now has displaced St. Louis to become the most dangerous city in America for 2020.
What else is larger in Memphis than Albuquerque? That would be the violent crime rate, which ranks as the second highest in America. That also implies the property crime isn’t as bad as some of the other cities ‘featured’ here.
Rank Last Year: –
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,911 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,313 (5th most dangerous)
Birmingham reported data for the first time year and you can see why they were reluctant to in the past — it ended up being the second most dangerous city in the country this year.
It had top five finishes for both violent and property crimes per capita, but violent crimes were the main problem. Birmingham had the third most violent crimes per capita in the country among big cities.
Rank Last Year: 3
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,446 (8th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,547 (3rd most dangerous)
Little Rock rocks a little too hard when it comes to crime. It ranks in the top ten in the country for both property crime and violent crimes per capita.
That’s a bit of a nasty combination when it comes to being dangerous and nets Little Rock at the almost top of our ranking.
Rank Last Year: 2
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,800 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,911 (9th most dangerous)
Home to a specific type of BBQ (grilled) and a specific type of crime (violent), St. Louis ranks as the fourth most dangerous in our analysis of dangerous cities.
While it might not win as many honors for its BBQ, St. Louis takes homes the distinction of having the fifth highest violent crime rank among all big cities in America. It’s one of the dots way out to the top in the graph higher on the page.
So when you cross the street in The Gateway City, in addition to looking both ways for cars, you might want to look both ways for murder, or at least aggravated assault.
Rank Last Year: 4
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,316 (14th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,019 (2nd most dangerous)
Homer would be sad to hear that Springfield (in this case Missouri) ranks as one of the more dangerous cities in America.
The issue is property crime — Springfield ranks as having the worst property crime per capita of any city in the country. It didn’t end up taking the #1 overall most dangerous spot because its violent crime ranks outside of the top 10.
Rank Last Year: 5
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,364 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,179 (6th most dangerous)
We’re sure Walter White wouldn’t be surprised to see Albuquerque on the list. Although, its ranking is due more to property crimes than violent crimes.
The second largest city in the top ten has the fifth highest property crime rate.
So just make sure to keep a close eye on your product… err, property.
7. Wichita, KS
Rank Last Year: 13
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,179 (18th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,618 (11th most dangerous)
Wichita couldn’t keep itself out of the top ten this year as it slid six positions from 13th last year.
The problem in the city is property crime for which it ranks 11th highest in the country. The reason it slid down so much is actually because most of the cities ranked 5-10 are actually way safer than last year. The rates of crime have all moved down, so now it’s more of mixed bag in the second half of the ranking.
8. Oakland, CA
Rank Last Year: 6
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,273 (16th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,390 (16th most dangerous)
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.
So there’s that stat Oakland has over San Francisco, at least for now.
Drilling down into the statistics, Oakland has the 11th highest violent crime rank in the country and the fourteenth highest property crime rate. That gives it a firm placement in the top right dangerous quadrant of the graph above.
Rank Last Year: 7
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,048 (25th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,058 (8th most dangerous)
The second city from Tennessee on the list is Chattanooga. The less famous version of Nashville and Memphis, Chattanooga holds its own in property crime where it ranks 10th worst in the country.
At least violent crime isn’t awful in the city.
10. Tulsa, OK
Rank Last Year: 14
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,065 (23rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,430 (15th most dangerous)
Rounding out the top ten most dangerous cities in America is Tulsa, OK.
Tulsa ranked 14th last year, but moved down as some of the cities above it got ever so slightly safer. Compared to the tenth most dangerous city last year, Anchorage, AK, Tulsa is actually pretty safe. While both stats were in the top 20% most dangerous, neither was anything to write home about.
The city is kind of just solidly above average when it comes to crime rates based on the most recent crime data.
Locking It All Up – The Most Dangerous Cities In The US
The final returns from the FBI’s 2018 data set show that Memphis ranks as the most dangerous city in America for 2020.
However, there will be a new data set coming out early this year. At that point we can revisit Memphis’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:
- Port St. Lucie
For more reading on the dangerous side check out:
Most Dangerous Cities In America For 2020
|Rank||City||Previous Rank||Population||Violent Crimes Per 100k||Property Crimes Per 100k|
|3||Little Rock, AR||3||199,288||1,446||6,547|
|4||St. Louis, MO||2||306,875||1,800||5,911|
|14||North Charleston, SC||19||112,840||920||5,819|
|18||Baton Rouge, LA||11||224,790||919||5,322|
|19||Kansas City, MO||18||493,115||1,590||4,306|
|20||New Orleans, LA||28||396,374||1,163||4,557|
|24||San Bernardino, CA||38||217,986||1,333||4,135|
|27||Salt Lake City, UT||15||202,633||730||6,176|
|28||South Bend, IN||20||102,397||1,039||4,302|
|39||San Francisco, CA||29||889,282||690||5,534|
|46||Oklahoma City, OK||74||652,936||867||4,027|
|50||West Palm Beach, FL||37||111,659||918||3,805|
|52||New Haven, CT||56||131,181||842||3,896|
|57||Pompano Beach, FL||36||112,045||781||3,843|
|59||Des Moines, IA||73||217,277||670||4,413|
|63||Fort Lauderdale, FL||58||182,150||552||4,968|
|66||Miami Gardens, FL||86||114,670||711||3,950|
|68||Corpus Christi, TX||94||328,614||757||3,644|
|76||San Antonio, TX||53||1,539,328||626||3,993|
|95||St. Petersburg, FL||70||265,942||624||3,302|
|97||St. Paul, MN||101||309,756||626||3,254|