Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia?
We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.
No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Virginia — and anyone looking to move to Virginia — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.
The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Old Dominion:
- Portsmouth (Photos)
- Emporia (Photos)
- Danville (Photos)
- Franklin (Photos)
- South Boston (Photos)
- Richmond (Photos)
- Norfolk (Photos)
- Fredericksburg (Photos)
- Petersburg (Photos)
Why did Portsmouth take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or learn more about the safest places in Virginia.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Virginia for 2017?
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 2015 data, specifically the 2015 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2016 in September 2017.
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 cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 61 cities in Virginia.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 61 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 Virginia — Portsmouth. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Virginia.
Population: 95,877Violent Crimes Per 100k: 698
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,046
Home to a large navy facility and, it’s name sake, a large port, these institutions may contribute to the to large incidence of crime in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth ranked 2nd in violent crimes and 3rd in property crimes. Residents had about a 1 in 19.8 chance of being a victim of a property crime.
Population: 5,339Violent Crimes Per 100k: 561
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,019
While Emporia is a known speed trap with rigorous enforcement of speeding laws, it is also a relative hot bed for the occurrence of crime.
As the FBI aggregates crime data based on reporting from local municipalities, it wouldn’t surprise us if Emporia ranks highly simply because the police department does an excellent job of reporting crimes that occur within its city limits.
Emporia has the 4th most violent crimes in Virginia.
Population: 6,437 Violent Crimes Per 100k: 466
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,157
Bedford is not the refuge that you might be expecting — it ranks as the 3rd most dangerous city in Virginia.
It has the 8th highest overall violent crime rate.
On the plus side, property crime ranks 2nd in the state, meaning it’s not even in the top 10% of cities in Virginia.
Put differently, property crime isn’t a problem to the same extent violent crime is in the city.
Population: 42,210Violent Crimes Per 100k: 608
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,124
The largest city in Danville city, Danville has experienced a 13% increase in its violent crime rate and a 19% rise in property crime rate between 2013-15.
Folks in Danville had about a 1 in 24.2 chance of being robbed or burnt in 2015, which is just the heavy price you pay for living in Danville.
Population: 8,489Violent Crimes Per 100k: 388
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,383
For a relatively small town, Franklin has had an extensive amount of industrialization over the past 100 years due to it being the previous headquarters of Camp Sawmill.
This level of industrialization may contribute to the higher occurrences of crime within the city, good for a 1 in 18.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
6. South Boston
Population: 7,948Violent Crimes Per 100k: 553
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,837
South Boston placed 6th on our list due, in part, to a 1 in 26.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
The main attraction in the town is the South Boston Speedway and it’s not too far of a stretch to think that the visitors for races contribute to the crime rate in the city more so than the full time residents.
Population: 220,802Violent Crimes Per 100k: 515
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,916
Richmond has been dealing with violent crime since the mid 1980s when it experienced its first spike in murder rates. It has, successfully, been dealing with the problem ever since and has seen its violent crime rates drop over the past 15 years.
That being said, it still has the most violent crimes occur per resident of any place in Virginia with a 1 in 193 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Population: 245,400Violent Crimes Per 100k: 541
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,668
Kind of like a semi, underachieving older brother, Norfolk has slightly less violent crime per person and substantially less property crime per person.
Again, the large incidence of crime in this city can probably be attributed to the outsize number of people coming through the port. And, like all cities, there are rougher sections and nicer sections.
Population: 29,422Violent Crimes Per 100k: 414
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,986
Located in Fredericksburg city, Fredericksburg hasn’t experienced much of a change in its crime statistics recently.
Its relatively poor violent crime statistics went up between 2013-15, while property crime fell by a very small amount to 1,173 occurrences.
Population: 32,647Violent Crimes Per 100k: 808
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,038
Petersburg is an important transportation hub in the state of Virginia. It houses both CSX and NX rail systems, in addition to being a stop for Amtrak. There are also a plethora of major interstate highways that run through the city.
The sheer volume of people passing through Petersburg probably contributes to the high occurrence of violent crime within the city. There were 264 violent crimes in 2015.
Locking It All Up In Virginia
The latest FBI crime data shows that Portsmouth ranks as the most dangerous city in Virginia for 2017.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Portsmouth’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Virginia:
For more Virginia reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Virginia
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Virginia
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