Apparently there are things more dangerous than being bitten by a blue crab on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay in Old Dominion, because Virginia has its fair share of dangerous cities.
Gone are the days that parents can let their children run wild until the street lights come on. Heck, parents shouldn’t let their kids out of their sight in our most dangerous cities in Virginia for 2019. Honestly, some of these cities seem like the Civil War never left….
You must be wondering, how does one navigate these dangerous Virginia cities when trying to make an informed decision on where you should call home?
We did the work for you.
In order to compile our list, we looked at violent crimes and property crimes in cities with a population of 5,000. That left us with 58 cities.
Folks, the cities that made our list have robberies happening in broad daylight, car jackings, and daily shootings. There are neighborhoods in these cities that you shouldn’t drive thru and there are areas that you definitely shouldn’t be in after dark.
We’re not saying that there aren’t little pockets of goodness in these dangerous cities. Or that all of the neighborhoods and shopping centers in these Illinois’ cities are bad. We do recommend that you spend some time studying them before deciding where to plant your roots.
We know It’s not entirely Virginia’s fault. They are the 12th largest state in terms of population and the 10th oldest state in the country. With numbers like those, there’s bound to be cities filled with grumpy, entitled people constantly popping off. We’re pretty sure they’re harmless, but there are Virginia cities where people are NOT.
To see where these Virginia cities with problems are located, take a look below at our most dangerous cities in Virginia for 2019.
What are the circumstances that make cities this way: not enough jobs, low wages, people just don’t want to work, prisons, drugs; and in Virginia’s case, road rage caused by Washington, D. C’s. rush hour?
We’re not entirely sure. But one thing we are sure about is our number one most dangerous city in Virginia is Portsmouth.
The Virginia cities on our most dangerous list could definitely use some TLC. If you’re looking for a challenge, or you’re just curious to see if your city made the list, take a look at our list below. And if you don’t see your city there, head to the bottom.
Or learn more about the safest places in Virginia.
For more Virginia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Virginia
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Virginia
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Virginia For 2019
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 1st in property crimes. Residents had about a 1 in 17.5 chance of being a victim of a property crime.
Danville is the 2nd most violent city in Virginia.
Unfortunately, Danville has experienced a quick and steady rise in its crime in recent years, with both violent and property crime increasing between 2015-17.
In 2017, residents of Danville had a 1 in 166 chance of being the victim of violence.
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 7th most violent crimes in Virginia.
Coming in at number 4 on our list of most dangerous places in Virginia, residents of Roanoke had a 1 in 20.4 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Acting as a commercial hub for Southwest Virginia, the freight rail industry is a major component of Roanoke’s economy. This industry may also contribute to the higher than average crime rate of the city.
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.
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 252 violent crimes in 2017.
South Boston placed 7th on our list due, in part, to a 1 in 26.6 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.
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 17.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
Colonial Heights coming in as the 9th most dangerous place in Virginia might surprise some.
But this fact may explain the mind-bogglingly high 1 in 24.5 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime in 2017 and the 1 in 265 chance of being the victim of violence.
Newport News’s recent explosion of crime makes it the 10th most dangerous place to live in the Old Dominion.
Between 2015-17, both violent and property crime rates nearly tripled, leaving residents with a 1 in 200 chance of being the victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 32.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2017.
If the trend continues, we can expect to see the town of Newport News top this list in a few years’ time.
How Is Your Town In ?
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Virginia for 2019?
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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
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 58 cities in Virginia.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 58 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.
Locking It All Up In Virginia
The latest FBI crime data shows that Portsmouth ranks as the most dangerous city in Virginia for 2019.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Portsmouth 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 Virginia:
- Vienna (Pop. 16,590)
- Blacksburg (Pop. 45,443)
- Bridgewater (Pop. 6,119)
For more Virginia reading, check out: