Most Dangerous States In America For 2021


These are the states in the U.S. with the highest number of violent and property crimes per capita.

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out. This is the seventh time we’ve ranked the most dangerous states in America.

Dangerous States In America Map

Do you live in one of the most dangerous states in America?

We all watch the news with horror when we hear about a crime that happens not that far away from us. While a major crime just blocks or towns away from your house would make anyone uneasy, in the long run, most likely, where you live is relatively safe.

Instead of relying on public opinion and speculation, we wanted to get the facts straight and dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the most dangerous states in the U.S. If you’re in one of the places we’re about to highlight, odds are you know things aren’t a place that you can let your guard down too often.

The purpose of this study is to use facts to determine which of our great American states have the highest instances of crime. While unbiased, this research does take into account factors that almost all Americans would agree are undesirable. Therefore, while you may have strong opinions either way, you can’t argue against the methodology. Turns out New Mexico is the most dangerous state in all of America. The safest? You might not be too surprised that New Hampshire takes the cake.

What’s the most dangerous state in America? According to the most recent FBI data, New Mexico is the most dangerous state in America if you look at violent and property crimes per capita.

Additionally, the south isn’t a place you want to go if you want to live a life without looking over your shoulder. At least not generally.

And if this has you down, feel free to check out the best states in the country. Or, if you’re into negative (and humorous), you can check out our report on the 10 Worst States to Live in America.

How do you decide if a place is dangerous or not?

In order to rank the dangerous American states, we had to determine what makes a place dangerous. It isn’t a stretch to assume that states where people are being killed and beaten up on a weekly basis are a pretty bad place to be.

So we used the FBI’s 2019 Crime Report for those criteria.

  • Violent Crimes Per Capita
  • Property Crimes Per Capita

We then ranked each state from 1 to 50 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the dangerous for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Danger Index”.

Finally, we ranked every state on the “Danger Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in America for 2021, New Mexico.

Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Most Dangerous States In America

Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.

1. New Mexico

New-Mexico|Nm, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,096,829
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 832 (2nd worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,112 (2nd worst)
Believe it or not, but little New Mexico, one of the least densely populated places in the country, has the second highest crime rate in the nation. Why? The number of violent crimes per person is the 2nd highest and the number of property crimes is also one of the highest you’ll find in America by a long shot.

New Mexico has moved back and forth between the number 1 spot and number 2 spot with Alaska each of the past six rankings now.

2. Alaska

Alaska|Ak, AK

Population: 731,545
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 867 (1st worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,910 (4th worst)
Alaska fell a spot this year to just miss the top of the rankings for 2021.

So here’s the deal with Alaska. Yes, it’s the most violent place you can live in the nation. Sure, there are hardly any places in Alaska where people actually live, but in the large clusters of cities that do exist, the odds are higher here than anywhere else that a rape, assault or murder will occur.

That’s some scary stuff.

3. Louisiana

Louisiana|La, LA

Source: Public domain

Population: 4,648,794
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 549 (5th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,161 (1st worst)
Starting the trend of southern states, we come to Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the union. Is there a correlation between poverty and crime?

Yes there is.

And in Louisiana, a large percentage of the population lives below their means.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas|Ar, AR

Population: 3,017,804
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 584 (4th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,858 (5th worst)
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 2019.

5. South Carolina

South-Carolina|Sc, SC

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,148,714
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 511 (6th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,940 (3rd worst)
South Carolina is notoriously bad for property crimes, especially in places like Myrtle Beach, which is a major tourist draw.

Yes, we’re aware that many of the crimes committed in Myrtle Beach are from visitors, and related to the huge summer influx, but the fact remains: Lots and lots of property crimes happen within South Carolina’s borders every year.

Given all that, South Carolina is not a bit safer than last year.

6. Tennessee

Tennessee|Tn, TN

Population: 6,829,174
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 595 (3rd worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,652 (11th worst)
It might be surprising to hear that Tennessee is the 3rd most violent place in the nation (in terms of violent crimes per capita), but with places like Memphis making national headlines for murders every year, you can understand why.

There were also 2,800 reported rapes in Tennessee in 2019, which is about 7.67 a day.

7. Alabama

Alabama|Al, AL

Population: 4,903,185
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 510 (7th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,674 (10th worst)
Alabama saw 383 murders last year, which is more than one per day.

Additionally, you have about a 1 in 200 chance of being the victim of a violent crime every year in the Yellowhammer State.

8. Oklahoma

Oklahoma|Ok, OK

Population: 3,956,971
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 431 (14th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,845 (6th worst)
After breaking into the top ten for the first time several years ago, Oklahoma finds itself in a familiar place.

Property crimes are the obvious culprit this year as they shot up relative to other states. Larceny and car thefts in particular were a problem.

9. Missouri

Missouri|Mo, MO

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,137,428
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 494 (8th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,638 (12th worst)
Coming in as the ninth most dangerous state in America for 2021 is Missouri.

Violent crimes were an issue here in 2019 as murders stood out led by the murder capitol — St. Louis.

10. Arizona

Arizona|Az, AZ

Population: 7,278,717
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 455 (10th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,440 (14th worst)
Moving down a bit to number 10 is Arizona. The only west coast state to make the list, Arizona is notoriously a pretty dangerous place, especially for robberies.

For example, there were over 19,000 cars stolen here in 2019, and more than 31,000 home robberies.

Better lock up the cactus.

There You Have It

When you’re looking at American states that have really high property and violent crime numbers according to FBI reporting, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a quick look at the 3 safest states for 2021:

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Maine
  3. New Jersey

For more reading check out:

  • Most Dangerous Cities
  • Safest Cities In America
  • Dangerous Places By State
  • Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous States In America For 2021

    State Rank Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
    New Mexico 1 2 2,096,829 832 3,112
    Alaska 2 1 731,545 867 2,910
    Louisiana 3 3 4,648,794 549 3,161
    Arkansas 4 4 3,017,804 584 2,858
    South Carolina 5 6 5,148,714 511 2,940
    Tennessee 6 5 6,829,174 595 2,652
    Alabama 7 7 4,903,185 510 2,674
    Oklahoma 8 8 3,956,971 431 2,845
    Missouri 9 10 6,137,428 494 2,638
    Arizona 10 9 7,278,717 455 2,440
    Nevada 11 11 3,080,156 493 2,322
    California 12 15 39,512,223 441 2,331
    Texas 13 18 28,995,881 418 2,390
    Colorado 14 14 5,758,736 380 2,590
    Delaware 15 17 973,764 422 2,252
    Kansas 16 12 2,913,314 410 2,314
    Washington 17 13 7,614,893 293 2,681
    Hawaii 18 24 1,415,872 285 2,841
    North Carolina 19 21 10,488,084 371 2,357
    Georgia 20 22 10,617,423 340 2,375
    Montana 21 20 1,068,778 404 2,193
    Maryland 22 19 6,045,680 454 1,950
    Oregon 23 16 4,217,737 284 2,730
    Florida 24 23 21,477,737 378 2,145
    Michigan 25 27 9,986,857 437 1,585
    Illinois 26 26 12,671,821 406 1,846
    Mississippi 27 29 2,976,149 277 2,375
    South Dakota 28 28 884,659 399 1,770
    Indiana 29 25 6,732,219 370 1,971
    Nebraska 30 31 1,934,408 300 2,039
    Ohio 31 32 11,689,100 293 2,055
    North Dakota 32 33 762,062 284 1,977
    Utah 33 30 3,205,958 235 2,169
    Minnesota 34 37 5,639,632 236 2,078
    West Virginia 35 39 1,792,147 316 1,583
    New York 36 34 19,453,561 358 1,373
    Wisconsin 37 35 5,822,434 293 1,471
    Pennsylvania 38 36 12,801,989 306 1,403
    Iowa 39 38 3,155,070 266 1,733
    Kentucky 40 41 4,467,673 217 1,897
    Massachusetts 41 40 6,892,503 327 1,179
    Virginia 42 46 8,535,519 207 1,642
    Wyoming 43 42 578,759 217 1,571
    Rhode Island 44 43 1,059,361 221 1,534
    Idaho 45 45 1,787,065 223 1,219
    Connecticut 46 44 3,565,287 183 1,426
    Vermont 47 48 623,989 202 1,424
    New Jersey 48 47 8,882,190 206 1,335
    Maine 49 49 1,344,212 115 1,245
    New Hampshire 50 50 1,359,711 152 1,209

    Most Dangerous Cities In America 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.