These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Small Towns In America


We looked at more than 6,800 places in the U.S. to determine which cities have the most crimes per person.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous small towns in America?

We all watch the news with horror when we hear about a crime that happens pretty close by. 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.

We wanted to get the facts straight and dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the most dangerous small towns with populations under 50,000. That left us with nearly 6,900 places in the U.S. to measure.

The result is the following list of top ten most dangerous:

  1. South Tucson, AZ
  2. Lake City, GA
  3. College Park, GA
  4. Gallup, NM
  5. Lumberton, NC
  6. Bellmead, TX
  7. Wildwood, NJ
  8. Florida City, FL
  9. Ringgold, GA
  10. Whiteville, NC

Looks like 6 of the 10 cities are in the south, and three of these cities are in Georgia. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

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How we calculated the most dangerous small towns of America

While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s 2014 UCR.

Specifically, we analyzed the the number of property crimes and violent crimes per capita in each city. Ranked each city for each criteria and then averaged the ranks to create a dangerous index. The city with the lowest dangerous index was crowned the most dangerous small city in America.

Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.

We only looked at cities that have populations of less than 50,000 people as of 2014, which is the last year the full report was available.

We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently.

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1. South Tucson, AZ

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,707
Violent crime rank: 10th worst in US
Property crime rank: 4th worst in US

It wasn’t even close. This small city just south of Tucson, had by far, the highest rate of crime per capita in the entire nation.

In South Tucson, there were .18 property crimes per person. That means that statistically, nearly 1 in 5 people within South Tucson city limits was the victim of a property crime in 2014. Wow.

In terms of violent crime, South Tucson is the 10th worst place you could spend an entire year. There were 4 murders here in 2014, which is really, really high for a city of under 6,000 people.

2. Lake City, GA

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,634
Violent crime rank: 35th worst in America
Property crime rank: 7th highest in nation

The first of three small towns in Georgia to make this list, Lake City is just south of the busiest airport in the nation – Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. That may or may not be a factor in Lake City’s really high crime.

You have a 6% chance of being the victim of a property crime every year you’re within Lake City limits, and a 1 in 62 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

3. College Park, GA

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,780
Violent crime rank: 14th worst in America
Property crime rank: 28th highest in nation

Part of the Atlanta airport lies within College Park, so the property crimes here might seem a bit high, but still, there were a ton of thefts within College Park city limits in 2014. Lots were undoubtedly car break ins.

That doesn’t explain the sheer number of violent crimes happening here. You have a 1 in 50 chance of being the victim of a rape, attack or even killed here every year you’re within city limits. There were 9 murders in this teeny part of the Atlanta metro area according to the latest FBI data.

4. Gallup, NM

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 22,239
Violent crime rank: 16th worst in America
Property crime rank: 33rd worst in the nation

What’s going on down in little ole’ Gallup, New Mexico? This small city is really isolated along a stretch of I-40 in the northwest part of the state. It’s been well documented that cities that lie within or close to Native American Reservations are extremely dangerous.

We won’t speculate on why reservations are more dangerous, but this is the 16th most violent small town in the nation, where locals had a 1 in 47 chance of being a victim. Property crimes are also sky high here as well.

5. Lumberton, NC

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,877
Violent crime rank: 37th worst in America
Property crime rank: 12th worst in the nation

Lumberton is always mentioned when it comes to dangerous places in the state of North Carolina. This smallish place along the South Carolina border is notorious for being a violent place.

There were 11 murders in just 2014 alone, which is by far the highest number within the top 200 most dangerous cities we measured. Meaning there aren’t very many other small towns in America where you have a higher chance of being killed.

6. Bellmead, TX

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,077
Violent crime rank: 33rd worst in America
Property crime rank: 27th highest

Yikes if you’re a Baylor University student. This small town borders the Baylor University campus just near Waco.

Both the number of property and violent crimes per person put Bellmead in the top 35 out of nearly 7,000 small towns we measured. Who knew?

If you spent a year here, you’d have a 1 in 9 chance of being the victim of some type of crime every year.

7. Wildwood, NJ

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,205
Violent crime rank: 39th highest in America
Property crime rank: 22nd worst

This small coastal community along the Atlantic is a major tourist draw, making the crime numbers stand out like a sore thumb. Still, the fact remains, that there are a ton of thefts and break ins within Wildwood city limits each year, even if many are caused by visitors to the city each year.

In fact, if you spent a year here, you’d have a 1 in 62 chance of being robbed yourself. The average person has 300 Facebook friends. If all of them lived in Wildwood, 5 would have been the victim of a crime in 2014.

8. Florida City, FL

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,158
Violent crime rank: 5th worst in America
Property crime rank: 62nd highest in the U.S.

This small town is just south of Homestead, which is also notoriously one of the trouble spots for crime in the nation. Florida City is actually the most violent city to make this list.

Shockingly, 1 in 37 people here was the victim of some type of attack or rape. That’s off-the-charts high. You don’t want to be here in the middle of the day, much less at night.

9. Ringgold, FL

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,689
Violent crime rank: 58th highest in America
Property crime rank: 11th worst

Across the board, things are really bleak in Ringgold, Georgia, a teeny spleck of a city near the Tennessee state line along I-75.

You have a 1 in 6 chance of being the victim of some type of crime every year you’re within city limits, statistically. Plus, when it comes to robberies, there are few places in the nation where there are more people victimized each year.

10. Whiteville, NC

most dangerous small towns america

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,654
Violent crime rank: 56th worst in America
Property crime rank: 16th highest

Rounding out the most dangerous small towns in America is little Whiteville, another southern North Carolina city that’s actually a short drive from Lumberton.

What’s the deal with this part of North Carolina? You have a really high chance, statistically, of being robbed or attacked if you live here. In terms of property crimes alone, you have a 1 in 10 chance of being victimized.

Which takes the charm out of living in the south.

There You Have It

When you’re looking at the small towns in America which have really high property and violent crime numbers according to FBI reporting, this is an accurate list.

Here are the safest small towns in America:

  1. Fennimore, WI
  2. Amity, NY
  3. La Crescent, MN
  4. St. Charles, MN
  5. Annandale, MN

Below is a table with the 200 most dangerous small towns in America. You can click here to see the entire list (however, it has nearly 6,900 cities.)

We also wrote about the 10 worst small towns in America, too.

City State Population Crimes per person Rank
South Tucson arizona 5707 $ 1
Lake City georgia 2634 $ 2
College Park georgia 14780 $ 3
Gallup new mexico 22359 $ 4
Lumberton north carolina 21877 $ 5
Bellmead texas 10077 $ 6
Wildwood new jersey 5205 $ 7
Florida City florida 12158 $ 8
Ringgold georgia 3689 $ 9
Whiteville north carolina 5654 $ 10
Myrtle Beach south carolina 29686 $ 11
South Padre Island texas 2916 $ 12
West Milwaukee wisconsin 4217 $ 13
Henderson north carolina 15332 $ 14
Blytheville arkansas 15009 $ 15
Dillon south carolina 6671 $ 16
Selma alabama 19705 $ 17
Bastrop louisiana 10857 $ 18
Ocean City maryland 7089 $ 19
Lake City south carolina 6735 $ 20
Anniston alabama 22567 $ 21
Marion south carolina 6774 $ 22
Alexandria louisiana 48618 $ 23
East Point georgia 35929 $ 24
Muskegon Heights michigan 10826 $ 25
Opa Locka florida 16146 $ 26
Lake Park florida 8409 $ 27
Doniphan missouri 2008 $ 28
Belen new mexico 7228 $ 29
Hammond louisiana 20416 $ 30
Williamston north carolina 5345 $ 31
Lake City florida 12121 $ 32
Union City georgia 20691 $ 33
Opelousas louisiana 16455 $ 34
Emeryville california 10972 $ 35
Homestead pennsylvania 3147 $ 36
Brunswick georgia 15912 $ 37
Darlington south carolina 6223 $ 38
Elkton maryland 15770 $ 39
Dyersburg tennessee 16970 $ 40
Covington tennessee 9060 $ 41
Ardmore oklahoma 25109 $ 42
Gladewater texas 6455 $ 43
Americus georgia 16200 $ 44
Cairo illinois 2580 $ 45
Newport tennessee 6924 $ 46
Kinston north carolina 21635 $ 47
Marksville louisiana 5565 $ 48
Indianola mississippi 10175 $ 49
Glendale colorado 4558 $ 50
Panama City Beach florida 12186 $ 51
Coffeyville kansas 9873 $ 52
Cleveland texas 7713 $ 53
Taos new mexico 5737 $ 54
Hartsville south carolina 7914 $ 55
Homerville georgia 2444 $ 56
Lanett alabama 6484 $ 57
Newport arkansas 7729 $ 58
Weslaco texas 37458 $ 59
Walterboro south carolina 5287 $ 60
Cocoa florida 17289 $ 61
Seaside Heights new jersey 2910 $ 62
Espanola new mexico 10171 $ 63
Quitman georgia 3693 $ 64
Anderson south carolina 27130 $ 65
Madison florida 2939 $ 66
Athens tennessee 13640 $ 67
Gadsden alabama 36455 $ 68
Douglas georgia 11924 $ 69
Sikeston missouri 16530 $ 70
Beckley west virginia 17595 $ 71
Bishopville south carolina 3291 $ 72
Fife washington 9479 $ 73
Eastman georgia 5384 $ 74
Charleston west virginia 50693 $ 75
Tukwila washington 19921 $ 76
Kennett missouri 10912 $ 77
Griffin georgia 23279 $ 78
Daytona Beach florida 62629 $ 79
Chamblee georgia 16053 $ 80
Wadesboro north carolina 5665 $ 81
Helena-West Helena arkansas 11411 $ 82
Wynne arkansas 8279 $ 83
Ware Shoals south carolina 2171 $ 84
Atlantic City new jersey 39544 $ 85
Garden City georgia 8931 $ 86
Monroeville alabama 6242 $ 87
Eunice louisiana 10328 $ 88
Lake Delton wisconsin 2939 $ 89
Crossville tennessee 11339 $ 90
Natchitoches louisiana 18248 $ 91
Mount Vernon illinois 15232 $ 92
Hapeville georgia 6755 $ 93
Laurel delaware 3960 $ 94
Harper Woods michigan 13897 $ 95
Prichard alabama 22344 $ 96
Seaford delaware 7419 $ 97
Pocomoke City maryland 4163 $ 98
St. Robert missouri 5375 $ 99
Florence south carolina 37951 $ 100
Ahoskie north carolina 5017 $ 101
Bunkie louisiana 4070 $ 102
Panama City florida 37204 $ 103
Fairmont north carolina 2725 $ 104
Pageland south carolina 2743 $ 105
West Memphis arkansas 25370 $ 106
Aurora missouri 7493 $ 107
Jasper alabama 14182 $ 108
Lockland ohio 3434 $ 109
Denham Springs louisiana 10131 $ 110
Pine Bluff arkansas 45402 $ 111
Port Richey florida 2694 $ 112
Winnfield louisiana 4615 $ 113
Spartanburg south carolina 37795 $ 114
Brighton alabama 2885 $ 115
Balcones Heights texas 2873 $ 116
Hayti missouri 2829 $ 117
La Follette tennessee 7203 $ 118
Wellston missouri 2337 $ 119
Benton Harbor michigan 10014 $ 120
Page arizona 7328 $ 121
Wisconsin Dells wisconsin 2704 $ 122
Elberton georgia 4500 $ 123
Oxford north carolina 8748 $ 124
Red Bluff california 14103 $ 125
South Salt Lake utah 24962 $ 126
Greenwood south carolina 23396 $ 127
Milford delaware 10262 $ 128
Cambridge maryland 12669 $ 129
Barnwell south carolina 4676 $ 130
Salem new jersey 4996 $ 131
Trumann arkansas 7122 $ 132
Belle Glade florida 17927 $ 133
Gatlinburg tennessee 4130 $ 134
Rochester pennsylvania 3598 $ 135
Danville illinois 32404 $ 136
Kentwood louisiana 2295 $ 137
Camden south carolina 7003 $ 138
Jesup georgia 10323 $ 139
Batesburg-Leesville south carolina 5435 $ 140
Anderson california 10176 $ 141
Port Aransas texas 3854 $ 142
Rockmart georgia 4159 $ 143
Texarkana texas 37687 $ 144
Springfield ohio 58891 $ 145
Humble texas 15588 $ 146
Vidalia georgia 10724 $ 147
Eatonville florida 2263 $ 148
Donna texas 16374 $ 149
Goldsboro north carolina 36481 $ 150
Osceola arkansas 7332 $ 151
Waynesboro georgia 5789 $ 152
Chester south carolina 5529 $ 153
Washington north carolina 9826 $ 154
South Charleston west virginia 13435 $ 155
Branson missouri 11168 $ 156
Lake Worth florida 36258 $ 157
Talladega alabama 15799 $ 158
Niagara Falls new york 49300 $ 159
Nevada missouri 8257 $ 160
Tifton georgia 16414 $ 161
Asbury Park new jersey 15789 $ 162
Adamsville alabama 4430 $ 163
Beaufort south carolina 13090 $ 164
Cleveland tennessee 43135 $ 165
Georgetown delaware 6847 $ 166
Laurinburg north carolina 15731 $ 167
Alamo texas 19054 $ 168
Poplar Bluff missouri 17345 $ 169
Hillsborough north carolina 6451 $ 170
Holyoke massachusetts 40336 $ 171
Salisbury maryland 31779 $ 172
Jennings missouri 14762 $ 173
Alma georgia 3536 $ 174
Tuskegee alabama 8842 $ 175
Pembroke Park florida 6208 $ 176
Farmerville louisiana 3802 $ 177
Roswell new mexico 48636 $ 178
Hardeeville south carolina 4688 $ 179
Ponchatoula louisiana 6901 $ 180
Dunn north carolina 9868 $ 181
Wilkes-Barre Township pennsylvania 2960 $ 182
Tallapoosa georgia 3137 $ 183
Lawrenceburg tennessee 10448 $ 184
Cheraw south carolina 5834 $ 185
Bogalusa louisiana 11960 $ 186
Shawnee oklahoma 31237 $ 187
Cumberland maryland 20364 $ 188
Raymondville texas 11113 $ 189
Pembroke north carolina 3023 $ 190
Millville new jersey 28759 $ 191
Middletown ohio 48603 $ 192
Riverview missouri 2836 $ 193
Fayetteville tennessee 7201 $ 194
Vicksburg mississippi 23460 $ 195
Texarkana arkansas 30027 $ 196
Cocoa Beach florida 11347 $ 197
Valley alabama 9508 $ 198
Gonzales texas 7452 $ 199
Fort Pierce florida 43347 $ 200

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3 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Small Towns In America

  1. I live near South Tucson. It’s a square mile city surrounded on all sides by Tucson. As a teenager I briefly live in Ft Defiance, AZ the nearest shopping was Gallup, NM; it was the drunk driving capitol of America.

  2. This is a little misleading in that many of these are subdivisions of large metropolitan populations. South Tucson is, as Fred mentioned, only one square mile and located just a few blocks south of downtown Tucson… only 6,000 people but completely enveloped in what I think I last read was the 34th largest city in the country. Same goes for Lake City and College Park which are at, and next to, the Atlanta airport. Yes these places have their own unincorporated governments, but they are more like neighborhoods located in large cities. And as far as South Tucson… great food (home of Bill Clintons favorite Tucson Eatery, and some claim South Tucson as the birthplace of the Sonoran hotdog), exciting Norteno festivals, and the crime is nothing like it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

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