Do you live in one of the murder capitals of West Virginia?
We all watch the news with horror when we hear about a homicide that happens not that far away from us. While a murder just blocks or even a couple of towns away from your house would make anyone uneasy, in the long run, most likely, where you live is relatively safe.
So we wanted to get the facts straight and dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the places with the most murders and the highest murder rates per capita in West Virginia.
The result is the Murder Capitals of the Mountain State for 2019:
- Huntington (Photos)
- Charleston (Photos)
- Fairmont (Photos)
- Bluefield (Photos)
- Parkersburg (Photos)
- Wheeling (Photos)
- Beckley (Photos)
- Martinsburg (Photos)
The city with highest murder rate in West Virginia? That would be Huntington with 33.4 murders per 100,000 people.
While the city with highest number of murders period? Huntington with 16.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. There were ‘only’ 9 cities in West Virginia where a city reported a murder to the FBI, meaning 12 places had no murder.
For more reading on the Mountain State check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In West Virginia
How we calculated the murder capitals of West Virginia
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 last year of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of murders that may happen in each city per year.
We only looked every single city in West Virginia for which FBI data was available for the most recent FBI Crime In The United States. That left us with 9 cities to rank.
Finally, averaged two scores:
- The raw number of murders in each city
- The murders per person
We felt as if a small place with 2,500 people and two murders makes it a lot more dangerous than a city of 25,000 people with one murder.
We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where murders occurred most frequently.
Huntington is a city in Cabell County and Wayne County in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the county seat of Cabell County, and largest city in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area. A historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry, Huntington has long-flourished due to its ideal location on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. It is home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the busiest inland port in the United States.
Charleston is the state capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of West Virginia, and the county seat of Kanawha County. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, it had a population of 50,821, while its metropolitan area had 224,743. It is a center of government, commerce, and industry.
Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.
Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.
Parkersburg is a city in and the county seat of Wood County, West Virginia, United States. Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers, it is the state’s third-largest city and the largest city in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna metropolitan area. The population was 31,492 at the 2010 census. Its peak of population was more than 44,000 in 1960. The city is about 14 miles south of Marietta, Ohio.
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling’s major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.
Rank Last Year: 11
Murders: 1 (8th Most)
Murders Per 100k: 13.4 (5th Most)
More on Dunbar: Data
Dunbar is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, along the Kanawha River. The population was 7,907 at the 2010 census.
Beckley is a city in and the county seat of Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. It was founded on April 4, 1838. Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley. The current mayor is Rob Rappold
Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state’s Eastern Panhandle region. Its population was 17,687 in the 2016 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.
There You Have It – The Places With The Most Murders In West Virginia For 2019
If you’re looking at the places in West Virginia with the most murders, and where residents have the highest chances of being killed themselves, this is an accurate list. Again, these statistics are an indication of where crimes occur, not a statement about the effectiveness of the law enforcement in the areas they serve.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In West Virginia
- 10 Safest Places In West Virginia
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In West Virginia
- 10 Worst Places To Live In West Virginia
Detailed List Of The Places With The Most Murder In West Virginia For 2019