Crime data are difficult to track and compare across areas, so SafeMart made it easy with a look at the top five cities in the FBI’s annual crime report. Unlike other websites’ lists, we also highlighted property crimes for each area per thousand residents for easy comparisons.
The FBI’s list of statistics is released every June with a violent crime index that includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. SafeMart analyzed that data and the background on these different cities so you can make smart choices about safety.
1. Flint, Michigan
- Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,729.5
- Population: 101,632
- Property crimes per 1,000 residents: 66.47
- 2012 murders: 63
In addition to its distinction as the city with the most violent crimes per capita, Flint also saw the most burglaries in 2013. In one bright spot, Flint’s overall property crime numbers decreased in 2012 compared to 2011, but its nonviolent crimes continue to increase. The city continues to have problems with financing – it faces a $20 million deficit from 2012 – so crime will likely be an issue for decades to come.
2. Detroit, Michigan
- Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,122.6
- Population: 707,096
- Property crimes per 1,000 residents: 62.21
- 2012 murders: 386
The murder rate in Detroit was the second highest in the country, as was its aggravated assault rate. These high numbers reflect the city’s continuing economic troubles, as it struggles to deal with unemployment – at 16 percent in April, compared to the national average of 7.6 percent – and the lingering effects of the recession. The combination of a shrinking population and increasing crime continues to push Detroit’s crime rate up.
3. Oakland, California
- Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,993.1
- Population: 399,487
- Property crimes per 1,000 residents: 54.0
- 2012 murders: 126
Like many of the cities on this list, Oakland has a long history of crime, which began to escalate in the 1960s. Most of its crimes now occur in rates two to five times the US average. Oakland has the distinction of holding the highest robbery rate of any city in America — 1,085.9 per 100,000 residents – and the rate has only increased in recent years. Property crime is also up significantly, hurt by police layoffs in 2010 due to budget cuts.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
- Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,776.5
- Population: 318,667
- Property crimes per 1,000 residents: 80.7
- 2012 murders: 113
St. Louis has a long history of high crime. It was named the most dangerous city in America three times, most recently in 2010, because the city experienced a decades-long upswing in violence. By 2011, its overall crime rate was finally below the rate in 1970. Though murder and other parts of the crime index decreased, vehicle theft and other elements of the crime rate went up in 2012.
5. Memphis, Tennessee
- Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,750.0
- Population: 657,436
- Property crimes per 1,000 residents: 65.54
- 2012 murders: 133
In 2006, the Memphis Police Department began a program called “Blue Crush” to fight crime that included more accurate crime reporting. Because of more precise figures than other cities, Memphis may report crimes to the FBI that other cities miss. However, the city’s chronic poverty rate of 26 percent (from 2007-2011, according to the most recent US Census Bureau report) continues to play a part in its high crime rate, though the city police chief said that crime has decreased by 25 percent since the beginning of the Blue Crush program.
These cities all face similar problems, particularly related to the continued loss of manufacturing jobs and related unemployment and economic issues. Whether or not you live in an area with increasing crime, look into protecting your home with SafeMart’s custom monitoring adviser.