Dangerous states: Which states have the highest rates of violent crime and most murders? – USA TODAY

There were more than 1.2 million incidents of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder reported in the United States in 2018 – a 3% decline from the previous year. The decrease in violent crime represents the continuation of a long-term trend. The U.S. violent crime rate stands at 381 incidents per 100,000 people, down from a high of 758 per 100,000 in 1991. 

Crime is a local phenomenon, however, and in some states, violent crime rates are nearly as high or higher than they were nationwide in the early 1990s. Using data from the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed statewide violent crime rates to identify the most dangerous states in America. We ranked all states and listed them from the lowest violent crime rate to the highest.

Violent crime in the United States is most likely to be committed in urban areas. Even in many of the safest states in the country, there are cities with violent crime rates that exceed the national average by a wide margin. Similarly, it is no coincidence that many of the states with the highest rates of violence are also home to some of America’s most dangerous cities. In some cases, a single city can account for over one-quarter of all violent crime in an entire state. 

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Crime appears to be closely tied to economic conditions. States with limited economic opportunity and a large percentage of residents struggling financially also tend to have higher violent crime rates. Conversely, economic conditions tend to be  in states with lower crime. These are America’s richest and poorest states.

To determine the most dangerous states in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of violent crimes reported in 2018 per 100,000 residents for all 50 states with data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Violent crime is a broad designation that is made up of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and murder.


50. Maine

• Violent crime rate: 112.1 per 100,000 people

• Total 2018 murders: 24 (7th lowest)

• Imprisonment rate: 165 adults per 100,000 (2nd lowest)

• Poverty rate: 11.6% (19th lowest)

• Most dangerous city: Augusta

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of violent crimes – a designation comprised of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder – in Maine fell by 6.8%. There were 112 reported violent crimes in the state in 2018 for every 100,000 people, the least of any state in the country.

Maine’s capital, Augusta, had the highest violent crime rate of any city in the state at 323.9 incidents per 100,000 people. But even Maine’s most dangerous city had less violence than the U.S. as a whole. There were 380.6 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide in 2018.

49. Vermont

• Violent crime rate: 172 per 100,000 people

• Total 2018 murders: 10 (the lowest)

• Imprisonment rate: 222 adults per 100,000 (4th lowest)

• Poverty rate: 11% (16th lowest)

• Most dangerous city: Rutland

Vermont is one of only three states – all of which are in the New England region – to report fewer than 200 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018. Vermont had the lowest robbery rate in the country in 2018 with 11.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people and the fourth lowest aggravated assault rate of 113.4 incidents per 100,000 – less than half the comparable national rate of 246.8 per 100,000.

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