U.S. cities are dangerous, some more than others. It’s one thing to have to be cautious; however, it’s a whole other thing to worry about getting murdered. These cities are the ones you're most likely to be murdered in.
There are the “murder staples” - yes, Detroit is here. You will also find a couple surprises. It’s not necessarily the big metropolis you will get whacked in, actually, it’s more likely a medium-sized city located in the Midwest. We are looking at murder rates and violent crime rates because let’s face it, some violent crimes are a close second to actually being murdered.
Big city Chicago just misses this list due to their large population keeping the murder rate tolerable, or at least out of the top ten. Also shocking, no Florida. What you will find is a correlation between cities with high murder rates and state gun laws. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if weapons are easier to obtain, murder rates rise.
The subject is harsh, but it’s important to look at all the factors. Does the constant blues scene in Memphis make people want to kill more or is the blues genre actually saving lives? Deep thoughts that must be considered when looking at murder rates. Here are the 10 U.S. cities you're most likely to be murdered in.
10 Milwaukee, WI
This is probably the biggest surprise on the list, but then you think about it and it makes sense. A lot of cities in the Midwest have not fully recovered from the economic downturn. Couple that with lenient gun laws in the state of Wisconsin and you have recipes for murder. In 2013 the number of murders in the city hit a five-year high of 104. That’s a far cry from the days of 200+ homicides, but this is one trend you don’t want to see heading up. To make matters worse the police department had been misreporting violent crimes for years so it’s hard to really say if violent crime is worse or improving. Either way, for a city that promotes its small town feel, a high murder rate is not a good thing.
9 Kansas City, MO
Another Midwest City hits the list. With a population under 500,000, having 100 murders (rate of 21 per 100,000) is not acceptable and this number has remained steady over the past couple years. Can you blame the volatile and often violent weather? I say yes, but at some point the city of Kansas City really needs to take on violent crime. In addition to murders they have a real problem with rape (over 350 a year), robberies and aggravated assaults. Is it possible part of the violent crime can be attributed to heat waves and tornadoes? Nah, it’s probably mostly East St. Louis.
8 Newark, NJ
Most know this city in New Jersey as the carjack capital of the world and if you didn’t know that, well now you do. In addition to stealing cars, violent crime has risen over the past years. The population of Newark is less than 300,000 so having a murder rate over 100 (40 per 100,000) is high and makes the streets of many neighborhoods unsafe to walk. Of course you may suggest just driving, but now you see the problem. You are not safe driving due to the carjacking problem and now you can’t even walk without fear of being murdered. Travel tip: Staying in Newark when visiting New York City to save a few bucks isn’t worth it.
7 Birmingham, AL
Here’s the good news: the violent crime rate continues to decrease in Birmingham. This Industrial Southern city with a population around 200,000 comes in just under 100 homicides a year, but it’s the groupings that remain troubling. During the summer months the city will often see a spike in murders that has proved to be a challenge for this community. There definitely seems to be a link between the ungodly temperatures and number of people killed in the South, especially in Birmingham where over 25 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. If you are planning a visit I hear Alabama is beautiful during the winter months!
6 Cleveland, OH
Another Midwest City that has fallen victim to lost jobs and a poor economy, a lot of Cleveland is still trying to make ends meet. Murder has been increasing here along with other violent crimes such as robberies and assaults. It's important to note that these are also linked, so not only is there a good chance you will get robbed, but also murdered after the fact. Approximately 35 percent of the residents live below the poverty line so desperation appears to be a factor. Either that or the residents have been real unhappy with the recent inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
5 Baltimore, MD
The inner city of Baltimore has been a segregated city for a very long time and the tensions continue to boil over from time to time. The murder rate is also very high with over 230 homicides a year. Based purely on number of murders they are second to Detroit and I think we can all agree you never want to be second to Detroit in anything crime related. There’s a reason Homicide and The Wire were based (and filmed) in Baltimore, these stories are based on the reality of the Baltimore streets. Although violent crime is on the rise, apparently citizen complaints against police officers have decreased…so there is that.
4 Memphis, TN
I guess when you sing the blues long enough you want to go and kill someone. It can’t all be ribs and Elvis and in Memphis, Tennessee violent crime is a major problem. The murder (over 120), rape (over 400) and annual robbery numbers are high, but the over 7,000 aggravated assaults is a staggering number. Memphis has many downtrodden areas that have struggled for years and these areas are where you will find the most violence. My plan for decreasing the murder rate here is to increase the number of Elvis tribute artists. Why are they all in Vegas? They should come home to Graceland and Beale Street; who wants to murder when they can watch an Elvis show?
3 East St. Louis, IL
It’s no coincidence that “East St. Louis” is a running joke on The Simpsons. In addition to a high murder rate (38 per 100,000), racial tensions have spurred rioting and forced the police to focus on protesters instead of protecting the community from murders. Things are getting better here though; one reason is the officer to people ratio of 1 to approximately 250 that has focused on problem areas in an attempt to reduce violent crime. It doesn’t matter how many police officers are patrolling – if across the bridge (in St. Louis, Missouri) the Cardinals win another World Series the fans will riot, light fires and probably shoot someone. This will spill over to the already violent East St. Louis. This is what Cardinal fans do, they are the worst.
2 Oakland, CA
It’s a little hard to believe that just a bridge separates tech-booming San Francisco and Oakland. After reaching a 10 year high murder rate in 2012 the city of Oakland has worked to decrease the number of murders drastically, but it’s still at very high number, with the number of homicides around 100 a year for a population around 400,000. Essentially, have dinner in San Francisco and go to Oakland if you want to get jacked! Oakland has always been San Francisco’s rough little brother and this continues to be true where the area is full of gangs, poverty and underground crime element that pray on its own people as well as visitors.
1 Detroit, MI
It’s Detroit, of course it’s Detroit. It has been Detroit for a long time and may be forever. Long live Detroit. There are a few staggering numbers. The first is the number of murders per year which is well over 250. Next is the population below the poverty line which is near 40 percent. That really explains a lot and also explains how a city goes bankrupt. Here’s the most telling. Prior to 2013 the murder clearance rate (murders solved) was 11 percent. That’s it! Since, it has improved, but is still under 50 percent. Not only is Detroit the place to go to get murdered, it’s a place to murder and get away with it. Long live Detroit!