This may be a list you don’t want to see your state on.
When you think about America’s hotspots for crime the first states that come to mind are probably New York and California. You might be surprised to learn that states such as Maryland and Tennessee were among the top. The FBI has released its latest statistics on violent crimes in America, giving us a pretty good idea where it is most likely to occur. The FBI refers to violent crimes as being murder, sexual abuse, aggravated assault, and robbery.
The United States is riddled with violence, in part due to densely populated areas with low-income and poor education rates. According to the FBI’s Violent Crimes 2012: A Snapshot, in 2012 there were an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes reported in our country. Unfortunately, these numbers are only going up. Cities such as New Orleans and Memphis are becoming major hubs for crime and show no signs of slowing down.
Below are the top ten most dangerous states in America reported by 24/7 Wall St., and some just may shock you.
10 10- Oklahoma- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 469.3
“The Sooner State” has joined the list of America’s most dangerous states due to its high level of violent crimes. According to the Oklahoma SBI in 2012, 18,270 violent crimes were reported, with assaults and rapes being among the highest. The violent crime rates in Oklahoma are often attributed to the lower level of education among the state’s residents. For example, less than 25% of the residents have a college degree. Oklahoma’s largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, both struggle with poverty and gang-related issues, which in turn contributes to the high crime rates. Another somber statistic is that Oklahoma has a high forcible sexual abuse rate, with over 1,675 cases having been reported in 2012.
9 9- Maryland- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 476.8
Maryland, “The Old Line State,” makes the cut for a few reasons, one main contributor being the city of Baltimore, which ranks high in murders and drug use. A recent article by ABC News referred to Baltimore as the “heroin capital of the United States.” Even though Maryland has a high education rate and low poverty rate, the state still bears the burden of numerous violent crimes. According to the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention in 2012 there were over 370 homicides, 1,200 cases of rape, 10,000 robberies and 16,300 aggravated assaults, with many being in the city of Baltimore.
8 8- Florida- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 487.1
“The Sunshine State” has a reputation for being wild and crazy, so being on this list may not be too big of a shocker. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were over 900 murders, 9,800 cases of rape, 23,100 robberies and over 57,000 aggravated assaults reported in the year 2013. The amount of people that reside in Florida and the many tourists that travel to the state each year make the state a huge target for crime. Despite higher graduation rates, Florida still manages to make their way onto the list. Many say the “Stand Your Ground” law has had an effect on the rise of homicides and other violent crimes in the state.
7 7- Louisiana- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 496.9
Festivals like Mardi Gras surely do not help “The Bayou State’s” crime rate, but it’s also on the list due to its murder rate, which falls first in the country. Louisiana has a poverty rate of 20% making it the third poorest state in the country. Another factor to the high violent crimes is that Louisiana is one of the highest states for gun violence. According to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement there were over 495 murders, 1,100 rapes, 5,400 robberies, and 15,700 aggravated assaults reported during the year 2012.
6 6- Delaware- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 547.4
Many ponder why “The First State” is on this list. It may come across as contradictory to some because Delaware has one of the highest household income rates in the country. However, the state is also home to some of the poorest neighborhoods. Delaware made the list due to high crime rates in the poorest neighborhoods of Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington. Delaware is also home to the highest aggravated assault rate, which reached an astounding 18,000 cases that were reported in 2013.
5 5- South Carolina- Violent Crimes Per 100,000: 558.8
Crime experts say increasing gang and drug issues, as well as unemployment, have caused South Carolina to move up the list. “The Palmetto State” is among America's worst poverty and higher education rates in the country. South Carolina’s poverty rate is a staggering 18.3%, making it one of the highest in the nation. When it comes to violent crimes, the state ranks high in assaults and murders. In fact, there were over 1,600 murders and 19,900 aggravated assaults reported in 2012.
4 4- New Mexico- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 559.1
New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment,” holds the burden of having one of the highest rates of drug use in the U.S. Drugs have an effect on the quality of life, the economy, and lead to high volumes of crime. Unfortunately New Mexico is facing devastating levels of violent crime due to drugs and also in part to it being a poor state. For example, there were over 8,700 reported assaults and close to 1,900 robberies in 2012. New Mexico’s reported robberies, murders, and assaults are near 64% higher than the rest of the United States, which in turn makes it the fourth most dangerous state in America.
3 3- Alaska- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 603.2
It may be surprising to some that the country’s largest state has made its way on the list. While Alaska, “The Last Frontier State,” has a low poverty rate and high levels of educated residents, it’s made its way to the top due to its forcible-rape rate. Alaska has the nation’s highest rape rate and is also second in aggravated assault rates. Alarmingly, Alaska has close to 80 rapes per 100,000 residents, which is triple the national average. Along with high rape rates are high assault rates, with over 3,000 reported in 2012.
2 2- Nevada- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 607.6
The casino and gambling industries in this rambunctious “Sagebrush State” bring with them the country’s highest robbery and assault rates. Nevada also ranks among the worst in the U.S. for its motor-vehicle theft, forcible rape, and robberies. State officials maintain that most of the crime comes from the swarms of tourists who visit Las Vegas, Reno, and other cities with casinos. Nevada also has some of the nation’s lowest high school and college graduation rates, which are believed to be factors of violent crimes. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, there were over 5,100 reported robberies and 9,800 aggravated assaults in 2013.
1 1- Tennessee- Violent Crimes Per 100,000 People: 643.6
“The Volunteer State” has the not-so-great distinction of holding the worst crime rate in the country. The country music loving state came in first for aggravated assaults, and was close to the top for robberies and murders. The poverty level in Tennessee is acute and education rates are lower than most of the country. Another reason Tennessee tops the list is partly because Memphis has the fourth highest crime rate in the entire country. Memphis is ranked number one as the nation’s poorest country due to a high unemployment rate and large budget deficit. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations there were over 28,700 aggravated assaults and 7,000 robberies reported in 2013.