Numbers sometimes lie. It is an adage that is familiar to, for one example, fans of sports. People who live in what have been deemed by Forbes to be the most dangerous cities in all of the United States for 2015 may claim that numbers lie as it pertains to where they live. Where the numbers are unfortunately accurate is the amount of violent crimes that occurred over a period of a year in the cities that were spotlighted by Forbes. That data, which Forbes obtained from the FBI Crime Statistics database, was how the US cities were ranked in this list.
One who is unfamiliar with the city may, at first, expect that New York would check in among the top ten most dangerous cities in the US. That, however, is not the case. Those with even a casual knowledge of the state of the country could probably guess what is, per Forbes, the most dangerous city in the US. That city is a repeat winner – or loser, depending on how you view the situation – even if things may be on the upswing for that region. Maybe, just maybe, that city will drop in future editions of this list before the end of the decade.
Indianapolis has a reputation for being somewhat of a quiet city. It is also one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The Forbes story says that 136 murders occurred in Indianapolis in 2014. The rate of what the website deems to be violent crime is 1,255 per 100,000 residents in Indianapolis. Indianapolis was in the headlines at the end of October 2015 because of the increase in crime, particularly criminal homicides, in the city. The way that things are currently going in Indianapolis, the city may rise in future lists before it falls out of the top ten.
9 Stockton, California
The city of Stockton, California made international news in October 2015 for a rather remarkable story. A 17-year-old girl was on her way to school when a man attempted to kidnap her. Cameras recorded the incident and showed the girl escape the suspect and then make her way to safety. Others like her have not been so lucky. Stockton was, per the numbers posted by Forbes, the home of 49 murders in 2014. The city's violent crime rate is 1,332 per 100,000 residents. At least one would-be victim managed to escape and avoid becoming just another sad statistic.
The shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014 sparked outrage and protests in and around Cleveland, Ohio. Investigations into that incident are ongoing as of the posting of this piece. Downtown Cleveland has seen vast improvements over the past decade. There are now multiple fine-dining restaurants, pubs and other similar establishments within walking distance of Progressive Field and the Quicken Loans Arena. With all of that said, Cleveland still has a ways to go. Forbes reports that the city has a violent crime rate of 1,335 per 100,000 residents. A registered 63 murders took place in Cleveland during 2014.
People around the US and also on-lookers from around the world had eyes fixated on the city of Baltimore in the spring of 2015. It was then when crowds flocked to protests over the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. Protests that began peacefully turned violent. Some stores were victimized by looters, and there were police officers attacked. Things got so bad and so dangerous that a state of emergency had to be called for some time. Forbes reports that 211 murders occurred in Baltimore in 2015. The city has a violent crime rate of 1,339 per 100,000.
Forbes reports that Milwaukee has a violent crime rate of 1,477 per 100,000. In October 2015, Brentin Mock of CityLab.com wrote a story titled “Why Milwaukee is the Worst Place to Live for African Americans.” That story cites multiple pieces of data and other information that does not at all flatter the city. Milwaukee, per the information given by Mock, has a long history of segregation and racism. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has a reputation for using television interviews and even social media to sound off on certain matters, has repeatedly hit out at a movement that has spread across the country over the past few years.
5 Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama was in the news in September 2014 when a UPS employee shot two others before committing suicide. Those were just three of the violent deaths that occurred in the city during 2014. A reported 52 murders occurred in Birmingham last year. Forbes states that Birmingham has a violent crime rate of 1,588 per 100,000. The month of October 2015 ended with some additional violence. A man was shot in the stomach on October 30. It was not immediately known if the wound that individual suffered was life threatening. Here is hoping he makes a speedy and full recovery.
4 St. Louis
There are plenty of positives about the city of St. Louis. The Cardinals, one of the most successful franchises in all of Major League Baseball over the past several seasons, calls St. Louis home. St. Louis is also unfortunately known for being a home of violent crime. A violent crime rate of 1,679 out of 100,000, as reported by Forbes, lands St. Louis fourth on the list of the most dangerous cities in the US. The city had been in the news in the fall of 2015 because of seven church fires that took place in a region that is largely African-American. A suspect has, as of the end of October, been linked with a couple of those fires.
3 Oakland, California
Reputations are sometimes earned. Oakland having a reputation for being known as one of the most dangerous cities in the US is apparently accurate. Forbes claims that 80 murders occurred in Oakland in 2014. The city has a violent crime rate of 1,686 per 100,000. Oakland has been in the news throughout 2015 for reasons that have nothing to do with crime or violence. National Football League franchise the Oakland Raiders has been looking for a new home either in the city or elsewhere. The city is working on keeping the Raiders, but Los Angeles is commonly referred to as an option for the club.
The city of Memphis was in the news in October 2015 when a police officer was shot. Terence Olridge was on his way to work when he got into an argument with a man named Lorenzo Clark. Bullets were exchanged, and Olridge died from wounds that he suffered. Clark and also his wife have been arrested and charged. Forbes claims that 140 murders took place in Memphis in 2014. The city, per the information that is provided by Forbes, as a violent crime rate of 1,741 per 100,000. That is second only to the city that sits atop this list for another year.
Detroit is not just the most dangerous city in the US in name only. The city, according to Forbes, has a violent crime rate of 1,989 per 100,000. 298 murders took place in Detroit in 2014. Forbes does offer some information that Detroit could, slowly but surely, be turning things around:
There were 298 murders and intentional homicides in Detroit in 2014, the lowest number in 47 years, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Detroit Police Department.
The city’s overall rate of violent crime, including assault and robbery, was 1,989 per 100,000 residents, down from over 2,000 in 2013 but still more than five times the national average, which also has been falling for years.