America is a vast country, having a huge population and a large land mass. As the population is diverse, the crime statistics will differ from state to state. Let’s explore the top ten most dangerous states in America based on violent crime rates recorded from 2020 to 2022.
10 Most Dangerous States in the US (2023)
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Alaska is deemed the most perilous state in the United States due to its alarming rate of both violent and property crimes. It has the highest combined rate of these crimes compared to any other state in the country.
In 2022, Alaska had the highest crime rate among all states with a crime rate of 32.14 per 1,000 people, out of a population of 736,081. The prevalence of aggravated assault is quite high in Alaska with 4,222 incidents reported. Sexual assault is also a significant concern in the state with over 1,132 incidents reported, which is one of the highest numbers in the country.
2. New Mexico
New Mexico ranks high among the most dangerous states in the US due to its high rates of violent crime. The state has continuously maintained its position among the top states in the nation with the most violent crimes. Additionally, Albuquerque, NM is among the most perilous cities in the US.
New Mexico experienced more than 12,000 cases of violent assaults and over 2,000 incidents of robbery in the year 2021. Property crime is also quite prevalent, with burglary and vehicle theft being the most common types. Albuquerque, Gallup, and Farmington are often regarded as some of the most dangerous cities in the state.
Tennessee is ranked among the most violent states in the United States. The state has a population of approximately 6,917,000 people, and it experiences an overall crime rate of 31.65 per 1,000 individuals. Shockingly, in 2021, there were over 221,000 reported criminal incidents, with a staggering 46,428 of them being violent crimes. Although property crime remains the most common, burglary and personal theft are the major crimes that seem to be plaguing the state.
Although Tennessee is undergoing growth and change, some cities like Memphis and Nashville continue to struggle with high rates of violent crime.
Arkansas has a high rate of violent crime, similar to its neighboring state of Tennessee. With a population of 3,013,756, the state had a violent crime rate of 672.7 per 100,000 in 2020. This means that residents have a 1 in 148 chance of falling victim to violent crime.
Arkansas is plagued by a high rate of property crime, with theft being a major concern for its residents. In fact, there is a 1 in 38 chance of falling prey to theft, with almost 24,000 burglary and vehicle theft incidents reported in the year 2021. The cities that bear the brunt of this menace are West Memphis, Little Rock, and Helena, which have the highest crime rates in the state.
Arizona is notorious for being one of the most violent states in the USA. Despite its breathtaking national parks, it poses a significant risk to its residents due to its high rates of violent crime.
Crime rates vary greatly across different cities in Arizona. While cities like Scottsdale have very low levels of crime, other cities such as Tempe and Phoenix have areas with high crime rates. According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, violent crime in Arizona increased by 8.6% between 2020 and 2021. Out of a total of 32,201 incidents, robbery and assault were the most common crimes reported during that period. Additionally, there were 504 murders in the state. This means that Arizonans have a 1 in 199 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime.
Louisiana is considered one of the most perilous states in America, with above-average rates of both property and violent crimes. The cities of Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans are particularly notorious for violent crimes, including murder, which are well above the national average. Shockingly, as of 2022, the crime rate in New Orleans is 150% higher than the national average.
In addition to violent crime, property crime is also a significant concern. As of 2021, incidents of property crime, such as burglary and theft, were reported at a rate of 29.71 per 1,000 residents, which is significantly higher than the national average.
Violent crime and murder rates are alarmingly high in Missouri. According to statistics from 2020, there were 723 murders in the state, which translates to 11.8 per 100,000 residents. Assault, robbery, and rape are also prevalent, with the state’s violent crime rate standing at a staggering 543 incidents per 100,000 people.
Cities in Missouri, including St. Louis, have been consistently ranked among the top in the nation for both violent and property crime. Shockingly, in 2020, the crime rate in St. Louis was 234% higher than the national average!
8. South Carolina
Violent and property crimes are prevalent in South Carolina, making it one of the most dangerous states in the US.
South Carolina boasts a population of 5,118,425, but unfortunately, the state has a crime rate of 5.4 per 1,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 4 per 1,000 people. Disturbingly, South Carolina has a high rate of violent crimes, with almost 22,000 cases of robbery reported in 2020 alone. Additionally, the state recorded 549 murders in 2020, resulting in a rate of .11 per 1,000 people, which is higher than the national average of .07 per 1,000 people.
9. South Dakota
With a population of 895,376, South Dakota has a surprisingly high crime rate for a state with such a low population. In fact, the violent crime rate in South Dakota for 2021 was 5.05 per 1,000 residents, which means that the chances of becoming a victim are 1 in 198. Shockingly, the rates of crimes like murder and rape are higher than the national average, with over 3,000 assault incidents reported in 2021. Furthermore, South Dakota has the second-highest rate of drunk driving arrests in the entire country, which has resulted in a high number of drunk driving-related fatalities.
Michigan, a Midwestern state, holds the 10th spot on our list of the most violent states in the US. Last year, the state witnessed more than 40,000 incidents of violent crime, which translates to 4.73 cases per 1,000 individuals. Unfortunately, both violent and property crimes are increasing statewide. In particular, Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Saginaw are the cities with the highest rates of violent crime in Michigan. Detroit, a city of similar size to others, reported a staggering 14,509 murders in 2021, far surpassing the figures of other cities.