Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia (2023)

Virginia attracts many people due to its convenient location near D.C., the beach, and the mountains. However, there are some areas in Virginia that have higher rates of violent and property crimes than others. To assist those who are thinking of relocating, we have put together a list of the worst places to live in Virginia. It’s important to be aware of these areas to avoid making any mistakes.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia

    1. Portsmouth
    2. Emporia
    3. Galax
    4. South Boston
    5. Norfolk
    6. Richmond
    7. Fredericksburg 
    8. Danville
    9. Petersburg
    10. Newport News

1. Portsmouth

Portsmouth, located across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, is considered the most dangerous city in Virginia. Its violent crime rate is particularly high, with a population of 97,915. Compared to the Virginia State average, the crime rate in Portsmouth is 228% higher, which means residents have a 1 in 19 chance of becoming victims of any type of crime. In 2022, there were 4,429 total crimes reported in Portsmouth, including 36 murders, 138 robberies, 529 assaults, and 3,007 incidents of theft.

2. Emporia

Located in Greensville County, Emporia is notorious for being one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. With a population of 5,766, this city has a staggering total crime rate of 4,203 per 100,000 people, which is 61% higher than the national average. In 2022, there were a total of 166 crimes reported, including 22 violent crimes and 144 property crimes. The most frequently committed offenses in Emporia are assault, burglary, and theft.

3. Galax

Galax, a town situated in the southwestern part of Virginia near the Appalachian Foothills, is considered a dangerous place to live. With a population of 6,720, the town has an alarmingly high crime rate of 3,768 per 100,000 residents. This means that Galax residents have a 1 in 27 chance of becoming a victim of any type of crime. In 2022, the town recorded zero murders, nine assaults, 25 burglaries, 187 thefts, and 22 motor vehicle thefts. These statistics reveal that Galax is disproportionately dangerous for a town of its size.

4. South Boston

South Boston, situated in Halifax County, is home to around 7,588 people. Unfortunately, the town has been struggling with a poor economic situation and high levels of poverty, resulting in a declining population over the past 20 years. Currently, the total crime rate in South Boston stands at 3,587 crimes per 100,000 people, with a likelihood of 1 in 28 of becoming a victim of any crime.

5. Norfolk

Living in Norfolk, Virginia can be risky as it is considered one of the most perilous cities in the state. This city is famous for being the home of the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk. Unfortunately, the total crime rate in Norfolk is 43% higher compared to the national average, with a rate of 3,354 per 100,000 people. Aside from the crimes committed inside the naval base, Norfolk also has high rates of violent and property crimes. In the last year, there were a staggering 9,850 recorded crimes, including 63 murders and 1,364 cases of assault.

6. Richmond

With a population of 204,214, Richmond, Virginia is not only the state capital but also one of the most violent cities in the region. Shockingly, its crime rate of 3,270 per 100,000 is a staggering 39% above the U.S. average. In 2022 alone, there were a total of 7,703 property and violent crimes reported in the city, including 90 murders, 267 robberies, 534 assaults, and 711 burglaries.

7. Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, a town with a rich history and the location of the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg, sadly, has gained notoriety as one of the most dangerous places to live in Virginia. The town has a total crime rate of 3,129 per 100,000, and unfortunately, residents have a 1 in 33 chance of becoming a victim of any type of crime. In 2022 alone, Fredericksburg reported a total of 947 crimes, with 153 of them being violent crimes and 794 being property crimes.

8. Danville

Danville, with a population of 42,590, is steeped in Civil War history. Unfortunately, the city’s total crime rate stands at 3,118 per 100,000, which is 37% higher than the national average. In 2022, 1,406 crimes were reported, including 6 murders, 30 robberies, and 107 assaults. Property crime remains the most frequent type of crime, with burglaries being particularly prevalent.

9. Petersburg 

With a population of 33,458, Petersburg is a historic city that unfortunately has a total crime rate that is 37% higher than the U.S. average. This means that residents have a 1 in 34 chance of becoming victims of any type of crime. In 2022, there were 978 crimes reported, including 18 murders, 20 robberies, 191 assaults, 71 burglaries, and 81 motor vehicle thefts. Despite its historical significance, the median home price in Petersburg is only $111,300.

10. Newport News

With a population of 186,247, Newport News is the fifth most populous city in Virginia, but unfortunately, it is also one of the worst cities in the state in terms of crime. The city has a crime rate of 2,665 per 100,000, which is 30% higher than the Virginia average. Shockingly, Newport News reported 29 murders, 130 robberies, and 955 assaults in 2022. Moreover, while violent crime remains a significant issue, property crime happens at nearly three times the rate of violent crime. Despite being home to numerous companies and employers, Newport News is not a desirable place to call home due to its high crime rate.

Read More: Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Georgia (2023)

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