How safe is your city? Crime hotspots in America's largest cities
 
 
 
 
 
 

How safe is your city? Crime hotspots in America’s largest cities

Cities in the South and Midwest report some of the highest crime rates for violent crimes. Western cities experience the highest rates of property crimes, such as larceny, motor vehicle theft and burglary
/ 08:33 PM June 01, 2024
A close-up image of a driver's seat window showing damaged glass from car theft.
Kirill_ak_ white // Shutterstock

FBI data reveals that despite a 2 percent decrease in the national violent crime rate in 2022, property crimes went up during the same period. Notably, motor vehicle theft rates surged by over 10 percent. Incidents of larceny, which includes shoplifting, also saw a significant 7 percent increase.

To determine the most prevalent areas in the US for specific crimes, MoneyGeek analyzed recent FBI crime data for 295 cities with populations over 100,000. Cities in the South and Midwest report some of the highest crime rates for violent crimes. Alternatively, Western cities experience the highest rates of property crimes, such as larceny, motor vehicle theft and burglary.

Violent crime hotspots in medium-to-large cities

The FBI defines violent crime as offenses involving force or threat of force. MoneyGeek’s analysis focused on the two most common types of violent crime: aggravated assault and robbery. Memphis, Tennessee, reported the highest per capita rate of aggravated assault, while Oakland, California, had the highest rate of robbery.

High crime rates for robbery and aggravated assault in southern and midwestern cities

The South and Midwest regions of the US are home to the cities with the worst robbery and aggravated assault rates. Memphis, Tennessee, holds the highest rate of aggravated assault — with 1,942 cases for every 100,000 people — while Detroit records 1,642, placing it firmly as the second-worst. Notably, these cities are among the largest by population, ranking No. 28 and No. 29 in the US The worst five cities also include Little Rock, Arkansas; Birmingham, Alabama; and Rockford, Illinois, each with over 1,100 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents.

Oakland, California, had the highest robbery rate, with 639 incidents per 100,000 residents. Baltimore follows closely with 556. Other cities with high robbery rates include Cleveland, Minneapolis and Memphis, Tennessee — all recording over 370 incidents per 100,000 residents. These five cities also rank within the top 60 for population size in the US.

robbery and assault

Property crime hotspots are mostly in the West

The FBI categorizes burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft as property crimes. Incidents of theft involve taking money or property without using force or threatening the victim. Salt Lake City recorded the highest per capita rate for larceny; Tacoma, Washington, topped the list for vehicle theft, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had the highest burglary rate. Of the 20 worst cities for property crime per capita, 14 are located in the West.

Cities with the highest larceny rates per capita

Among cities with the highest per capita larceny offenses, Salt Lake City led with 4,910 per 100,000 residents, followed closely by Tacoma, Washington, with 4,758. San Francisco, Memphis, Tennessee, and Spokane, Washington, were also in the top five — each with larceny offenses exceeding 4,000 reports per 100,000 residents.

larceny

Worst cities for motor vehicle theft

With 2,694 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents and a total of 5,901 incidents, Tacoma, Washington, led the nation in vehicle theft rates. St. Louis ranked second with 2,550 thefts per 100,000 residents and 7,294 total incidents. Denver; Oakland, California; and Memphis, Tennessee, followed with rates above 1,747 thefts per 100,000 people.

vehicle theft

Burglary hotspots in US cities

The Western US claims four out of the worst five cities for burglary, but the highest burglary rate was found in the South’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at 1,414 incidents per 100,000 residents. Seattle followed with 1,201, while Pueblo, Colorado; Kent, Washington; and Las Cruces, New Mexico, each had rates exceeding 1,113 per 100,000 people.

burglary

Methodology

To uncover the worst crime hotspots in the US, MoneyGeek analyzed 2022 FBI crime data for 295 cities, focusing on the most common types of violent and property crimes. The analysis specifically targeted robbery and aggravated assault for violent crimes and burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft for property crimes. It also took into account the population of each city to calculate crime rates per 100,000 residents, excluding those from the analysis that didn’t meet this population threshold.

This story was produced by MoneyGeek and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

This article has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

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