Top 10 Dangerous Cities in the US

Script written by Tanina Drvar Lock your doors, watch your back and store your valuables in your trunk. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States. For this list, we mainly based our rankings on the FBI’s latest statistics on violent crimes, which include murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robberies. However, while these cities are at a low-point in their histories, there’s nowhere to go but up, so hopefully they’ll see their fortunes turn soon. Special thanks to our users Marlon Jacques and heidbrain for submitting the idea via our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Script written by Tanina Drvar

Top 10 Dangerous Cities in the US


Lock your doors, watch your back and store your valuables in your trunk. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States.

For this list, we mainly based our rankings on the FBI’s latest statistics on violent crimes, which include murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robberies. However, while these cities are at a low-point in their histories, there’s nowhere to go but up, so hopefully they’ll see their fortunes turn soon.

#10: Atlanta, Georgia

Dubbed the “capital of the new South,” Atlanta is home to global headquarters of mega-corporations like Coca-Cola, The Home Depot and UPS, as well as the cable news network CNN. Aside from its rep as a hub for business, Atlanta is a cosmopolitan hotspot with fancy restaurants and a hip nightlife. But it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns in Georgia’s capital: it’s located along several popular drug trafficking routes, which means Atlanta’s violent crime rate has historically sat well above the national average. However, those rates did drop significantly in the first decade of the 2000s, so hopefully it won’t be on this list for long.

#9: Baltimore, Maryland

Maryland’s largest city is rich in history, culture, the arts…and crime. In June 2013, Baltimore saw a record 28 shootings and 10 homicides in just 5 days. In August the following year, stray bullets from violent disputes in both Baltimore and nearby Prince George’s County killed three 3-year-old children. As opposed to other violent cities that have seen a recent decline in murder rates, Baltimore saw a 7.3% hike in homicides in 2013. Plagued by drugs and poverty, B’more figures prominently among the most crime-ridden cities in America.

#8: Birmingham, Alabama

Described as “the cradle of the civil Rights movement,” Birmingham is Alabama’s largest metropolis. Once a booming industrial center of the South, Birmingham saw roughly 25% of its population living below the poverty line, which is approximately double the national average. That high poverty rate, paired with the ever-present drug trade, has kept the crime rate up, to the point where its crime rate is one of the highest in the country – regardless of the city’s size. While those rates have gone down in the last few years, they are still way higher than the national average.

#7: Memphis, Tennessee

Home of the Blues, BBQ, and Graceland, Memphis also has a huge criminal culture. With over 180 gangs in the area, including Gangster Disciples, Crips, Bloods, La Raza Nation and MS-13, Memphis is plagued with serious gang violence. Add corruption in the police force to the mix, with an average of 20 police officers arrested yearly since 2009 on various charges including DUI, extortion, drug trafficking, sexual solicitation and more, and it’s not surprising that Memphis figures on the FBI’s most dangerous cities list year after year.

#6: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has battled a gun violence problem for years. The 2000s saw staggering murder rates often coming close to or surpassing 500 per year; 2013 for example, started off with a handful murders on New Year’s Day alone. By the end of the week, the number had already hit double digits! A mass shooting at a basketball game in Cornell Square Park in September of that same year left 13 wounded. The next year didn’t fair much better, as Fourth of July weekend 2014 turned was a bloody one with over 80 shootings taking place, 16 of them proving fatal. It’s no surprise that the Windy City sits at number 6 on our list.

#5: Camden, New Jersey

Home to the Campbell Soup headquarters and the first drive-in movie, Camden was once a thriving town that boasted businesses that employed thousands. Fast-forward 60 years to a crime-infested ghost town where poverty reigns. Making the most dangerous U.S. cities list since 1998, Camden’s crime problem has been deteriorating for several decades. Labeled a food desert by the USDA for its lacking access to healthy food, and with its over-50% poverty rate, high unemployment, and a standing as America’s poorest city, Camden became a wasteland of abandoned homes with no money to tear them down. Chaos took over and the crime rate soared.

#4: St. Louis, Missouri

With the third highest murder rate of any major city in the country in 2011, it’s no wonder St. Louis clocks in at number four on our list. While violent crimes have been going down in the last decade, there were still a recorded 120 murders in 2013, sending the murder rate up by 6.2% from the previous year. And, with the shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown by police in the Ferguson neighborhood of St. Louis County in August 2014, and the riots and violence that followed, it will probably not be a great surprise that crime statistics in St. Louis took yet another hit.

#3: Flint, Michigan

The birthplace of General Motors, Flint was once home to thousands of auto manufacturing jobs. But, with the decline of the U.S. auto industry, most of those jobs are now gone. Close to 40% of Flint’s population lives below the poverty line and the city has had to cut back significantly on police budgets, having a huge effect on the city’s crime-fighting efforts. With just over 100,000 residents, Flint saw almost 70 murders in 2012, and over 50 the following year. The city is also especially dangerous for women, with the most disturbing attack being the rape of an 87-year old woman in in the middle of the day back in 2012.

#2: Oakland, California

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oakland figures in the top 5 cities nationwide for gang homicides. This California city’s main problems stem from poverty, the drug trade, and gang-related crime. Found just across the Bay from San Fran, Oakland was also classified first coast-to-coast for violent robberies. As the city faced budget cuts, the police force shrunk significantly and was soon one-third the size of other cities in the state, even though it’s plagued by the most crime.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few of our honorable mentions:

Cleveland, Ohio

Little Rock, Arkansas

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Buffalo, New York

Orlando, Florida

Springfield, Missouri

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1: Detroit, Michigan

Once a booming metropolis and the automotive capital of the world, Detroit has seen a steady decline since the mid-20th century. After major industries started outsourcing their manufacturing jobs to cheaper pastures, unemployment soared. As a result, Detroit’s violent crime rate hovers around five times the national average, and it has the highest homicide rate among big cities. Add the recent bankruptcy to the mix, and it’s not surprising that Detroit snagged our number one spot.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think are the most dangerous cities in America? For more serious Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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