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10 Most Dangerous States in the US

10 most dangerous states in the us

The United States is a vast and diverse country, and as you would expect, some states have a higher crime rate than others. So, I decided to take a closer look at the 10 most dangerous states in the US, based on their violent crime rate. Violent crimes are those that involve force or the threat of force, and they can range from assault and robbery to murder and rape.

To compile this list, I will be using data from the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, which collects crime statistics from law enforcement agencies across the US. We will also be looking at the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people in each of the 10 states, as well as the number of homicides per 100,000 people.

One important note before we begin…

I haven’t counted the District of Columbia as a state, as it’s basically a city. However, it would have topped the list for both violent crime and homicides, by the way.

And before we get going, it’s also worth remembering that urban areas with high crime levels are responsible for most of the violent crimes in these states. So, this pushes up the rate to a far higher level than you will find in the peaceful rural areas of the same state.

So, let’s get to it, then! I think you might be surprised to find out which state is number 1!

The Top 10 Most Dangerous States in the US

10 Michigan

Michigan is ranked as the tenth most dangerous state in the United States. With a total population of 10,077,331 people, according to the latest stats, there were a total of 47,641 violent crimes committed. This translates to a rate of 478 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That’s up almost 9% on the previous year’s rate of 439 per 100,000 people. 

Moreover, the homicide rate in Michigan also jumped up. There were a total of 754 homicides, which is a rate of 7.6 homicides per 100,000 people. This represents a worrying 31% increase from the previous year’s rate of 5.8 homicides per 100,000 people. However, despite this large increase, Michigan still only ranks 16th in the nation when it comes to the murder rate.


Like in most states…

The most populous metropolitan areas account for the vast majority of violent crime. Detroit alone accounted for 328 of those homicides and 40% of all the violent crimes committed in the state.

9 Arizona

Arizona is ranked as the next most dangerous state in the United States. The 7,151,502 people that live there have unfortunately seen a worrying increase in violent crime rates in the past year.

Let me explain…

As of the latest stats release, there were a total of 35,980 violent crimes reported in Arizona, this is the equivalent of 485 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That number is up from 447 per 100,000 people last year, an 8.5% year-on-year rise which is well above the national average.

There was also a dramatic rise in the homicide rate, which increased by 28%. However, whilst this is appalling, it’s only just over the national increase. As per the latest reports, there were a total of 513 homicides which works out to 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people. The rate for last year was 5.4 homicides per 100,000 people. 

Considering the size of the population, Arizona also has a much lower homicide rate than many of the other states on this list. It ranks as the state with the 22nd-highest murder rate nationally.

8 South Dakota

Can you believe poor little South Dakota is ranked as the eighth most dangerous state in the United States? Despite only having a population of 886,667, there were a total of 4,476 violent crimes reported, resulting in a violent crime rate of 501 per 100,000 people. This marks an increase from the previous year, where the rate was 397 per 100,000 people. 

In percentage terms, that’s a 26.2% increase between last year and the latest stat release. This rather dramatic increase in violent crime could be attributed to several factors, such as economic instability, substance abuse, and other social issues.

South Dakota

Even more sadly…

The homicide rate in South Dakota also increased dramatically, with a total of 40 homicides reported. This equates to a homicide rate of 4.5 per 100,000 people, up from 1.8 per 100,000 people last year. This represents a staggering increase of 150% in homicide between then and now. However, to put that in perspective, South Dakota still ranks 33rd in terms of its per capita murder rate.

7 South Carolina

If you are one of the 5,118,425 people who reside in South Carolina, you live in the 7th most dangerous state in the United States

According to the latest stat release year, 27,691 violent crimes were reported in the state. This equates to a rate of 531 violent crimes per 100,000 people. But this represents a relatively small increase of just over 4% from last year’s rate of 510 per 100,000 people. So, whilst violent crime is up in South Carolina, that figure of 4% is actually below the 5% increase nationally.

The homicide rate in South Carolina also increased…

In total, there were 549 homicides, which works out to 10.5 homicides per 100,000 people. In fact, everywhere seems to be seeing a spike in the homicide rate, and South Carolina is no exception. This represents a 19% increase on last year’s rate of 8.8 homicides per 100,000 people. Yet, this is actually less than the 27% increase experienced nationally, but enough to place South Carolina at number 7 on the murder rate ranking scale.

Robbery, car theft, and burglary statistics are also extremely high in South Carolina, with Myrtle Beach being a particular hotspot. Moreover, you have the 5th highest chance in the US of falling victim to one of these crimes when in South Carolina.

6 Missouri

Next on the list, with 6th place, is Missouri. 6,168,187 people live here, and there were a total of 33,385 violent crimes committed in the latest year reported. 

This translates to a rate of 543 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Once again, Missouri is another state that has seen a greater rise in violent crime than the national average of 5%. Last year, there were 500 violent crimes per 100,000 people, which is an almost 9% increase to date. 

The homicide rate in Missouri is also way up…

There were a total of 723 homicides, which is a rate of 11.8 homicides per 100,000 people. That’s up 25.5% on last year’s figure of 9.4 per 100,000 people, pretty much in line with the increase nationally. Missouri had the 4th highest murder rate in the country currently documented.

The urban areas of St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City account for a large chunk of the violent offenses, including homicides.

5 Louisiana

Louisiana has the unfortunate distinction of being ranked as the fifth most dangerous state in the whole of the US. With a population of only 4,657,757 residents, the state has experienced a massive increase in violent crime rates in just one year. 

The most recent documented year saw a total of 29,704 violent crimes committed, which is a rate of 639 per 100,000 people. Last year’s rate was less, at 560 per 100,000 people. Violent crimes have, therefore, increased by at least 14% to date.

That’s almost three times the national average!

The rise in violent crime is particularly concerning when looking at the homicide rate. There were a total of 734 homicides in Louisiana, which equates to 15.8 homicides per 100,000 people. This represents a mind-blowing 35% increase on the previous year’s rate of 11.7 homicides per 100,000 people. 

What is going on down there?

This horrifying statistic places Louisiana third on the list of states with the highest murder rate.

4 Arkansas

With a population of just over 3 million people, Arkansas is officially within the top 5 most dangerous states in the US. At the last count, the state recorded a total of 20,363 violent crimes, which translates to 672 offenses per 100,000 people. When compared to last year’s rate of 581 per 100,000 people, Arkansas has seen an even bigger rise in violent crime than Louisiana at 16%, with aggravated assaults making up a large part of this total.

The soaring homicide rate in Arkansas is also a huge cause for concern. Most recently, the state recorded a total of 321 homicides, which is equivalent to 10.6 per 100,000 people. That’s a downright scary increase of 36% on last year’s rate of 7.8 homicides per 100,000 people. Arkansas has the 6th highest homicide rate in the country.

3 Tennessee

Tennessee, with a population of 6,910,840, is ranked as the third most dangerous state in the United States. According to the latest information available, there were a total of 46,328 violent crimes reported, resulting in 673 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This marks a 12.4% increase in the violent crime rate from the previous year, which had a rate of 599 per 100,000 people.

Whilst not quite as severe an increase as Louisiana and Arkansas, this is still a completely unsustainable upward trend.

And you might have guessed it…

The homicide rate in Tennessee also increased from the previous year. There were a total of 663 homicides in the most recent stat release, which works out to a rate of 9.6 homicides per 100,000 people. The year before, the homicide rate was 7.5 per 100,000 people, which marks an increase of 28% in the homicide rate. That’s a little above what we have seen on average nationally.

2 New Mexico

The second most dangerous state is New Mexico. Despite having a small population of just 2,117,522 people, an incredible 16,393 violent crimes were reported. This is equal to a rate of 778 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

But wait a minute!

This is actually a decrease of 5.5% on last year’s rate of 824 per 100,000 people. 

Interestingly, New Mexico and the state at number 1 are the only two states on our list to have bucked the national trend of rising violent crime and murder rates.

In terms of homicides, there were 164 homicides in New Mexico, according to the latest release, resulting in a homicide rate of 7.8 per 100,000 people. This is an 11% decrease from the 8.8 per 100,000 people last year and places the state quite far down the list of states with the most murders at number 15.

So, despite these incredibly high numbers, the residents of New Mexico can at least take solace that things have improved a little over the last year.

1 Alaska

So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. Alaska is officially the most dangerous state in the US, thanks to the highest violent crime rate of all US states.

Only 733,391 people call Alaska home, which makes the figure of 6,126 violent crimes reported most recently all the more insane. That works out to a whopping 839 violent crimes per 100,000 people!

Amazingly, Alaska was an even more violent place last year when the violent crime rate stood at 865 offenses per 100,000 people. So, that’s a 3.7% decrease, meaning it’s not all doom and gloom. It is, however, still rampantly high at well over double the national rate of 398 violent crimes per 100,000 people.


Unlike many other states…

A large number of these offenses were aggravated assaults. There are also an unusually high number of rapes in Alaska. And as a large chunk of the population lives in or around the capital Anchorage, it’s no surprise that that’s where the majority of the violent crimes are carried out.

When it comes to the homicide rate, Alaska is a far safer place to be than some of the states on this list. A total of 49 homicides were reported in the latest release, which is a big decrease of around 29% from the 70 homicides reported last year. Per capita, there were 6.7 homicides per 100,000 people as opposed to 9.4 homicides per 100,000 people last year. Alaska is, consequently, way down in 23rd place when it comes to the US murder rates.

Now that we’ve covered the 10 Most Dangerous States in the US, you might be asking…

What Can We Do About Crime Rates in the US?

Well, one way to get personally involved is to actually work in the field of crime prevention.

If this idea speaks to you, check out our Crime Scene Investigator Job Description, or find out more about How to Become a ParamedicHow To Become A Police OfficerHow to Become a Correctional OfficerHow to Become an FBI Profiler, and even How To Become a CIA Agent or How to Become a Secret Service Agent in 2023!

You may also be interested in these Popular Jobs in Forensic Science or exactly what Jobs You Can Get with a Criminology Degree? Also, learn about the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC and Safest Cities in Texas.

Is Cabo San Lucas Safe? We can tell you just about anything you need to know about a selection of popular holiday destinations; simply use our search box to find the location you’re looking for!

Ok, back to today’s US crime report

Final Thoughts on the 10 Most Dangerous States in the US

So there you have it. Alaska is officially the top dangerous state in the United States when it comes to violent crime. An astonishing 839 offenses of a violent nature were committed for every 100,000 people there, according to the latest documentation. That’s just over seven times the level of the safest state in the country, which is Maine. There, the residents experience only 115 violent crimes for every 100,000 people.

However, whilst there has been an uptick in violent crime across the country since 2014, it’s worth remembering that the current national rate of 399 offenses per 100,000 people is way lower than the 1992 rate of 758 for every 100,000 people. So, things are, thankfully, improving.

That’s at least something to feel good about.

But wherever you are, stay safe and take care!

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