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Most Dangerous Cities in Ohio

most dangerous cities in ohio

Are you planning on relocating to Buckeye State?

Ohio boasts some of the best amusement parks in the world, which are popular among residents with children. The state also offers several areas of intense natural beauty, like Maumee Bay State Park on the shores of Lake Erie.

But as one of the most populous states in America, Ohio is home to several bustling cities and very vibrant neighborhoods. And like most major metropolises in the United States, it has a higher crime rate than the national average.

So, let’s take a look at the most dangerous cities in the state of Ohio and what particular areas to avoid when visiting.

Most Dangerous Cities in Ohio 


The former industrial giant of Cleveland has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. As a result, the crime rate has dropped slightly in the last decade. A sign of this is the old warehouses on Lake Erie which now contain restaurants, cafés, and bars.

But there’s way more to Cleveland than that…

People who do choose to relocate to Cleveland will find a number of interesting attractions just a short drive away. Nearby is the Mid-west’s only safari drive-through, the largest waterpark in Northeast Ohio, and an award-winning amusement park. All of these attractions and more add to Cleveland’s appeal as an upcoming city for families.

However, it is important to bear in mind that this is also the most dangerous city in the whole state. There were 160 murders in Cleveland alone, according to the latest stat release. The total number of reported crimes in that year was 21,714, while the city’s total population is just 389,165.

Therefore, the crime rate in Cleveland is around four times the average for the United States. So, if you live in the city, your chances of being involved in violent crime are one in 59. And unlike most other parts of the state, it looks like the crime rate is actually rising again slightly in Cleveland. 


Although Chillicothe is a very small city, it has one of the highest crime rates in the state. Chillicothe covers just 10.5 square miles, and there are a total of 163 crimes for every square mile. So, the crime rate is an unnerving 248% higher than any other city in the state

While the population of the city is just 22,000, more than 7,700 crimes were reported in the latest year. This means that around one in three residents was the victim of some form of crime during that year. In addition to 1,432 property crimes, there were more than 475 violent crimes reported in the same year. Part of this can be attributed to Chillicothe’s high poverty rate, which is around 18%

And unlike many other cities…

Chillicothe is not blessed with a wealth of attractions. While there are pretty parks and other amenities, they don’t really stand out from the crowd. So, if you are trying to decide which city to move to, it might be best to cross Chillicothe off your shortlist.   


Many people consider moving to this city because it is home to Ohio University. Residents can enjoy spending time exploring the Athens Trail Network as well as several pretty parks. 

Athens also boasts a large number of interesting museums along with a vibrant nightlife scene.

Other benefits of living in Athens?

This small city is home to around 25,000 people, and there are a few close-knit communities. The median home price in Athens is $196,000, which is 10% below the national average. This means that there are plenty of affordable real estate options for potential residents to choose from.

However, Athens is one of the poorest cities in the state. In fact, the poverty rate here is over 48%, which is more than three times the average in the US. This has, not surprisingly, led to a fairly high crime rate, and roughly 2,300 crimes are committed for every thousand people. 


Dayton is famous for its extraordinary heritage of innovation. Often referred to as the crossroads of America, it is located near the junction of Interstate 70 and Interstate 75. However, violent crime across the city increased by 5% in recent years, which could be a cause for concern.

Although the population of Dayton is just 140,000, the crime rate is 4,932 per 100,000 people!


This is 110% higher than the average in the United States…

So, if you live in Dayton, the risk of being a victim of violent crime is 1 in 21. 

46 reported murders were committed in Dayton in the last year. And the city is notorious for its drug trade, which is connected to the majority of violent crime. The city’s unemployment rate is also a disturbing 29.6%, which is not looking good for the future of Dayton. 


Set on the north bank of the Ohio River, Portsmouth is home to around 20,400 people. This thriving city is surrounded by natural beauty and enjoys a bubbling nightlife scene. Portsmouth is also famous for its captivating floodwall murals.

However, there is a dark side of Portsmouth that visitors and potential residents need to be aware of. This is one of the poorest cities in the state, and the poverty rate is 35%. This means that around 6,500 of the city’s residents live in poverty.

And you guessed it…

This alarming number has also driven the crime rate in the city sky-high. Around 10% of the people who live here are unemployed, and there is a drug scene most already know about. A total of 5,360 crimes were reported in the city in the latest reported year. 


Set along the rust belt of America, Mansfield has a history of violent crime. The city is home to just over 47,000 people, and around a quarter of residents live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate in the city is also a little over 10% of the population.

Unfortunately, these factors combine to make Mansfield one of the most dangerous cities in the state. A total of 199 violent crimes have been reported in recent years, and this means that residents have a 1 in 22 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. 


This city is surrounded by natural beauty and can be found just 48 miles from Columbus. Residents are treated to a number of excellent restaurants as well as forest views and excellent shopping opportunities. The city covers just under five square miles and includes a population of around 7,200 people.

While the city attracts residents who enjoy the Great Outdoors, this proximity to nature comes at a cost. A total of 4,881 crimes were reported most recently. This means that statistically, more than half the population was the victim of some form of crime.


What kind of crime?

4,695 of the total crimes were property crimes, and there were just 28 reported violent crimes. Rape, murder, and assault are fairly rare. Indeed, most of the city is relatively safe, and the majority of crime takes place in the neighborhood of Haydenville


Next, on my rundown of the Most Dangerous Cities in Ohio, Lima packs a population of 37,836 people into just 13.8 square miles. Unfortunately, this high population is part of the catalyst for the city’s relatively high crime rate. On average, there are 138 reported crimes for every square mile of the city, and a total of 4,780 crimes were reported at the latest count.

Property crime accounts for more than four thousand of these crimes, meaning that tourists are relatively safe. However, the poverty rate in the city is around 25.8%, which is double the national average.

Areas to avoid?

The roughest areas of the city are South Metcalf Street, City Center, and South Pine Street. 


Known for simply being pleasant, Cincinnati has much more to offer than just its cheerfulness. With cultural attractions, exciting entertainment, interesting architecture, and a variety of nightlife, the city is a great place to get to know. However, people who are planning to visit or move to Cincinnati should avoid certain areas. 

Around a quarter of the city’s population lives below the poverty line, which has led to high crime rates. The city’s total population is 298,011, and 13,945 crimes were reported. Around one in 22 residents of the city fall victim to crimes like car theft, theft, and burglary. And the main crime hotspots are the neighborhoods of English Woods, Avondale, and Fairmount

Besides that…

Fortunately, plenty of other neighborhoods have a lot to offer both residents and tourists. Less than a mile east of downtown, Mount Adams offers a pleasant day of activities in itself. You can start by exploring the respected Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection, which spans the last 5,000 years of human history. 


The museum is inside Eden Park, a 20-acre retreat of green slopes looking out over downtown and the Ohio River. From the park, you can wander through twisting streets beside restored 19th-century homes to reach fashionable shops and restaurants. This area of clubs and pubs is also the heart of the town’s nightlife.


This city is best known for its large bottle and window manufacturing industry, which has given it the nickname of Glass City. Toledo is home to more than 280,000 people and covers an area of 83 square miles. And although the city’s crime rate peaked in 2010, it is still a considerable problem. 

More than 10,500 crimes were reported in Toledo in the most recent reports available. And of this number, 2,729 were violent crimes. These include rape, murder, and assault.  


If you live in or visit the city of Columbus, the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime is 1 in 22. This is fairly high, especially if you are planning on going out drinking and exploring the city after dark. A total of 33,594 crimes were reported in Columbus, including over five thousand violent crimes

But as long as you avoid certain areas, you are sure to find that living in and exploring the city is safe. Columbus hosts some charming residential neighborhoods that are teeming with life. In addition to offering excellent real estate options, these neighborhoods are packed with amenities. 

Of note…

Just south of Downtown is German Village, home to rustic red brick working-class cottages and several larger and grander houses. This is a gorgeous place to wander, with beautiful tree-lined paved streets, small German inns, and restaurants. Nearby is the district of Short North, with its bohemian atmosphere of bars, coffee shops, trendy boutiques, and chic art galleries.

However, many of the streets in the suburbs are quiet at night, so it’s best to avoid walking alone. Take a taxi to get to your destination instead. The popular nightlife areas also tend to see an increase in crime as people start to leave the bars and clubs, so be aware of that on your way home.


This city can be found just 25 miles from Cleveland along the gently flowing Black River. Elyria was once a thriving metropolis thanks to the nearby automobile manufacturing plants. However, the city was plunged into poverty when these major factories closed.

The knock-on effect…

Midway Mall was opened in 1967 and was once a center of commerce and a major employer. However, the mall is now mostly vacant, and hundreds of jobs have been stripped. Although the city is working hard to return to its former glory, crime is a serious problem here right now.

Elyria is home to around 54,000 people, and a total of 1,716 crimes were reported in the latest stat release. Of these, 1,462 were property crimes. However, the amount of violent crime is still significant at 253.



This small city is set along the Ohio River and covers just under nine square miles. Marietta has a population of just under 14,000 people. While the city thrived during the 19th century, the poverty and unemployment rates are now much higher than the average.

Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime if you choose to live in Marietta are 1 in 23. 1,340 crimes were reported in total in 2020. While 1,227 of these were property crimes, 113 violent crimes were also reported during this year.

Now that you know more about the most dangerous cities in Ohio…

Want to Compare Ohio with Other States?

If so, take a look at the 10 Most Dangerous States in the US, as well as the 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the US in 2023.

We can also tell you about specific cities and neighborhoods to be aware of when passing through a state. Such as the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC, the Top 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago, the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Washington DC, the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles, as well as the Most Dangerous Cities in Florida.

Are you speculating on a safe area to relocate to?

If so, we can help you research that too! Learn more about the Safest Cities in Texas, the Safest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia, the Safest Places to Live in Florida, and the Best Places to Live in Florida for Families!

Or use our search option to research and place of interest for you.

Ok, back to today’s Ohio safety report

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking, Ohio is a very safe state to live in and visit. Most of the crime takes place in a few notorious neighborhoods of the largest cities. So, as long as you take care to avoid those areas, you are likely to enjoy spending time in this scenic state.

Driving through the state is a popular activity among residents, and the opportunity should not be missed. There are several pretty towns to explore as well as large and lovely parks. And if you enjoy outdoor activities, you are sure to find that the cool climate is ideal for all types of adventures.

Just try to steer clear of the specific crime hotspots outlined above and take reasonable precautions if you must pass through them.

Stay safe!

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