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Parents can take comfort in the fact that violent crime rates across the US have been falling for decades. Nevertheless, because of a combination of circumstances including poverty and gangs, a few cities stand out for their violence. Here are the 10 most dangerous towns in the United States, as measured by violent crime rates. See the best cities to raise children in.

  1. Detroit, Michigan—The Motor City makes it on many lists of dangerous cities. The main reason? Gangs. And while violent crimes are on the decrease, they’re still higher than in many other cities.
  2. St. Louis, Missouri—Partially because it’s less spread out than other cities, which incorporate safer suburbs and smaller communities, St. Louis has a high crime rate. It’s also a destination along drug-trafficking routes. Like Detroit, crime levels are falling, but not much.
  3. Oakland, California—Ever since the police department was scaled back, violence has been on the rise in this California city. What’s more, high poverty and proximity to drug corridors put Oakland on the dangerous cities list.
  4. Bridgeport, ConnecticutThe biggest city in Connecticut has a problem with violence, so the city has introduced a curfew in an attempt to end late-night violence.
  5. New Orleans, LouisianaDuring Hurricane Katrina in 2005, violence and looting increased, but the southern city has a long history of violence.
  6. Memphis, Tennessee—Residents of this big city say they don’t feel safe, as the city reported more than ten thousand violent crimes in a recent year. High unemployment and poverty rates likely play a role.
  7. Birmingham, AlabamaWith high poverty rates (the median household income is less than $32,000) and a high number of violent crimes (1,517 per 100,000 residents), Birmingham makes many “most dangerous cities” lists. In addition to a high murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate, the city also has a high property crime rate.
  8. Orlando, Florida—This central Florida city’s crime rate is nearly four times as high as the national rate. In an effort to reduce violence, the police department has placed surveillance cameras around the city.
  9. Atlanta, GeorgiaProperty crime is big risk in this southern city: motor vehicle theft is 55 percent higher than the average and burglary is 38 percent higher.
  10. Jackson, Mississippi—With 36 murders and 454 robberies per 100,000 people, Jackson is a high-crime city.


  • Many southern cities, like Atlanta and New Orleans, have a history of violence.
  • In Detroit, gangs are one of the biggest reasons for the high violence rate.
  • With high poverty rates and a number of violent crimes, Birmingham tops many dangerous cities lists.
  • Orlando has placed surveillance cameras around the city in an effort to reduce violence.


  1. Forbes. 10 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities.
  2. Law Street Media. Crime in America: Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities over 200,000.
  3. Business Insider. The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in America.
  4. US News and World Report. The 11 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities.

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  1. A couple of these I was really surprised about. Right now figuring out where our next move is going to be. I am especially surprised by Birmingham, Al.

  2. Good to know

  3. Oh no, not Atlanta! We live in Mississippi now but Atlanta is a possibility for our next move.

  4. VERY surprised that Chicago, IL didn’t make the list. I’m sure they are in the top 20.

  5. Is this major cities only? Because I’ve lived in a few other places I think should be on the list.

  6. I live in Atlanta and crime has gotten a bit out of control lately!

  7. So glad we’re moving away from here soon.

  8. Glad to know this list! I won’t be moving to any of these!

  9. wow this is a very interesting article and good to know =P

  10. Wow, so Orlando makes the list but not Baltimore? Let me tell you, I’ve lived both places and it’s the difference between Mr. Rodgers neighborhood and Iraq.

  11. Birmingham. No surprise when you look at the makeup of the city council. And then look up how many ex-council persons have been or are currently in jail now.

  12. Imagine my surprise to not see CHICAGO on this list. There are more child deaths to gang violence than you could imagine……This is obviously an over site.

  13. Seems to me that chicago should be on this list aka Chiraq

  14. Thank goodness I don’t live in any of these states!

    1. So true, Jennifer! I’ve lived all over and my husband and I prefer the city neighborhoods over the suburbs. We’re always doing our homework on which city “pockets” are safest. We just love the culture that comes along with living in the city so the smaller homes and “patchiness” as some would say are worth it to us.

  15. So sad to see Orlando on the list!

  16. Hahahaha Orlando Florida makes the list but not Baltimore maryland? Yeah right

  17. I call bogus on #10. I live in a suburb of Jackson and no, I would not raise my family there. BUT to say crime is because of racial tension is so off the mark — in fact it is complete inaccurate !!! Most of the Jackson MS crime is black on black due to drugs, lack of education and home training. I also believe that, compared to larger cities with issues, it shouldn’t be in the top ten. Maybe the top twenty but not top ten

    1. ^^ completely – sorry for typo.

      1. Thanks for your comment, Wanda! After receiving a few similar comments from locals, we’ve edited the article.

  18. Lots of NOLA love in the comments! I, too, am a big fan of the Big Easy. In fact, my husband and I just spent the weekend there and will be back again in less than 3 weeks! 🙂 I don’t doubt that it is one of the most dangerous places to live, though. We always stay in high traffic areas when we go. However, I can’t wait to take my son back when he’s old enough to appreciate the sites!

    #2 on my favorites list is Atlanta! But I knew it would be on this list as well. Big cities are just not the safest places to raise children. Doesn’t stop me from visiting and dreaming about living there in another life! 😉

    1. Oh, and I meant to say that I’m surprised so many of the top 10 are in the South! Where’s the Southern hospitality?!

  19. I new it was bad, but not this bad to be on top 10:-(

    1. I was talking about NOLA with friends the other night… I think that (like every city) it might depend on where you live. I have many friends who live in Metairie (and I’ve been there numerous times)… I doubt suburbs are factored in to the statistics.

      1. Yep, especially old Metairie is nice.

  20. I can totally see Orlando making the list. With Disney and all of the tourism, so many people come and go. I lived there for a year and that was just enough for me, I never really felt safe there.

  21. My beloved New Orleans! I believe it, but still love the city.

    1. We used to live there too and I am not at all surprised to see it on the list! However, I think if you avoid dealing drugs and being in hot spots within these cities that are known for their high crime, you are probably OK. Of course no one can avoid random acts, but New Orleans is still in my top favorite cities for sure 🙂

      1. I love my Nola. 🙂