Recently, the FBI announced that in 2016, crime rates in the U.S have increased yet again. Previously, 2015 saw a 2.9 percent increase from 2014, breaking a consistent decline of almost two decades. The percentage has increased to 4.1 in 2016, with reported violent crimes of 1.2 million.
Violent crime encompasses all kinds of offenses whether force or threat of force. It is divided into four categories: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault. So, a 4.1 percent increase in violent crimes in 2016 means that for every 100,000 residents in the U.S., 386 violent crimes were committed.
But the crime rate is definitely not distributed equally in all U.S cities. Mostly, the reason the country saw such rapid increase in crime rates is due to the spike in crimes in just a few cities. Let us take a look at these cities and their 'crime records'.
- Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan is currently the city with the highest crime rate in the U.S, with a whopping violent crime rate of 2,047 cases per 100,000 residents. From 2015, this number rose by 16.3 percent. A major factor is the high rate of aggravated assaults reported in the city, which increased by 30.6 percent over the years.
- Louis, Missouri
In 2016, the city of St. Louis, Missouri saw 1,913 cases of violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents. A major factor that contributes to this high rate is gun-related homicides. In fact, St. Louis has the highest rate of murder in the U.S. In 2016, there were 60 reported homicides per 100,000 people, which is 10 times more than the national rate of homicides.
- Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is the third most dangerous U.S city, with violent crime rates of 1,820 per 100,000 residents. The city also has a relatively high poverty rate, which stands at 27.6 percent. This is a major cause of the high crime rate. City officials suggest that Memphis’ crime rate could be reduced by increasing the police force. From 2008 to 2016, the size of the local police force reduced by 5.7 percent.
- Baltimore, Maryland
In 2016, the number of violent crimes rose by 15.4 percent in Baltimore, Maryland, which means that for every 100,000 residents, 1,780 cases of violent crimes were reported. A major cause is the widespread gun violence in the city’s poorest areas. In fact, Baltimore Sun reported that about 80 percent of gun-related homicides have happened in only 25 percent of the city since 2011.
- Rockford, Illinois
There were 1,659 cases of reported crimes per 100,000 residents in Rockford, Illinois in 2016. This makes Rockford the city with the highest rate of crime among cities with 100,000 to 200,000 residents. 2016 was one of the deadliest years for the city in two decades; as much as 26 cases of homicides were reported – the highest number since 1996. In response, the local police increased their employment rate by 2.9 percent.
- Kansas City, Missouri
From 2015 to 2016, Kansas City saw a whopping 18 percent increase in the rate of violent crimes, making the city a major contributor to the nation-wide increase in crime rate. This rising number was largely due to an exponential increase in aggravated assaults and murders, with as much as 129 homicides reported in 2016 alone.
- Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio comes in seventh with a violent crime rate of 1,631 per 100,000 residents. This is not completely surprising as crime rates tend to be high in areas with a high poverty rate, and as much as 36.2 percent of Cleveland’s residents live in poverty. In fact, 20.6 percent of households in the city has an annual income which is less than $10,000. Another factor that contributes to this high crime rate is the poor relationship between the community and the local police, as police have often violated residents’ constitutional rights and used excessive force.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In 2016, the city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin had a violent crime rate of 1,533 per 100,000 residents. It had the ninth-worst rate of aggravated assault, the fifteenth-worst rate of murder, and the fifth-worst rate of robbery in all the U.S cities. In fact, there were 547 incidents of reported robbery per 100,000 people in 2016.
- Little Rock, Arkansas
In 2016, there were 1,531 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 Little Rock resident. The high rate of aggravated assault makes Little Rock, Arkansas grab the position of the ninth U.S city with the highest crime rates. In 2016 alone, there were as much as 1,100 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents in the city. In response to these rising crime rates, the Little Rock Police Department has increased the number of its forces, especially street patrols, since August 2017.
- Oakland, California
In 2016, there were as much as 1,426 violent crimes per 100,000 Oakland residents reported. The west coast city has a high rate of robbery, which contributes to the overall high rate of crime. In fact, for every 100,000 residents, there were 724 reported robberies in 2016, making Oakland coming third after Cleveland and Baltimore. It also has the highest rate of motor theft, with as much as 1,623 incidents for every 100,000 residents.