Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City have made national headlines over the past few decades with high violent crime and homicide rates. However, many smaller cities can be considered just as, if not more dangerous, when examining homicide rates per capita (per 100,000 people). A highly populated city tends to have high crime rates, but cities with a smaller population and crime rates similar to that of a larger city should be viewed as much more dangerous.
Cities Leading In Crime
AH Analytics co-founder Jeff Asher recently compiled a list of the top 31 cities with the highest crime rates in America, revealing some fascinating results.
New Orleans tops Asher’s list, despite only having 200,000 residents. This city has a shocking murder rate of 36.8 per capita, followed by Birmingham and Baltimore, with a rate of 29 per capita. Other cities in the top 10 include St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Rochester, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Kansas City, all of which had a rate of 14.6 and above.
2022 Crime Statistics are Projected to Increase
This spike in violent crime rates seems to have increased in the last two to three years. In 2021, over a dozen cities saw record-high crime rates, following a trend in 2020.
2022 doesn’t seem to present itself any better. If these trends continue until the end of this year, New Orleans is poised to record over 300 homicides, putting the city’s homicide rate at 74.12 per 100,000 people. This rate would dwarf Chicago’s 18.26 homicides per 100,000 rates.
Jackson, Mississippi, is a notable city that didn’t make it on Asher’s list since it has a population of less than 200,000. However, the city has one of the highest murder rates in the country. In 2021, the city recorded approximately 153 homicides translating to a murder rate of 99.5 per 100,000 residents. By mid-this year, the city had 70 murders meaning it could be on its way to seeing the same rates recorded last year.
Police Reforms and Defunding may be a Contributor
According to the president of the Louisiana (Fraternal Order of Police) FOP, Darrell Basco, the problem of increased crime results from policing reforms and the demonization of the police, making it hard for cities to attract and retain law enforcement officers. “Nobody wants to work in a place where everybody views them as an enemy,” says lawyer Tom Addair of Addair Law. The negative attitude towards police began taking shape in mid-2020 with the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
Some Positive Statistics
While these increases in homicides are concerning, some cities have seen a decrease in violent crime overall. For example, St Louis made it to the top ten; the city saw a 7 percent reduction in homicides and aggravated assaults involving guns and other dangerous weapons. According to Lt. Schellman of the St Louis police department, this reduction is thanks to the city’s 1200 law enforcement officers dedicated to ensuring that city residents stay safe.
Other cities have been noting a decline in homicide rates. Boston has reportedly seen a 28 percent decrease in homicides, along with other large cities such as Jacksonville and Miami, dropping 26 percent and 15 percent, respectively. These promising statistics could shine hope that some cities will eventually recover from these high crime statistics.