Do you live in one of the most dangerous states in America?
We all watch the news with horror when we hear about a crime that happens not that far away from us. While a major crime just blocks or towns away from your house would make anyone uneasy, in the long run, most likely, where you live is relatively safe.
Instead of relying on public opinion and speculation, we wanted to get the facts straight and dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the most dangerous states in the U.S.
If you’re in one of the places we’re about to highlight, odds are you know things aren’t a place that you can let your guard down too often.
The purpose of this study is to use facts to determine which of our great American states have the highest instances of crime. While unbiased, this research does take into account factors that almost all Americans would agree are undesirable. Therefore, while you may have strong opinions either way, you can’t argue against the methodology.
Turns out New Mexico is the most dangerous state you can live in this country. The safest? You might not be too surprised that New Hampshire takes the cake.
Here are the most dangerous states in America for 2018:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
So basically, the south isn’t a place you want to go if you want to live a life without looking over your shoulder. At least not generally.
And if this has you down, feel free to check out the best states in the country. Or, if you’re into negative (and humorous), you can check out our report on the 10 Worst States to Live in America.
How do you decide if a place is dangerous or not?
In order to rank the dangerous American states, we had to determine what makes a place dangerous. It isn’t a stretch to assume that states where people are being killed and beaten up on a weekly basis are a pretty bad place to be.
So we used the FBI’s 2016 Crime Report for those criteria.
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
We then ranked each state from 1 to 50 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Danger Index”.
Finally, we ranked every state on the “Danger Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in America for 2018, New Mexico.
Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.
1. New Mexico
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 702 (2nd worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,937 (1st worst)
Believe it or not, but little New Mexico, one of the least densely populated places in the country, has the highest crime rate in the nation. Why? The number of violent crimes per person is the 2nd highest and the number of property crimes is the highest you’ll find in America by a long shot.
New Mexico has been at the top of our list the last 3 years.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 804 (1st worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,353 (3rd worst)
Alaska surged up the rankings this year — one of the biggest movers and shakers of 2018.
So here’s the deal with Alaska. Yes, it’s the most violent place you can live in the nation. Sure, there are hardly any places in Alaska where people actually live, but in the large clusters of cities that do exist, the odds are higher here than anywhere else that a rape, assault or murder will occur.
That’s some scary stuff.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 566 (5th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,297 (4th worst)
Starting the trend of southern states, we come to Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the union. Is there a correlation between poverty and crime?
Yes there is.
And in Louisiana, a large percentage of the population lives below their means.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 550 (6th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,268 (5th worst)
Arkansas is another poor state in the south with a far-higher than average number of murders, rapes, assaults and robberies per capita. If you live in the Natural State, don’t leave your car doors unlocked; there were more than 7,100 vehicles stolen in the state of Arkansas in 2016.
5. South Carolina
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 501 (10th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,243 (6th worst)
South Carolina is notoriously bad for property crimes, especially in places like Myrtle Beach, which is a major tourist draw.
Yes, we’re aware that many of the crimes committed in Myrtle Beach are from visitors, and related to the huge summer influx, but the fact remains: Lots and lots of property crimes happen within South Carolina’s borders every year.
Given all that, South Carolina is not a bit safer than last year.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 632 (4th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,854 (14th worst)
It might be surprising to hear that Tennessee is the 4th most violent place in the nation, but with places like Memphis making national headlines for murders every year, you can understand why.
There were also 2,700 reported rapes in Tennessee in 2016, which is about 7 a day.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 532 (7th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,947 (13th worst)
Alabama saw 276 murders last year, which is almost one per day. Additionally, you have a 1 in 200 chance of being the victim of a violent crime every year in the Yellowhammer State.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 470 (12th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,978 (10th worst)
The only west coast state to make the list, Arizona is notoriously a pretty dangerous place, especially for robberies. For example, there were over 18,000 cars stolen here in 2016, and more than 37,000 home robberies.
Better lock up the cactus.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 449 (14th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,982 (9th worst)
Oklahoma has, unfortunately, broken into the top ten for the first time.
Property crimes are the obvious culprit this year as they shot up relative to other states. Larceny and car thefts in particular were a problem.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 519 (8th worst)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,799 (15th worst)
Rounding up…er out the the top ten is Missouri.
Violent crimes were an issue here in 2016 as murders stood out led by the murder capitol — St. Louis.
There You Have It
When you’re looking at American states that have really high property and violent crime numbers according to FBI reporting, this is an accurate list.
Now that you’re done reading this, you will LOVE our report on the 10 Worst States to Live in America. Click here to see that report and video.
Here’s a quick look at the 3 safest states for 2018:
- New Hampshire
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous States In America For 2018