After falling for five consecutive years, the number of violent crimes across the United States rose by 1.2% in 2012. Based on data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the increase was even greater in some of America’s largest cities. In 2012, for the third year in a row, Flint, Michigan had the highest violent crime rate in the country.
According to the FBI, violent crime includes murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. In some cases, the cities with the highest violent crime rate, including Flint and Oakland, had high rates in all four categories. However, most of the most violent cities tend to do very poorly only in a few categories. Based on the FBI Uniform Crime Report, these are the 10 most dangerous cities in America.
Crime in these cities is typically not limited to just violent crime. Three cities — Birmingham, St. Louis and Oakland — were among the 10 worst cities in the nation for both violent crime and property crime. In some of the most dangerous cities, specific types of property crime were especially common. Flint and Cleveland had among the highest burglary rates, while Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis had among the highest rates of vehicle theft.
The economies of many of the most dangerous cities have been in bad shape for years, in some cases long before the Great Recession. The populations of many of the most dangerous cities declined, leaving behind highly impoverished urban centers. The loss of economic diversity, explained John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban institute, only serves to exacerbate crime in cities like Detroit, Flint, Cleveland and St. Louis.