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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top 5 Most Dangerous US Cities


Here are America's five most dangerous cities, according to government statistics:
#5 Anchorage, AK

Anchorage, AK is NO. 5 on the dangerous cities list.
With 813 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Anchorage has a somewhat higher crime rate than cities of comparable size, and a rate that is double the size of Alaska as a whole. It is the largest city in the state, but it also has the largest rate of forcible rape, which contributes to Anchorage’s high crime statistics. Property crime, while not factored into our survey, is also double Alaska’s rate. Methamphetamine use has been a perennial problem in Anchorage and elsewhere in the state, and although laws have been passed to limit access to the pharmaceuticals necessary to manufacture meth in the state, a steady supply of the drug is still flowing in from Mexico.

#4 Flint, MI
Flint, MI is No. 4 on the dangerous cities list.
Photo: Associated Press
With 827 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Flint is an example of a city where a lousy local economy and a high unemployment rate have fueled crime. The area has lost thousands of auto manufacturing jobs, and as with Detroit, there’s been a drop in population. “People don’t have jobs, they don’t have money for food, so they become a lot more desperate, and these trends take a long time to reverse,” says Megan Wolfram, an intelligence analyst at the risk assessment firm iJET.

#3 Springfield, IL
Springfield, IL is No. 3 on the dangerous cities list.
Photo: Associated Press
The capital city of Illinois, Springfield ranks third on our list because it had 855 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2010. The city also confounds analysts who try to interpret its relatively high crime rate. The unemployment rate was lower than the national average at 7% as of July, so the economy wouldn’t seem to play a major role in crime. And although meth usage saw a small spike in the mid-2000s, a law passed a few years ago making the necessary pharmaceutical ingredients harder to buy seems to have cut down on abuse. There are also poorer neighborhoods – literally on the other side of the railroad tracks – that tend to have higher rates of poverty and the higher rates of crime that accompany that, which contributes to the city’s overall higher rate of crime. Another factor could be Springfield’s relatively young population – 66% of the city is under the age of 44 – and relatively younger populations are historically correlated with higher rates of crime.

#2 Memphis, TN
Memphis TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area
Population: 1,313,722
Memphis, TN is No. 2 on the dangerous cities list.
Photo: Associated Press
The Memphis metropolitan area logged 1,006 violent crimes per 100,000 residents last year, down from 1,146 in 2009. Chronic poverty likely plays a role – 19.1% of the residents of the were below the poverty line in 2010, making it the most impoverished large metro area in the country, according to Census Bureau data. But detailed record keeping also plays a part in why Memphis ranks so highly on our list: the city's police department adopted a data-driven approach to policing in 2006 called Blue Crush that relies on accurate incident tracking, for which it adopted the FBI’s meticulous crime reporting method known as the National Incident-Based Reporting System. As a result, it may be recording crimes that in other cities would go unreported to the FBI. Though the crime rate remains comparatively high, the Memphis Police Department says that serious crime has dropped more than 25% since it began the Blue Crush program in 2006.

#1 Detroit, MI
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan District
Population: 1,895,974
Detroit, MI is No. 1 on the dangerous cities list.
Photo: Associated Press
Detroit consistently ranks as one of America’s most crime-ridden cities, and it comes in first on our list for 2010 with 1,111 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. A precipitous drop in population and employment rates due to suburbanization and the struggles of the Big Three automakers is a big factor, leaving the city strapped of funds to devote to basic services like education and public safety. “Year in, year out, and decade after decade, there’s been a very large population loss,” says Brian Stults, an assistant professor of criminology at Florida State University. “A large section of the population is gone, and they’re not the people doing crime to begin with.”
Click here to see more of America's Most Dangerous Cities.


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