The 5 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.


We all want to be safe, and living in a city that is high with crime is not usually what people look for when they look for a place to live. Tracking crime statistics and safety is a complicated measure, but the FBI does its best to track different crime rates in most cities and states in the U.S.

You may be surprised to learn which cities made the list of the most dangerous cities. We often associate crime with large cities, such as New York, Chicago, and L.A., but those cities did not make it to the top five.

To rank the safest cities in the United States, MoneyGeek started with standardized crime statistics reported to the FBI from 2022, the latest year of available data. The population of each city was added to the analysis to determine crime rates per 100,000 people, and this information was also accessed via data provided by the FBI and the Census Bureau 1-year American Community Survey.

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, USA downtown cityscape on the river at dusk.
Image Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

St. Louis has been the murder capital of the United States since 2014. It occupies the 15th spot in the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world, with 61 homicides per 100,000 population.


Moreover, in the official FBI statistics, St. Louis ranked first in violent crime and second in property crime across all U.S. cities with populations over 100,000 or more in 2016.


According to the FBI archive, in 2016, people committed 6017 violent crimes in the city. This number includes murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In addition, the data shows that 188 people were murdered that year.


However, an important caveat about the murder rate in St. Louis is necessary. St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri, with a population of around 305,000. Still, its metropolitan area is home to nearly 3 million people – ten times more.


Sometimes, police record crimes in the metropolitan area instead of in the city or vice versa; they record fewer crimes inside St. Louis city limits. As a result, some argue that St. Louis’s crime rates do not include the safer areas around St. Louis, which skews the murder rate to a higher percentage.

Mobile, Alabama

Cityscape view of downtown Mobile, Alabama..
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We move down south for the second most dangerous city in the U.S. Despite the rhetoric surrounding big, liberal cities; Mobile has its share of crime. Since Mobile is a very economically depressed city (although it is not one of The 15 Poorest Cities in America) that probably contributes to it’s high crime rate.

The violent crime rate is the highest of all studied cities, at 2,787 per 100,000. Even more shocking is the property crime rate. At 11,293 per 100,000, Mobile’s property crime rate is almost double that of the city with the next highest rate.


Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA - September 9, 2023: An exterior photo of the 1912 John A. Hand Building in Birmingham, Alabama, also known as the American Trust and Savings Bank Building.
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Alabama has the unfortunate distinction of being listed twice on this list. While Mobile struggles with its economy but does not get the distinction of being one of the poorest cities, Birmingham is unlucky enough to be listed on two unfortunate lists: this one and is one of the 15 Poorest Cities in America. 

In regard to crime, although the violent crime rate (1,683 per 100,000) and property crime rate (3,964 per 100,000) are much lower than in Mobile, they still come in right behind.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Maryland MD Inner Harbor Skyline Aerial.
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Notorious for its extremely high crime rates compared to the national average, Baltimore also ranks as the 23rd most dangerous city in the world, with 51 homicides per 100,000 population.

As in most cities in the U.S., within the city, several specific neighborhoods ridden with poverty, drug gang activity, and violence have the highest concentration of crime.

Historically, West Baltimore has seen the most crime problems. However, in 2016, the Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore became the deadliest neighborhood. One in every two shootings was fatal, compared to the city average of one in three.

The record homicide rate was set in 2015 when Baltimore had the highest homicide rate in its history – 52.5 per 100,000 people or 344 homicides. Of those, the vast majority, or 321 (93.3%) of the victims, were African-American.

Poverty and organized crime have been responsible for a lot of the violence in the city. Still, another major problem for authorities in recent years has been drug use.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 10% of Baltimore’s population is addicted to heroin.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennesse, USA downtown cityscape at dusk over Beale Street.
Image Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

Memphis has one of the highest crime rates, but visitors and tourists need not fear too much. Crime data shows that most of the crime is either gang-related or robberies, most of which are targeted and pre-meditated. As a result of these factors, the property crime rate in the city is 5,279 per 100,00, and the violent crime rate is 2,431 per 100,000. Both of these rank as some of the worst in the country.

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Picture this: you find a stack of cash. Do you pocket the unexpected windfall, or do you take the noble route and hand it in to the police?

In this scenario, a significant 47% of Americans admit they would keep the found money, assuming no one saw their stroke of luck. Interestingly, gender doesn’t play a big role, with both women (47.4%) and men (46.6%) expressing similar inclinations to be tempted by the cash.

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When it comes to cities in America, huge disparities exist. Some are doing much better financially than others. There are a lot of cities today that are struggling economically and coming up short in a few areas.

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