10 Most Dangerous States in the US: 2023
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
The most dangerous state in the USA is Alaska, as it has the highest combined violent and property crime rate out of any state.
Out of a population of 736,081, Alaska’s crime rate was 32.14 per 1,000 people in 2022, making it the state with the highest crime rate. Aggravated assault is one of the most common types of crime in Alaska, with 4,222 incidents reported. Sexual assault is a major problem in Alaska, with over 1,132 incidents reported, which is among the highest in the nation.
2. New Mexico
New Mexico is another one of the most dangerous states in the US. The state has consistently ranked among the highest in the nation for states with the most violent.
In 2021, New Mexico had over 12,000 incidents of violent assault and over 2,000 incidents of robbery. Property crime is also a significant problem, with burglary and vehicle theft being extremely common. The cities of Albuquerque, Gallup, and Farmington are often considered to be among the worst in the state.
Tennessee is another one of the most violent states in America. With a population of about 6,917,000, the Volunteer State has an overall crime rate of 31.65 per 1,000 people. In 2021 there were over 221,000 reported criminal incidents, with 46,428 being violent crimes. However, property crime is the most common, with burglary and personal theft being major problems.
While Tennessee may be a growing and changing state, many areas of cities such as Memphis and Nashville still experience high violent crime rates.
In terms of violent crime, Arkansas doesn’t fare much better than its neighbor Tennessee. Out of a population of 3,013,756, Arkansas had a violent crime rate of 672.7 per 100,000 in 2020. In other words, this would mean residents have a 1 in 148 chance of becoming victims of a violent crime.
Property crime is also notoriously high in Arkansas. Residents have a 1 in 38 chance of being a victim of theft, with crimes like burglary and vehicle theft numbering almost 24,000 incidents in the year 2021. West Memphis, Little Rock, and Helena are considered to be cities with the highest crime rates in the state.
Arizona is known for hazing gorgeous national parks, but it is also one of the most dangerous states to live in due to the high violent crime rates.
In cities like Scottsdale, crime is almost non-existent, but in other cities like Tempe and Phoenix, crime is a problem in many neighborhoods. Between 2020 to 2021, violent crime in Arizona has risen by 8.6%, according to the FBI Crime Data Explorer. Crimes such as robbery and assault were the most common that year, totaling 32,201 incidents, while there were 504 murders in the state. In total, Arizonans have a 1 in 199 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime.
Louisiana is another one of the most dangerous states, ranking above the US national average in both property and violent crime. In cities like Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, violent crimes such as murder are well above the national average. As of 2022, the crime rate in New Orleans is 150% higher than the national average!
Violent crime isn’t the only problem. In 2021, property crime, such as burglary and theft was 29.71 per 1,000 residents, well above the national average.
Missouri has a particularly high murder and violent crime rate. In 2020, the state had 723 murders, or 11.8 for every 100,000 people. In addition, other violent crimes such as assault, robbery, and rape were endemic in the state, ranking 543 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Some of Missouri’s cities, such as St. Louis, consistently top the nation in both violent and property crime. In 2020, St. Louis’ crime rate was 234% higher than the national average!
8. South Carolina
South Carolina is also one of the most dangerous states in the US. However, South Carolina ranks among the highest in the nation for violent and property crimes.
Out of a population of 5,118,425, South Carolina has a crime rate of 5.4 per 1,000 people compared to the national average of 4 per 1,000 people. Violent crimes in the state are high, with almost 22,000 cases of robbery being reported in the year 2020. Murders in 2020 were 549, or .11 per 1,000 people, compared with the national average of .07 per 1,000 people.
9. South Dakota
Out of a population of 895,376, South Dakota has a crime rate that is high for such a low-populated state. South Dakota’s violent crime rate was 5.05 per 1,000 residents in 2021, making the chances of becoming a victim 1 in 198. Crime like murder and rape are higher than the national average, with assaults being over 3,000 incidents in 2021. In addition, South Dakota has the second-highest rate of drunk driving arrests in the nation and a high number of drunk driving-related fatalities.
The Midwestern state of Michigan ranks 10th on our list of most violent states in the US. In 2020, there were over 40,000 incidents of violent crime in the state or 4.73 for every 1,000 people. Statewide, Michigan has seen an increase in both violent and property crime. Cities like Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Saginaw lead the state in violent crime. In 2021, there were a reported 14,509 murders in Detroit, far outranking other similarly sized cities.
Most Dangerous States in USA Bottom Line
Crime rates vary by state but also within the states themselves. While these are the ten states with the highest crime rates, there are still many towns, cities, and neighborhoods that are transitioning or are considered safe within each state. However, in terms of overall crime rates, these are the most dangerous states in the US.
Methodology For Ranking the Most Dangerous States in America
To find the most dangerous states in America, we looked at crime and violent crime per capita or in proportion to the population. We used multiple state and federal data sources, including data from the FBI uniform crime report and other official sources. These statistics reference crimes committed in 2020, 2021, and 2022.