Oct 20 2012




Forbes.com has released a list of the most dangerous crime ridden cities in America. Here is how the site compiled the list:

"To construct the list, we ranked U.S. cities with a population over 200,000 according to their violent crime rate as reported by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports database. These preliminary 2011 statistics come with more caveats than the black-box warning on a dangerous chemotherapy agent, and the FBI says they shouldn’t be used to compare one city with another. Differences in police reporting standards, urban borders and economics can make it tricky to compare densely populated Detroit, say, with sprawling Houston. We used cities instead of larger metropolitan statistical areas, which gave the disadvantage to older cities with tighter boundaries.

But consistency also means something, and the Top 10 cities on this list all display a lot of consistency both in their stubborn crime rates and their ranking on individual crimes like murder and rape. No. 2 St. Louis, for example, ranks fourth nationwide in murders, fifth in robberies and third in violent assaults. Detroit has lost more than 200,000 residents since 2001, yet it racked up 344 murders last year, compared with 395 a decade ago. The Motor City’s murder rate is second only to New Orleans among cities over 200,000 population (Flint, Mich. narrowly beats Detroit among all cities, with a murder rate of 52 per 100,000). Higher rates of other violent crimes put it at the top of the list."

Here is the top five and you can find the remainder of the top ten by clicking here.

1. Detroit

Population: 713,239
Violent crime rate: 2,137 per 100,000 residents

The Motor City tops the list of America's Most Dangerous Cities for the fourth straight year thanks to a stubborn problem mostly with gang-related violence. Violent crimes -- murder, rape, robbery and assault -- fell 10% last year but are still running five times the national average.

2. St. Louis

Population: 320,454
Violent crime rate: 1,857 per 100,000 residents

Lying directly in the path of major drug-trafficking routes, St. Louis has been plagued by murders and other violent crimes for years. The crime rate fell 4% last year -- and it's down 50% from the crack epidemic days of the early 1990s -- but St. Louis still ranked fourth in the nation for murders.

3. Oakland

Population: 395,317
Violent crime rate: 1,683 per 100,000 residents

Oakland's high levels of poverty and proximity to drug corridors combine to generate lots of violence. The city across the Bay from San Francisco ranks first nationwide in violent robberies.

4. Memphis

Population: 652,725

Violent crime rate: 1,583 per 100,000 residents

Memphis police say they suffer from a reporting problem -- as in, they report more crimes than some other cities. But Memphis also has a stubborn criminal culture: violent crimes dropped by only 68 last year, to 10,333.

5. Birmingham, Ala.

Population: 213,258
Violent crime rate: 1,483 per 100,000 residents

Birmingham's persistently high crime rate can be attributed to the drug trade and its high poverty rate -- 26% versus 17% for the state as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Dept. One bright spot: The crime rate is down 40% from its highs in the mid-1990s.