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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Violent crime rate: 1,433 per 100,000 residents
Atlanta’s position as an ideal drug transit point helps keep it high on the list of the most dangerous cities. The violent crime rate rose 6% last year, driven mostly by robbery and assault.
Violent crime rate: 1,417 per 100,000 residents
Baltimore’s violent crime rate fell about 5% last year but the Atlantic Coast city is still plagued with drugs and poverty and ranks in the top 15 U.S. cities for all violent crimes but forcible rape.
Violent crime rate: 1,408
It’s hard to control crime when your city is broke. Stockton filed for bankruptcy in June and has cut back dramatically on policing, exacerbating the city’s longstanding problems with violence.
Violent crime rate: 1,363 per 100,000 residents
Cleveland’s economic decline, location on prime interstate drug routes and large population of poor residents keep it among the most violent cities.The violent crime rate barely budged last year, but murders fell 27%.
Violent crime rate: 1,238 per 100,000 residents
Buffalo’s crime rate has fallen steadily since the 1990s, along with the rest of the country, but with 30% of its residents below the poverty level, police are having difficulty driving the rate lower. Intensified gang sweeps helped reduce Buffalo’s murder rate to its lowest level in a decade last year.