In the United States, violent crime is classified as aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. Nationwide, there were 397 violent crimes for every 100,000 Americans in 2016 — up from 385 violent crimes per 100,000 in 2015. The uptick marked the second in as many years and the first time in a decade the U.S. violent crime rate climbed for two consecutive years.
The recent increases in violent crime rates, however, pale in comparison to those of only a few decades ago. The U.S. violent crime rate climbed 40% from 1984 to 1991, when the crime rate hit a peak of 758 crimes for every 100,000 people.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 633
> Total 2016 murders: 486 (13th most)
> Imprisonment rate: 549 adults per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (11th highest)
> Most dangerous metro area: Memphis
There has been widespread media coverage of recent alarming spikes in violence in a select few metropolitan areas — in particular, Chicago. However, the recent uptick does not appear to be caused solely by rising crime in isolated pockets of the country, as the violent crime rate increased in 38 states from 2015 to 2016. Despite a widespread increase in violence in most states, some states remain far safer than the nation as a whole. In other states, crime rates are approaching — or have in some cases have exceeded — levels not seen nationwide since the early 1990s.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report to identify the most dangerous — and the safest — states in the country. Violent crime rates range by state from less than 200 to more than 800 incidents per 100,000 residents.