The Most Dangerous Small Towns in America

What are the most dangerous small towns in America? The recent statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report came out a few months ago, indicating violent crime rates, murder rates and other crime data, while comparing it to the estimated population of each city. For purposes of this list, only cities under 145,000 people were considered, based on the most recent United States Census. Looking at this list, it is interesting to consider the different factors that lead to such a high crime rate. Lower household income, poverty levels and unemployment rates all seem to be leading indicators of a high crime rate.

Of course, there is always an exception to the rule, and the state of Connecticut is home to enough troubles that it falls on both sides of that coin.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

As the most populous city in Connecticut, it would seem that the population of Bridgeport would be higher than it is. However, it only has an estimated 144,229 people, according to the 2010 Census, and sadly it ranks among the worst when it comes to crime rates. Bridgeport faces a high level of gang activity, a violent crime rate of 1205.23 per 100,000 people, and a murder rate of 1507 per 100,000 people. In fact, the crime rate is bad enough that the local Mayor, Bill Finche, recently signed a new ordinance for a stricter curfew to help get the gangs off the streets.

Hartford, Connecticut

Why is Connecticut on here so much? It is a state filled with small-town life, without a single city boasting more than 145,000 people. Just like its neighbor, Bridgeport, Hartford has a big problem with gang activity. Recent reports from NB estimate that there are nearly 4,000 gang members in the city, when there is only a population of 124,775 people. Because of this activity, the violent crime rate is at 1321.85 per 100,000 and the murder rate is at 18.37 per 100,000 people. It’s interesting to note, however, that the median household income for Hartford is around $64,000, which is far above the national average of $53,000, according to the most recent Census.

Rockford, Illinois

Boasting a population of around 152,000 people, Rockford has a big problem with violent crime and poverty. Located on the banks of the Rock River, Rockford is third only to Chicago and Aurora, Ill. when it comes to population, but the crime rates per capita are far worse. The unemployment rate is over 11 percent, which may be a leading indicator of why this town has such trouble. The violent crime rate comes in at 1376.76 per 100,000 people and the murder rate is at 5.91 per 100,000 people. In addition, the median household income is only $38,864, drastically lower than the poverty line that the United States Census set around $50,000.

New Haven, Connecticut

Yes, Connecticut makes this list for a third time, and New Haven has been featured many times for crime issues and gang activity. As home to Yale University, one would not think of New Haven for its crime, however it has been widely publicized, which has led to the local government taking action to try to remedy the issues. The population is around 129,000 and the violent crime rate comes in at 1439.19 per 100,000 people with a murder rate of 13.08 per 100,000. New Haven is another city with a median income below the poverty line, at $39,094.

Flint, Michigan

The city of Flint, Michigan has been widely publicized as the most dangerous city in America. With a population of 102,434, the violent crime rate was quite high with 2,729 crimes per 100,000 people. The murder rate was also the highest in the last year, at 61.99 per 100,000 people. Again, just like most of the other towns on this list, the median household income is lower than the poverty line, at $26,621. Many attribute the crime in Flint to the drastic decline in the automotive industry, as many of the local factories (the leading employers in the city) shut down and sent operations elsewhere. In addition, there are far fewer police officers with a ratio of one officer per 854 people.