Most dangerous cities in America
By compiling FBI data on violent and property crime, CQ Press has determined the most dangerous cities in America.
Camden, N.J., may be the most dangerous city in the country, according to data released by CQ Press.
Compiled from FBI crime statistics, CQ Press compared cities’ rates of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. These figures were then weighed against the cities’ respective populations, and, after crunching the numbers, Camden ranked as the most dangerous city of any in the nation with a population of 75,000 or more.
The revelation may not surprise. CNN Money reports that in his State of the State Address last year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, “For too long, Camden has been one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey, and in America.”
Plagued by problems with drugs, poverty and homelessness, Camden had 57 homicides in 2013, which is down from 2012’s 67. Last spring, the state transferred the responsibility of policing Camden from the city to the county. Scott Thompson, Camden County police chief, told CNN Money the shift will help.
Next on the list is Flint, Mich., which, by other metrics, has the highest violent crime rate in the country for cities with over 100,000 people, according to MLive, the online home of several area newspapers. CNN Money reports that in the early ‘80s, Flint was home to nearly 80,000 auto-manufacturing jobs. Today, very few are left.
This economic collapse has driven the city into poverty. CNN Money reports the median household income in Flint has fallen 45 percent below the median for the state, and Flint’s poverty rate hovers around 40 percent. Because of the reduced tax base, the cash-strapped city has been forced to lay off officers, hamstringing crime-fighting efforts. In 2013, there were 55 murders in Flint.
Detroit is third on the list, with 333 homicides in 2013, nearly as many as New York City, which has 12 times Detroit’s population, according to CNN Money. Budget cuts to the police department in the bankrupt city have reduced police manpower by 20 percent since 2006. The average response time to an emergency call is nearly an hour.
The following cities, in order, are Oakland, Calif., St. Louis, Cleveland, Gary, Ind., Newark, N.J., Bridgeport, Conn. and Birmingham, Ala. Although each city’s individual situation is different, CNN Money reports that in most of these cases, the causes for high crime rates are essentially the same. In nearly every city, failing municipal economies lead to poverty; that poverty reduces the tax base, which in turn weakens the power of the police force.
The safest cities with populations of 75,000 or more, according to the data, included Fishers, Ind., Carmel, Ind., Parma, Ohio, Johns Creek, Ga., and Ramapo, N.Y.
For a complete list of cities and their crime rankings, click here.