America’s a pretty big place, and thus has many safe places to live, along with many others far less so. Put it quite simply: there are many cities where simply by being there, you take your life into your own hands. Listed below are the top ten cities in America you are most likely to be murdered in. You can airdrop a ton and a half of weaponry right in the middle of these places, and they would go together like teen girls and vampires.
10. Stockton, California
Stockton, with a population of 296,357 people, is the largest in-land port in California. Although Stockton is the baby in this group, 71 people were murdered there in 2012, making it California’s second most violent city. That means for every 100,000 people in Stockton, 24.4 of them were murdered. On this list, those are good odds.
In 2012 Stockton declared bankruptcy, further decimating its already-crumbling infrastructure. It’s police force of 300 officers means that there are 1.01 officers for every 1000 citizens in Stockton. This is woefully below the 2.5 per 1000 national average. Stockton is overrun by gangs of all nationalities, and they are making the streets their own personal murder-filled playground.
9. Cleveland, Ohio
Clevelanders need to be quick on their feet. For every 100,000 of them, 25.64 are going to be murdered. In 2012, a city of 393,806 people experienced 100 murders. What is amazing about these numbers is that Cleveland averages 60 inches of snow every year, which would put just about anybody in a murdering mood. And yet, the majority of Cleveland’s murders in 2012 occurred during the summer and fall. That means the summer months are full of fun, sun and murder.
As if a high murder rate were reason enough not to live there, Cleveland sports fans have had to endure more anguish than any other fans. It gets even better; in 2012 Cleveland was fortunate enough to rank third worst in Forbes list of most miserable U.S. cities. Taking all of that into consideration, maybe getting murdered in Cleveland ain’t so bad after all.
8. Oakland, California
O–Town, as the locals call it, can be a murdering good time. Oakland has a population of 395,817 people. In 2012, 131 souls were murdered. This was a ratio of 33.5 people murdered for every 100,000 people living there. Oakland has the distinction of being the most violent and dangerous city in California. If you are thinking of visiting, stay away from the east and the west sides of town, as over 70 percent of Oakland’s murders occur there.
If you are lucky enough to escape the Grim Reaper in Oakland, then look out, because you are about to be robbed. In 2011, Oakland had the highest robbery rate in the nation; 851 people out of every 100,000 people were robbed there, and some of whom were killed in the process. Leave your wallet at home and stick to the north and south parts of town.
7. Newark, New Jersey
“AY, I’m walkin’ over here!” Well you better hurry up because, out of every 100,000 people in Newark, 34.07 of them are going to be murdered. In 2012, Newark had a population of 277,540 people with 92 murders. Newark is New Jersey’s largest city, and has one of New Jersey’s highest poverty rates. To make matters even worse, in 2010 Newark laid off 162 police officers. In case you were wondering, less police officers equals more murdering.
Political corruption has plagued Newark for years. Almost all of the mayors since the 1960’s have been arrested or indicted for various crimes. In the mid-1990’s, Time Magazine named Newark “the most dangerous city in the nation.” Since then, Newark’s crime rate has gone up and down, but has always managed to keep it in the top ten most crime-ridden cities in America.
6. Baltimore, Maryland
If you’re a long-distance Baltimore Ravens fan, you might want to reconsider that pilgrimage to M&T Bank Stadium. In 2012, 217 people were murdered in Baltimore. That’s a nice 34.94 people per 100,000 citizens. With a population of 621,342 people, it’s a target-rich environment. And it might well be worse than we know; Baltimore frequently finds itself the subject of Senate investigations for fudging its crime numbers. Apparently, having a high crime rate is bad for business. But hey, who is going to notice a little murder when you have the 2013 Super Bowl champs playing in your city. Great players like Ray Lewis … wait a minute, wasn’t he charged with murder at one time?
5. Birmingham, Alabama
“Sweet Home Alabama.” That song has absolutely nothing to do with Birmingham, because good ol’ fashion killing rarely makes one feel like they’re at home. With a population of 212,413 people, 77 of them were murdered in 2012. That’s a solid 36.2 people killed for every 100,000 Birmingham citizens. Maybe that’s why Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded Sweet Home Alabama in Doraville, Georgia. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, and over the last several years has been run by a declining city government. Birmingham’s infrastructure is outdated and, due to financial issues, the city has no way of joining the rest of the nation in the 21st century.
A&E Network filmed the popular show, “The First 48” in Birmingham. If you are looking for that big Hollywood break, take a trip to Birmingham and who knows, maybe you’ll end up in “The First 48.” By the way, that show follows real police detectives around while they try and solve murders. So, if you end up on that show and you are not a detective, that might be a bad thing.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis has a good-news-bad-news thing going on. The good news is, over the last several years, the crime rate has been dropping. The bad news is, the crime rate was so high in the first place, years of it dropping still lands St. Louis in the #4 spot. St. Louis has a population of 318,172 people and in 2012, 113 of them were murdered. This is a ration of 36.45 citizens killed per 100,000 people.
St. Louis is famous for its Gateway Arch and … oh yeah, its high murder rate. One reason experts believe that St. Louis has such a high crime rate is because it has not grown beyond its constricted borders. Expansion helps with overpopulation, and is proven to reduce crime. Unfortunately for St. Louis, the only way to go is up.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
As if violent hurricanes and extreme poverty weren’t enough, let’s throw a high murder rate into the mix and see what we get. With a population of 318,172 people, New Orleans had 193 murders in 2012. That’s a solid 53.61 people murdered per 100,000 people. New Orleans is famous for Mardi Gras, and is equally famous for its high crime rate. Drugs and guns are the toys of choice for the hundreds of drug crews that operate within the city limits.
As if bad levees, high crime, and corrupt police officers weren’t enough, the city is completely overrun by stray dogs. While always having a high stray dog population, Katrina added to that problem tenfold. There are completely abandoned sections of New Orleans where thousands of wild dogs roam free. If you plan to visit New Orleans, bring a bullet proof vest, and some doggy treats.
2. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit has long been a friend to “worst city in the nation” lists. With 706,585 people, there were 411 murders in 2012. That means that out of 100,000 people, 58.21 of them were murdered in Detroit. As far back as 40 years ago, Detroit earned the distinction of Murder Capitol USA. As great as that sounds, residents are more at risk of being murdered in Detroit today than they were 40 years ago. Way to go Detroit!
Out of all those murders in 2012, 333 of them were caused by guns. You gotta love a city that believes in the Second Amendment. If only he were alive, Charlton Heston would be a fan.
1. Flint, Michigan
Proving that there is something in the water, Michigan has the distinguished honor of playing host to two of America’s most violent cities. Coming in first place is little ol’ Flint, Michigan. About an hour northwest of Detroit, Flint has a population of 102,434 people. In 2012, 66 of those people were murdered; this is a whopping 64.70 citizens murdered per 100,000 people.
Flint is one of the poorest cities in all of Michigan, as 38% of its population live below the poverty line. Drugs and guns are big business there and brother, business is good. Just in case you ever find yourself in Flint and need to make a quick exit, keep in mind that it is only 34 square miles. The best thing you can do is avoid the city altogether; in fact, considering how close Detroit is, you may just want to stay out of that entire part of Michigan.