The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

While many stories have been written about Detroit's turnaround, it took the top spot on Forbes list of most dangerous cities. Detroit had 1,111 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, which included 345 murders, writes John Giuffo.

While many cities remain the "most dangerous," a nationwide drop in crime has actually improved the cities with the most violence. The second on the list Memphis, Tenn., with 1,006 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, was down from 1,146 last year.

"It's commonly expected that crime will rise as economic conditions worsen, but that hasn't been the case in the U.S. – violent crime has fallen for the past four years. In 2010, murder was down 4%, rape fell 5%, robbery dropped 10%, and aggravated assault fell 4%, according to the FBI."

Forbes list used FBI data from "four categories of violent crimes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; and aggravated assault."

Full Story: America's Most Dangerous Cities



Todd Litman's picture

Murder Versus Traffic Danger

This analysis only reflects crime danger, the most sensational but not necessarily the most serious risk in most people's lives. More than twice as many people die in traffic crashes than murders. As discussed in my recent blog, "Smart Growth Safety Benefits" ( ), crash risk varies significantly depending on transport and land use factors, with about four times higher rates in automobile-dependent sprawled communities compared with multi-modal smart growth communities. Traffic deaths and injuries are so common that they receive little news media attention compared with violent crimes, leading people to misunderstand the true risks they face.

Todd Alexander Litman
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
"Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"

Apples to apples Detroit ranks 17th not first in crime

Data Driven Detroit (D3)*** takes issue with Forbes' approach to this analysis. Here are 2 links to our official response to Forbes' 10 Most Dangerous Cities Article:


This is just one example issue we have with Forbes' approach:

The difference between apples and oranges:
Nine out of the ten geographie­s listed in Forbes’ piece are metropolit­an statistica­l areas (MSA), but the included geography for Detroit is a metropolit­an division (MD). The Detroit MSA includes six counties while the Detroit MD includes only Wayne County. This is a difference of roughly 2.5 million people. All this underlines a basic lesson from Statistics 101. Do not compare apples to oranges. In this instance the apples-to-­oranges comparison hugely biases the results against Detroit by concentrat­ing its crime. When Detroit is properly included on the list as an MSA, it is actually ranked 17th in the nation for crime – not first!

***Data Driven Detroit (D3) provides accessible­, high-quali­ty informatio­n and analysis to drive decision-m­aking that strengthen­s communitie­s in Southeast Michigan. www.datadr­ivendetroi­

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