There are a lot of things to consider when you’re thinking about moving to a new state. One of the most important is safety. In this blog post, we will take a look at the safest and most dangerous states in the US. Keep reading to find out which states you should avoid, and which ones are the safest for you and your family!
21 Most Dangerous States in the US
Crime Rate: Alabama has a high crime rate, ranking among the top five most dangerous states in the US. Violent crime is particularly troubling, with Alabama having one of the highest rates of assault and robbery in America.
The state also has an above-average rate of property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft.
Homicides: Alabama has the second-highest rate of homicides in America. The state saw over 500 murder victims in 2019, with a disproportionate number of them being African Americans.
Drugs: Drug abuse is another major problem that plagues Alabama. Methamphetamine and heroin are particularly common, both trafficked from Mexico across the US border as well as produced locally within the state.
Crime rate: Alaska has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the US. In 2018, it had the second-highest rate among all states at 702 incidents per 100,000 people. The state also has a high rate of property crime with over 4,200 reported incidents per 100,000 people in 2018.
Homicides: There were 39 homicides reported in Alaska in 2018, down from a peak of 67 in 2012.
Drugs: Drug use has been on the rise in Alaska; rates of past-month marijuana use among Alaskans aged 12 and older have increased since 2002.
Population: 7.28 million
Arizona is one of the most dangerous states in the US, with a violent crime rate of 542 per 100,000 people, according to the FBI’s 2019 statistics.
The state has seen an increase in homicides since 2018 and it has some of the highest property crime rates in the country. Arizona also has a high rate of drug-related offences.
In 2019, law enforcement made 36,459 arrests for drug use and possession. Additionally, Arizona has a large number of gangs operating in the state and gang violence is an ongoing problem.
The state also has higher rates of domestic violence than the national average, with over 10% of women having reported being victims of physical abuse from a partner.
Arizona’s law enforcement agencies are working diligently to reduce crime, but the state still remains one of the most dangerous in the US.
Crime rate: Arkansas has one of the highest crime rates in the United States. Violent crimes such as murder, rape and robbery are particularly prevalent.
Property crimes including burglary and theft also occur at a high rate. Property crime is estimated to be 35% higher than the national average, while violent crime is approximately 32% higher.
Drugs: Drug-related crime is a major concern in Arkansas, with the state ranking among the highest for illicit drug use and abuse.
The most commonly abused drugs include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription medications. In addition to criminal activity related to drugs, addiction also poses a significant threat to public safety and health in the state.
Gangs: Gang-related crime is a big problem in Arkansas, with many of the gangs operating in and around the state’s major cities.
Gang violence has been increasing over recent years, with violent crimes such as murder and robbery often linked to gang activity. The presence of gangs can also lead to other forms of criminal activity such as drug trafficking and extortion.
Population: 5.758 million
Colorado is known for its picturesque mountains, ski resorts, and peak season activities like camping and hiking. But, it also has some of the most dangerous cities in the US including Aurora, Lakewood, Commerce City, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton and Pueblo.
Crime rates in these cities are high, and the state has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.
Colorado has a higher rate of property crimes than most states, and factors such as drug abuse, poverty, a lack of economic opportunities and the availability of firearms all contribute to increased levels of crime in the area.
Population: 21.5 million
Crime Rate: 4,179/100k (per year)
Florida is home to the third most dangerous state in America. In 2020, Florida saw a significant increase in its crime rate, with violent crimes rising by almost 10%.
The overall crime rate per capita was estimated to be at 4,179 per 100k people, and the murder rate was 5.4 per 100k people.
The prevalence of drug trafficking has also led to an increase in robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, and home invasions.
Floridians are also more likely to fall victim to exploitation or fraud from other states as well as local criminals. Florida’s law enforcement is working diligently to combat the rising crime rate and ensure the safety of its citizens.
However, residents should stay vigilant and practice preventative measures to avoid becoming victims of criminal activities in Florida.
Population: 12.7 million
Dangerousness: Illinois is home to many of the nation’s most dangerous cities, including Chicago, which tops the list as one of the most violent places in America.
In addition to violent crime and property crime, there are also high levels of drug-related offenses across the state. Overall, Illinois ranks among the top ten states in terms of overall crime rate.
Population: 2.9 million
Danger Level: High
Kansas is a state located in the Midwestern United States. In recent years, it has experienced a significant rise in dangerous crime rates and an increase in other social issues such as drug abuse and human trafficking.
The most common forms of violent crime are aggravated assault, rape, homicide and robbery. The state also has a high rate of property crime, including burglary and larceny theft.
Additionally, Kansas is dealing with the opioid crisis. This is due to the proliferation of illegal drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines and fentanyl.
To address these issues, law enforcement in Kansas have conducted campaigns to crack down on drug trafficking, as well as to provide resources for addiction prevention and treatment.
Additionally, the state government is investing in crime prevention initiatives such as neighborhood watch programs and victim support services.
Population: 4.6 million
Crime rate: Louisiana is ranked as the most dangerous state in the US, according to law enforcement data. In 2019, it came out on top for both violent and property crime rates per capita.
With a violent crime rate of 651 incidents per 10,000 people, Louisiana has nearly twice the national average of 373 incidents per 10,000. Property crime is also on the rise, with a rate of 4,284 per 10,000 residents.
Crime Rate: Maryland has one of the highest crime rates in the United States with 1,873.3 crimes committed per 100,000 people as of 2018. The violent crime rate reached 459 incidents per 100,000 people in 2017 alone.
Despite this alarming statistic, Maryland is considered to be significantly safer than many other states in the US.
The majority of violent crimes are concentrated to certain areas within Baltimore, making it one of the most dangerous cities in America. In terms of property crime, Maryland has a rate of 1,413 incidents per 100,000 people.
Baltimore is undoubtedly the most dangerous city in Maryland with its high levels of poverty and crime. The city is home to many gang-related activities, with drug trafficking and shootings being the most common. Other dangerous areas in Maryland include Annapolis, Salisbury, and Ocean City.
Population: 9.96 million
Crime Level: High
Michigan is one of the most dangerous states in the United States. Violent crime rates are particularly high, with 824 violent crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2019.
Property crime is also on the rise, with 4,834 property crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2019. Detroit has the highest crime rate in the state, and one of the highest in the country.
Carjackings, robberies, and assaults are rampant throughout the city. Although violent crime rates have declined in recent years, they remain at high levels due to large-scale drug trafficking operations. Michigan has also seen an increase in hate crimes against members of minority groups.
Related: The 20 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan
Population: 2.988 million
Mississippi is the 32nd most populous state in the United States and the second most dangerous. The crime rate in Mississippi is significantly higher than the national average, with property crime and violent crime both about one-third higher on average.
The violent crime rate has been almost twice the national average in recent years. The city of Jackson, Mississippi is particularly dangerous and has had some of the highest crime rates in the country over much of the last decade.
Mississippi also ranks at or near the top nationally for several other concerning safety-related statistics, such as drunk driving fatalities, violent hate crimes per capita, and firearms deaths per capita. The state has also been consistently ranked in the top five for its high rate of road fatalities.
Missouri is one of the most dangerous states in the US. According to FBI data from 2019, Missouri had an estimated violent crime rate of 515 per 100,000 people, compared with a national rate of 369 per 100,000 people. Missouri also has a fairly high property crime rate at 3,256 per 100,000 people.
The state has seen increases in violent crime for more than a decade. In 2010, the FBI reported a rate of 446 per 100,000 people; by 2019 this had risen to 515 per 100,000 people. The sharpest increase occurred between 2017 and 2018 when the rate spiked from 485 to 515.
Missouri has also seen an increase in the rate of property crime since at least 2010, with a rate of 3,256 per 100,000 people reported in 2019 compared to 2,819 in 2010. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website, ‘Property crimes are responsible for more than 80% of all reported crimes in Missouri.’
Population: 1.06 million
Crime Rate: Montana has the highest crime rate of all US states, with a total violent crime rate of 581 incidents per 100,000 people.
Property crimes such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft are also high in Montana, with 3,929 incidents per 100,000 people reported in 2019.
Drugs: Methamphetamine is the most serious drug threat in Montana. It has a much higher rate of meth-related deaths than the national average, with 52.4 deaths for every 1 million people in 2019 — nearly four times the national rate.
Crime: Nevada has had a consistently high ranking in terms of violent crime since the late 1960s. In 2012, it ranked ninth in the US for its rate of violent crime per 100,000 residents.
While the state has seen improvement over recent years, its rate remains above the national average with 553 incidents reported per 100,000 residents in 2017. Property crime is also an issue in Nevada with a rate of 4,847 incidents per 100,000 people reported in 2017.
16. New Mexico
Rank: 36th in population (2019)
Crime Rate: New Mexico is considered to be one of the most dangerous states in the US. According to FBI crime statistics, it has a violent crime rate of 597 per 100,000 people – almost double the national average – with property crimes at 2,989 per 100,000.
New Mexico also has the second highest rate of property crime in the nation and one of the highest rates of violent crime.
Crime Rate: Oklahoma has the fifth highest crime rate in the US and is ranked as one of the most dangerous states. The violent crime rate in Oklahoma is 523 per 100,000 people which is significantly higher than the national average of 369 per 100,000 people.
Property crimes such as burglary and larceny are also high in Oklahoma, with a rate of 3,355 per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 2,362.
Drugs and Alcohol: Oklahoma has a major drug problem. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 8.3% of Oklahomans over the age of 12 reported using illicit drugs in the past month, significantly higher than the national average of 7.6%.
Additionally, Oklahoma has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the US, with a rate of 8.1% compared to the national average of 6.9%.
18. South Carolina
South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states in the US. It has a violent crime rate of 426 incidents per 100,000 people and a property crime rate of 3,053 per 100,000 people.
South Carolina also ranks high in terms of gun-related deaths; it ranked 10th in the nation in 2018 with a total of 709 gun-related deaths, or 14.7 per 100,000 people. The majority of these deaths were due to suicide (62%) followed by homicide (34%).
South Carolina also has relatively high rates of fatal drug overdoses, ranking 10th in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017 with 814 fatalities from opioids and other drugs.
In addition, the rate of new HIV diagnoses in South Carolina is higher than the national average and has been increasing since 2011. These figures highlight the serious dangers that exist in South Carolina, particularly for its residents who are most vulnerable to gun violence, drug overdoses, and HIV/AIDS.
19. South Dakota
Dangers: South Dakota has a high rate of violent crime. According to the US Department of Justice, it ranks 8th in the nation in violent crimes per capita at 647/100,000 people. This is nearly double the national average of 368/100,000 people.
Additionally, South Dakota ranks 5th in the nation for property crimes per capita at 4,921/100,000 people. These numbers are significantly higher than the national average of 2,199/100,000.
The state also suffers from drug problems such as methamphetamine and opioid abuse. In 2019 alone, there were 114 opioid-related deaths in South Dakota; this equates to 12.7 deaths for every 100,000 people.
South Dakota also has a high rate of drunk driving fatalities. In 2019, there were 124 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state; this equates to 13.9 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This is higher than the national average of 10.4 deaths per 100 million VMT.
Population: 6.8 million
Dangerous Cities: Memphis, Nashville
Tennessee is one of the most dangerous states in the United States due to its high levels of violent crime. The two cities with the highest rates of homicide, robbery and aggravated assault are Memphis and Nashville.
In addition, Tennessee has seen a significant rise in drug-related deaths in recent years. According to the CDC, Tennessee had the third highest rate of opioid-related overdose death in 2017, with a rate of 26.2 deaths per 100,000 people—nearly double the national average.
The combination of high violent crime rates and widespread drug abuse makes Tennessee a very dangerous state for its residents.
Population: 28,995,881 (2018)
Texas is the second-largest state in the United States and has a reputation for being dangerous. The highest crime rates are in major cities such as Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.
Property crime rates are particularly high in Texas; the FBI’s 2018 Crime Report showed that Texas’ property crime rate was 30.7 percent higher than the national average.
Violent crime is also a major problem in the Lone Star State; Texas had an estimated 549 violent crimes per 100,000 people for 2018, making it the ninth-most dangerous state in the US.
10 Safest States in the US
Population: 3.5 million
Connecticut is often considered one of the safest states in the US, with a violent crime rate that’s nearly 60% lower than the national average.
The state also enjoys low levels of property crime and high concentrations of law enforcement, providing an even safer environment for its citizens.
Connecticut also has some of the most robust gun laws in the country, making it a safe place for both gun owners and non-gun owners alike.
In addition to its low crime rate, Connecticut also has some of the most comprehensive healthcare services in the country, providing residents with access to quality care when needed. With all these positive factors working in its favor, Connecticut is a great place to call home.
Hawaii is one of the safest states in the United States. It ranks as number one on WalletHub’s “Safest States 2020” list.
This is due to Hawaii having one of the lowest property crime rates and violent crime rates in the country. Hawaii also has some of the best numbers when it comes to the average number of law enforcement personnel per capita and an average number of deaths due to police brutality.
Hawaii is also known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails and diverse culture. The island state has a rich history filled with vibrant cultures, traditions, and artifacts that make it even more special. Hawaii also has a diverse range of climates, from tropical rainforests to snow-capped mountains.
Hawaii is also one of the most economically stable states in the United States. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates and the highest median household incomes in the country. This stability helps contribute to its safety as well.
Crime Rate: Maine has the lowest crime rate in the US according to FBI data from 2018. Property crimes are particularly low with an average of 29.2 incidents per 1000 people. Violent crime is also relatively low with a rate of 2.42 per 1000 people, making it one of the safest states in the US.
Maine also has some of the strongest gun laws in the country. The state requires universal background checks for all firearms purchases, and limits handgun purchases to one per person per month. It also requires a permit for concealed carry.
Safety Rating: 5/5
Massachusetts is one of the safest states in the US. According to recent statistics, it has a low rate of violent crime and property crime.
In comparison to other states in the US, Massachusetts has a much lower rate of criminal activity and witnesses fewer incidences of violent and property crimes. The state also has a low rate of drug-related offenses, making it an ideal place to live and work.
The state is home to some of the best educational institutions in the US, including Harvard University, MIT, Boston College and Chamberlain College of Nursing.
Massachusetts also offers many career opportunities in high-tech, finance and healthcare industries, making it an attractive destination for job seekers.
Massachusetts is also known for its excellent public transportation system, which helps reduce traffic congestion in the state. The public transit system makes it easy to get around without having to rely on a car or taxi service.
Related: The 29 Most Dangerous Cities in Massachusetts
- Population: 5.6 million
- Violent Crime Rate: 166.7
- Property Crime Rate: 2,338.3
Minnesota is one of the safest states in the US to live and visit. The state’s violent crime rate is well below the national average, with a reported 166.7 incidents per 100,000 people in 2019 according to the FBI. Property crime is also low, with a rate of 2,338.3 per 100,000 people.
The state has an extensive system of laws designed to protect citizens and visitors, as well as a comprehensive network of penalties for criminal activity.
Minnesota also invests heavily in public safety initiatives, such as education programs aimed at reducing recidivism and providing support for victims of crime.
The state’s low crime rate is also attributed to its commitment to community policing strategies, as well as an emphasis on community-based problem solving initiatives.
Minnesota has one of the lowest rates of incarceration in the US, and its prison system focuses on rehabilitation over punishment. The state also provides a variety of resources for victims of crime, including victim advocacy organizations and legal representation.
6. New Hampshire
New Hampshire is the second safest state in America according to the FBI’s most recent statistics. This New England state has a population of 1,356,458 and a crime rate that is 2nd lowest in the US. New Hampshire also has extremely low property crime, violent crime and murder rates.
The state has implemented several policies to keep its citizens safe, including stricter gun control regulations than the rest of the country. Law enforcement officers are dedicated to protecting their communities and actively combatting criminal activities. The state also offers resources such as victim advocacy centers to help those affected by violence or crime.
7. Rhode Island
Rhode Island is nearly tied with New Hampshire for the fourth-safest state in America. In terms of violent crime rate, Rhode Island is less than half of the national average and has seen a 10% decrease from 2015-2019.
Property crime in Rhode Island is also below the national average, with a 15% decrease in incidents from 2015-2019.
Rhode Island has made strides to ensure safety for its citizens by enacting laws that make it difficult to commit crime. Rhode Island’s criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation rather than punitive measures, and the state has implemented programs to divert people who are charged with minor offenses away from the criminal justice system.
The Rhode Island State Police is also dedicated to keeping the state safe by providing services such as patrol, investigations, traffic enforcement, and other public safety activities throughout the state. The police department also collaborates with local law enforcement agencies to create a safer environment for everyone in Rhode Island.
- Population: 3.2 million
- Violent crime rate: 137.9/100,000 people (the lowest in the nation)
- Property crime rate: 2339.1/100,000 (the second-lowest nationally)
Utah is one of the safest states in the US with a very low violent crime rate and an even lower property crime rate.
This is largely due to its strict gun laws, which require a background check for all firearm purchases, as well as training and safety courses. The state also has some of the lowest rates of drug abuse in the nation.
High levels of employment and education have been attributed to Utah’s low crime rate, as well as strong community values.
In addition, Utah has some of the most lenient sentencing laws in the nation, meaning that offenders are less likely to be incarcerated. All of these factors come together to make Utah one of the safest states in the US.
Crime Rate: Vermont has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. In 2017, the state had an estimated 208 violent crimes per 100,000 people – well below half the national rate.
Property crime has also been decreasing steadily over the last few years and currently sits at 1,633 incidents per 100,000 people. Thanks to these low crime rates, Vermont consistently ranks as one of the safest states in America.
Population: 7.4 million
Crime Rate: Low
Washington has consistently ranked among the safest states in the US for years. It has a violent crime rate that is 20% lower than the national average, and its property crime rate is 28% below the national average.
Washington also ranks highly in terms of road safety, with fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles being only 0.89, much lower than the national average of 1.16.
The state also has some of the best safety laws in the country, such as those that require all passengers in a car to wear seat belts and place restrictions on cellphone use while driving.
Additionally, Washington’s strict gun laws make it difficult for criminals to obtain firearms illegally. All in all, Washington remains one of the safest states in America.
When it comes to safety and security, the United States is a nation of extremes. While most states remain relatively safe and secure, some states are known to be significantly more dangerous than others.
The safest states in America include Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Utah, and Hawaii; these five states have consistently had among the lowest rates of crime, death and injury. On the other hand, states like Louisiana, New Mexico, Alaska, South Carolina and Nevada tend to experience higher levels of danger than the rest of the country.
Overall, Americans should be aware of their own state’s safety statistics when making decisions about where they choose to live or travel. No matter which state they reside in, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with any environment and take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety.