Did you know that Virginia is home to some of the most dangerous cities in the country? In fact, according to recent data from the FBI, 10 out of the 50 most dangerous cities in America are located in this state.
If you’re living or planning to visit one of these cities, it’s important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the 21 most dangerous cities in Virginia and provide some safety tips for each one.
The 21 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia
- Population: 17,835
- Violent crime rate (per 1,000 residents): 7.63
Bristol is located in southwest Virginia and is home to 17,835 people. Unfortunately, it also contains one of the highest violent crime rates in the state.
With a rate of 7.63 per 1,000 residents, Bristol experiences higher rates of violent crime than many other Virginia cities.
These include aggravated assault, robbery and murder. Residents should take extra caution when walking alone at night or in unfamiliar areas.
- Population: 44,732
- Violent crime: 559 (1,252 per 100,000)
Charlottesville is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. Violent crime rates are higher than average and property crime rates are on par with the rest of the state.
The city has a history of gang activity, particularly in certain neighborhoods which have seen a spike in crime over recent years.
Drug crimes have also been on the rise in Charlottesville, though law enforcement has been making efforts to clamp down on the problem.
Residents should stay alert and aware of their surroundings if they are visiting or living in Charlottesville, as violent crimes do occur here with some frequency.
Crime Rate: Chesapeake has the second highest crime rate in Virginia. It reported a total of 8,085 criminal incidents in 2019.
Violent crime such as assault and robbery occur at higher rates than the state average. Property crimes like theft and burglary are common issues in Chesapeake.
4. Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights has a violent crime rate of 10.7 per 1,000 people and one of the highest property crime rates in the state at 109.8 per 1,000 people.
This city is known for its high burglary and larceny-theft rates as well as its auto theft problem.
Residents should take extra caution when leaving their vehicles unattended or walking alone in certain areas. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep valuables out of sight.
- Population: 43,055
- Violent crime: 651
- Property crime: 4,096
Danville is located in south-central Virginia close to the North Carolina border. The city is known for its crime rate, which was rated as the 10th highest in the state of Virginia by City-Data.com.
Violent crimes such as homicide, assault, robbery, and rape occur at a higher frequency in Danville than the national and state averages.
The city frequently experiences higher rates of property crime as well, with theft and burglary featuring prominently in the list of reported crimes.
- Population: 5,927
- Violent crime: 558 per 100,000
The small city of Emporia in Greensville County has a crime rate that is almost three times the national average. The crime rate includes robberies, assaults, and drug offenses.
These crimes have created a dangerous atmosphere for residents and visitors alike. Despite multiple attempts to reduce the crime rate in the city, it continues to remain one of the least safe cities in Virginia.
The Emporia Police Department works closely with the community to ensure safety and security, but more needs to be done to reduce crime in this area.
- Population: 8,484
- Crime Rate: 1 in 35.7
Franklin is a small city in Isle of Wight County with a population of 8,484 as of 2019. It was formerly known as “Jarratt’s Depot” and has since grown to become one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia.
The crime rate here is 1 in 35.7, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia per capita.
While the majority of crimes are property related, there is a notable presence of violent crime here as well, including robbery and aggravated assault.
The police department is vigilant in preventing crime and has implemented several successful measures to reduce it over time.
Fredericksburg is a city located in Virginia. It is an independent city surrounded by Spotsylvania and Stafford counties.
Despite its small size and peaceful nature, it is known for its high crime rate. The violent crime rate in Fredericksburg is 1,323 per 100,000 residents, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia.
In addition, the property crime rate is 5,292 per 100,000 people. Residents should take extra precautions when traveling to this city and make sure they stay aware of their surroundings at all times.
- Population: 7,042
- Crime Rate: High
Galax is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia with a crime rate well above the national average.
The city has seen an increase in violent crimes recently and its ranking as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in Virginia is well deserved.
Gang activity, drug-related crime, and property crime are common in Galax. The city is also known to be a major hub for drug trafficking, particularly heroin and methamphetamine.
It is important to exercise caution when visiting Galax since the potential for crime is high.
- Population: 22,591
- Crime Rate: 8.96 per 1,000 people
Hopewell has consistently ranked in the top of dangerous cities throughout Virginia. With an overall crime rate of 8.96 per 1,000 residents, Hopewell is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia and thus should be avoided by travelers and tourists.
The city’s overall crime rate is much higher than the national average of 4.63 per 1,000 people and Hopewell is known for having a high number of violent crimes.
The city’s violent crime rate stands at 3.12 per 1,000 residents which is nearly double the state average of 1.59 per 1,000 people.
Property crimes in Hopewell are also higher than the national average at 5.84 per 1,000 people compared to the US average of 3.67 per 1,000 people.
The city is known for its high crime rates and should be avoided by travelers and tourists if possible.
Known for its historical significance, Lynchburg is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. With a violent crime rate of 7 per 1,000 residents and property crimes at around 33 per 1,000 residents, Lynchburg’s crime rate far exceeds the state’s average.
The city has seen an increase in criminal activity over the past few years, with a particular spike in motor vehicle theft.
Lynchburg is also home to one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Virginia, Daniel’s Hill. This neighborhood has seen an increase in criminal activity over the last few years, including shootings and assaults.
In addition to its high crime rate, Lynchburg has limited economic opportunities and financial resources for its citizens, making it more difficult for residents to escape poverty and improve their quality of life.
As such, Lynchburg is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia and should be avoided if possible.
- Population: 7,092
- Overall Grade: F
- Crime Rate: 11th Highest in the State
Marion has a crime rate that is approximately two and a half times higher than the Virginia average. Violent crimes such as aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery are all relatively common occurrences in Marion.
The city also experiences its fair share of property crime, with larceny, motor vehicle theft, and burglary all contributing to Marion’s high-crime rate.
Residents should exercise caution when traveling around the city and consider taking extra safety measures such as installing security systems in their homes.
13. Newport News
Crime Rate: Property crime rate is 69.17% higher than the national average; violent crime rate is 75.79% higher than the national average
Crime Rate: Norfolk consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. The city has a violent crime rate of 810 per 100,000 residents, with property crimes occurring at a rate of 4,082 incidents per 100,000 people.
The city of Petersburg is located in the south-central region of Virginia. Despite its small population, it has a history of high crime and is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia.
In 2019, it was reported that Petersburg had a violent crime rate of 1,638 per 100,000 people — more than double the national average.
The city also has an above-average property crime rate of 5,625 per 100,000 people. With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that Petersburg is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia.
Portsmouth is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. The city has seen its violent crime rate steadily climbing since 2013 and remains among the most dangerous cities in the state.
In 2019, Portsmouth recorded a total of 751 violent crimes, including 10 homicides. This equates to a rate of 775 per 100,000 people, well above the state average of 226 per 100,000.
The rate of reported property crime in Portsmouth is also significantly higher than the statewide average, with 5,831 incidents reported in 2019 for a rate of 6,074 per 100,000 people.
Radford is located in the New River Valley region of southwestern Virginia and has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia.
It has a violent crime rate of 2.67 per 1,000 residents, according to a 2019 analysis by NeighborhoodScout.
Radford also has reported high property crime rates. The city’s overall crime rate is 66% higher than the Virginia average, and it ranks as one of the least safe cities in the state.
- Population: 217, 873
- Crime rate (per 100k): 4,837
Richmond is one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. With a crime rate of nearly 4,837 per 100,000 people, Richmond is home to a high number of violent and property crimes.
The city has seen an uptick in homicides over the past few years, with the number of homicides rising to 48 in 2019.
Additionally, Richmond has relatively high rates of rape and assault, as well as an above-average rate of property crime.
- Population: 99,821
- Crime Rate: 4.2% higher than the national average
Roanoke is situated in southern Virginia and is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the state due to its high crime rate.
In 2019, there were a total of 1,914 reported violent crimes per 100,000 people in Roanoke—over four times higher than the national average.
Despite this, Roanoke is still a popular choice for travelers to explore its scenic outdoor and cultural attractions, such as Mill Mountain Park or Explore Park.
To stay safe while in Roanoke, always be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night. Additionally, use caution when entering unfamiliar neighborhoods or areas.
20. South Boston
South Boston is a town in Halifax County, Virginia that has long been known for its high crime rate. In 2017, it had the highest crime rate of all cities with over 5,000 people in the state.
The police department strives to maintain public safety and make South Boston a safer place to live and visit.
Reported violent crimes include assault, robbery, rape and murder. Residents are urged to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions when traveling through the city.
The police department also encourages citizens to report any suspicious persons or activity for further investigation.
Suffolk is a city located in southeastern Virginia. Though it has the second-highest population out of the cities in Virginia, it has been ranked one of the most dangerous cities to live in.
The crime rate here is far higher than that of other cities across the state and nation; this is mainly due to gang violence and high crime rates from theft, burglary, and vehicle-related offenses.
The city also has a relatively high rate of violent crimes such as assault and murder. In addition to the dangers posed by criminal activity, Suffolk is also prone to flooding due to its proximity to coastal waters and rivers.
The city’s infrastructure is not built to handle this kind of flooding and can leave residents vulnerable to water damage.
Although Suffolk may be one of the more dangerous cities in Virginia, it is still a wonderful place to live full of culture, art, history, and plenty of recreational activities for those brave enough to call it home.
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How to stay safe in Virginia.
Virginia has a variety of cities that contain many different dangers. To stay safe, it is important to be aware and prepared for potential risks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe in Virginia:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the people around you, as well as any suspicious activities or places. Be mindful of your surroundings, even in the most familiar areas.
- Avoid walking alone at night and use caution in unfamiliar areas. If you are traveling to a new city, research ahead of time about known danger spots or high crime areas in order to know what to avoid.
- Carry a cell phone with you so that you can contact emergency services if needed.
- Avoid confrontations with strangers and do not engage in risky behaviors, such as excessive drinking or drug use.
- Stay alert for any suspicious activity and report it to the proper authorities if necessary.
Virginia is a great state to live in, but it’s important to be aware of the dangerous cities within its borders. The cities of Portsmouth, Danville, Richmond, and Petersburg all have high crime rates and should be avoided if possible.
It’s always best to do your research before visiting any new place and make sure you know what you’re getting into.
While these cities are dangerous and should be avoided, there is still much to explore and enjoy in the state of Virginia. With its beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and many outdoor activities, Virginia can provide an enjoyable experience for everyone who visits.