Do We Live in One of America’s Most Dangerous Cities?
We have low unemployment, a world class entertainment venue and convention center, numerous sports venues, a gazillion restaurants, an awesome park and bike trail system and apparently, a growing crime problem.
24/7 Wall Street analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures from 2009 through 2013 and also reviewed the Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey for information on household income, educational attainment rates and poverty. They then came up with a list of cities where crime is soaring.
No Sioux Falls is not at the top of the list, that dubious honor goes to Bismarck, North Dakota, but being on this list at all is kind of weird. We've always been the big town with a small town feel and now this.
Yes, we all understand that as a city expands and changes there will be growing pains. Truthfully it is somewhat surprising that it took this long. We do have two major highways intersecting here and that always brings interesting characters into the picture.
Overall the United States is actually becoming safer with crime rates dropping every year. In fact violent crime has fallen almost 52% from 1991 through 2013. Violent crime, (in case you're wondering) includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
24/7 Wall Street had a hard time determining the relationship between the economy and the rise or fall of violent crime. In some areas a booming economy meant lower crime, but in Bismarck, exactly the opposite was true.
Originally there were 10 cities on the list, but they removed one due to an error on their part, so with that in mind and for the edification of us all, here is the list of the Top 9 Cities Where Crime is Soaring with the percentage of the 5 year increase in violent crime for each one and a bit of info on what the reasons may be.
- Bismarck, North Dakota: 92.4% increase - Oil boom, increase in aggravated assaults and an 81% increase statewide of drunk driving (not considered violent crime but contributing to the overall rise in offenses)
- Medford, Oregon: 80.4% - High unemployment, I-5 runs through town bringing gangs and increased drug trafficking issues
- Columbus, Indiana: 71.1% - No correlation between income and rate here as the median income there is around $52,500
- Longview, Washington: 67.1% - High unemployment, low educational attainment, 5th highest rate of rape in the country
- Gadsen, Alabama: 64.5% - Low median income, low educational attainment, aggravated assaults doubled
- San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles, California: 48.3% - Increased aggravated assaults even as the unemployment rate fell
- Madera/Chowcilla, California: 46.6% - Financial distress, low median income, high unemployment, poorly educated citizens
- Crestview/Fort Walton Beach/Destin, Florida: 40.2% - Inexplicably unemployment is down here but the crime rate continues to rise
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 37.7% - Population growth, increase in methamphetamine crimes, two major highways intersecting here bring more drug traffic and gang activity into the city.
To see the report in full, click here.