Albany and Macon are among the most dangerous U.S. metro areas

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The U.S. violent crime rate — an annual, population-adjusted measure of cases of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide — climbed by 5% in 2020. The increase was driven by a rise in aggravated assault and, most notably, a historic 29% surge in homicides that made 2020 the deadliest year in the United States since the mid-1990s.

Despite the largest single-year increase in homicides on record, the overall violent crime rate in 2020 remains relatively low by historical standards. There were 1.3 million violent crimes reported in the U.S. in 2020, or 399 for every 100,000 people. For context, the violent crime rate ranged between 523 and 758 incidents per 100,000 throughout the 1990s.

Of course, crime is a local phenomenon influenced by a wide range of factors. As a result, violent crime rates in the U.S. can vary considerably from place to place — and in some metro areas, rates of violence far exceed the nation-level highs recorded in decades past.

Following a near nation-leading 40.5% surge in violent crime in 2020, the Albany metro area stands alone as by far the most dangerous city in Georgia. Nearly 1,500 violent crimes were reported in the Albany metro area in 2020, or 1,008 for every 100,000 people. The increase was led by a 55% surge in cases of aggravated assaults and a near doubling of homicides — from 12 in 2019 to 23 in 2020.

As is often the case in metro areas with high rates of criminal violence, Albany is home to a disproportionately large share of residents facing severe financial hardship. The local poverty rate of 22.6% is considerably higher than the comparable 12.3% national rate.

The Macon-Bibb County metro area in Georgia is also one of only 22 nationwide with a violent crime rate exceeding 700 incidents per 100,000 people. There were 1,624 violent crimes reported in the area in 2020, or 708 for every 100,000 people.

Like much of the country, Macon is suffering from a surge in violence. Though reported cases of robbery declined in the area year over year, aggravated assault cases surged by 91.9% and homicides more than doubled, from 21 in 2019 to 44 in 2020. As a result, the overall violent crime rate spiked 55.7% year over year.

Metro areas are ranked on their violent crime rate using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. Additional data on specific crimes are also from the 2020 FBI UCR. Poverty rates are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

RankMetro areaViolent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020Total violent crimes, 2020Murders per 100,000 people, 2020Total murders, 2020
1Memphis, TN1,35918,32424.2327
2Monroe, LA1,3092,60511.623
3Anchorage, AK1,1713,5765.918
4Pine Bluff, AR1,09895027.724
5Detroit, MI1,08818,89422.3387
6Danville, IL1,05078517.413
7Albany, GA1,0081,46915.823
8Albuquerque, NM1,0069,2969.487
9Alexandria, LA9681,46414.522
10Little Rock, AR9397,01413.198
11Lubbock, TX9192,9859.531
12Florence, SC8601,76419.039
13Fairbanks, AK8412779.13
14Sumter, SC8121,14019.928
15Saginaw, MI7951,50117.533
16Lake Charles, LA7891,6639.019
17Rockford, IL7712,56610.836
18Gainesville, FL7602,5165.117
19Corpus Christi, TX7383,17610.043
20Stockton, CA7235,51711.084
21Pueblo, CO7221,21610.718
22Macon, GA7081,62419.244
23Odessa, TX6971,18011.219
24Bakersfield, CA6926,21612.9116
25Shreveport, LA6832,68321.685
26Milwaukee, WI67810,68813.1206
27Amarillo, TX6731,7876.818
28Springfield, IL6671,3695.812
29Rapid City, SD66595710.415
30Niles, MI6641,0135.28
31Battle Creek, MI66488610.514
32Kalamazoo, MI6631,7637.520
33Farmington, NM6618173.24
34Jonesboro, AR6608939.613
35South Bend, IN6552,1219.330
36Houston, TX63245,3689.2662
37Springfield, MO6322,9935.526
38Billings, MT6271,1528.215
39Jackson, TN6251,1159.517
40New Orleans, LA6247,96021.7277
41Nashville, TN61612,1377.7152
42Fort Smith, AR6151,5414.411
43Chattanooga, TN6133,4877.945
44Beaumont, TX6062,3728.935
45Kokomo, IN6044989.78
46Lawton, OK60375912.716
47Merced, CA5991,6608.724
48Fresno, CA5975,9489.494
49Tulsa, OK5915,9479.394
50Hot Springs, AR5835829.09