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.
|Rank||Metro area||Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020||Total violent crimes, 2020||Murders per 100,000 people, 2020||Total murders, 2020|
|4||Pine Bluff, AR||1,098||950||27.7||24|
|10||Little Rock, AR||939||7,014||13.1||98|
|16||Lake Charles, LA||789||1,663||9.0||19|
|19||Corpus Christi, TX||738||3,176||10.0||43|
|29||Rapid City, SD||665||957||10.4||15|
|31||Battle Creek, MI||664||886||10.5||14|
|35||South Bend, IN||655||2,121||9.3||30|
|40||New Orleans, LA||624||7,960||21.7||277|
|42||Fort Smith, AR||615||1,541||4.4||11|
|50||Hot Springs, AR||583||582||9.0||9|