America’s Most Dangerous and Safest Cities Revealed


Law Street Media, LLC
Chelsey D. Goff


NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, November 25, 2013. Flint, Michigan is ranked as America’s Most Dangerous City and Detroit is America’s Most Dangerous big city, according to rankings based on FBI data released today by Law Street Media, a new website covering law and policy. Full rankings are available at

The FBI data revealed some important year-over-year trends: Among the Top 10 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities, violent-crime rates rose in all but three, defying the national average that remained largely unchanged from prior year. The crime rate surged in Flint, Oakland, and Memphis. New Haven and Cleveland moved into the Top 10 among America’s Most Dangerous Cities after placing farther down the list in 2011, with the rate of violent crime increasing significantly in New Haven. Among the Most Dangerous, only St. Louis experienced a marked decline.

The Law Street rankings, based on FBI violent-crime data compiled for calendar 2012, showed Irvine, California to be the safest American city. Law Street’s rankings constitute the first tabulation of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report statistics for 2012 and cover every city with a population over 100,000 – 286 cities in all. The FBI released its 2012 data in September.

Law Street used the FBI’s four major violent crime categories – murders, aggravated assaults, robberies, and forcible rapes – to create a standard measure of violent-crimes-per-100,000 people among all cities reporting crime data to the FBI. This allows year-to-year and city-to-city comparisons.  To derive the ratio, the total number of violent crimes reported to the FBI  is divided by the city’s population, with  the result then multiplied by 100,000.  The formula for this calculation is shown below:

Violent Crime Rate = (Total Violent Crime in a City/City Population) x 100,000

Crime ratings were further broken down by population, with 200,000 used as the dividing point. Flint, a city with a population of 101,632 just 70 miles outside of Detroit, led the rankings for the Under-200,000 category and also was the Most Dangerous City overall, with a violent crime rate of 2,729 per 100,000 – seven times the national average.  Detroit ranked first among large cities, with a violent-crime rate of 2,122.The two cities also topped the danger rankings in 2011, but experienced very different rates of change in their 2012 rates:  Detroit’s crime rate was largely unchanged, while violent crime in Flint rose by almost 17 percent.

Irvine, CA ranked as the Safest City Overall, according to the FBI data. Irvine also topped the list of Safest Cities among populations of 200,000 or greater. It achieved this honor by having the lowest violent-crime rate per population – 50.57 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 386.9. Although Irvine has 217,528 residents, it reported only 110 instances of violent crime in 2012.

Below are Top Ten Safest Cities with populations over 200,000:

1. Irvine, CA

2. Gilbert, AZ

3. Plano, TX

4. Fremont, CA

5. Scottsdale, AZ

6. Henderson, NV

7. Virginia Beach, VA

8. Irving, TX

9. Garland, TX

10. Chula Vista, CA

More than 80 percent of Americans reside in cities and suburbs, and the safety of each varies greatly across the nation. Law Street’s Crime in America provides the first comprehensive look at the FBI’s latest data.

Law Street is an open-access web-based media platform covering law and public policy. It was founded as a way to provide a single essential resource to law students and young professionals in the rapidly-evolving legal industry. Read the press release about Law Street’s recent launch here, and see the recent Publishers Weekly story about our company here. Law Street’s Founder and CEO is journalist and author John A. Jenkins, formerly President and Publisher of CQ Press. Read more about John and the rest of the Law Street team here.

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