Crime City USA: The Top Thirty Murder Capitals

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Crime Scene

Crime rates are decreasing across large cities in the United States, but murder rates are on the rise.

Numerous sources, from city police departments to the Brennan Center for Justice, reported a drastic jump in murder rates in large cities across America from 2014 to 2015. Experts have not yet reached a consensus explanation for this increase, but many have ideas.

Some popular theories include the rise of income inequality, loose gun control and more cautious cops in the wake of events such as the Ferguson shooting.

The decrease in crime and increase in murders, though seemingly counterintuitive, is a trend that has been seen before. For example, in a 1999 paper, Stephen D. Levitt (author of Freakonomics) examined Chicago and its 77 neighborhoods between 1970-1990 as a case study.

In the 1970s, there was a negative correlation between neighborhood income and homicide rates — the higher the income, the lower the rate. The same pattern applied for property crime rates. However, for the next two decades, as income inequality between neighborhoods increased, this negative correlation dwindled. By 1990, the homicide rates in higher-income and lower-income neighborhoods were much more similar. At the same time, though, property crimes significantly decreased for the wealthy.

Regarding the increase in murders from 2014 to 2015 in major U.S. cities, most experts agree that it will be years before the reasons are clear — if reasons exist at all. The increase could end up being an anomalous year-to-year spike.

Whatever the cause, analysts at FindTheHome wanted to find places in America with the highest murder rates. Using the most recent 2014 estimates from the American Community Survey and murder incidence data from the Uniform Crime Report collected by the FBI, they determined the top 30 counties with the highest murder rate per 100,000 people in each state.

Note: We considered counties with populations of 50,000 people or more.

#30. Lake County, IN

Murders per 100K People: 12.37
Total Murders: 61

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 413.5
Total Violent Crimes: 2,039

Population: 493,140

#29. Hunt County, TX

Murders per 100K People: 12.61
Total Murders: 11

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 386.2
Total Violent Crimes: 337

Population: 87,256

#28. Norfolk City, VA

Murders per 100K People: 12.67
Total Murders: 31

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 523
Total Violent Crimes: 1,280

Population: 244,745

#27. Robeson County, NC

Murders per 100K People: 13.34
Total Murders: 18

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 435.8
Total Violent Crimes: 588

Population: 134,913

#26. Jackson County, MO

Murders per 100K People: 13.42
Total Murders: 91

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,004.8
Total Violent Crimes: 6,814

Population: 678,167

#25. Newport News City, VA

Murders per 100K People: 13.78
Total Murders: 25

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 431.7
Total Violent Crimes: 783

Population: 181,362

#24. Russell County, AL

Murders per 100K People: 14.04
Total Murders: 8

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 512.5
Total Violent Crimes: 292

Population: 56,980

#23. East Baton Rouge Parish, LA

Murders per 100K People: 14.2
Total Murders: 63

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 564.7
Total Violent Crimes: 2,505

Population: 443,598

#22. Forrest County, MS

Murders per 100K People: 14.44
Total Murders: 11

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 166.8
Total Violent Crimes: 127

Population: 76,159

#21. St. Clair County, IL

Murders per 100K People: 14.53
Total Murders: 39

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 519.3
Total Violent Crimes: 1,394

Population: 268,415

#20. Fulton County, GA

Murders per 100K People: 14.58
Total Murders: 141

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 832.9
Total Violent Crimes: 8,055

Population: 967,100

#19. Essex County, NJ

Murders per 100K People: 14.69
Total Murders: 116

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 642.1
Total Violent Crimes: 5,070

Population: 789,616

#18. Pulaski County, AR

Murders per 100K People: 14.92
Total Murders: 58

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,008.9
Total Violent Crimes: 3,922

Population: 388,752

#17. Lauderdale County, MS

Murders per 100K People: 14.95
Total Murders: 12

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 348.9
Total Violent Crimes: 280

Population: 80,261

#16. Marion County, IN

Murders per 100K People: 15.01
Total Murders: 138

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,178.2
Total Violent Crimes: 10,832

Population: 919,336

#15. Chaves County, NM

Murders per 100K People: 15.19
Total Murders: 10

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 639.3
Total Violent Crimes: 421

Population: 65,850

#14. Montgomery County, AL

Murders per 100K People: 15.29
Total Murders: 35

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 465.8
Total Violent Crimes: 1,066

Population: 228,850

#13. Shelby County, TN

Murders per 100K People: 15.6
Total Murders: 146

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,314.2
Total Violent Crimes: 12,303

Population: 936,130

#12. Wyandotte County, KS

Murders per 100K People: 15.68
Total Murders: 25

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 705.5
Total Violent Crimes: 1,125

Population: 159,466

#11. Philadelphia County, PA

Murders per 100K People: 16.03
Total Murders: 248

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,029.5
Total Violent Crimes: 15,925

Population: 1,546,920

#10. Washington County, D.C.

Murders per 100K People: 16.57
Total Murders: 105

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,232.4
Total Violent Crimes: 7,810

Population: 633,736

#9. Jefferson County, AR

Murders per 100K People: 17.41
Total Murders: 13

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 780.9
Total Violent Crimes: 583

Population: 74,655

#8. Wayne County, MI

Murders per 100K People: 17.76
Total Murders: 318

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 945.4
Total Violent Crimes: 16,924

Population: 1,790,078

#7. Nash County, NC

Murders per 100K People: 18.91
Total Murders: 18

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 614.7
Total Violent Crimes: 585

Population: 95,174

#6. Richmond City, VA

Murders per 100K People: 19.43
Total Murders: 41

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 594.1
Total Violent Crimes: 1,254

Population: 211,063

#5. Hinds County, MS

Murders per 100K People: 25.57
Total Murders: 63

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 665.7
Total Violent Crimes: 1,640

Population: 246,364

#4. Halifax County, NC

Murders per 100K People: 26.02
Total Murders: 14

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 414.5
Total Violent Crimes: 223

Population: 53,803

#3. Baltimore City, MD

Murders per 100K People: 33.91
Total Murders: 211

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,341.2
Total Violent Crimes: 8,346

Population: 622,271

#2. Orleans Parish, LA

Murders per 100K People: 40.71
Total Murders: 150

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,023.1
Total Violent Crimes: 3,770

Population: 368,471

The city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish are conterminous.

#1. St. Louis City, MO

Murders per 100K People: 49.89
Total Murders: 159

Violent Crimes per 100K People: 1,677.9
Total Violent Crimes: 5,348

Population: 318,727

St. Louis City also has the highest rate of violent crime in the country.

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