Stay Safe and Avoid Settling in These 5 Dangerous Cities
BOSTON ( MainStreet) Americans face about 1-in-30 odds of becoming crime victims in any given year but that'll jump to as high as 1 in 7 if you move to some communities atop NeighborhoodScout.com's 2013 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S. rankings.
"These cities are the most dangerous in terms of what scares people the most: murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault," NeighborhoodScout CEO Andrew Schiller says.
NeighborhoodScout, a data-analytics company based outside Boston, compiles its list annually by analyzing crime data for thousands of U.S. municipalities with 25,000 residents or more.
Schiller says communities with the highest violent-crime rates are typically former manufacturing towns that fell on hard times when local factories shut down.
"Most of the worst places are old industrial areas that have economies that are either collapsing or have collapsed," he says. "Their populations have shrunk dramatically, leaving a concentration of folks who've chosen to stay even though there aren't many opportunities."
The expert adds that cities with the nation's worst crime rates all have "a very disproportionate number of single-parent households that are living in poverty."
Still, Schiller doesn't categorically advise against moving to a high-crime city, noting that every community has its strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, he says people moving to Greater Boston near NeighborhoodScout's headquarters will face some lousy weather, high home prices and long commutes to work.
"Every place has issues," Schiller says. "There's really no such thing as a bad neighborhood if it's a good match for what you're personally looking for."
If what you're looking for is a safe neighborhood, click below to check out five communities you should avoid: NeighborhoodScout's 2013 most-dangerous U.S. cities.
The site based its rankings on violent-crime rates for each community as of 2011, the latest year with final figures available. (NeighborhoodScout augmented the annual crime statistics that municipal police departments report to the FBI with figures from local sheriffs, transit police, university police and other law-enforcement agencies.)
All references to violent crimes refer to murder, robbery, aggravated assault and forcible (as opposed to statutory) rape, while references to property crimes refer to burglary, larceny/theft and automotive theft. And while NeighborhoodScout ranks cities' danger levels based on violent-crime rates alone, the listed odds of residents becoming victims refer to both violent and property crimes.
Fifth-most-dangerous U.S. city to move to: Saginaw, Mich.
Saginaw, an old industrial town some 100 miles northwest of Detroit, has seen crime soar as the manufacturing sector's decline drained the city of jobs and people.
The 51,300-population community has a murder rate that's 3.6 times the national average and rape and robbery levels almost three times what's typical for a city of Saginaw's size. Worse, the community's aggravated-assault rate is nearly eight times the U.S. average, which Schiller calls "outrageous."