The FBI’s annual report “Crime in the United States” is out for the year 2018, and it provides a glimpse at the safety problems some of the country’s largest metro areas are facing.
According to the report, violent crime dropped 3.3 percent from 2017 to 2018. The U.S. Attorney General’s office attributes the decline in violent crime across the U.S. to the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program instituted in 2002, which provides federal resources to certain metro areas to fight violent crime.
The violent crime category in the FBI’s report includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — all of which involved force or the threat of force.
It’s important to keep in mind that the FBI report is comprised of information that is voluntarily supplied by law enforcement agencies, and not all agencies reported, nor did those reporting include information on all the available categories.
For many of the cities on the list, most of the violence is limited to more impoverished, historically disadvantaged neighborhoods that lack significant resources. There’s also the opioid epidemic, which is largely correlated with violence, crime and homelessness. The opioid epidemic cost the U.S. over $179 billion in 2018 alone. The Midwest and the South have the biggest meth consumption rates in the country, which are directly reflected in the violent crime statistics. Guns are also a pressing and mostly unaddressed issue in the U.S.
Something else to consider: the crime in question. For example, rape reporting isn’t the same as homicide reporting, or armed robbery, for instance. Rape is a crime that often goes unreported, which means the figures are likely much higher. There is a critical question that is often overlooked in reports about dangerous cities — where in the United States is it more dangerous to be a woman?
Here is a comparative look at the 37 U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more with the highest reported violent crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants for 2018, according to the FBI.