The FBI’s annual report “Crime in the United States,” which was released at the end of September, offers a window into the safety of U.S. metropolitan areas.
The report showed a 0.2 percent decrease in the estimated number of violent crimes in 2017 after two consecutive years of increases. The five-year trend shows that crime has risen; the 2017 estimated violent crime total was 6.8 percent above the 2013 level. However, the ten-year trend shows a 10.6 percent drop in violent crimes. So crime levels fluctuate, but over the long term they’re trending down.
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. It’s also important to remember that crime is often confined to the poorest neighborhoods and is often a function of generations of segregation, poverty, and social neglect, which can lead to involvement in illicit activities. The Midwest and the South have the biggest meth consumption rates in the country, which are directly reflected in the violent crime statistics.
Something else to take into account: the crime being considered. For example, rape as an indicator of danger is distinct from homicide, and it is a crime that often goes unreported, meaning 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 U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of 300,000 or more with the highest reported violent crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants for 2017, according to the FBI.