Memphis, TN

Memphis, TN Sign (Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash)

There are probably a few places that spring to mind when you think of the most dangerous cities in the country. With any city, there is bound to be some level of crime. Unfortunately, certain places have a reputation for more criminal activity than others. How are the most dangerous cities on our list ranked? Most lists crunch the numbers using data based on crime rates, conflict levels, socioeconomic factors, health risks, law enforcement effectiveness, and international safety reports. Each list tends to weigh the factors differently, so our list features the cities most often named the most dangerous among the seven websites we sourced. Do you agree with our list? Did we miss a city you think should be in the top five? Let us know in the comments below.

The List: Most Dangerous Cities in America, According to Experts

1. Bessemer, Alabama

Bessemer, Alabama pinned on a map
Bessemer, Alabama pinned on a map (Photo by Dmitrijs Kaminskis on Shutterstock)

Here are some disturbing numbers. According to Traveling Lifestyle, “The odds of becoming a crime victim in Bessemer are 1 in 9.” This places the city of 27,000 at the top of our list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.

Bessemer is located just 16 miles south of Birmingham, another city that made our list. The New York Post says Bessemer has seen a spike in physical violence, property crime, and motor vehicle theft.

Once called “The Marvel City,” due to its rapid growth in its early years, Kim Komando says Bessemer is now known as the community with the highest crime rate in the nation, clocking 33.18 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, TN
Memphis, TN (Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash)

Memphis is a much different place than it was when Elvis Presley walked the halls of Graceland. Now, it has a crime rate that is 237 percent higher than the national average. According to Property Club, “The most dangerous neighborhoods in Memphis are Downtown, Parkway Village-Oakhaven, and Berclair-Highland Heights.

If you visit Memphis, Traveling Lifestyle reminds you to “keep your wits about you,” especially at night, so you don’t become a crime victim.

The Memphis police department has spent decades trying to reduce the city’s crime rate. According to U.S. News and World Report, the city uses reporting data to “identify and target crime hot spots around the city.” The data is posted weekly to the police department’s website.

3. St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)
Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis MO (Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash)

While the St. Louis Arch may be welcoming, you may not get such a homey feeling if you come into harm’s way while visiting St. Louis. According to Property Club, you have a one in 50 chance of being targeted by a criminal in the Gateway to the West. The neighborhoods with the highest crime? Peabody-Darst-Webbe, Hamilton Heights, Walnut Park West, and College Hill. 

It’s been difficult for St. Louis to find its way off this list, due to high poverty rates and unemployment. Norada Real Estate Investments writes, “The concentration of poverty in certain neighborhoods amplifies the strain on social systems and increases the risk of criminal involvement.” The prevalence of firearms also plays a role in the number of violent crimes.

According to The Hill, St. Louis has the third highest crime cost per capita, at $11,055.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, MI
Detroit, MI (Photo by William Duggan on Unsplash)

Detroit is no stranger to danger, coming in at number four on our list. Norada Real Estate Investments says thanks to urban decay many abandoned buildings attract “illicit drug trade, squatters, and gang-related activities.” Efforts remain underway to try to revitalize some of those areas, to reduce crime.

The Motor City may be known for auto manufacturing, but it’s also known for its high crime. Traveling Lifestyle says its crime rate is “several times the national average” making it one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

According to The Hill, Detroit fares a little better than St. Louis when it comes to the cost of crime per capita, coming in at $9291, but it still ranks highly in terms of being dangerous by many experts.

5. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham skyline at dusk
Birmingham skyline at dusk (Photo by Zach Farmer on Unsplash)

Another Alabama city rounds out our top five. Traveling Lifestyle reports local authorities in Birmingham have tried to reduce crime, but it remains “higher than 98% of other communities” in the state.

Birmingham is known for being the founding city of Veteran’s Day. Like the other spots on this list, there are a lot of great qualities about the community, but crime still lingers beneath the surface. According to Norada Real Estate Investments, Birmingham’s violent crime index “encompasses homicides, robberies, and assaults” and is off the charts.

When it comes to the cost of crime per capita, The Hill says Birmingham comes in at the top with a whopping cost of $11,392.

Sources used to create our list:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Amy Chodroff

Amy Chodroff is a recovering Morning Radio Show Host and award-winning broadcaster who recently retired from DFW’s Morning News on KLIF in Dallas. Fondly known as the “Chief Googler” by her friends, it was a seamless transition for StudyFinds to enlist her expertise for their “Best of the Best” franchise. Amy has an innate curiosity and a penchant for thorough research before any purchase and she’s constantly on the hunt for top-notch products. Outside of her digital explorations, Amy loves to explore the world with her husband and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. You can also find Amy on the pickleball court, perfecting her dink and drop shots.

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  1. edearl says:

    LIved in Vestavia(B’ham), use to go to Bright Star Restuant in Bessimer,the US Steel town of the Soouth, the Valet(security) use to escort us to our car, he carried a gun. This was 1993. Caught a taxi from the AP one afternoon, and the cabbie was a black guy, I told hiim i got lost downtown the week previous, and he pullls out a 44 mag from under his seat and say you have to be hung to go downtown.

  2. Olivia says:

    All those cities are exclusively governed by democrats and leftists. Of course the cities are dangerous.
    Everything the left touches turns to crap.

    1. Dirk says:

      LOL more ‘alt-facts’. Imagine Seattle, Portland, LA, New York, Austin or any other metros not making this list, then trying to say AL and TN are liberal strongholds. Pathetic.

    2. Divia says:

      You’re only partially right. All of these cities share 2 FACTS

      FACT#1 All of these cities have controlled by the radical democratic/socialist/communist left for decades.

      FACT#2 All of these cities have have a large or majority population of the most racist violent demographic in
      America, blacks. FACT!

  3. Jonathan E. Grant says:

    The collapse of manufacturing, due in large part to our one sided trade deal with China, has done more to increase crime and decrease the quality of life than any other factor.

  4. DClauss says:

    I was on a road trip from GA to CA and had to stop in Bessemer to pick up a lift gate in 2007. Wow… talk about a depressing city with so many shut down factories. A city that once was burgeoning just lay silent. It’s no wonder the thugs have take over that place. Sad to hear Birmingham or “ham” has slipped. The area I saw was super yuppie looking… Panera Bread just opened in a shiny strip mall. Looked very safe but I’m sure there’s other areas that are not safe at night.

  5. A B H says:

    On April 4th 1968, the day MLK got killed, I was 12 and my family and another family was headed to Panama City Beach for a spink break, In a station wagon pulling a trailer, as well as the other family. I-65 was still being constructed so one got off the interstate and drove through Birmingham to the South part and went through Bessemer also to pick up I-65 south of Birmingham. While going through the eerie downtown there was no one on the streets, we stopped at a gas station and gassed up. Eventually the gas stati9on came out to take payment and my father asked this guy, “where is everyone, is it a holiday here in Alabama?” Guy replied, “haven’t you heard? They just killed MLK, you people better get the hell out of here!” Those were words of wisdom, within a few miles while at an intersection we were approached by a mob but that one the light turned and we went on to another intersection which our car and others was being pelted with rocks, we had one broken window but the people traveling with us had like three and an injury. The rest oft the trip through Birmingham was uneventful, the other family took their daughter to a medical place and we continued on. Fortunately we beat the real riot there which then went on for like three days.

  6. Olrik says:

    Well, I do declare, I wonders why that be?

  7. Jason says:

    All but one city is in a red state. Sure, it is easy to dismiss those cities as being run by Democrats but that is a cop out. Republican governors cannot do for the cities to make them safe, then what good are they for except to give the rich tax cuts.

    1. Todd says:

      Read the article again. Nice and slow this time. Governors preside over states, in case nobody told you. This is NOT about the most lawless states but about a bunch of cities, all run by Democrats.

    2. david says:

      because its the people doing the crime that chose to do it and the abundance of them

    3. weevils says:

      Governors run the state business, Mayors run the city business. I suppose in your mind that negates any responsibility of the city leaders for their cities condition, nice try…

    4. CD says:

      That comment about Republicans only good for giving the rich tax cuts is about as lame and tired as most Democrat whining points. And it’s about as true as Democrats are only good for taxing the people as much as they can for their own greedy pockets.
      The fact is liberal run cities are becoming almost impossible to live in. The dystopian society that Hollywood portrays in just about every futuristic movie is what’s happening under Democratic rule. And the Demwits that keep voting for these losers can’t understand why their towns are becoming worse crapholes. They’re obviously uneducated and they don’t get the fact that education is the way out of the ghetto. They praise the stupid and the gansta mentality.

    5. JohnD says:

      Typical Libtard comment! Never mind the FACT these cities are populated by mostly blacks, and they do not vote Republican.

      1. Ra'anan says:

        Polls show that’s about to change in a big way.

  8. Wayne Howell says:

    There is one common thread that each of these cities have. And it is coming to a city near you, beware.

    1. David Ames says:


  9. bobj says:

    You forgot to include San Francisco! a real third-world dump.

  10. Elaine Lane says:

    Thx you they are RED STATES.

  11. Lee says:

    Come on now…absolutely no surprise as to reason crime so high in these cities!