||After studying more than 200 small cities, the study concluded that Wilmington, DE is the most dangerous in terms of crime.
These 10 most dangerous small cities in America:
1. Wilmington, DE
2. Canton, OH
3. Jackson, TN
4. Rocky Mount, NC
5. North Little Rock, AR
6. Pensacola, FL
7. Daytona Beach, FL
8. Homestead, FL
8. Lauderhill, FL
10. Warner Robins, GA
Florida accounted for the single largest share of cities in the top 10, with four. It’s interesting to note that all 10 are either in the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, or Southern regions of the country.
How We Created This Report
To produce this ranking, we first decided on a list of small cities between 50,000 and 75,000 residents in size. After eliminating those without available crime data, we were left with a list of 234 places to study.
Using data from the FBI’s 2012 uniform crime report, the latest available, we measured seven distinct crimes using the total reported incidents of each:
- Motor vehicle theft
We separated these crimes into four groups: murders, violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and assault), property crimes (burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft), and total crimes. The cities were then ranked on the incidents of each group per 100,000 residents per year, from 1 to 234, with a higher score being more dangerous. We calculated the number of crimes per 100,000 residents for 2012 in order to have a level playing field on which to compare cities with varying population sizes.
The individual rankings (murders, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes) were then weighted to create a final overall score. Murders, violent crimes, and property crimes each comprised 30 percent of the total, while total crimes made up 10 percent. The higher this combined score, the more dangerous the city.
1. Wilmington, DE
Source: Flickr user Chris Connell
The most dangerous small city we studied, Wilmington is on the larger end of our range with a population of just over 72,000. Despite the efforts of local authorities, which have included placing the city’s entire downtown area under CCTV surveillance and other aggressive tactics, crime continues to be a serious problem in Wilmington. It topped the list in terms of violent crime, outranking 233 other cities for this dubious honor, with 1,703 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
Wilmington didn’t fare much better in other areas, ranking as the third-most dangerous small city in terms of murder (it saw 26 in 2012) and total crime (5,052 were reported there the same year). The only instance in which it did even slightly better—and then only relatively—was property crimes, where it placed ninth overall for its 5,305 crimes per 100,000.
With a reported 150 shootings by the end of 2013, it would seem that Wilmington has a long way to go before it can be considered a safer place to live.