Most Dangerous Places to Live in the US – 18 Cities to Avoid

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By Jonathan Trent

The U.S. offers a fantastic range of vibrant cities to live in, but unfortunately, some of them also come with a high crime rate and economic struggles. To know which cities are more dangerous than others, here are the 18 cities you might want to avoid.

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First on our list of most dangerous places to live is Detroit, thanks to its exceptionally high rate of violent crime. Sadly, it’s also known for being a city in economic decline. Thankfully, the city is facing these challenges head-on by making efforts to improve employment rates and encourage community initiatives.

St. Louis, Missouri

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U.S. News reveals that St. Louis has a higher-than-average crime rate for both violent crime and property crime, making it another top contender for the most dangerous cities to live. Unfortunately, the city’s struggles with poverty and access to quality education do nothing to help its declining reputation.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Baltimore is another dangerous city that has long since struggled with rates of high crime, in particular homicide and drug-related violence. While the city certainly has a positive historical and cultural reputation, many areas of the city are battling with poverty. It’s worth missing out on your next road trip.

Memphis, Tennessee

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The dangers of Memphis, Tennessee, include a high violent crime rate of assault, robbery, and even murder. The city’s residents not only have to face high crime but also a struggling economy. Memphis has its appeal for its vibrant music scene, but you may not want to move there just yet.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Not only is Albuquerque another dangerous city to avoid, but its crime rates have actually been increasing over the years, which includes property crime and violence. The city is also known for severe drug problems, which make up the majority of its high crime statistics.

Stockton, California

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Stockton’s economic condition has been so dire that the Californian city was actually forced to declare bankruptcy in recent years, the largest city in the U.S. to do so, according to The New York Times. Its high level of crime includes shootings and gang activity, so we’d recommend you avoid it.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Our next most dangerous city to live in might surprise you: New Orleans. It may be the epicenter of vibrant music and festivals in the south, yet it has a very high violent crime rate, with some neighborhoods being far more dangerous than others.

Cleveland, Ohio

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Cleveland is a city with ongoing economic struggles, a high rate of unemployment, and severe poverty rates. This dangerous city also sees its residents exposed to violent crime and property crime, and while projects are ongoing to try and improve living conditions, it’s one you’ll currently want to avoid.

Kansas City, Missouri

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Being a resident of Kansas City sees you faced with a poor quality of life and significant inequalities between social classes, not to mention its dangerously high rate of homicides and assaults. It might be a great place to take in some jazz, but ultimately, it’s really not worth the risk.

Oakland, California

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Oakland, California, is another city known for its high crime rates, but that isn’t the city’s only struggle. Its high cost of living negatively impacts its residents, and these economic struggles add to its rates of crime, too. Sadly, it’s a tough cycle to escape.

Little Rock, Arkansas

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Little Rock is one of the most dangerous cities in its region, thanks to its extremely high rate of violent crime. Many of its residents are also living in poverty despite the vibrant cultural scene driving tourism, making it one of the most dangerous cities to live in, at least in the U.S.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Milwaukee had 8,416 instances of violent crime in just one year, according to the FBI, which is pretty outrageous. It also struggles economically with high unemployment and poverty rates, which easily overshadow its cultural appeal. Wait a few years to visit, and hopefully, things will have changed.

Birmingham, Alabama

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Birmingham’s high rate of violent crime gives it a spot on our most dangerous city list, with assaults and homicides in particular being prevalent. The residents of Birmingham also have declining quality of life thanks to the city’s economic challenges. It’s a tough life, sadly.

Rockford, Illinois

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While Rockford is making great strides in initiatives that will help to improve the safety of the city, it’s still listed as one of the most dangerous areas of the U.S. This is because of its high violent crime and property crime rates, not to mention its struggles with poverty.

Anchorage, Alaska

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Not only is Anchorage one of the most dangerous cities to avoid, but it’s actually getting worse with rising rates of violent crime. Unlike others on our list, it’s the city’s remote location on the map that leads to many economic and social difficulties that could contribute to the increase in crime.

Indianapolis, Indiana

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The city of Indianapolis has had over 200 homicides for four years in a row, reveals the University of Indianapolis, which unfortunately overshadows its popular sports community and the cultural events that draw in tourists. Its residents are not only faced with violent crimes but terrible living conditions, too.

Houston, Texas

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The city of Houston has a high crime rate for both homicides and assaults despite being a cultural hub that draws many visitors year by year. Residents in certain neighborhoods are impacted by the negative economy, too, particularly with issues of inequality. It’s truly sad for us to witness.

Chicago, Illinois

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The final place on our most dangerous cities list is Chicago, Illinois, which is notorious for its outrageous gun crime. The high rates of poverty and unbalanced economy also mean that its residents face further challenges despite the city’s culture and beauty. Cross it off your bucket list because it’s just not safe to visit right now.

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