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The 25 Most Dangerous Cities In America

flint michiganA chain-locked gate surrounds an abandoned industrial complex in Flint, Mich.

Violent crime rose in the U.S. in 2012 for the first time in six years, according to

preliminary crime data released by the FBI.Business Insider analysed the report to determine the cities with the most violent crime per capita. In the three years we have published this ranking, many cities have repeatedly made the list.

From the decaying Rust Belt, Flint, Mich. emerged as the most dangerous city in 2012, 2011, and 2010, according to our analysis.

Detroit, Mich., Oakland, Calif., and St. Louis, Mo. were also consistently among the most dangerous cities.

Click here to go straight to the dangerous cities.

To improve our ranking and understand its limitations, we consulted several experts.

The main problem with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, according to UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, is that some cities have broader boundaries and include safer, suburban areas in their crime reports. The centre of the city might be crime-ridden, but the safer outskirts skew the overall picture.

Another problem with the UCR is that different police precincts have different ways of classifying aggravated assault versus “simple assault,” Carnegie Melon’s Alfred Blumstein told us.

Despite these problems, the UCR remains the definitive source of crime data in the U.S. “There is no perfect system, but this is best that we have,” says criminal justice professor Tod Burke.

Our preliminary 2012 ranking includes all cities with a population over 100,000. We compared the cities’ rates of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, and robbery against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime. We did not count aggravated assault due to inconsistent reporting of this crime.

We have included a brief discussion of crime in each city and will add to it any useful insight or responses shared in the comment section or by email.

Now with no further ado …

#25 Milwaukee, Wis.

15 murders per 100,000 people

38 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

505 robberies per 100,000 people

Milwaukee's police chief recently recently said 85% of the city's shootings involve 'people with extensive criminal records shooting other people with extensive criminal records.'

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#24 Hartford, Conn.

18 murders per 100,000 people

22 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

511 robberies per 100,000 people

The streets of Hartford are 'infested' with gangs, according to a 2009 internal police memo. Gangs continue to be a major part of the city, primarily in the realm of drug trafficking.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#23 Atlanta, Ga.

19 murders per 100,000 people

26 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

521 robberies per 100,000 people

Atlanta is a major drug trafficking hub on the East Coast. The city's extensive network of highways allows for easy distribution of cocaine and production of methamphetamine.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#22 Minneapolis, Minn.

10 murders per 100,000 people

103 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

440 robberies per 100,000 people

While Minneapolis has largely gotten rid of its 'Murderopolis' image, incidents of gun violence rose in 2012. The number of reported rapes is staggering, but there might be a good explanation for that: the head of the city's sex crimes unit says the city includes incest and statutory rape as 'forcible rape.'

The FBI, on the other hand, doesn't include those types of rape as 'forcible rape.' The Minneapolis Star Tribune suggested the city may have gotten more federal grant money by overreporting its rapes.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#21 Kansas City, Mo.

23 murders per 100,000 people

53 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

355 robberies per 100,000 people

Kansas City has roughly 1,400 sworn patrol officers and 3,000 identified gang members. Federal prosecutors are beginning to work more closely with local jurisdictions to tackle the threat to public safety.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#20 New Haven, Conn.

13 murders per 100,000 people

42 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

650 robberies per 100,000 people

Like many cities on this list, New Haven (home of the Ivy League university Yale) struggles with gang violence. There's also a large gap between the haves and have-nots in New Haven -- a condition known to lead to crime.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#19 Dayton, Ohio

17 murders per 100,000 people

79 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

445 robberies per 100,000 people

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Dayton has identified roughly 1,000 members in 80 gangs. Until an initiative to reduce gun violence began in 2008, a third of the homicides in Dayton were connected to gang activity.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#18 Buffalo, N.Y.

18 murders per 100,000 people

53 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

529 robberies per 100,000 people

The Buffalo crime family, also known as the Magaddino crime family, has operated in the area since the Prohibition era. Gang violence continues to affect Buffalo, but 'intensified gang sweeps' are working to lower the homicide rate.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#17 Stockton, Ca.

24 murders per 100,000 people

30 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

520 robberies per 100,000 people

Last year the river-port city became the largest in the country to declare bankruptcy. Cuts to its police budget might be partly responsible for the violence there.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#16 Cincinnati, Ohio

16 murders per 100,000 people

63 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

582 robberies per 100,000 people

Cincinnati police have been focusing on gun seizures to reduce homicides and gang-related violence.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#15 Baton Rouge, La.

29 murders per 100,000 people

28 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

446 robberies per 100,000 people

Baton Rouge's crime has become a big enough problem to deter businesses from moving there. The city-parish recieved a $1.5 million federal grant last September to help reduce murder rates.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#14 Little Rock, Ark.

23 murders per 100,000 people

70 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

412 robberies per 100,000 people

Little Rock residents were reportedly on edge in January 2012 following a record number of homicides the prior year. Reverend Benny Johnson, founder of Stop the Violence, told a local TV station the city was going 'down in shambles' after eight people were killed in 30 days.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#13 Memphis, Tenn.

20 murders per 100,000 people

63 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

514 robberies per 100,000 people

Memphis has struggled with poverty. In 2011, the Census found it was the poorest large city in the entire nation. That poverty could certainly contribute to the high crime rate. The city also launched an innovative program to collect crime stats more accurately -- which could mean it's doing a better job at reporting crimes than other cities.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#12 Philadelphia, Pa.

22 murders per 100,000 people

57 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

519 robberies per 100,000 people

Murders have increased for the third consecutive year in Philadelphia. A steady stream of illegal guns to the city, paired with a big drug trade, perpetuate the cycle of violent crimes.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#11 Birmingham, Ala.

31 murders per 100,000 people

71 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

461 robberies per 100,000 people

Birmingham natives have criticised 'dangerous cities rankings' for comparing the city to others with broader boundaries that include safer suburbs. The city has had its fair of troubles though. It is part of Jefferson County, which filed for bankruptcy because of a mountain of debt.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#10 Newark, N.J.

34 murders per 100,000 people

20 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

708 robberies per 100,000 people

Newark has long had a bad reputation for crime, and Newark's Mayor Cory Booker has been slammed for not doing enough to make it better.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#9 Baltimore, Md.

#8 Jackson, Miss.

36 murders per 100,000 people

77 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

454 robberies per 100,000 people

Racial tension is rife in Jackson and has fuelled some of its murders. Recently, there was a spate of attacks by young whites against blacks.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#7 St. Louis, Mo.

35 murders per 100,000 people

62 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

558 robberies per 100,000 people

One reason crime is so high in St. Louis is that it's not as sprawling as other cities, criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri told CNN. Other cities have grown to include safer bordering communities.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#6 Cleveland, Ohio

21 murders per 100,000 people

92 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

826 robberies per 100,000 people

Cleveland was in the news recently when three young women were freed after nearly 20 years in captivity in a home in the inner city. The incident spurred the public to question the efficacy of police in the city.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#5 New Orleans, La.

53 murders per 100,000 people

37 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

293 robberies per 100,000 people

New Orleans has a long history of violence that was more apparent than ever when looting broke out during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More recently, a mass shooting on Mother's Day of this year injured 19 people.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#4 Bridgeport, Conn.

15 murders per 100,000 people

266 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

415 robberies per 100,000 people

Bridgeport, the most populous city in Connecticut, had a spate of gun violence in 2012. The problem got so bad that the city passed a curfew to stop late-night violence in the city.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#3 Oakland, Calif.

32 murders per 100,000 people

68 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

1,086 robberies per 100,000 people

Violence in Oakland has surged amid cutbacks to its police force. It's so violent that residents there reportedly feel like they're living in a war zone.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#2 Detroit, Mich.

55 murders per 100,000 people

62 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

685 robberies per 100,000 people

Like Flint, Detroit has suffered because of the death of the auto industry there.'What are you doing to stop the attack as far as blight, the drugs, the murder?' Detroit Police Officer Marcus Cummings reportedly asked the mayor recently.

The Detroit News has an interactive crime map which shows where homicides and shootings have occurred around the city since May 1, 2012.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

#1 Flint, Mich.

62 murders per 100,000 people

106 forcible rapes per 100,000 people

662 robberies per 100,000 people

Flint has had financial trouble since General Motors shut down a number of plants there. Its woes were the subject of Flint native Michael Moore's depressing 1989 documentary 'Roger and Me.'

More recently, in 2011, The New York Times Magazine called flint 'Murdertown, USA' because of its high murder rate.

Data provided by the FBI's preliminary 2012 unified crime report. The cities' murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), rape, and robbery rates were compared against 2011 national averages, with the per cent deviations averaged to determine overall ranking for violent crime.

You've seen the most dangerous cities ...

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