Whether you were born in one and never left or migrated to one for a slower pace of life, one of the big attractions of living in a small town is the safety it provides. And while many small towns across the U.S. offer that very sense of security we all seek, there are just as many that don’t. In fact, some can be just as violent and threatening as much larger metropolitan areas. With that idea in mind, Best Life got to wondering which small town had the most violent crime in the U.S. To figure this out, we searched the 500 U.S. towns with fewer than 50,000 residents that had the most violent crimes per capita*, according to the most recent available FBI data assembled and made searchable by News+. Read on to discover which small town has the most violent crime in America.
* Per capita, and any other references to “crime rate,” refers to crimes per 10,000 residents throughout this article.
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Violent crime per capita: 174.20
According to the most recent FBI data, there were 202 violent crimes reported in Robstown, Texas over a one-year period, though the population is only about 11,500.
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Violent crime per capita: 179.67
Benton Harbor is one of two Michigan towns on this list. Among its nearly 10,000 inhabitants, the town had 179 violent crimes in a year.
Violent crime per capita: 180.47
Over a one-year period, nearly 350 violent crimes were reported in Selma, which is one of four Alabama towns on this list and has a population of just over 19,300.
Lumberton, North Carolina
Violent crime per capita: 181.25
According to the most recent FBI data, Lumberton, North Carolina, a town of nearly 21,700, saw 393 violent crimes reported in a one-year period.
Muskegon Heights, Michigan
Violent crime per capita: 183.59
Muskegon Heights is a town of about 10,800 residents and among them, 198 violent crimes occurred over a single year.
Violent crime per capita: 184.20
Alexandria, Louisiana barely made the small town cut-off with a population of 48,000. As a result of its bigger size, it also has one of the largest numbers of violent crimes per year with 883.
West Memphis, Arkansas
Violent crime per capita: 185.75
The town of West Memphis, Arkansas has a population just under 25,000 and among its inhabitants, 461 violent crimes were committed over the course of a year.
Lake City, South Carolina
Violent crime per capita: 187.99
According to the most recent FBI data, there were 128 violent crimes reported among Lake City’s 6,800 residents over a one-year period.
Alexander City, Alabama
Violent crime per capita: 188.50
In the town of Alexander City, Alabama, which counts 14,700 inhabitants, there were 277 violent crimes in a year, according to the most recent data from the FBI.
College Park, Georgia
Violent crime per capita: 189.49
The FBI data reveals that there were 279 violent crimes reported in College Park, a town of 14,700, over a one-year period.
Dillon, South Carolina
Violent crime per capita: 191.04
Dillon, South Carolina is a super small town of about 6,600 residents, and in just one year, it saw 127 violent crimes committed.
Hartsville, South Carolina
Violent crime per capita: 196.50
Hartsville, South Carolina, which 7,800 call home, has a high crime rate. More than 150 violent crimes occurred there over the course of a year.
Violent crime per capita: 207.01
Cocoa, Florida, which has 17,800 residents, saw 369 violent crimes reported over a one-year period, according to the most recent data from the FBI.
Violent crime per capita: 213.34
Darby is a town of about 10,700 residents and among them 230 violent crimes were reported over a year.
Violent crime per capita: 216.19
Bethel, Alaska is one of two Alaskan towns on this list and it’s one of the smaller ones too with a population of 6,500. Its residents reported 141 violent crimes in a year.
Opa Locka, Florida
Violent crime per capita: 222.16
Opa Locka—one of three Florida towns on this list—saw 374 violent crimes committed among its 16,800 residents over the course of a year.
Violent crime per capita: 225.55
According to the most recent FBI data, there were 161 violent crimes reported in Osceola, Arkansas, a town of 7,100, over a one-year period.
Espanola, New Mexico
Violent crime per capita: 267.20
Espanola, New Mexico, which has about 10,000 residents, saw 268 violent crimes committed in a year.
Florida City, Florida
Violent crime per capita: 279.74
Florida City is located in Miami-Dade County, the southernmost municipality in South Florida, and is known as the gateway to the Florida Keys and Everglades. The town of 12,300 had 344 violent crimes come to light in a year’s time.
East St. Louis, Illinois
Violent crime per capita: 282.79
East St. Louis is another larger town on this list, with about 27,000 people. Among them, 757 violent crimes were reported in a year.
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Violent crime per capita: 286.93
According to the town’s official website, “Bessemer is the hub of western Jefferson County and is an economic engine driving development in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area.” But it’s also a place with a lot of violent crime, according to the FBI: 763 incidents were reported among its nearly 26,600 residents.
Violent crime per capita: 296.35
The town of Oakwood, Georgia saw 125 violent crimes committed among its mere 4,200 residents in a year, the FBI reports.
Violent crime per capita: 300.54
With a population just under 50,000, Monroe, Louisiana also has a significant violent crime problem, with nearly 1,500 incidents being reported.
Violent crime per capita: 333.1
Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, about 60 miles east of Birmingham, Anniston, Alabama was founded in 1872 and is known for producing metal products and textiles, according to Britannica.com. But it’s also dealing with a high violent crime rate: Among its 22,200 residents, 735 violent crimes were reported in just one year.
Violent crime per capita: 337.39
Kotzebue is a remote Alaskan town roughly 30 miles from the Arctic Circle, according to Alaska.org. It is considered the hub for the Northwest Arctic Borough and is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Arctic.” And it’s also the small town with the most violent crime per capita: Its nearly 3,300 residents were witness to 111 violent crimes over the course of a year.
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