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Do You Live in One of These Most Dangerous Places in America?

When talking about the most dangerous places in America, we usually are talking about crime rates – particularly homicide and violent crime rates per capita.

Some reports will throw in other “dangerous” factors into their rankings – such as the 24 Wall Street report on the 25 Most Dangerous Cities in America which also factored in poverty rates, education level, and unemployment rates into their rankings.

However, it isn’t just crime which makes a place potentially dangerous to live in.  Just ask people living in Hurricane Alley if they feel safe!

Thus, in this ranking of the most dangerous places in America, I’ve also factored in the likelihood of a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurring.

10. Washington, DC

Not only does the Nation’s capital have a horrendous violent crime rate, but it is also most likely to be the target of a terrorist attack.  The high population density means that the evacuation from the city would be incredibly difficult.  Combine this with the staggering poverty rate, and you’ll have a SHTF situation if disaster strikes.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,202.6
  • Poverty Rate: 2%
  • Unemployment Rate:9%
  • Other Risks: Terrorist attacks

9. Miami, Florida

You might want to rethink retirement in Florida.  Aside from the high crime rates in cities like Miami, the state is one of the most at-risk states for hurricanes.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,059.96
  • Poverty Rate: 3%
  • Unemployment Rate:0%
  • Other Risks: Hurricanes, flooding, tropical storms

8. Atlanta, Georgia

The high poverty rate fuels the violent crime rate in Georgia.  The city makes this list of most dangerous places in America because of its risk for natural disasters.  In addition to hurricanes which come in from the Gulf of Mexico, there are thunderstorms which can cause severe damage.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,119.6
  • Poverty Rate: 2%
  • Unemployment Rate:3%
  • Other Risks: Hurricanes, thunderstorms, flooding, pandemic flu, tornadoes

7. Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas doesn’t get that much attention, but the state is heavily affected by natural disasters like heavy rains, snow, ice, and tornadoes.  Even though it isn’t on the coast, it is still affected by hurricane damage and flooding.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,485.0
  • Poverty Rate: 0%
  • Unemployment Rate:7%
  • Other Risks: Hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding

6. San Bernardino, CA

We might as well add the entire Southern California to the list of most dangerous cities because of their high risk of natural disasters including drought, hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, and earthquake.  When you consider the crime and poverty rates, it is a wonder that anyone still wants to move there

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,245.9
  • Poverty Rate: 0%
  • Unemployment Rate:2%
  • Other Risks: Earthquake, wildfire, hurricane, flooding, drought

5. Oakland, California

As with San Bernardino listed above, Oakland is also at risk of “The Big One” earthquake.  But the crime rates are even more terrible in Oakland!

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,442.5
  • Poverty Rate: 0%
  • Unemployment Rate:9%
  • Other Risks: Earthquakes, flooding

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is notorious for its high crime rate and has been in a continuous decline over the years. There doesn’t seem to be much hope left for the city.  It’s crime rate alone is enough to get it on this list.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,759.6
  • Poverty Rate: 39.8%
  • Unemployment Rate:4%
  • Other Risks: Severe winters

3. St. Louis, Missouri

No matter what season it is, Missourians don’t get a break on the weather-related disasters.  They have severe winters with snow and ice storms.  They have tornadoes in the spring through fall.  And you can expect flooding to occur at any time. Living in St. Louis – a city with a high crime rate – just adds to the hellishness.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,817.1
  • Poverty Rate: 8%
  • Unemployment Rate:1%
  • Other Risks: Tornadoes, severe winters, thunderstorm winds

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee has witnessed its share of natural disasters.  There was the blizzard of 1951. The tornado of 1998.  There was severe flooding in 2010.  The city of Memphis, along with its high crime rate, is also prone to tornadoes.

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,740.1
  • Poverty Rate: 4%
  • Unemployment Rate:3%
  • Other Risks: Tornadoes, flooding

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Alabama has suffered a slew of terrible hurricanes in the past decade: Isaac in 2012, Gustav in 2008, Katrina and Dennis in 2005, and Ivan in 2004. There is also risk of severe flooding and tornadoes.  Virtually the entire state is in the “very high risk” or “high risk” rating for natural disasters!

  • Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,746.2
  • Poverty Rate: 0%
  • Unemployment Rate:2%
  • Other Risks: Tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes

What Should You Do with this Information?

For starters, if you are planning to move, you probably should cross these most dangerous places off your list!

But what if you DO live in a dangerous area?

We can’t always move somewhere to escape the violence or threat of a natural disaster.  However, we can take the threats seriously and PREPARE for disaster in case they do occur.

It still amazes me how many people in places like New Orleans aren’t prepared for hurricanes or flooding.  You think that they’d learn their lessons after Katrina, but somehow people find it easier to ignore the risk.

Everyone Should Be Prepared

Bad things (from robbery to natural disasters) can happen regardless of where you live.  So don’t get too comfortable just because you happen to live in a “safe” place.

The best thing you can do is take steps to prepare for a disaster – be it a personal disaster like a mugging or a large-scale disaster like a hurricane.

I suggest you read these posts to get started:

Are you prepared for disaster yet?

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  1. There has been zero recommendations on keeping firearms at the ready no matter where you live. Millions of people have guns and so do I. I also fish, hunt, camp and hike.
    Society everywhere in the US has become more dangerous since I was a kid during the 70’s.
    I have 2 buyout bags, supplies, ammo, plans, 4×4, and a few friends that have a similar mindset. Protecting yourself, family or group will come down to those who can protect themselves and those that can’t and firearms, training and some tactical training is very important.
    I have a police background and gave seen who people react when they want something you have that they want and will cause you harm to get it.

    • Hello Daniel – firearms are not for everybody and in inexperienced hands can actually cause more problems than they solve. If well trained and experienced then I totally agree.

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