According to 2010 data, the metropolitan areas of Detroit and Memphis topped Forbes’ annual list of “America’s Most Dangerous Cities”. The list gathered data from the FBI’s 2010 crime report and focused on metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), large cities with suburbs surrounding them, of populations north of 200,000. Forbes compiled the list according to data the FBI categorizes as violent crimes, consisting of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
This list focuses on property crimes—burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. These five MSA have over 5,000 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants and all of them have robbery crimes over the national average (the only large MSA with over 5,000 property crimes to not make the list is Spokane, WA with 5,039.2). The US as a whole has a property crime rate of 2,941.9.
- All numbers are per 100,000 residents
- If a crime is both a violent crime and property crime, it is recorded as a violent crime.
5) Fayetteville, NC
With a property crime rate of 5,221.4 and a robbery rate of 168.8, the Fayetteville, NC area, which includes Cumberland and Hoke Counties, starts off the list as the best of the worst. The area is best known as the home of Fort Bragg, a major US Army base, and the Pope Army Air Field, both located in the city of Fayetteville. In 2008 the city was declared “The World’s First Sanctuary for Military Families” and TIME magazine declared it America’s Most Pro-Military Town”. Despite the military presence, the city of Fayetteville has a property crime rate over double the national average—6,033. Fayetteville’s robbery rate of 168.8 is higher than the national average.
4) San Antonio, TX
The Greater San Antonio region is the largest MSA to make the list—boasting over 2 million citizens—and is a popular tourist destination, with over 20 million tourists visiting the city every year. The population as a whole has a property crime rate of 5,233.1, due largely to crimes in the city of San Antonio. San Antonio differs from other large cities in that it doesn’t have independent suburban cities surrounding it, causing a high density rate inside the city which could be a factor affecting the crime rate.
3) Macon, GA
Macon, GA is the first of two Georgia MSAs to make the list. Including Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs Counties, Macon has a property crime rate of 5,334.1 and a robbery rate of 155.6. The median household income in the city is $27,405 and over 25.5% of the population is below the poverty line, a probable influence on the high rate of theft.
2) Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC is a popular tourist destination, attracting an estimated 14.6 million visitors each summer. Its economy is built on the tourist industry; the area has approximately 450 hotels and 120 golf courses and is marketed largely as a family-friendly destination. Largely unbeknownst to tourists, the city of Myrtle Beach has a theft rate of 113 per 1,000! Muggings and pick pocketing are common crimes against tourists and could explain the high rate of theft, which makes up most of the property crimes in this MSA.
1) Columbus GA
Columbus, GA is this years property crime capital, with the highest theft rate in the nation—5,824.6. The MSA includes Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion and Muscogee Counties in GA and Russell County in AL. The city of Columbus is home to 64% of the total population, and has a theft rate of 49.1 per 1,000 residents and a burglary rate of 18.8 per 1,000 residents.