It should be no surprise that Detroit tops the Forbes list of most dangerous cities in the United States this year — for the fifth year in a row. What is encouraging is the violent crime rate in the Motor City actually declined last year, despite crushing financial woes that drove Detroit into the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Make no mistake: Detroit is still a very dangerous place. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime database reports Detroit had 386 murders last year, up from 344 in 2011 and essentially unchanged from 2000 – when the city had 200,000 more residents. The steady outflow of residents has driven Detroit’s murder rate up to 54.6 per 100,000, more than 10 times the national average and the highest in the country among large cities.
To compile the list, we start with the FBI’s Crime Statistics database, screening for cities with populations above 200,000. That eliminates cities like Flint, Mich., with its record-busting murder rate of 63 per 100,000, but allows us to focus on major American cities that presumably have full-fledged police departments.