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10 States With the Highest Rates of Violent Crime

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

According to a new FBI crime report, the nation experienced a slight increase in violent crimes in 2012, along with a decrease in property crimes. Which states had the highest (and lowest) rates of violent crime?

The FBI's annual Crime in the United States report compiles criminal data under the Uniform Crime Reporting program from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Perhaps surprisingly, the 10 states with the highest rates of violent crime in 2012 didn't include the most populous states of California, New York or Texas.

Here are the Top 10 states with the most -- and least -- violent crime per capita, according to the FBI's data:

Highest Crime Per Capita

  1. Washington, D.C.: 1,243.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants
  2. Tennessee: 643.6
  3. Nevada: 607.6
  4. Alaska: 603.2
  5. New Mexico: 559.1
  6. South Carolina: 558.8
  7. Delaware: 547.4
  8. Louisiana: 496.9
  9. Florida: 487.1
  10. Maryland: 476.8

In case you were wondering, California (423.1), New York (406.8) and Texas (408.6) didn't trail too far behind.

Lowest Crime Per Capita

  1. Maine: 122.7
  2. Vermont: 142.6
  3. New Hampshire: 187.9
  4. Virginia: 190.1
  5. Wyoming: 201.4
  6. Utah: 205.8
  7. Idaho: 207.9
  8. Kentucky: 222.6
  9. Minnesota: 230.9
  10. Hawaii: 239.2

Accuracy of Data

Crimes accounted for in the FBI report include murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, property crime, burglary, and theft.

But before you pack your knapsack and take off for Maine, remember that the survey only accounts for crimes reported to police. Historically, fewer than half of all crimes are actually reported to police, according to The Associated Press.

It's also worth mentioning that the FBI's crime reporting program is only one of two statistical measures of crime levels issued by the Justice Department. The other measure, the National Crime Victimization Survey, is designed to capture crime data whether it is reported to police or not. That survey is based on interviews of crime victims.

That being said, it seems it's pretty safe to say that we shouldn't prance around at night and keep our doors unlocked in Washington D.C.

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