The ‘Most Violent State’ Crown Is Held By…Tennessee
What do you think is the state with the highest violent crime rate? You might be surprised to learn it’s Tennessee. Despite the reputations of states like New York, California and Florida when it comes to violence, Tennessee the most violent state, followed by Nevada and Alaska. Those are in the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively.
The violent crime statistic comes from the FBI compilation of statistics for rape, robbery, murder and aggravated assault.
Why is Tennessee the most violent state? Well, according to 24 Wall St., who originally reported on the list of most dangerous states,
The state was among the top 10 in the country for murders and robberies and was first for aggravated assaults, with an estimated 479.6 for every 100,000 residents. Tennessee’s 41,550 violent crimes in 2012 were up 6.8% from 2011 but down 10% from 2007, when there were 46,380 violent crimes. There were 388 murders in the state in 2012, up for a second straight year. To be fair, Tennessee’s violent streak is concentrated in some of the major metropolitan areas. Memphis’s violent crime rate was the nation’s fifth worst, while Nashville’s was the 18th worst. Like many states with high violent crime, poverty in Tennessee is acute, and high school and college graduation rates are lower than most of the country.
Who else is on the most violent state list?
The rest of those on the most violent state list are NV, AK, NM, SC, DE, LA, FL, MD and OK.
In high-poverty low-income states, violent crimes are more likely to occur in general. That’s something the violent states on this list have in common, minus Alaska. AK made the list due to the high incidence of rape. The right wing attempts to pass off urban violence on the left by pointing out that the majority of mayors from major cities are Democratic. Yet, this ignores the historical fact that cities are centers of crime by virtue of population density. Also, major improvements in the crime rates of several major cities have demonstrated that it is social and local policy which determine crime rates. Not party.
Segregated cities, whether by racial, economic, or other lines, generally have higher levels of violence as well. As I’ve reported previously for Young Progressive Voices, the level of modern-day segregation in some cities is simply stunning. You can see that evidenced by the image below:
If you live in one of the more violent states on this list, there are things you can do to help. That’s even truer if you live in an area with high population density. That’s where crime rates are highest. Find out what programs have been successful in other areas, and contact local legislators and officials about implementing similar programs. See if there are community outreach programs that help impoverished areas. Remember, poverty is one of the highest causes of crime in violent states, and there are things we can do to help.