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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

America’s 10 Most Dangerous Cities; Bessemer and Birmingham, Alabama Top the Lists

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 17, 2023

IMAGE: Demonstrators climb on a destroyed Baltimore police car on a street during violent protests in Baltimore on April 27, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images).

On October 17, 2023, the Epoch Times published an enlightening article on crime in America. Reporter Joe Gomez added an additional factor in his analysis of the crime statistics – the political party affiliation of the mayors who lead the cities on two violent crime lists.

Gomez’s article was updated on November 2, 2023.  I have summarized the highlights from his updated article here. The crime statistics and charts in Gomez's article speak for themselves. They paint a grim but realistic picture of violent crime in these cities.


Two separate analyses of FBI crime data reveal the 15 American cities that have the most violent crime and spend the most on crime-related costs.


NeighborhoodScout and MoneyGeek used different methodologies to gauge the most violent and costliest crime cities, although five of the cities ended up on both lists.


NeighborhoodScout’s report is based on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents in cities with 25,000 or more people.  The data are based on the most recent number of violent crimes reported to the FBI in each city, projections of violent crime rates based on prior years’ data, and the population of each city, according to the company.


MoneyGeek analyzed the most recent crime statistics from the FBI to estimate the societal cost of crime per resident in 263 cities that have populations greater than 100,000.


NeighborhoodScout says it matches crime incident data from "all 18,000+ local law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to the specific local communities the agency covers, and hence in which community the crimes have occurred."


The organization considers homicide, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault as violent crimes. Looting, as depicted in the photo below, is also considered a violent crime.

IMAGE: People loot a store in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn., in New York on June 1, 2020. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images).

NeighborhoodScout's most dangerous city in America is Bessemer, Alabama, with a violent crime rate of 33.1 crimes per 1,000 residents.  Bessemer is a suburb of Birmingham, which comes up sixth on this list and second on MoneyGeek's "cost of crime" top 10 list.


NeighborhoodScout lists Monroe, Louisiana, as its second most dangerous city, with a rate of 26.3 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Monroe sits halfway between Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi.


In third place is Saginaw, Michigan, with a violent crime rate of 25.1 per 1,000 residents. Saginaw is about 100 miles northwest of Detroit.


Rounding out the top 10 are Memphis, Tennessee; Detroit; Birmingham, Alabama; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Alexandria, Louisiana; and Cleveland.


Several mayoral races in the above cities are run as nonpartisan elections, which means all candidates are in one pool for voters.


However, all but one of the cities are run by mayors who are either Democrats or are affiliated with the Democratic Party. The lone exception is Monroe, Louisiana, whose mayor, Friday Ellis, is a Republican-turned-independent.


Cost of Crime Top 10


MoneyGeek's data measure the cost of crime per capita in cities of 100,000 or more. It doesn't drill down to cities as small as NeighborhoodScout (25,000) but ends up with a very similar list and five exact matches.


“Crime and safety are intertwined with prosperity, income, and economic opportunity. Crime is costly to individual victims, perpetrators, communities, and society at large,” the finance company posted on its website.


Overall, MoneyGeek calculated the cost of crime in 2021 was $1,836 per capita in U.S. cities, up 6 percent, or $100 per capita, since 2020.


The company says it analyzed crime data, including violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault and property crimes such as home burglary and motor vehicle theft. MoneyGeek omitted any cities that didn't report murder and rape.


It calculated the cost of crime based on the "direct economic costs of crime to individuals and society."


This includes the medical and mental health care costs for victims and the damage to and loss of property, and the costs for police and corrections, MoneyGeek stated in its report.


"Aside from the imminent danger of crime, people living in higher crime areas see depressed home values and pay higher prices for crucial needs, including home insurance, renters insurance, and auto insurance," the report states.


Ranking No. 1 on MoneyGeek’s list is St. Louis, which has an estimated crime cost per capita of $8,457, according to the finance company. Democrat Tishaura Jones was sworn in as the 47th mayor and the first black female mayor in the city’s history on April 20, 2021. Her predecessor was also a Democrat.


Ranked second is Birmingham, with an estimated crime cost per capita of $7,900. It's also run by a Democrat, Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, who began his second term as Birmingham’s 30th mayor on Nov. 23, 2021.

Baltimore is the third costliest U.S. city in terms of crime, according to MoneyGeek, with an estimated crime cost per capita of $7,230.


The next three cities on the list are Memphis, Detroit, and Cleveland. Three cities from Louisiana make up the 7th, 8th, and 9th spots—New Orleans, Shreveport, then Baton Rouge.

And rounding out the top 10 is Little Rock.


All of the aforementioned cities have Democratic mayors, except Shreveport, which elected Mayor Tom Arceneaux, a Republican who took office on Dec. 31, 2022, after the time period used by MoneyGeek for its report.  The previous mayors, since 2006, were Democrats.

No Crime Fighting Solutions in Sight

Violent crime in the 10 most violent cities is bad and it is getting increasingly worse. Just last week, there was a wild west-style shootout on I-59 near the Arkadelphia Road exit that leads to Birmingham-Southern College. The rush-hour traffic shootout injured four people and shut down the I-59 for hours.

A couple of months earlier, stunning TikTok videos went viral on the Internet when they showed scenes of a Pilot Travel Center near Birmingham-Southern that had been abandoned by employees and looted. The videos showed empty shelves, broken merchandise, and a ransacked ATM inside the travel center, which is located less than a mile away from the college at Finley Boulevard and Bankhead Highway.

Officials in America's 10 most dangerous cities do not have to worry about the skyrocketing violence in their cities because they are usually escorted by taxpayer-funded security details wherever they go. Even though no one is making specific threats against these officials, they know how unsafe their cities are.

Meanwhile, ordinary citizens in these cities must fend for themselves.

Finally, none of these cities has an effective public safety plan to combat rising crime. As a result, violent crime has spiraled out of control in these citities. Shootings and crime-related deaths are a daily occurrence in them, with no end in sight.

Extreme caution is advised when traveling through or visiting in these cities. You must be responsible for your own public safety.


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Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson
Nov 21, 2023
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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Nov 17, 2023

In 2013, I tried to get my Class A office building on Highland Avenue in Birmingham refinanced. The building was fully leased with two anchor corporate tenants. The existing mortgage holder was a New York-based real estate investment trust. The lender would not refinance the building, even though it appraised for $5.7 million in 2003 and we had a pristine payment record. No other lender would refinance the building for its full value.

When I asked one lender why its loan refinancing offer was below $3 million for a building that appraised for $5.7 million in 2003, this lender sent me its demographics analysis. I was shocked by what I saw. The analysis rated Birmingham “high” on violent crime, “poo…

Nov 21, 2023
Replying to

I would argue that this particular seed was planted circa 1971, and it is now bearing its strange fruit.

A corrupt monetary system gives birth to myriad societal distortions.

To change it ultimately requires black America to drastically reconsider concepts such as time, money, and value/s...


Nov 17, 2023

Mr. Watkins, this has been on my mind a bit. I am intimately familiar with both Memphis and Birmingham. Upon each return visit, evidence of a creeping police state are all around. Memphis telephone poles have flashing blue lights reminiscent of K-Mart blue light special, Birmingham isn't too far behind with its RTCC contract, pole mounted license plate readers, Shotspotter etc. and yet crime seems to increase. Is there any coincidence that the majority of these cities are Democrat-led? Not a partisan question as neither party works for us (IMHO), but am curious your thoughts on how coincidental it seems that the most dangerous cities are all "Democrat"-led. Thanks.

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