In March 2008, Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with eight felonies, including perjury and obstruction of justice. In August, he violated his bail agreement and was thrown in jail. His actions were deplorable for anybody, but Kilpatrick was no Average Joe--he was the mayor of Detroit.
Unfortunately for the Motor City, Kilpatrick, 38, is just one ripple in the area's sea of crime. Detroit is the worst offender on our list of America's most dangerous cities, thanks to a staggering rate of 1,220 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people.
"Detroit has, historically, been one of the more violent cities in the U.S.," says Megan Wolfram, an analyst at iJet Intelligent Risk Systems, a Maryland-based risk-assessment firm. "They have a number of local crime syndicates there--a number of small gangs who tend to compete over territory."
Detroit was followed closely on the list by the greater Memphis, Tenn., and Miami, Fla., metropolitan areas. Those three were the only large cities in America with more than 950 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Cities:
No. 1 Detroit, Mich.
(Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich., metropolitan statistical area)
Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,220
(Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. metropolitan statistical area)
Violent Crimes per 100,000: 1,218
(Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. metropolitan statistical area)
Violent Crimes per 100,000: 988
(Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metropolitan statistical area)
Violent Crimes per 100,000: 887
No. 5 Stockton, Calif.
(Stockton, Calif., metropolitan statistical area)
Violent Crimes per 100,000: 885
To determine our list, we used violent crime statistics from the FBI's latest uniform crime report, issued in 2008. The violent crime category is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. We evaluated U.S. metropolitan statistical areas--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics--with more than 500,000 residents.