FBI 2012 Crime Stats: Tennessee is Most Dangerous State

    October 7, 2013
    Bennett Rieser
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24/7 Wall St.com did an analysis last week of the FBI’s recently released 2012 crime statistics, but before anyone starts hastily comparing states, it should be noted that the FBI does remind people not to compare state violence in rankings.

“These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region,” the FBI said at the end of their report. “Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.”

Because no system of ranking could fairly gauge the numerous unknown variables, and because crime is reported and measured in different ways by different states, Urban Institute senior fellow John Roman would also caution against comparing them. The trend of declining crime since the 1990s is not clearly traced to any one factor, though experts have suggested demography, higher incarceration, falling crack use and new social programs as reasons for the decline.

But trends always have exceptions. Alaska, Delaware, and Maryland are states with a high level of education and a high income, yet they are found within the top 10 because of small urban areas with a high crime rate (the city of Baltimore comes to mind).

The 24/7 Wall St analysis was calculated by using the FBI’s population estimates and comparing four types of violent crime per 100,000 residents: homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Income, poverty, and education statistics were also compared as the relationship between the uneducated, the impoverished, and rising crime rates has been followed for decades.

Here are the top 10 most violent states in the U.S. based on their calculations. If you want to see the report for yourself, you can find it here. Included are explanations of each states’ crime rates and the factors that contributed.

1. Tennessee
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 643.6
> Poverty rate: 17.9%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.3%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,371.4 (10th highest)

2. Nevada
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 607.6
> Poverty rate: 16.4%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.4%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 2,809.4 (23rd highest)

3. Alaska
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 603.2
> Poverty rate: 10.1%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.0%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 2,739.4 (24th lowest)

4. New Mexico
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 559.1
> Poverty rate: 20.8%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.1%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,600.7 (4th highest)

5. South Carolina
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 558.8
> Poverty rate: 18.3%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 25.1%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,822.2 (the highest)

6. Delaware
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 547.4
> Poverty rate: 12.0%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.5%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,340.9 (13th highest)

7. Louisiana
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 496.9
> Poverty rate: 19.9%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 22%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,540.6 (5th highest)

8. Florida
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 487.1
> Poverty rate: 17.1%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.8%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,276.7 (15th highest)

9. Maryland
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 476.8
> Poverty rate: 10.3%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.9%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 2,753.5 (25th lowest)

10. Oklahoma
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 469.3
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 23.8%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,401.0 (9th highest)

[Image via Google Maps]
  • Reality

    Crime statistics are often misleading — very misleading. I work in the legal field. I can give you some examples. A person may get an assault charge but all that truly happened was that they verbally threatened someone and maybe grabbed the person’s arm. I have seen people get a domestic terrorist charge for getting in a fight their spouses. I saw a defendant get a sex offense charge for going to meet someone from the internet and the defendant literally never even saw a person — but in the books it is listed as an aggravated sex offense charge with a victim. What makes matters even more misleading is that the decoy turned to be two 50 year old women, who both had a history of mental illness and lived 3,000 miles away from the guy. These are just a few off the top of my head — trust me there are many more examples I could give.

    I am not saying that people should not be careful — but really crime is overblown. If people knew how the money flowed in the criminal justice system, they would realize that many arrests are done to make money and chargers are just piled on people. Arresting people in this country is big business. Prison is really big business. Especially, when the economy goes down — many counties need revenue so they arrest people. I know in my county they just built a new courthouse — and during that time period, arrests went through the roof. I have lived in this area for years and nothing really has changed. Yet, somehow crime for a short period went crazy. Once the courthouse was paid off — crime went back to normal.

    Also, the powers to be want the people to be afraid. People that are afraid will be passive and give up their rights in a heart beat.