Highest Murders in U.S. By City 2024 – 20 Hotspots In America

Safety in life? Yeah, that’s the dream. But the reality in the U.S.? It’s a mixed bag, to say the least. The United States ranks 128th on the Global Peace Index, which is pretty far down the list when you think about it.

One major factor dragging the country down is its murder rate. The U.S. had a whopping 15,498 murders in 2018 alone. That’s about 5.0 murders per 100,000 people. Some cities, though, are way above this average. Here are statistics from 2024:

Region Murder Rate (per 100k)
St. Louis, MO 69.4
Baltimore, MD 51.1
New Orleans, LA 40.6
Detroit, MI 39.7
Cleveland, OH 33.7
Las Vegas, NV 31.4
Kansas City, MO 31.2
Memphis, TN 27.1
Newark, NJ 25.6
Chicago, IL 24.0
Cincinnati, OH 23.8
Philadelphia, PA 20.2
Milwaukee, WI 20.0
Tulsa, OK 18.6
Pittsburgh, PA 18.4
Indianapolis, IN 17.7
Louisville, KY 17.5
Oakland, CA 17.1
Washington, D.C. 17.0
Atlanta, GA 16.7

20. Atlanta, GA

Crime Scene

Atlanta, with its rich history and bustling culture, has a murder rate of 16.7 per 100k. It’s a city of contrasts, where Southern charm meets urban crime.

  • Homicides in 2024: According to the Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman, there has been a notable drop in homicides in Atlanta, specifically a 21% reduction attributed to efforts against gang and gun violence.

19. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. - highest murder rate recorded in the U.S.

The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., has a murder rate of 17.0 per 100k. Despite its political significance, it’s a city that struggles with violence.

Decline in Homicides

In the first few months of 2024, homicides in Washington, D.C. have dropped by 25% compared to the same period in 2023. This reduction aligns with a general decline in overall crime rates in the city, as per Axios statistics.

Comparison to 2023

Last year, D.C. experienced its highest homicide rate in 26 years, with 274 homicides recorded in 2023. This placed the city among the top five highest murder rates in the nation’s largest cities, as the Washington Post reported.

Trend Reversal

According to the Washington Examiner, early data from 2024 suggests that crime rates, including homicides, might be on track to decrease, showing a positive trend compared to the previous year’s surge in violent crime.

18. Oakland, CA

Oakland, CA - high murder rates in the united states

Oakland, part of the Bay Area’s tech hub, has a murder rate of 17.1 per 100k. The city’s innovation is shadowed by its crime issues.

Decrease in Homicides

The most recent statistics from the Oakland Police Department indicate a reduction in the number of homicides in 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. The overall crime rate has also shown a decline.

Current Homicide Count

As of April 2024, there have been 27 murders reported. This suggests a slower pace compared to previous years, potentially indicating an overall annual decrease, judging by the Oaklandmofo reports.

17. Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY - highest murder rate recorded in the U.S.

Louisville, known for the Kentucky Derby, has a murder rate of 17.5 per 100k. It’s a place where the stakes are high in more ways than one.

Increased Violence in Early 2024

WDRB News reported that Louisville has experienced a violent start to 2024, with significant increases in homicide rates. In March 2024 alone, the number of homicides doubled compared to the previous year.

Crime Statistics and Homicide Trends

As of May 2024, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) reported a total of 46 shootings for the month. The city has been grappling with an increase in overall violence and homicide rates, as per WAVE 3.

16. Indianapolis, IN

Crime Scene

Indianapolis, famous for the Indy 500, has a murder rate of 17.7 per 100k. It’s a city where the race against crime is ongoing.

100th Homicide Marked

As of the first half of 2024, Indianapolis marked its 100th homicide, indicating a significant number of violent crimes within the city. The police emphasized that overall violent crime is reportedly down by double digits compared to the previous year, FOX59 reported.

On Pace for 200+ Homicides

Judging by WRTV reports, by reaching 100 homicides before July 1st, Indianapolis is on pace to surpass 200 homicides for the fifth consecutive year. This trend highlights a persistently high level of lethal violence in the city.

Justifiable Homicides

Out of the 12 homicides in the first 16 days of 2024, nearly half were under review as potentially justifiable killings, indicating complexities in the nature of these incidents. Source

15. Tulsa, OK

Tulsa, OK - what is the murder rate

Tulsa’s murder rate stands at 18.6 per 100k. Known for its oil industry, Tulsa also has its share of violent crime issues.

Higher-Than-Average Murders to Start 2024

  • The Tulsa Police Department (TPD) reported a higher-than-average number of murders at the beginning of 2024.
  • Despite the higher rate, the department remains committed to solving these cases efficiently.

Homicides Remain Unsolved From Previous Years

  • Two homicides from the previous year remain unsolved, while three from 2022 are still open cases, according to KJRH reports.
  • TPD emphasizes the importance of community cooperation in solving these cases.

Tulsa Police Solving a High Percentage of Homicide Cases

  • TPD Chief Wendell Franklin reported that in 2023, the department ended with 48 homicides, of which only two remain unsolved as of early 2024.
  • This reflects the department’s high efficiency in solving homicide cases.

14. Pittsburgh, PA

Crime Scene

Pittsburgh, with a murder rate of 18.4 per 100k, is more than just steel and bridges. It’s a city grappling with crime like many others on this list.

Historical Context

Although specific data for 2024 isn’t yet available, historical trends show variations in Pittsburgh’s murder rate.  For example, in 2018, the city’s murder rate was 18.8 per 100,000 population, which was a 4.4% decrease from the previous year, Pittsburgh Quarterly reports.

13. Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee-WI-highest-murder-in-U

Milwaukee has a murder rate of 20.0 per 100k. It’s a city known for its brewing history, but unfortunately, it also has a significant crime problem.

Decline in Homicides

According to Fox6Now, the homicide rate in Milwaukee has seen a significant decline in 2024. In the first quarter of the year, homicides were down by 39% compared to the same period in the previous year.

This reduction follows a trend from 2023, where homicides had already decreased by 20%. The continuing decline in 2024 indicates ongoing improvements in public safety efforts.

Comparative Reduction

Compared to two years ago, homicides in Milwaukee have dropped nearly 50%. The reduction is also 23% lower than the same time last year, showcasing a substantial improvement over recent years, judging by the reports from Wisconsin Public Radio.

Contextual Analysis

Reports from Urban Milwaukee claim that although Milwaukee has experienced a reduction in overall homicides, certain areas, such as domestic violence-related homicides, have seen an increase, highlighting specific challenges within the broader trend of declining violence.

12. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia-PA-murder-crime-rat

Philadelphia, known as the City of Brotherly Love, has a murder rate of 20.2 per 100k. It’s a place with a rich history and vibrant culture, but safety can be a concern in certain areas.

  • Significant Drop in Homicides: As of April 30, 2024, there were 87 reported homicides in Philadelphia, which represents a 35% decrease compared to the same period last year, NBC Philadelphia reports.
  • General Decline in Violent Crime: Philadelphia has seen a general decrease in violent crime rates in 2024, according to WHYY. This trend is consistent with the national decrease in violent crimes.
  • Encouraging Signs of Decline in Gun Violence: Early data by the Center for American Progress from 2024 shows promising signs of a historic decline in gun violence, contributing to the overall drop in homicides.
  • 2024 Transition Year for Philadelphia: 2024 has been marked as a year of significant transition for Philadelphia, with improving economic metrics and declining violent crime rates, but still facing deep-seated issues, sources from Pew Trust claim.

11. Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati, another Ohio city with a notable murder rate of 23.8 per 100k, might be famous for its chili, but safety concerns are also a hot topic.

  • Last year, Cincinnati saw a significant number of teen shootings and vehicle thefts, hinting at a possibly high violent crime rate, which could impact 2024 statistics, as per FOX19.

10. Chicago, IL

Scene

Chicago, with its skyscrapers and deep-dish pizza, has a murder rate of 24.0 per 100k. Despite its many attractions, crime remains a significant issue in certain neighborhoods.

Decrease in Homicides

According to the Chicago Police Department Report, Homicides in Chicago have decreased by approximately 20.9% in the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. There has also been a 15.9% drop in shooting incidents and a 12.5% decline in the number of shooting victims.

Monthly Homicide Rates

For the month of April 2024, Chicago recorded 37 homicides, which is a 30% drop compared to April 2023. Overall, the city has experienced a 12% reduction in homicides so far this year, as per WGN-TV sources.

Overall Homicide Count

Chicago Tribune reports that as of early July 2024, Chicago has recorded 262 homicides, showing a continued effort to reduce violent crime compared to previous years.

9. Newark, NJ

Newark, NJ - highest murders in the U.S.

Newark has a murder rate of 25.6 per 100k. It’s right across the river from New York City but worlds apart in terms of safety. This says a lot, since New York City has some of the most dangerous neighborhoods on the east coast.

Early 2024 Violence

Newark experienced a significant spike in deadly violence at the start of 2024, marking a tragic beginning to the year, Patch reports. The city witnessed a series of shootings and homicides that have raised concerns among residents and authorities.

Youth Curfew and Community Initiatives

According to Chalkbeat, Newark has implemented a youth curfew to help keep teens off the streets and reduce violence. This initiative aims to engage young people with community services and prevent them from becoming involved in criminal activities.

Notable Incidents and Arrests

There have been multiple arrests in Newark following a series of shootings in January 2024. These arrests include both adults and juveniles linked to various incidents of gun violence, according to RLS Media reports.

8. Memphis, TN

Memphis, the birthplace of the blues, is also singing a sad tune with a murder rate of 27.1 per 100k. It’s a city with deep roots in music history but a serious crime issue. Memphis is infamous for its crime rate in general, and is one of the most dangerous cities in the US.

Homicide Count in Early 2024

Within the first 100 days of 2024, Memphis recorded over 100 homicides, as per WREG reports. This rapid increase has prompted city officials to take measures to address the rising crime rate.

Comparison with Previous Years

The homicide rate in 2024 is exceeding the pace of the previous year, indicating a significant rise in violent crimes, according to Action News 5.

Gender Breakdown

Fox13 Memphis reports that the number of women killed in Memphis in 2024 has doubled compared to the previous year, with 15 out of the 80 homicides being female victims.

7. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, famous for its BBQ, also has a murder rate of 31.2 per 100k. It’s a tough place where the smell of smoked meat mixes with the harsh reality of crime.

Over 100 homicides reported in Kansas City Metro

In 2024, there have been 101 homicides reported in the Kansas City metro area. Of these, 75% occurred in Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Star reports.

Efforts to Reduce Homicides

KSHB reported that Kansas City is reintroducing a program called “focused deterrence” to help lower the city’s homicide rate. This program aims to reduce violence through community engagement and targeted interventions.

Decline in Homicide Numbers in Early 2024

As of June 2024, Kansas City has seen a decrease in homicide numbers compared to the previous year, KCTV5 reported. This trend is noted during the Gun Violence Awareness Month.

6. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, NV - Murder rates in united states

What happens in Vegas… might not be all fun and games. With a murder rate of 31.4 per 100k, Las Vegas shows that a city known for entertainment can have a very dangerous underbelly.

Overall Crime Rate Trends

In 2024, Las Vegas experienced a general trend of decreasing violent crimes. Specifically, the murder rates have shown a decline compared to previous years, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Comparison with Other Cities

According to World Population Review, in a comparison between Las Vegas and other major cities, it has been noted that Las Vegas has a relatively high homicide rate, ranking it among the top cities with significant murder rates in the United States. This ranking puts Las Vegas in the context of cities like New Orleans and Detroit.

5. Cleveland, OH

Cleveland-OH-Highest-murders-in

Cleveland, home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, also boasts a high murder rate of 33.7 per 100k. It’s a city with a lot to offer, but it also has its fair share of problems.

Significant Decrease in Homicides

According to Axios, homicides in Cleveland have decreased by 43% in 2024 compared to the same period last year. This continues a downward trend that began after reaching a peak in 2020.

Youth Violence Increase

Despite the overall drop in homicides, there has been an increase in youth violence, Cleveland.com reports. Out of the 165 homicides in the previous year, 146 were committed with firearms, and one in three victims was under the age of 18.

Comparison with Other Cities

While Cleveland saw a drop in homicides, other Ohio cities like Cincinnati and Toledo experienced increases in their homicide rates during the same period, as per Spectrum News.

4. Detroit, MI

Detroit has struggled with crime for years. With a murder rate of 39.7 per 100k, it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. The city’s economic hardships have certainly played a role in this grim statistic.

Lowest Homicide Numbers Since 1966

In 2023, Detroit recorded 252 homicides, the fewest since 1966, Detroitmi reports. This marks a significant reduction in violent crime in the city. We’ll see if that strand persist throughout 2024.

Comparison with Previous Years

According to David Lee Law Firm, the reduction in homicides is part of a broader trend of decreasing crime rates in Detroit. The city has seen a substantial decrease in crime, with overall crime rates dropping by 31% compared to the higher rates in 1995.

3. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA - murder rate counts

New Orleans, with its jazz and vibrant nightlife, has a dark side too. The murder rate here is 40.6 per 100k. The Crescent City might draw you in with its charm, but staying safe should be a priority.

Significant Decrease in Homicides

  • Axios reports that in 2024, New Orleans has experienced a substantial reduction in its murder rate, with homicides dropping by approximately 40% compared to the previous year.
  • The city, which had the nation’s highest homicide rate in 2022, saw one of its biggest turnarounds in 2023 with a 25% drop, continuing the trend into 2024.

Early 2024 Statistics

  • As of early March 2024, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) reported 21 homicides, with 20 classified as murders.
  • February 2024 saw 11 murders, marking a 42% decrease compared to February 2023 WGNO reports.

2. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore comes in second with 51.1 murders per 100k. It’s a city with a lot of history and culture, but sadly, it’s also known for its crime rate. Walking around after dark? Not the best idea.

April 2024 Data

  • WMAR2 News reported that Baltimore recorded 16 homicides and 31 non-fatal shootings in March 2024.

Trend in 2024

  • According to The Baltimore Banner, the city is experiencing its least violent start in nearly a decade, with a noticeable decrease in shootings and homicides.

1. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, MO - highest murder rate recorded in the U.S.

St. Louis is infamous for its high murder rate, sitting at an alarming 69.4 per 100k people. It’s like the Wild West out there. If you’re thinking of visiting, maybe opt for a virtual tour instead.

Significant Decrease in Homicides

According to STLPR St. Louis has experienced its lowest homicide rate in a decade, attributed to targeted investments in crime prevention, intervention, and enforcement.

Homicide Statistics

KSDK reported that St. Louis recorded its safest year in a decade, with three consecutive years of declining homicide totals.

Comparative Data

For comparison, St. Louis had the highest homicide rate among U.S. cities for seven straight years before the recent decline. Sadly, this trend continued.

Contributing Factors to These Grim Statistics

Socio-Economic Conditions

Poverty and lack of opportunities often go hand in hand with higher crime rates. In cities like Detroit and Cleveland, economic decline has left many residents in dire straits, leading to an increase in criminal activities as a means of survival.

Gang Activity

Gang violence remains a significant problem in many urban areas. Cities like Chicago and Baltimore struggle with gang-related crimes, which significantly inflate their murder rates.

Drug Trade

The drug trade fuels a lot of the violence seen in these cities. Las Vegas and New Orleans, for example, see high murder rates partly due to their roles as hubs for illegal drug trafficking.

Systemic Issues

Long-standing systemic issues, such as racism and poor urban planning, contribute to crime in many of these cities. These deep-rooted problems require comprehensive solutions that go beyond law enforcement.

FAQs

What factors contribute to high murder rates in these cities?
High murder rates in cities are often attributed to factors such as poverty, gang activity, drug trafficking, economic disparity, and inadequate law enforcement resources.
How do the murder rates in 2024 compare to previous years?
In 2024, there has been a significant decline in overall murder rates in the U.S. compared to previous years, continuing a three-decade downward trend, as reported by various sources including FBI data.
Are there specific neighborhoods within these cities that are more affected by high murder rates?
Yes, within cities with high murder rates, specific neighborhoods often experience more violence due to localized factors such as gang territories, economic conditions, and community resources.
What measures are being taken to reduce murder rates in these high-risk cities?
Measures to reduce murder rates include increasing police presence, community policing initiatives, economic development programs, education and job training opportunities, and efforts to reduce gang violence.
How does the U.S. murder rate compare to other countries?
While the U.S. has cities with high murder rates, globally, some cities, especially in Latin America, have even higher murder rates due to extreme levels of violence and organized crime
How can residents of high-risk areas protect themselves?
Residents can protect themselves by staying informed about local crime trends, participating in neighborhood watch programs, securing their homes, avoiding high-risk areas, and cooperating with law enforcement efforts.

Final Words

The high murder rates in U.S. cities reflect complex, multifaceted issues that require equally comprehensive solutions.  While statistics paint a bleak picture, there are efforts underway to address these problems. Understanding the contributing factors and working towards holistic solutions is key to making our cities safer for everyone.

In the end, it’s about more than just numbers; it’s about people’s lives and the communities they call home.

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