Violent crime highlights humanity’s ugly side. That’s why the law is very hard on violent crime perpetrators. Nevertheless, the latest violent crime statistics show that this kind of crime still occurs quite frequently. In fact, some forms of it happen at alarming rates.
To shed more light on this issue, we gathered a series of insightful data on violent crime. This collection will show you just how the situation with violent crime in the US has developed over the years.
From aggravated assaults to robberies, you’ll see dozens of stats that outline the most pressing violent crime problems in the United States. We’ll also present you with statistics from other countries around the world.
While solving this problem is ultimately the authorities’ role, the best way to initiate change is to spread awareness.
Top Stats on US Violent Crime Rate (Editor’s Pick)
- In the United States, a murder happens every 32.5 minutes
- In 2019, there were 1,690 homicides in California
- There were more than 21,570 murder and manslaughter cases in the US in 2020
- In 2019, D.C. had a reported crime rate of 1,049 per 100,000 people
- The murder rate in Los Cabos, Mexico, is 111.3 per 100,000 people
- Aggravated assaults comprised almost 70% of violent crimes in 2019
- In 2019, 73.7% of murder cases in the US involved a firearm
Recent Trends in US Violent Crime
1. Most recent info suggests that one murder happens every 32.5 minutes in the US.
FBI violent crime statistics show that an instance of violent crime takes place every 26.2 seconds. Rape happens every 3.8 minutes, one robbery takes place every 1.9 minutes, and an aggravated assault occurs every 39.2 seconds.
From this data, it’s clear that murder is among the rarest types of violent crime.
2. In 2019, 7,484 murder victims in the US were Black individuals.
The data on homicide by demographic highlights that Black individuals make up a disproportionate number of victims per year.
Violent crime statistics by race show that, out of 13,927 murder victims in 2019, almost half were Black males. To be more precise, 6,446 Black males and 1,035 Black females were victims of murder.
Meanwhile, 5,787 white people were murdered in 2019. Out of those, 4,026 were males, and 1,759 were females.
3. The US recorded over 21,570 murder and manslaughter cases in 2020.
Homicide and manslaughter rates have been descending over the years. Except for a few spikes, these rates have slowly been going down since the 1990s.
To illustrate, national crime statistics show us that 2019 saw a slight decrease in murder and manslaughter cases than the previous year. However, there was a substantial increase in 2020 that hadn’t been reported since 1995.
4. In 2020, the United States reported 921,505 aggravated assaults.
An aggravated assault usually involves some sort of weapon with which the attacker can inflict a serious injury.
According to violent crime statistics from 2019, when there were 822,017 cases of aggravated assault, that was the only type of crime that recorded a rise in the number of criminal cases in recent years. In 2018, there were 810,982 such cases.
5. 243,600 robbery cases were reported in 2020.
Similar to murder cases, the number of robbery cases has also gone down over the years. Back in 1990, there were 639.270 reported instances. Although generally declining, they experienced a slight increase during the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009.
Violent crime statistics show that the number of robbery cases is significantly higher than the one of murder cases.
6. 126,430 rape cases were reported in 2020.
Unlike robbery and murder, rape cases’ trajectory hasn’t been nearly as steady. Over the decades, it has seen several dips and jumps. For example, the number of cases shot up from 85,141 to 143,765 between 2012 and 2018.
Moreover, violent crime statistics in the US show that the number of rape cases has fluctuated in the last few decades. Law agencies reported 109,060 cases in 1992. From there, the number nosedived till 1999, when it reached 89,411 instances.
In 2000, the number of rapes started growing again. Crime statistics in the USA show that they increased from 90,178 to 95,235 in 2002.
7. In 2019, California recorded 1,690 murder cases.
California has the largest population in the United States. Therefore, it makes sense that it also has the greatest number of violent crimes happening within its borders.
Looking at the data on US murders per year, we can see that California had the most murders in 2019. Next on the list was Texas with 1,409, and the third was Florida with 1,122 murders.
These three states also happen to be the ones with the most people. On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and Wyoming, two of the least populated states in the US, had 11 and 13 cases, respectively.
Highlights of the Violent Crime Rates in the US
8. The arrest rate of violent crimes was 156.3 per 100,000 citizens in 2019.
Violent crimes happen less often than property crimes. The 2019 rate of the former was 366.7, while it was 2,109.9 for the latter. But proportionally, there are significantly more arrests for violent than for property crimes. In comparison, the arrest rate for property crimes was 343.3 per 100,000 citizens.
9. For Black males, the murder rate per 100,000 people is 8.3 times higher than that of white males.
When we look at the US homicide rate, we can see that the Black males’ rate is 18.5 per 100,000 persons, while the white males’ rate is only 2.8. On the other hand, the Native American murder rate is 4 cases per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the Asian rate is only 1.3—the lowest of all ethnicities in the United States.
10. The rate of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter was five cases per 100,000 residents in 2019.
The 1990s had the highest crime rates in US history, violent or otherwise. For example, back in 1991, there were 9.8 cases per 100,000 residents. Nowadays, they’re remarkably low compared to that decade.
11. Murder and manslaughter had a clearance rate of 54.4% in 2020.
Crime clearance means arresting a person for the crime they’ve committed and bringing them to trial. Alternatively, it can refer to a situation where a said person cannot be brought to trial because of uncontrollable situations (like death).
According to violent crime rates, murder and manslaughter had the highest clearance rate in 2020. In second place was aggravated assault, with a rate of 46.4%. Overall, violent crimes had a 41.7% clearance rate.
Violent Crime Statistics by State
12. The District of Columbia’s violent crime rate in 2019 was 1,049 per 100,000 residents.
The District of Columbia had the largest number of violent crime cases per 100,000 people in 2019. In fact, it had the highest rate by a wide margin. The other two states that made the top-three list were Alaska and New Mexico, with 867.1 and 832.2 crime rates, respectively.
The violent crime rate by state shows that all three states were far above the national average of 379.4 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 22 US states had above-average violent crime rates. With 381 cases for every 100,000 residents, Colorado had the rate closest to the average.
13. In 2020, Maine had the lowest violent crime rate of 108.6 cases per 100,000 residents.
New Hampshire and Vermont were also among the safest countries in the US, with 146.4 and 173.4 violent crime rates per 100,000 citizens, respectively. These three states had the lowest violent crime rates by state in the US in 2020.
14. Louisiana has a homicide rate of 12.4.
(World Population Review)
Louisiana has an alarmingly high homicide rate, the highest in the United States. We can see the proof of this claim in the violent crime statistics from 2021. Just to compare, the other two countries with the highest homicide rate are Missouri and Nevada, with 9.8 and 9.1 homicide rates.
15. Detroit had a violent crime rate of 1965.33 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2019.
According to violent crime statistics by the city, Detroit had the highest number of violent offenses in 2019.
St. Louis was the second-most dangerous city with 1927.32 cases. Meanwhile, Memphis was third, reporting 1901.42 crimes per 100,000 citizens.
16. The sexual assault rate in Alaska is 161.9.
(World Population Review)
Sexual assault statistics show that Alaska has an abnormally high number of rapes per 100,000 residents.
The state’s rate is almost four times bigger than the average national US violent crime rate for this category. Despite this extremely high rate, rape isn’t the most common violent crime in Alaska. That would be aggravated assault.
Apart from sexual assault, Alaska also has the third-highest crime rate in the US. Its authorities report 3,777.89 cases per 100,000 people. Violent crime makes 21% of all crimes in Alaska, whereas 79% are property crimes.
Violent Crime Statistics by Country
17. The city of Los Cabos in Mexico has the biggest murder rate in the world — 111.3 per 100,000 people.
All these statistics probably sound very concerning to you. But you’ll get a clearer picture of the situation when we compare the rates in the United States to those in other countries around the world.
Violent crime rates by the city show that Los Cabos, Mexico, has the greatest number of murders per 100,000 people. Not far behind is Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, with a similar murder rate of 111.2.
Interestingly, the majority of the world’s most dangerous cities are located in Central and South America. Cities like Acapulco, Natal, Tijuana, la Paz, and Fortaleza are in either Mexico or Brazil.
The United States also has the highest violent crime rates by country, though only four cities are present on the said list. In the ascending order of crime rates, we have Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, and St. Louis.
18. Australia has a homicide rate of 0.94 per 100,000 people.
(World Population Review)
In terms of homicides, Australia is considered one of the most peaceful countries worldwide.
On the other hand, the Australian violent crime rate for rapes is relatively high. Research shows that the country’s rape rate is 28.6 per 100,000 citizens.
While it is much lower than in South Africa (132.4) or Botswana (92.9), it’s far from the country with the lowest number of recorded rapes per 100,000 people (Azerbaijan with 0.2).
19. El Salvador has the highest murder rate of 82.84.
(World Population Review)
According to the data on the violent crime rate by country, El Salvador has the highest murder rate per 100.000 residents. Jamaica is second with 57, and Honduras is third with a 41.7 murder rate.
20. The highest rape rate is in South Africa—132.4.
(World Population Review)
South Africa has an extreme incidence of rape, outpacing any other country in the world. In second place is Botswana, with a 92.9 rate. The third is Lesotho, with an 82.7 rape rate.
If we rank the countries by violent crime rate, South Africa is among the top five with 35.9. It sits just under Belize with 37.9.
21. Japan’s homicide rate is 0.28.
(World Population Review)
Generally speaking, Asia is the continent with the lowest violent crime rates. Japan takes first place in Asian countries. Second is Indonesia with a homicide rate of 0.5, while in third place is China with a rate of 0.62 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Japanese violent crime rate is also very low regarding rape—1 case per 100,000 people.
22. The crime rate in the UK is 96.4 per 1,000 people.
Regarding countries, England and Wales have the highest crime rate of 102.8, while Scotland recorded the most significant crime rate decrease, from 82.6 in 2002/03 to 45.1 in 2019/20.
23. The number of homicides reached 809 in the United Kingdom in 2019/20.
UK violent crime stats show an increase in the number of homicides in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19. More precisely, the 2019/2020 period had 40 more cases than 2018/2019, during which 769 cases had been reported. This rise is related to a cut in resources and workforce UK law enforcement agencies experienced at the time.
All the same, the figures show an overall decline in the homicide rate in the last 15 years. For example, the violent crime statistics by year show much higher numbers for 2002/2003. There were 1,215 homicide cases in that period — the highest number in the country’s recent history.
The number of homicides in the UK began dipping this time. A year later, the number slumped by almost 200 cases. It continued dropping (with mild fluctuations) until 2013/2014. This was the period with the fewest homicides — 615 cases were reported in the UK.
Violent Crime Facts
24. In 2019, 68.2% of violent crimes were aggravated assaults.
Aggravated assaults account for the majority of violent offenses in the United States. In 2019, their rate was 250.2 per 100,000 residents.
On the other hand, murder statistics show that it made up a much smaller percent of reported crimes. According to crime rates in America, approximately 1.4% were murders.
25. Rape accounted for 8.2% of violent crimes in 2019.
Out of the total number of violent crimes in the States, rape accounts for a relatively small percent. Data from 2019 demonstrates this — the rape rate in 2019 was 29.9 per 100,000 people. When converted into the overall number of cases, almost 100,000 rapes were reported that year.
US violent crime statistics show that, although relatively rare, rape cases aren’t the least prominent kind of violent crime. That title would belong to murder. In 2019, homicide accounted for 1.4% of all reported violent crimes.
However, if we observe rape on a year-to-year basis, we can see a clear fall in its rate. According to the FBI’s stats on violent crime rates by year, the rape rate was 31 back in 2018.
26. Firearms were used in 73.7% of murder cases in 2019.
The United States has a unique relationship with firearms. The country has relatively high gun crime rates, but guns are also an inseparable part of its history and culture. This makes the firearm crime problem difficult to solve. The statistics on gun crimes show that firearms are a part of most murder cases.
Although most common, guns were not the only weapon used in murder cases that year. According to violent crime stats, knives and other cutting instruments made up 10.6% of all weapons. Moreover, perpetrators used other unknown but dangerous weapons (blunt objects, tools, and the like) in 11.4% of the cases.
In 2019, the rarest murder weapons were so-called personal weapons. The United States violent crime statistics show that only 4.3% of murders were caused by personal weapons such as hands, fists, feet, and similar.
27. 51% of US citizens think crime is a severe problem.
Some parts of the US have a bigger problem with crime than others. Crime rates significantly correlate with population density and living conditions.
The violent crime statistics in the USA show that more than half of people think that crime in the US has gotten out of hand. Conversely, only 10% of US citizens think the crime rate in their area is a problem.
28. In 2019, 5,319,654 white people were arrested.
Out of all the arrests in 2019, white people made up the greatest percentage in the United States. As the ethnic majority of the country, it makes sense that they took up the biggest share of arrests.
According to the FBI violent crime statistics by race, out of 7,710,900 offenses in 2019, 2,115,381 arrested persons were African Americans.
29. 5,012,260 males were arrested in 2019.
Data from the FBI shows that men are vastly overrepresented in criminal arrests. In fact, the number of arrested males is several times bigger than that of females.
If we look at the violent crime statistics by gender, it is clear that males dominate this category. Out of 6,917,552 cases in 2019, only 1,905,292 were committed by women.
Crime is a part of our everyday lives. We can reduce it, but we can’t eradicate it without resorting to inhumane means. However, the situation could likely be better than it is now.
From these violent crime statistics, we see that the violent crime rate is decreasing. Some crimes, such as rape, haven’t been dropping linearly for various reasons, but overall, the situation seems to be getting better.
Especially compared with the 1990s, the rates of robbery, murder, aggravated assault, and rape have dropped significantly. For the most part, the downward trend is still present.
That said, we are still far from living in the closest feasible version of a crime-free world.
People Also Ask
A violent crime is when the victim is threatened or harmed with violence. The term “violent crime” usually includes homicide, murder, assault, manslaughter, sexual assault, rape, extortion, and kidnapping.
Four types of violent crimes are dominant in the US — murder (including nonnegligent manslaughter), forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Furthermore, we should also note that different countries have different systems for reporting and recording crime.
It depends on the category “stealing” refers to. Robbery, for example, is classified as a violent crime. On the other hand, theft and larceny fall into the scope of property crimes.
Robberies are fairly numerous in the United States, though not to an alarming extent. In 2019, there were almost 300,000 reported robbery cases. But compared to thefts and cases of larceny, they aren’t that prevalent in the States.
Detroit leads the way as the most violent city in the United States. In 2019, there were over 1965.33 violent crimes per 100,000 citizens. In second place was St. Louis with around 1927.32 crimes, and in third was Memphis with 1927.42 reported crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, the city with the highest murder rate worldwide is Los Cabos in Mexico, followed by Acapulco and the capital of Venezuela, Caracas.
Violent crime decreases for a variety of complex reasons. The increase of resources for policing can contribute to curbing violent crimes. Moreover, better policies have a positive effect on reducing the violent crime rate.
Law enforcement is not the only thing that makes violent crime go down. For example, improved living standards also make society safer. According to violent crime statistics, the reduced demand for hard drugs also leads to lower crime rates.