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10 U.S. States With The Highest Murder Rates

Name the U.S. states that had the highest murder rates in 2018.
Murder rate = murders per 100,000 residents
Change = change since 1996
Quiz by bobduncan37
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First submittedJanuary 29, 2017
Last updatedOctober 16, 2019
Times taken13,272
Rating4.24
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Murder Rate
Change
State
11.4
-35%
Louisiana
9.9
+22%
Missouri
8.1
-30%
Maryland
8.0
-30%
New Mexico
7.8
-25%
Alabama
7.7
-14%
South Carolina
7.4
-22%
Tennessee
7.2
-17%
Arkansas
6.9
-31%
Illinois
6.7
-51%
Nevada
+23
level ∞
Aug 6, 2018
For comparison:
  • El Salvador: 84.8
  • Saint Louis: 59.7
  • Chicago: 28.1
  • New York City: 3.4
  • New Hampshire: 1.3
  • United Kingdom: 1.2
  • Japan: 0.28
+6
level 85
Aug 7, 2018
Does anyone have an idea of what is it about Japan (the people, the country, politics, etc) that mean the people are, apparently, nicer to each other or at least obviously less violent?
+23
level 42
Aug 7, 2018
Very restricted immigration and smart and bright native population.
+14
level 73
Aug 7, 2018
A lot of it is cultural as well. The family structure in Japan is much stronger than in other cultures. I believe that constantly being surrounded by family has a positive impact on an individual that manifests itself in all kinds of ways, including not killing each other.
+21
level 82
Aug 7, 2018
Might have something to do with guns and swords being mostly forbidden as well: "Japanese law, however, starts with the 1958 act stating that “No person shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords,” later adding a few exceptions. In other words, American law is designed to enshrine access to guns, while Japan starts with the premise of forbidding it." - Much harder to kill someone with a knife or with bare hands.
+14
level 66
Aug 7, 2018
Japan has virtually zero immigration from the 3rd world. They have a homogenous population with common values, culture, and respect for one another and their country.
+5
level 52
Aug 7, 2018
Wiki lists Irvine, CA as having pretty much the lowest rates for all categories, with a violent crime rate less than half of the next lowest city.
The 2010 census shows Asians accounted for around 45% of the city's population then and likely the majority now.
+6
level 61
Aug 8, 2018
I visited Japan for two weeks less than two months ago, and the efficiency, organization, and common decency among the people is positively mind-blowing. I befriended some people and I was so awestruck by their society that I just outright asked them how they did it, and their answer was just that, more than any other ethic, they are taught from birth to always be polite and to never be the person that disrupts harmony. They don't get all rah-rah about jingoism (I saw one Japanese flag while I was there -- at the Hiroshima memorial). They don't fuss about silly things. They just handle their business. It was positively remarkable. Having said that, one can't ignore that Japan is ethnically homogenous and geographically isolated. That makes it much easier to run a society. The pressure to be "proper" (in behavior and life) also causes a lot of depression and suicide (as the numbers show). But still, it's my favorite place I've ever been. I can't wait to go back.
+1
level 57
Aug 8, 2018
Murder rate is something that doesn't necessarily reflect on a society as a whole. Murders are such a rare event even in the areas with the highest murder rates that the cause for each murder has to be something that is one-off, or at least very rare. It is possible that a high murder rate reflects generally low levels of morality in a society, but it is also possible that it reflects a polarised society. Emphasis on the community as a whole and fitting in might reduce or increase polarisation, although if it is relevant here it would seem to reduce it. There could also be other factors at play here.
+3
level 68
Aug 31, 2018
In the US more immigration correlates to lower crime rates. I'd also argue that it is a cause. Japan and Korea share many characteristics, and one of them is low crime and murder rates. One reason in Korea is cctv cameras EVERYWHERE. Also constant watching by others in person. I think also the suppression of losing one's temper is considered admirable (although Koreans are hot-tempered) so blustering in a bar fight and brandishing a weapon would be OTT here, unlike in the US.
+5
level 58
Aug 31, 2018
Because it is a homogeneous society and culture. Say what you will about all the joys of diversity, blah blah, but there's no question that in cultures/countries where everybody lives by the same standards/rules/expectations people seem to be easier to govern (control?), can communicate better, etc....
+3
level 52
Aug 31, 2018
Japanese citizens are more likely to commit violence against themselves. Very high suicide rate.
+4
level 46
Aug 31, 2018
Wasn't too long ago they were murdering each other or invading other Asian countries and murdering them. It's not like they had a flood immigration throughout those years. There's been plenty of immigration and migration throughout Europe and those homicide rates are very low as well. To solely put the reasoning on immigration is inaccurate.
+9
level 77
Sep 1, 2018
People who talk about the wonders of homogeneity are *probably* racist (and some other unsavory things). Not always. But often.
+1
level 59
Jan 29, 2019
Surely there is nothing more inherently smart or bright about the Japanese than any other culture--what a ridiculous notion. The xenophobia (allophobia?) in this thread is shocking. Also, there is a hidden downside to Japan's homogeneity: suffocating conformity and troubling sexism that confounds the year 2019. I always enjoy visiting Japan but know that its rich cultural product comes at a high price.
+2
level 68
May 21, 2019
Ah yes, Japanese ethnic purity. That's it. And the other reason Japan has lower murder rates is because of their famously strict standards on water purity. Just look... after the Missouri meets the Mississippi every one of the six states that the mixed impure water flows through makes this top ten. Every one! Too much of a coincidence to be random correlation. Mixing = murder. Fact.
+1
level 78
Oct 16, 2019
The best summary of the Japanese attitude I have heard is "respect for others". In many situations Japanese will go out of their way to show that respect and tolerate something that they may disagree with.
+9
level 56
Aug 7, 2018
Even though there are still some pretty violent places in America it's nice to see that overall the murder rate has dropped a lot in most of these states since the 90s. Only if we had more gun control...
+2
level 71
Aug 7, 2018
Well actually gun regulations are weaker now than they were in the 90s. They don't have much to do with the crime rate.
+3
level 66
Aug 8, 2018
UK is a good example. They have restrictive gun laws just like Japan but people find a way around it. UK has acid attacks, nail bombs, van rammings, beheadings, knife attacks, hatchet attacks, etc. If somebody wants to cause damage they'll find a way.
+14
level 57
Aug 8, 2018
The UK still has a considerably lower murder rate than the USA.
+11
level 67
Aug 8, 2018
If acid, nail bombs, knives, hatchets, etc. are all just as dangerous as guns, then why do people make such a big deal about having guns to protect themselves? Why not just have a knife, if it's equally as dangerous as a gun?
+10
level 67
Aug 11, 2018
The trouble with your comment 'TinklePork' is that the USA also has Nail Bombs, van rammings, beheading, knife attacks, machete attacks etc. etc. plus a terrible murder rate.
+15
level 63
Aug 16, 2018
Beheadings! Yeah, they're an everyday occurrence in the UK. You may want to visit sometime. Always useful to base a comment on your own experience and/or on facts.
+15
level 70
Aug 31, 2018
I don't know about that - I can't seem to get to the shops these days without being beheaded. It's getting really annoying.
+2
level 71
Aug 31, 2018
You're right to a large extent, Bernard, but recent evidence is showing stricter gun laws do lead to a slightly lower murder rate. That runs contrary to the pro-gun lobby's claims - but its always convoluted as cities with stronger laws are often surrounded by areas with extremely weak laws (ie, Chicago, surrounded by Indiana and Wisconsin's weak laws). What actually does show more of an impact than anything else is reduced lead exposure - this exposure is known to not only harm intellectual development, but result in more violent tendencies. As we've eliminated leaded gas and leaded paint, lead exposure levels have plummeted, followed by perfectly correlated declines in violent crime rates, delayed by 15-20 years (ie, the time it takes for kids to grow up). Unfortunately, many poverty-stricken areas never have had good lead paint removal programs. We'd rather spend a fortune to incarcerate them than to fix the problem on the cheap.
+10
level 56
Aug 8, 2018
Interesting how the places with the highest murder rates in the US are pro-gun Southern states. Six are Deep South and only two are fully outside the South (NV and IL).
+8
level 61
Aug 8, 2018
And Illinois is very likely on the list because of the violence epidemic on Chicago's South Side and West Side, where most of the guns are imported from nearby Indiana, which also has very lax gun laws.
+1
level 15
Aug 31, 2018
Yeah, I live in Illinois and put it in as a joke, but then it accepted the answer. Then I remembered that Chicago exists.
+9
level 71
Aug 10, 2018
Also, sadly, poverty, and lack of education (which go together with each other, as well as with crime).
+1
level 79
Aug 10, 2018
Samiamco, I think you are correct and I think we can add drug dependency/abuse to the list- unless that's what you meant when you said crime. I've lived in five of the states on the list including the only one with an increase and they can be very scary places. I am surprised to see Maryland on here instead of Michigan.
+1
level 71
Aug 31, 2018
Maryland is on here because of Baltimore - which represents a bit over 10% of Maryland's total pop. Michigan's problematic areas, primarily Detroit, Flint, and Benton Harbor, represent under 8% of Michigan's total pop, and all. So Baltimore, with it murder rate higher than Detroit or Flint or Benton Harbor, has an outsized impact. Often people hear the news headlines and miss the underlying facts. For example, the city of Detroit is only roughly 1/6th of the total population of Metro Detroit. So they hear about high murder rates in Detroit and conflate that with high murder rates around the entire metro region, when most of it is in fact very safe. Or they hear about high numbers of murders in Chicago and assume its a complete war zone, when in fact many cities in the US have equally high or higher murder rates (St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc)...
+1
level 44
Aug 31, 2018
NV (Nevada) is sort of south. Just not south-east. Illinois seems to be the only exception here, probably because of Chicago.
+1
level 55
Aug 31, 2018
Illinois is also certainly affected by East St. Louis.
+1
level 72
Oct 16, 2019
Nevada is not considered part of what the U.S. calls the South with a capital S, i.e., the southeast, the old southern part of the country before westward expansion. Hawaii, the most southern state by latitude is not the Deep South.
+1
level 64
Oct 18, 2019
Nevada is not remotely part of the South. And most of the murders occur in Las Vegas, which is hardly a "red" city. Most of the murders there are either gang related or a result of their wonderful neighbor state releasing dozens upon dozens of felons who then go next door and commit violent crimes.
+1
level 57
Aug 26, 2019
That’s was my strategy, I just started naming off red states, suddenly I had 8/10. They have a solution to the epidemic though...more guns lol
+2
level 76
Aug 8, 2018
Sad that my state of Missouri had an increase. I'm guessing St. Louis is responsible for that.
+1
level 79
Aug 10, 2018
Ander, I'm sure that St Louis plays a big part in it, but don't forget Kansas City. You recently mentioned a movie, "Winter's Bone" that pretty accurately depicts the conditions that occur in the Ozarks and even our sleepy little Bootheel is experiencing its share of crime. It is indeed very sad.
+1
level 76
Sep 1, 2018
I found the 2018 FBI crime report for Missouri and it seems we're both wrong. It includes all violent crimes, but I didn't see anything from the KC area. However, St Louis and its suburbs totaled only four, with one, Poplar Bluff, in the Bootheel area. (I know heroin is a problem there.) The remaining ones were in the southwest part of the state - Springfield, Branson, Joplin, Bolivar, and Nevada. As you said, maybe it's the "Winter's Bone" issue of drugs. We own a few acres in the Ozarks and meth is still a real problem over there. I've lived in the Bootheel region all my life except for college years, but I never thought of us as "sleepy". We are rural, but I'd describe us as rowdy rather than sleepy. Boys driving the backroads in their duallys on weekends, drinking, or taking opioids to have a good time, and some dying in the process. The three young men I knew who died of drug overdoses were educated and came from families who were in business or law. Poverty wasn't the reason.
+1
level 58
Aug 31, 2018
They all have miserably humid and uncomfortable hot weather in the summer---with the single exception of Nevada, which just has plain DRY and uncomfortable hot weather.
+2
level 61
Aug 31, 2018
Not sure whether the humidity plays a large role, but I do know that in Chicago, where I live, the first nice weekend of the year is usually the most violent. The winters here are long, and once it gets nice, all the kids in crime-ridden areas get outside and get themselves into trouble. There are way fewer murders in the winter than in the summer just because fewer people are outside looking for trouble in the brutal Chicago winter weather. I have no evidence in support, but I suspect the fact that it's always warm in a lot of these places boosts their numbers.
+1
level 39
Sep 2, 2018
I was a bit surprised not to see Michigan because of the murders in Detroit.
+1
level 53
Apr 9, 2019
Another easy one. All across the South, mostly.
+1
level 45
Jul 30, 2019
Is there a link between violence and climate? It seems that most of the countries./ states with warmer climates have higher murder rates. Possibly as simple as ppl spending more time outdoors and more diverse interaction? Obviously not the ONLY factor but could be a social indicator?
+1
level 61
Oct 17, 2019
People always talk about how kind Southerners are.....