Hot Springs, Arkansas
Located in the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs has a population of 36,000 people. The Arkansas city attracts many visitors annually with its famous thermal springs, scenic beauty, and historic architecture. Sadly, however, it topped the FBI’s list of most burglarized cities in 2016. Guess those thieves don’t worry about getting into hot water!
A storied city along the Mississippi River, Greenville was once a center of the cotton industry. Nowadays, the 32,000 residents enjoy the architecture of Gamwyn Park Historic District and the music scene along Nelson Street, which was once a wellspring of blues and jazz artists. Despite its charms, Greenville ranks as the second most burglarized city in the country, according to UCR data. One in 16 residents are likely to become victims of property crime.
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Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Ranking as the third most burglarized city in the nation, Pine Bluff played a leading role in the civil rights movement. Between the 1980s and 2000, the city underwent significant construction and highway improvements to lure more businesses to the area, yet the population has steadily declined for the last two decades. What's more, Pine Bluff was cited as one of America’s 10 most impoverished cities by Forbes magazine in 2009.
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Situated on the banks of the Red River, Alexandria was seriously damaged by Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Today, nearly a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and it ranks among the 100 most dangerous cities in America. Alexandria is the fourth most burglarized burg in the country. The probability of experiencing property crime there is one in 12.
With substantial supplies of coal, iron ore, and limestone, Bessemer was a booming industrial and manufacturing city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But ever since the steel industry declined in the area, residents have experienced dismal job prospects and a decreasing population. In fact, about 27 percent of residents live below the poverty line, and Bessemer ranked as the country’s fifth most burglarized city in 2016.
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Lake Charles, Louisiana
The fifth largest city in Louisiana, Lake Charles is home to the well-known L'Auberge Casino Resort. In addition to gaming and tourism, the petrochemical refining industry brings money to this city of 77,000 residents. Yet Lake Charles suffers from a high number of burglaries per capita, and its violent crime rate is 67 percent higher than the national average.
The arrival of the the paddle-wheeler steamboat transformed Monroe from a mere outpost to a bona fide town during the first half of the 19th century. Today, however, the northern Louisiana city of 50,000 residents has the seventh highest burglary rate in the country. Violent crime has also surged 85 percent in recent years, and 24 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Related: 18 Small Towns That Changed America
Jonesboro, Arkansas, is both a college town (home to Arkansas State University) and a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, and medicine. Its steadily increasing population has reached nearly 75,000, making Jonesboro the fifth most populated city in Arkansas. But with growth comes crime: Jonesboro ranks as America’s eighth most burglarized city, and residents have a 22 percent chance of falling victim to some form of property crime.
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This Midwestern burg lies about 120 miles south of Chicago. Once a crux of the coal industry, Danville suffered when mines and refineries closed in the late 20th century, and 6.7 percent of the city’s workforce is unemployed today. Danville is the ninth most burglarized city in America—and with nearly 28 percent of the area’s children living in poverty, it was recently cited as one of the worst places to raise kids.
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This Bay Area city of 122,000 people has racial diversity, a thriving LGBT community, and many beautiful Victorian and Craftsman-style homes. It also has a varied, healthy economy and a median household income of $57,000. Yet Vallejo has an unusually high crime rate across the board, and it wound up as the 10th most burglarized city on the UCR list. Folks here stand a 1 in 25 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
Charleston, West Virginia
Though it's the capital of West Virginia and the state’s most populous city (around 49,000 people call it home), residents have been deserting Charleston since the 1970s. Today it’s considered one of the most crime-ridden places in America, and it’s also the 11th most burglarized metropolis on the UCR list. You have a 1 in 12 chance of falling prey to property crime in Charleston.
Related: The 50 Strangest Laws in America
East Point, Georgia
A suburban city south of Atlanta, East Point has a population of about 35,000 people; this number has largely stayed the same since the 1970s. Scenes from the Netflix original series “Stranger Things” were shot in front of East Point’s First Baptist Church, but sadly, the hint of celebrity failed to help East Point’s crime rate. About 99 percent of communities in Georgia are safer than this city, where one’s likelihood of being a victim of a property crime is 1 in 10.
Founded at the junction of major railroad lines, Meridian was once a bustling center of trade. As rail travel declined in the late 20th century, the city managed to diversify, and it's now recognized for its handsome hotels and architecturally stunning historic districts. Even so, Meridian is the country’s 13th most burglarized city, with a property crime rate 88 percent higher than the national average.
Located on the Mississippi Sound, Biloxi transformed itself into a beachy vacation destination in the 1960s. The casino-centric city experienced even more growth with the legalization of gambling in the 1990s. Unfortunately, Biloxi suffered severe damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and residents now deal with high crime all around. Biloxi is the 14th most burglarized city in the nation; your likelihood of being a property crime victim here is 1 in 17.
Ohio’s second most populous city behind Columbus, Cleveland has its fair share of ups and downs. Its location on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River made it a major manufacturing center, but an economic slump in the 1980s caused residents to seek jobs elsewhere. Recent efforts to reinvigorate Cleveland have gained some success; nevertheless, it still ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in America.
Five years ago, the AARP named Pueblo one of the best places to live in America. The Colorado city has long been a center for the steel industry, and it has recently become an alternative energy hub as well. But Pueblo’s crime rates are among the highest in the United States. It’s the 16th most burglarized city in the country, and people here face a 1 in 15 chance of property crime.
Desert Hot Springs, California
This Coachella Valley city has experienced tremendous growth since the 1970s, when the population was a mere 2,700. Nowadays, nearly 29,000 people call it home. Known for its naturally occurring mineral springs, the area attracts tourists to its ’50s-era spas and hotels. But visitors to Desert Hot Springs should be on alert: The crime rate is considerably higher than the national average, and 89 percent higher than in the rest of California.
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This Midwestern metropolis is one of the lowest-ranking American cities in terms of health, happiness, and well-being. Nearly 17 percent of the population, which has been in slow, constant decline since the 1960s, lives below the poverty line. Crime has climbed steadily throughout the 21st century, and more than 99 percent of Ohio communities are considered safer than Springfield today.
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Known as the birthplace of aviation, Dayton remains a center for aerospace, defense, research, and technological development. Healthcare also makes up a significant sector of the city’s economy, and hospitals here typically earn high marks. But although Dayton was cited as one of the best places for college grads to find employment in 2010, the city’s population has been on the decline since the 1960s, and crime rates across the board are historically high. In fact, 98 percent of Ohio communities claim lower crime rates, making Dayton the 19th most burglarized city in America.
This northwestern Ohio city has had its share of economic booms and busts since oil was discovered here in 1885, but it never quite sprang back from the the Rust Belt decline of the 1970s. That’s when residents began to leave the city, whose population now stands at about 37,000. Lima is classified among the 100 most dangerous cities in America, and the UCR list dubs it the 20th most burglarized city in the country.
Related: 20 Places with (Almost) Zero Crime
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