2013 Crime Rates for Top 100 U.S. Cities: Actual v. Percent to Population

The following chart shows the crime rates for the Top 100 U.S. Cites sorted according to the population of the city as of 2013. The data is derived from the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2013 released in November 2014. Extrapolation of the data as shown in this chart provides the total crimes in each of the Top 100 U.S. Cities and the percentage to the population that the total represents.

2013 Crime Rates for Top 100 U.S. Cities chart shows the…

  • violent crime rate
  • murder rate
  • rape rate
  • robbery rate
  • aggravated assault rate
  • property crime rate
  • burglary rate
  • larceny theft rate
  • motor vehicle theft rate
  • arson rate
  • Total crime rate
  • Percent to Population of the crime rate
  • Total Population as of 2013 for each city listed in the chart

This chart is readable here on the site or you will notice in the upper right corner of this chart two options. The Pop-Out option will open this document in Google Docs for easier reading. Also, this chart can be downloaded for your own purposes by either downloading it through the Google Docs reader or by using the link at the bottom of the chart as shown on this page.  We, at Criminal Justice Law US hope you find this information useful.

We will be adding more charts and data as we pour through the FBI UCR and this page will contain links to all additional data sheets we will be adding so be sure to bookmark this page for easy reference later. 

Notes Regarding the Crime Data for the Top 100 U.S. Cities

Graph of crime rate with 2005 emphasized
Graph of crime rate with 2005 emphasized (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It should be noted that the data regarding the Top 100 U.S. Cities (by population), represents 62,136,080 persons in the nation. This is the combined total of the populations for all these cities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population in 2013 was 318,892,103. Thus, the combined populations for the Top 100 cities in the United States is equal to 19.49% of the nation.

Also, the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) does not contain data on ALL jurisdictions/municipalities. This is because reporting remains, as it has from the start in 1930, voluntary. In 2013, a total of 9292 municiplaities reported/contributed to the UCR, representing a total population of 198,952,789. Subtracting this figure from the total population, we learn that jurisdictions representing 119,939,314 or 37.6% of the national population.

Thus, we must understand that when interpreting this data, our conclusions are limited because it only represents 2/3 of the population, 2/3 of the municipalities. That said, you will notice when looking at the chart provided above that only two major cities did not report. These are Columbus, Ohio and Honolulu, Hawaii. This means that the majority of major cities in the United States participate in the FBI UCR data collection process.

Also, missing entirely from the UCR data are all Hawaiian police departments–none participated, so we are missing an entire state. Of course, this can be taken two ways.

  1. The missing state is somewhat isolated from the rest, being as it is not part of the Continental U.S. Thus, there may be some differences in the data which would be receieved from these agencies. It provides an unknown, a controlled variable for some studies.
  2. The missing information is a island state and key tourist destination. The missing data would be very useful to some studies which criminologists and criminal justice students may conduct.

Further Information Regarding the Top 100 Crime Data

English: Crime Rate in USA, NYC, LA, Newark 19...
English: Crime Rate in USA, NYC, LA, Newark 1990-2003. Data from FBI http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm and previous (not on line) versions of this same document. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The data/statistics never tell the complete story, but we can extrapolate important information from what we have. For instance, the total reported crimes for these Top 100 U.S. Cities in 2013 was 5,429,718 and divided among the 100 reporting locations, this provides us with an average crime rate in the top 100 of 54,297 each.

The total for the entire group reporting (9292 municipalities) was 14,238,111, which, when divided among the entire group provides us with an average of 1532 per location. Thus, as we would expect, the top 100 population centers in the nation experience higher than the average rate of crime for the nation. Further dividing this data, the remaining 9192 reporting municipalities experienced a combined total of 8,808,393 crimes for an average of 958 per location.

So, as we have heard for years, the highest crime rates in the the population centers, the major cities. In fact, the data consistently year after year shows this out. This naturally raises questions such as Why? What is the reason for the disparity between crime in major cities and crime in smaller jurisdictions?

Statistics are Not Always What they Seem

Before we decide that there is far more crime in the major cities as it appears, let us now add one additional element. Let us determine the percentage of crime as it relates to the population. By dividing the total reported crimes by the populations represented, we arrive at three very telling figures.

  • The Crime Rate as a % to Population for the Top 100 Major Cities is 8.74%
  • The Average for the entire data set (9292 municipalities) is 7.16%
  • The average for the remaining municipalities (9192) is 6.44%

Thus, there is not a striking difference between these totals. The crime rate difference, calculated as a percentage of the population is only 2.3% from the top 100 major cities to the rest of the nation.

In fact, if you take a look at the next data set provided, the top 100 crime stats as a percentage, you will see that as a percentage to the population, many smaller municipalities experience far higher crime rates than any major city ever has.

This all points out a single lesson all students of criminal justice need to remember: The data/statistics can say whatever we want them to say. Our job, as researchers and students is to do our best to interpret the data honestly. This is not always easy, but as can be seen from this, if we seek honest answers, honest introspection of the statistics provided must be undertaken.

In the following chart, the crime rates for U.S. Cities is sorted according to the percent to population. This information is both telling and misleading so an explanation is in order.

Strange Results in the % of Crime Data

US Violent Crime Rate
US Violent Crime Rate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Notice first that the top 6 results top 100% as a total to population of crime. In fact, the top spot (Lakeside, Colorado) is entirely over the top as is the next in line (Industry, California). This tells us a little about sorting the crime data in this way: Data alone cannot tell the complete story.

Consider Lakeside, Colorado. Lakeside is a statutory town just 0.3 square miles in size adjacent to Denver, Colorado. It was established by a Denver business syndicate in 1907 with the intent of building a resort at the location. The leader of the group was brewing magnate Adolph Zang who started the development so that Denver liquor laws could be circumvented. The resort did not get developed and later a shopping mall was constructed; subsequently replaced by a Wal-Mart in 2011. There are a few small houses within the incorporated limits and note that the main crimes are property/theft, as is common in Wal-Mart parking lots, even with the private security the company maintains.  Thus, the percent to population crime rate of 13,825% suddenly makes some sense.

The case of the number 2 spot, City of Industry, California is similar. It is an industrial region to the east of Los Angeles. “Industry” is the good name for the Incorporated area because that is primarily what it is. There are a few homes in the jurisdiction, but slowly residents are leaving. However, more than 80,000 people enter City of Industry every day for employment at any of the 2500+ businesses. Not surprising, property crime is high in the City of Industry, accounting for the 979.82% of crime to population rate.

Much the same can be said of the remaining cities with very high percent to population crime rates.

How to Best Use this Data

Notice that there are no major cities on this list. The reason is really quite simple: Major cities, that is, cities with large populations have more people to dilute the findings. As a percent to population, for instance, New York City, which reports nearly 400,000 crimes each year, only has a percent to population crime rate of 4.63%. By way of contrast, Notice that Oakland, California has a rate of 16.46% of crime to population. However, this is hardly a fair comparison because New York City also has 16 times the population as Oakland. Still, we can use crime as a percent of the population to get a better idea of the true crime rate of a city, provided we use some reason in the process.

The best way to use this information is not so much in comparison to other cities, but in comparison to the same city over time. In time, Criminal Justice Law US will be providing such extended data. We have only just begun to provide useful data for our readers so be sure to bookmark this page and return to the site often. Click here to see how the Top 100 Major Cities stand up in this data.

Also, note that you can download your own copy of this data set either by using the link at the bottom of the chart or by accessing the chart through Google Docs using the “Pop Out” tool in the upper right corner of the chart.

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