Alaska, New Mexico and Tennessee have the highest rates of murder, rape and other violent crimes in the United States, while Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have the lowest, according to a study released this week.
Alaska topped the list with 837.8 violent crimes per year. 100,000 people, according to a breakdown of 2020 FBI data on murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and assault rates across the United States
It was followed by New Mexico, with 778.2 violent crimes per capita. 100,000 people, then Tennessee, with 672.7 violent crimes per 100,000 people – all well above the national average of 398.5 crimes for every 100,000 people.
At the other end of the spectrum were three northern states—Maine, with only 108.6 violent crimes per capita; 100,000 people, followed by New Hampshire (146.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people) and Vermont (173.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people).
Police investigate the scene of a fatal early morning shooting in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, the state with the highest rate of violent crime in the United States
Police investigate the scene of a fatal early morning shooting in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. High crime rates in the state are an effect of men significantly outnumbering women, excessive alcohol consumption, and because lawyers are spread over the vast territory
Rafael Mangual, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute think tank, says he fights “calls for mass rejection and de-policing”
The list was compiled by the Texas-based firm Vela Law.
A spokesman for the law firm said in a statement that there was “significant disparity between the rates of recorded violent crime between the states at the top and bottom of this list”.
Criminologists told DailyMail.com there were few surprises in the investigation.
Alaska has long had among the highest crime rates in the United States—an effect of men being significantly larger than women, excessive alcohol consumption, and because law enforcement officers are spread across the vast territory.
Clark Neily, a legal analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said Alaska also had a large Native population — 19.6 percent of the state’s total — according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“When you have a relatively large number of historically disenfranchised and economically depressed people, it’s very rare that that marginalization isn’t associated with social challenges like substance abuse and high crime rates,” Neily said.
Maine, Vermont and other Northeastern states with relatively low rates of violent crime likely benefited from “social safety nets” that help people fight substance abuse or escape abusive partners, reducing crime rates, Neily added.
Rafael Mangual, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank, and author of Criminal (In)Justice, said that “comparing state crime is of limited utility” because of the “hyperconcentration of crime”.
“In many cases, a state’s violent crime rate will be largely driven by a small handful of neighborhood segments in the state’s largest cities,” Mangual told DailyMail.com.
Many of the states ranked poorly by the study — such as New Mexico, Tennessee and Arkansas — had at least one major city with a crime problem and a relatively low statewide population, Mangual added.
Memphis law enforcement officers sift through debris and search for evidence at a crime scene in the Tennessee city, which saw 672.7 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2020
A man naps against a tree overlooking Casco Bay during mild, sunny weather in Maine, the US state with the lowest rate of violent crime