Crime rates in America have dropped steadily in the last 20 years. According to the Pew Research Center, violent crime rates fell over 50 percent from 1993 to 2015. Despite this overall trend, murder rates in the U.S. have gone up in the past two years. In some cities, murder rates increased at alarming speeds. For example, there were 496 murders in Chicago in 2015, compared with 762 in 2016.
Which American cities experienced the highest murder rates in 2015? Using data collected by the 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the following is a ranking of cities by their murder rate per 100,000 people. Only cities that had populations over 100,000 and murder rates over 10 were included. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines murder and non-negligent manslaughter as the willful killing of one human being by another.
It's important to note that although these cities reflect a high murder rate in 2015, rates for the country overall are still historically low. Murder rates in the U.S. are down significantly from the 1980s and 1990s. Cities with higher murder rates range from large metropolises to smaller cities. Tackling crime and the murder rate in particular is a complex challenge for each city.
Note: Some cities, including Cleveland, Ohio and Newark, New Jersey, have had higher than average murder rates in the past, but are not reported on by the 2015 FBI UCR.
Note: The data published here is meant solely to illustrate the relative rates of crime, and not to make assertions about the effectiveness of law enforcement. There are many factors that affect the rate and nature of crime -- such as the degree of urbanization, composition of age groups, economic climate and modes of transportation within an area — which are not considered here. For more information on how to interpret FBI crime data, click here.