As late night discussion turns to gun rights and the culture of violence in the United States, it's worth putting together a list of the cities in the country that are most afflicted with crime. There are numerous factors that have to be considered when compiling such a list -- everything from differences in police reporting standards, urban borders and demographics make for a very loaded and fluid lineup.
1. Detroit, Michigan
For four years running, Forbes.com has ranked the Motor City as the most dangerous city in America. Out of a population of 713,239, Detroit's violent crime rate is 2,137 per 100,000 residents. Even though the numbers are gradually improving, gang-related violence keeps Detroit at least five times over the national average.
2. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore is doing what it can to improve its crime problem, but it's got a long way to go. There were still 223 homicides in 2010, down from 282 a few years prior; however, there were also 722 reports of violent crime per 100,00 residents, 68 percent higher than the national average.
3. Oakland, California
The number one city in the country for violent robberies, Oakland's proximity to drug traffic routes and high levels of property result in 1,683 instances of violent crime per 100,00 residents.
4. Miami, Florida
Despite improvements -- dropping violent crime rates and a low number of rape cases -- Miami has other problems, like a violent crime rate (680 instances per 100,000 residents) that is still well above the national average.
5. Birmingham, Alabama
Like Oakland, Birmingham's double-whammy of poverty and drug trafficking have led to an average of 1,483 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. The number was 40 percent higher during the mid-1990s.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
For a city with five times the national crime average, Atlanta's problem is that property is more at risk than people: motor vehicle theft was 55 percent higher than anywhere else in the country, with a corresponding 38 percent higher burglary rate -- again, fueled by the city's prime location for drug transit.
7. Stockton, California
Stockton's problem is not only crime, it's money: the city filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and dramatic spending cuts have crippled law enforcement, increasing gang presence and accounting for 1,408 instances of violent crime for every 100,000 residents.
8. Buffalo, New York
Buffalo's police have done well to bring the crime rate down, but with 30 percent of the city's residents living in poverty, it's tough to push it much lower. Gang violence continues to be a problem -- the city has a violent crime rate of 1,238 for every 100,000 residents -- but fortunately, Buffalo's murder rate is at its lowest point in the last 10 years.
9. St. Louis, Missouri
A hub for major drug trafficking routes, St. Louis' problems with crime go back for years. At a whopping 1,857 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the city is the fourth worst in the country for murders, but its police report that major crimes dropped almost 10 percent in a year.
10. Flint, Michigan
Michigan started this list, Michigan will finish this list. With a population just about 100,000, there were about 2,400 violent crimes in Flint, Michigan. Apart from being highest in various crimes such as arson and theft, it also has the second highest murder rating in the country.
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