The Federal Bureau of Investigation keeps track of the total number of homicides that occur every year. The reports are often published in the late fall of the following year. So, the FBI Criminal Report in terms of the murder rates by state for 2017 was published and released for public viewing in September of 2018. The reports detailing the homicide rates by state for the previous year of 2018 have not yet been compiled, but you can expect to read the data for 2018 in the fall of 2019.
All that said, the murder rates per state in 2017 are as follows. Note that each data point reflects the number of people who were murdered in a given state per 100,000 people. As an example, Alabama’s murder rate in 2017 is a value of 12.9, meaning that for every 100,000 residents of Alabama, there are nearly 13 deaths caused by homicide.
States with the Highest Murder Rates
Louisiana has the highest murder rate in the U.S. of 14.4 murders per 100,000 residents. Murders were more than twice as common in Louisiana as they were nationwide. Murders are disproportionately concentrated in urban areas, especially New Orleans. New Orleans has a murder rate of about 37 per 100,000 residents, one of the highest of any U.S. city, followed by Baton Rouge with a murder rate of 35.1.
Alabama has the second-highest murder rate of 12.9 murders per 100,000 residents. This is also more than twice the rate nationwide. In Alabama, Birmingham has the most gun violence and, therefore, the highest murder rate of 37.1. Fairfield, Anniston, Pritchard, and Troy are other cities with the highest murder rates in Alabama.
Mississippi has the third-highest murder rate in the United States. Mississippi’s murder rate is 12.7 murders per 100,000 residents. According to the latest FBI data, Jackson had the most murders in 2018 of 78, which is a murder rate of 47 murders per 100,000 residents. Brookhaven has the highest murder rate in the state of 57.7 murders per 100,000 people.
Missouri has the fourth-highest murder rate of 11.3 murders per 100,000 residents. Murders in Missouri are disproportionately concentrated in metropolitan areas – about 90% of murders committed in 2017 in Missouri were committed in metropolitan areas. St. Louis and Kansas City are two of the most dangerous cities in the United States. In 2017, St. Louis had 205 murders and Kansas City had 150.
Alaska has the fifth-highest murder rate in the U.S. with a rate of 10.6 murders per 100,000 residents. Alaska has the highest violent crime rate of any state of 829 incidents per 100,000 residents. The most dangerous city in Alaska is Anchorage, where the violent crime rate is 1,203 per 100,000 residents and 27 people were murdered in 2017.
States with the Lowest Murder Rates
North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Wyoming all have murder rates that are under one murder per 100,000 residents.
North Dakota had a total of 15 murder deaths in 2017. The state also has the 14th lowest violent crime rate in the country and the ninth-lowest incarceration rate. The state is generally one of the safest; however, it has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
Vermont also had only 15 murder deaths in 2017. With the second-lowest violent crime rate in the country of 165.8 incidents per 100,000 people and the second-lowest number of assaults per capita, Vermont is considered to be the second-safest state all around.
New Hampshire had a total of 17 murders in 2017. New Hampshire has the fourth-fewest assaults per capita and is considered to be the sixth-safest state in the U.S. New Hampshire also has the third-lowest violent crime rate in the country of 198.7 per 100,000 residents.
Maine has the lowest murder rate in the United States with less than 1 murder per 100,000 residents. Maine had a total of 19 murders in 2017. Maine is also the third-safest state in the United States with the lowest number of assaults per capita of any state. Some of the safest cities in Maine are Sabattus, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, and Eliot.
Rhode Island also had a total of 19 murders. Rhode Island is considered to be the most peaceful state in the United States. Violent crimes are relatively uncommon in Rhode Island with a rate of 232.2 incidents per 100,000 residents, the ninth-lowest in the country.
Wyoming had only 19 murders in 2017 as well. Wyoming has the smallest population of any state in the U.S. and they say that with a small population comes a small crime rate. The safest cities in Wyoming are Kemmerer, Glenrock, and Worland.