CQ Press has released their annual city crime rankings for US cities. Using crime statistics data from the FBI and using proprietary weighting factors, CQ created their rankings of the safest and most dangerous cities in America.
The 10 most dangerous cities are:
- 1. Detroit, Michigan
2. St. Louis, Missouri
3. Flint, Michigan
4. Oakland, California
5. Camden, New Jersey
6. Birmingham, Alabama
7. North Charleston, South Carolina
8. Memphis, Tennessee
9. Richmond, California
10. Cleveland, Ohio
I think it’s safe to say that you don’t see these cities mentioned as bicycle friendly communities. While the rankings are controversial, I think an important component of encouraging cycling is ensuring a safe riding environment. Nobody wants to ride their bikes down city streets if they perceive a problem with public safety.
I’ve had a close friend who’s a cop advise me to carry a handgun with me because of my commute route, but I’ve never had any problems during nearly 20 years of commuting by bike through sometimes marginally sketchy neighborhoods. Female friends in particular sometimes seem more aware of personal safety issues when it comes to bicycling, which I can understand.
If you need to decide on the safety of your cycling route, I’ve listed some online crime maps that outline the level of crime in various cities in the United States.
- Chicago, Illinois.
- Crime Baltimore.
- Boston Crime map.
- Gothamist maps shows what’s happening in New York City right now.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma crime maps.
- San Diego crime maps.
- Crime map of upscale Potero Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, CA.
- Crime map of Washington, DC.
- Berkeley, California crime map.
- San Francisco PD Crime Maps. See also San Francisco heat map of crime.
- Oakland Crime Map.
- Santa Cruz crime maps (available as PDF files).
- Los Angeles crime maps.
- Portland, OR crime mapper.
- Greenville, SC Crime Mapping.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan crime map.
- Houston crime map (click on categories for maps).
- Sacramento crime tracker also tracks crime data from Roseville and Folsom, CA.
- Topeka, Kansas crime map.
Many many more crime maps are available; just search for “your city crime map. Note that many of these crime maps show *all* crimes in the area, including many that may not directly affect passing cyclists such as domestic disturbances, random vandalism, and even car burglaries. Before you’re surprised by the amount of crime in your area, pay attention also to the time span shown.