Which State Has The Highest Crime Rate – Republicans made the assassination a big selling point in the last election. In 2020 and 2022, they ran ads accusing Democratic candidates of wanting to “defund the police” — a position held by only a handful of Democratic incumbents. In October 2022, a quarter of ads by Republican candidates and PACs focused on crime. Republican-aligned Fox News aired an average of 141 weeks of crime segments in the two months leading up to the midterms. In the week following the interim period, violent crime coverage dropped 50 percent.
In March 2022, we published a report showing that the 2020 crime rate was 40% higher in states with Trump votes than in states with Biden voters. In this follow-up report, we study homicide data from 2000 to see if this yearlong red state crime epidemic was an anomaly. It was not. Despite a media narrative to the contrary, a wider and wider red state crime gap has widened over the past two decades.
Which State Has The Highest Crime Rate
In this study, we collected homicide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for national mortality statistics for all 50 states from 2000 to 2020. Data are based on death certificates collected by state registries and supplied to the National System of Vital Statistics. We chose CDC data over FBI data because it is more up-to-date and does not rely on voluntary reporting by counties and states. All states are
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Report crime information to the FBI. The US Department of Justice has acknowledged that the CDC data is more accurate. (There were four states where multiple years of data were missing—New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. In these cases, we relied on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics.)
To allow for comparison, we calculated states’ per capita crime rates, number of crimes per 100,000 residents, and states by their 2020 presidential vote, resulting in a 25-25 state split.
We found that the crime rate in Trump-voting states has exceeded the crime rate in Biden-voting states every year this century. Collectively, states that elected Trump have had an average of 23% higher overall crime rates since 2000. Over the past 21 years, the top 10 crime states have been dominated by safe red states, such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri. Even when we removed the counties with the largest cities from Trump-voting states (and kept them for Biden-voting states), these red states still had significantly higher homicide rates.
And while media reports give the impression that crime rates in blue areas are skyrocketing, crime rates in Trump-voting states have actually risen at much higher rates over the past two decades, with the crime gap widening from 9% in red states. 2003 .and 2004 peaking at 44% in 2019, before falling to 43% in 2020. Since 2000, crime rates have increased by 39.4% in red states and only 13.4% in blue states.
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There is a media and political narrative that crime is a democratic problem, mostly occurring in big blue cities and driven by lax politics. While crime is by no means the only crime in America, it is the worst. And when it comes to crime, it’s a bigger problem in red states than blue states, and it’s only getting bigger. As we noted in our previous report, Republicans do a much better job of blaming others for crime than actually stopping it.
Despite the “crime crisis created by Democrats,” the homicide rate in Trump-voting states has been higher than those voting for Biden every year this century (see chart below). In 2000, states with Trump votes had a crime rate of 6.35 per 100,000 residents, compared to 5.47 per 100,000 residents in Biden states, 16% higher. At their lowest points in 2003 and 2004, crime rates in Trump states were 9 percent higher than in Biden states. At its peak, in 2019, the murder rate in Trump states was 44% higher than in Biden states.
Overall, looking at the period 2000-2020, crime in Trump states was 23% higher on average. The average crime rate in Trump states between 2000 and 2020 was 6.44 per 100,000 residents, compared to 5.23 per 100,000 residents in Biden states. If Biden’s states had the same crime rates as Trump’s, they would see 5,000 more murders in 2020 alone. Between 2000 and 2020, they would have experienced 45,400 more murders.
If Biden’s states had the same crime rates as Trump’s, they would see 5,000 more murders in 2020 alone. Between 2000 and 2020, they would have experienced 45,400 more murders.
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Deeply red states have dominated the top 10 crime states for the past decade — one for each of the past 21 years. From 2000 to 2018, Louisiana had the highest crime rate in the nation, until it surpassed Mississippi. Before becoming the state with the highest crime rate in 2019, Mississippi ranked second for 16 years between 2000 and 2018. Alabama has been in the top 5 for 20 of the last 21 years. South Carolina has been in the top 10 in each of the past 21 years. All of these states have voted for a Republican presidential candidate in every election since 2000 The red states of Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri have also been in the top 10 consistently since 2004.
Biden also has a handful of states, but not to the same extent as Trump claims. Maryland has been in the top 10 for 20 of 21 years, New Mexico for 16 years and Georgia for 10 years. States often cited in the media as havens for crime, such as California and New York, never made the top 10. New York was not even in the top 25 for crime rates this century.
Between 2000 and 2010, red and blue states roughly split the top 10, with four or five states being blue. But after 2010, crime rates dropped in blue states compared to red states. Since 2011, red states have taken 7 or 8 spots in the top 10 every year.
Crime rates are much higher in Trump states than in Biden states. In 2000, the crime rate in Trump states was as high as 16%, and dropped by 9% in 2003 and 2004. In 2007, the Red State crime rate reached 20% and will exceed 20% every year. In 2014, red state crime disparity topped 30% for the first time (32% in 2014) and will remain above that mark everywhere. The crime gap in red states topped the 40 percent mark in 2019, while the crime rate in Trump states was 44 percent higher than in Biden states, falling slightly to 43 percent in 2020.
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Over the period examined, crime rates in states voting for Trump increased by 39.4% (from 6.35 crimes/100,000 population in 2000 to 8.84/100,000 in 2020). Crime rates in states with Biden voters increased by only 13.4% (5.47 crimes/100,000 population in 2000 to 6.20/100,000 in 2020).
Ironically, with the media frenzy over “crime-ridden” Democrats at its peak, the red state’s crime gap has reached its depths, contrary to the popular narrative.
Some on the right argue that crime rates in red states are higher because of blue cities in red states. Of course, blue states have more blue urban areas than red states. This is what makes most states blue. The reality is that crime has increased in cities, suburbs and rural areas.
But to answer this criticism, I did an exercise to give red states a special boost. For this exercise, we removed all crime from the county with the largest city for 19 of the 25 red states. In six rural red states with no high-crime cities, this calculation was not possible based on available CDC data.
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Blue states will have no such advantage. But while the largest city moved away from the red state, the red state crime gap remained.
In the 21 years between 2000 and 2020, red state crime rates were 12% higher than blue state crime rates, even when crime in red state’s largest cities was removed. And the crime rate was still high for 18 of the 21 years.
Between 2010 and 2020, even after removing New Orleans and Jackson, Louisiana and Mississippi retained the one and two highest crime rates. Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee are consistently in the top 10, minus their largest city.
In 2020, the states with the highest homicide rates remained about the same after making this change: Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia.
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Crime and murder are complex subjects that unfortunately lend themselves to demagoguery. This article is not intended to provide specific reasons for the expansion of red states and persistent crime gaps; Rather, it is implied that it exists. But here are some thoughts on why red
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