Traveling in the US, Watch Your Back

It is a nightmarish situation no one wants to go through ever.

Becoming a victim of crime, whether it is burglary or assault or something else entirely, is something everyone thinks about at one time or another.

According to a recent report by the Justice Department, the rate of crime in the United States went up for the first time in two decades, thanks largely to a 22 percent jump in assaults. This was after a record-low crime figure in 2010.

However, crime for the first half of 2011 was found to have fallen by about four percent. So which set of statistics do you believe?

You can judge on your own what areas of the country are not exactly safe by studying crime statistics. Let’s take a look at four regions of the country and analyze what areas are bad and why higher crime exists.

East

US News and World Report suggests Baltimore can be a dangerous city. There were 722 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2009, 68 percent higher than the national average. There were also 223 homicides in 2010, down from the 282 recorded in 2007. Experts cite truancy problems in schools and decreased home ownership for higher crime rates in some areas. Buffalo, N.Y., is also cited as a problem area, thanks largely to a population that is 30 percent below the poverty level. Gang-related issues have also caused problems, but city authorities have addressed that by doing gang sweeps.

South

There have been opportunities for Killino Firm in Miami to put its services to use, because the city ranks high on the danger list. Although property crimes and personal crimes such as assault and rape have dropped in recent years, the city’s drug trade (its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean makes it easier for traffickers) and a high incident of robbery have made the city less safe than usual. You may not think of Atlanta as a dangerous city, but high motor vehicle theft and burglary rates make the city less peachy than it is advertised. Orlando’s crime rate has also risen, thanks in part to a rising population. US News cited Orlando’s crime rate as 60 percent higher than the national average in 2009, and the city is trying to combat this by installing surveillance cameras in high-problem areas.

Midwest

The “Gateway to the West” is also considered a gateway to higher crime. St. Louis is often cited as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, if not the most dangerous. (Chicago, which is often the place where most gang shootings occur on the south side of the city, didn’t even make the top of the list in some surveys). Why is St. Louis so dangerous? The intersection of four major interstates (44, 55, 64 and 70) and its central location make it easy for drug traffickers to ply their craft in that city. Its murder rate is also quite high. Murder is also a problem in Detroit, a city long thought of as being in decline. Anything south of 8 Mile Road, made famous by the Eminem movie, is considered high-risk, and the gang violence results in a crime rate five times higher than the national average.

West

The western part of the country is largely safe except for  one city across the bay from San Francisco. Oakland is considered the stepsister to San Francisco in many ways, but its crime rate is definitely higher. Its location along and near I-5 and I-80, not to mention the US-101 freeway, make it easier to peddle drugs around the city and the East Bay area. It is also a city where robbery is a major problem. Aside from Stockton and Desert Hot Springs in California, however, no other city west of the Mississippi River ranks in the top 50 in violent crime.

In general, protect yourself from violent crime if you are out in any of the cities listed above. Local citizens can tell you the areas to avoid in each city if you are not sure. It is better to be safe than sorry.

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