The Most Dangerous Small Towns in the U.S.
When people fantasize about living in a small town, they usually imagine friendly neighbors, quiet evenings and few worries. And while places like that certainly exist, there are also small towns where crime runs rampant.
Whether you're trying to plan a perfect getaway or looking to relocate, you should avoid the following 10 most dangerous small towns in the United States. Though only one is a major tourist destination, it helps to keep them in mind so you can avoid future headaches.
10. Globe, Arizona
Violent crime rate: 18.3 (per 1,000)
Property crime rate: 71.7 (per 1,000)
*Rankings and crime rates come from Safewise's "Safest Small Towns in America" 2021 report.
Bottom Line: Globe
This former mining town was founded in 1876. Surrounded by arid mountains, it's a considerably pretty destination — so many people choose to retire here.
The issue is that crime rates are relatively high, especially property offenses, which have a rate of over 70 per 1,000 people.
9. Darlington, South Carolina
Violent crime rate: 14.8
Property crime rate: 85.8
Bottom Line: Darlington
Darlington has Southern charm, with pretty historic architecture and many small-town festivals (like the sweet-potato festival) that warm the heart. It's certainly not a bad place to visit but, like Globe, its property crime rate is very high.
So, if you want to go to a festival and stay at a hotel for a couple of nights, you'll have a pleasant experience. But we don't recommend moving here unless you want to deal with the risk of getting robbed.
8. Hartsville, South Carolina
Violent crime rate: 14.8
Property crime rate: 88.8
Bottom Line: Hartsville
To be honest, there isn't anything particularly interesting about Hartsville. It's not terrible, but you'll find dozens of identical towns all over South Carolina — and they likely won't have a property crime rate of almost 89.
Our advice? Skip this altogether in favor of more charming (and safer) small towns in the state like Isle of Palms.
7. Osceola, Arkansas
Violent crime rate: 25.9
Property crime rate: 47.5
Bottom Line: Osceola
Osceola would be another meh town if it weren't for its ties to blues music. Many of the genre's important musicians were born here. Because of this, it's 100 percent worth coming to the town for the annual Osceola Heritage MusicFest, which usually takes place in May.
That said, this isn't an ideal town to live, given its high place on this ranking.
6. Marksville, Louisiana
Violent crime rate: 22.2
Property crime rate: 62
Bottom Line: Marksville
Located near the eastern border of Louisiana with Mississippi, Marksville is another small town worth a stop. The main attraction is the Marksville State Prehistoric Park and Museum, where you can see prehistoric Native American villages dating back over 3,000 years.
Visitors can also spend time in the nearby Spring Bayou State Wildlife Management Area. While neither property nor violent crime rates are particularly high, when combined, they create a panorama that makes this a place for a day trip rather than a long sojourn.
5. Ocean City, Maryland
Violent crime rate: 13.2
Property crime rate: 104.3
Bottom Line: Ocean City
Ocean City is the most popular destination on this list. Every year, people from Maryland and surrounding states head to this town for a beach vacation that includes boardwalks, amusement parks and lots of sand space.
The issue with this town is that its property crime rate is a staggering 104.3. So, you might want to think twice about buying a house here. That said, the violent crime rate is fairly low (13.2). Maybe the solution is to come for a couple of days and stay at a hotel.
4. Florida City, Florida
Violent crime rate: 26.2
Property crime rate: 72.7
Bottom Line: Florida City
This suburb of Miami is a gateway to Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys. That said, there really is no reason to stay here, as it's mostly farms and gas stations.
At most, you'll want to drive through here so you can get to the amazing areas that surround it.
3. Glendale, Colorado
Violent crime rate: 9.5
Property crime rate: 177
Bottom Line: Glendale
Glendale is a complex case. This Denver suburb provides access to the city without all the annoying things about urban centers. Violent crime is extremely low, at only 9.5 per 1,000. However, property crime is extremely common, with a rate of 177.
By most accounts, this is a great place to live. But if you decide to make the move (or to visit), you should invest in high security for both your home and your car, as Denver has one of the highest car theft rates in the country.
2. Sauk Village, Illinois
Violent crime rate: 55
Property crime rate: 22
Bottom Line: Sauk Village
Nobody wants to live (or visit) a place that has a violent crime rate of 55. Unfortunately, many of this community's residents don't have a choice but stay here. But if you're not from here, there is no reason to come near it — the risk is simply not worth it to see a bland, suburban town.
Instead, head to Chicago, which has a high crime rate but also plenty of really cool things to do.
1. Emeryville, California
Violent crime rate: 13.4
Property crime rate: 211.9
Bottom Line: Emeryville
Though it's more like an Oakland neighborhood, Emeryville is technically its own city. The good news is that violent crime is only at 13.4 — the bad news is that the property crime rate is 211.9! Needless to say, this is one of the highest rates in the entire country.
We wouldn't necessarily recommend passing by this "neighborhood" and instead sticking to Oakland. Yes, it's one of California's most dangerous cities, but it has so many cool things to do that it's worth visiting. Similarly, you can go to San Francisco instead.