Until recently, crime in American cities was on a long and steady decline.
Between 1990 and 2015, homicide rates plummeted. In 2015, though, something changed. Criminologists will be debating what exactly that "something" was, but the end result was that crime spiked.
Homicide is now rising faster than at any point in the United States since the 1970s. In 2016, the murder rate rose in 35 of the 50 most violent cities in America, reports the Economist. Never mind the fact that there are still fewer homicides in U.S. cities than there was a decade before. With crime is on the rise, it pays to know which neighborhoods to avoid.
That's because cities are complicated. They're never 100-percent crime infested or 100-percent safe. Even Detroit, Oakland, and St. Louis have neighborhoods that are perfectly orderly, wonderful places to raise families. You have to go block-by-block to really stay safe. With that in mind, here are some neighborhoods that you should probably avoid after dark:
1. City Center in Newburgh, New Jersey
According to research by real-estate site Neighborhood Scout, for every 1,000 residents of Newburgh's City Center, nearly 60 will become victims of violent crime. (Neighborhood Scout based its statistics on information from FBI Uniform Crime Reports and the 2015 U.S. Census.) If you live in City Center for a year, you have a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim.
2. Washington Highlands in Washington, D.C.
This small residential neighborhood rests along the Southeastern border of the nation's capital. The area is packed with vast public housing buildings and apartments designed for low-income renters. The concentration of poverty here is reflected in the architecture itself, and desperate locals often turn to violence to try to seize some power over their lives.
There is a 1 in 15 chance that anyone living in Washington Highlands for a full year will become a victim of violent crime.
3. Altgeld Gardens in Chicago, Illinois
Altgeld Gardens contains a World-War-II-era housing project and nearly nothing else. The public housing project, Altgeld Gardens Homes, contains nearly 1,500 units in long brick two-story row houses. Inside these apartments, many residents struggle with poverty, crime, addiction, and violence.
The violent crime rate per 1,000 residents is an astounding 99.2. Stay there for just one year and you have a 1-in-10 percent chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes, whether it's a simple mugging or a brutal homicide.
4. The Intersection of Independence and Prospect Avenues, in Kansas City, Missouri
Where Independence and Providence Avenues cross, and in the areas surrounding this major intersection, people look over their shoulders as they walk down the street. You might not think of Kansas City, Missouri as a violent city, but it has concentrations of poverty just like any city of a decent size. This is one of them, and it's among the most violent places in the nation.
The violent crime rate per 1,000 people tops 100, at 104.81. While statisticians still boil that down to a 1-in-10 chance of being a victim of such a crime, it proves that this little neighborhood in Kansas City is even more dangerous than Chicago's storied public housing projects.
5. The Intersection of East E.H. Crump Boulevard and South 4th Street in Memphis, Tennessee
The area surrounding these two major Memphis city streets is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. Crime follows poverty. In a way, it's no surprise that this part of Memphis tops some lists of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States.
The numbers tell the whole story. The rate of violent crime per 1,000 people is 106.27, which is higher than any of the other neighborhoods studied in the Neighborhood Scout report. Residents have a 1 in 9 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime every year they stick around.
If you live in a city, you probably have neighborhoods like this closer than you'd think. That fact should encourage us all to work together to find solutions to the problems of poverty and addiction that seem to be undoing the trend toward peace that we've enjoyed for the past 25 years.