Skip to main content

See also:

Richmond in the top five most dangerous cities in Virginia list

Welcome to Virginia
Welcome to Virginia
VDOT

According to an NBC12 News story on Saturday, Richmond is the fourth most dangerous city in Virginia. The information is from a survey conducted by Movoto Real Estate, an online real estate brokerage firm.

Movoto Real Estate conducts yearly surveys of the 50 states, looking at the top cities to live in and buy a home. This years list consisted of 37 localities in the state of Virginia, but their list only included the top 10 safest cities in the Commonwealth. But the full list was also available, showing the bottom-of-the-barrel five worst cities in the state, the ones not considered very safe.

Movoto used specific criteria in determining the safety of a city. First, only cities with a population of over 10,000 were used. Virginia has 37 municipalities with a population over 10,000. Using the FBI’s crime statistics from 2012, they looked at each of the cities in terms of these three criteria:

  • Violent crime (rape, murder, and assault)
  • Property crime (theft, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts)
  • The chance a resident will be a victim of crime

The five most dangerous cities in Virginia are:

  1. Roanoke
  2. Portsmouth
  3. Norfolk
  4. Richmond
  5. Petersburg
#1-Roanoke, Va.
#1-Roanoke, Va. wikipedia.org

#1-Roanoke, Va.

Living in Virginia's "Star City," a resident has a 1:18 chance of being the victim of a crime. People from more than 100 countries and 30 different cultural groups call Roanoke home. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke considers itself a small city, but it is the largest city in Southwestern Virginia, with a population of around 97,000.

There has been considerable debate on the question of gang activity within the city, although there has been an increase in robberies and burglaries, allegedly drug related. In 2013, there were 554 violent crime committed and 4,879 non-violent crimes.

#2-Portsmouth, Va.
#2-Portsmouth, Va. wikipedia.org

#2-Portsmouth, Va.

Portsmouth, Virginia is located on the southern coast of the state in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. With a population of 95,535 people, the independent city is famously known for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Portsmouth is directly opposite the city of Norfolk, and has miles of waterfront lands along the Elizabeth River as part of the harbor of Hampton Roads. Since its founding in 1752, Portsmouth has been oriented toward the sea, and has been a port of call for sailors for hundreds of years.

Crimes have increased in Portsmouth over the past few years. In 2013, 486 violent crimes were committed, and as of March, 2014, the number is already at 127. Property crimes have dropped slightly, from 404 in March 2013, down to only 291 in March of 2014. Your chance of being the victim of a crime is still 1:18.

#3-Norfolk, Va.
#3-Norfolk, Va. wikipedia.org

#3-Norfolk, Va.

With a population of over 246,000 people, Norfolk, Virginia is the state's second most populous city. The city has a long history of being a strategic location for both military and transportation facilities in the state. Not only is Norfolk home to the largest naval base in the world, it is also home to one of NATO's two Strategic Command headquarters.

Norfolk is just one of the seven locales that make up the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Right across from the city of Portsmouth, Norfolk also turned to the sea for its sustenance and livelihood over the years.

Living in Norfolk, you have a 1:19 chance of being the victim of a crime. In 2013, Norfolk had 1,340 violent crimes and 11,596 non-violent crimes. The city has a Crime Index rating of "7" meaning it is safer than seven percent of the cities in the US.

#4-Richmond, Va.
#4-Richmond, Va. wikipedia.org

#4-Richmond, Va.

With a population of slightly over 211,000 people, Richmond, Virginia is the state's fourth most populous city. The capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond has a rich and historical past. With a predominately black population living within the city, the number of people living below the national poverty level runs about 25 percent.

In the late 1980s to the early 1990s, violent crimes in the city spiked. In 1985, there were 95 homicides, and by 1990, the number had risen to 114. By 2005, Richmond was ranked as the ninth most dangerous city in the United States.

From 2004 to the present day, the rate of violent crime in the city has been coming down, In 2008, Richmond had dropped to 49th on the list. In 2013, there were 691 violent crimes committed in the city of Richmond, and 4,184 non-violent crimes. The statistics make Richmond safer than 8.8 percent of the cities in the nation.

#5-Petersburg, Va.
#5-Petersburg, Va. wikipedia commons

#5-Petersburg, Va.

Petersburg is the smallest city population-wise on our list, with 32,420 people, according to the 2012 census. At the time of the Civil War, Petersburg was the second most populous of Virginia's cities, and an important transportation hub. The city had the highest percentage of free people of color of any city in the South.

Today, Petersburg's population is 79 percent Black, and 16.1 percent white. With the per capita income for the city at $15,989, almost 20 percent of the population is living below the national poverty level.

Violents crimes in Petersburg totaled 476 in 2013. There were 4,481 non-violent crimes during the same period. This makes Petersburg safer than 10.5 percent of the cities in the nation, and the odds of being a victim of a crime only 1:22.