Dialect Magazine

Stereotypical living – Demystifying city rankings


Baltimore | monkeypuzzle.com

What many assume all of Baltimore looks like | image source: monkeypuzzle.com

Baltimore is one big hood. Jamaica is a tropical paradise. There is no such thing as being broke, if you’re living in Los Angeles or New York. All Asians are intellectuals. All African-Americans are uneducated. There are no Caucasian people on welfare. All Hispanics are immigrants. These are just a few blanket statements, or stereotypes, that make the world stand still. People should be judged on achievements and personality, instead of where they’re from or what they look like. It has gotten to the point where people make awful assumptions about others based on their zip code. These assumptions can stem from accepting any and everything they read and/or hear (i.e. city rankings, media portrayals) about a particular place without exercising critical thinking.

For example, as a Baltimore, MD native, I often hear from other Baltimoreans how the whole city is low-class and low caliber. If this were true, there would be no high school graduates, college graduates, homeowners, or business owners. The percentage , in this case, is unnecessary. To add to the frivolousness, primetime television shows based in Baltimore, such as “The Wire” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” create a stereotypical view and as a result, many visitors think that the city is the same as it is depicted onscreen.  They conclude that this is all the city has to offer. They allow the media to cloud their judgment.  However, both “the Wire” and “Homicide“are strategically filmed in less picturesque parts of the city in order to spotlight street life.

Baltimore City | city-data.com

Typical Baltimore neighborhood | image source: city-data.com

If you want to be technical, crime, poverty, and brash behavior are present in every city and state. In other words, all cities feature an upper, middle, and low-class area. Everyone is capable of being successful everywhere if they stay focused and watch the company they keep. If you leave a crime ridden city to relocate to a “better” one, you still won’t get very far if you have the wrong mentality. The new environment might look better but if you make bad choices, what does that matter? Each environment is what you make of it.

The relationship between low-income, low education and higher crime rates has been thoroughly researched and reported, although the causes and effects remain highly debatable. Of the 10 states with the highest rates of violent crime, eight of these have lower rates of adults with bachelor’s degrees, while most had satisfactory income levels.

For example, Maryland, Delaware, and Alaska have higher educational achievement and higher income, yet these states appear on the list of violent cities. Chicago registered more homicides than any city in the nation in 2012, surpassing New York.

In 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported 500 murders in Chicago, which increased from the 431 recorded in 2011. New York reported 419 murders last, compared with 515 in 2011.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Crime evolved in the late 1980s, fueled by the notorious crack cocaine outbreak. In the early 1990s, crime surprisingly began to decline. Although the exact cause remains unclear, experts have pointed to factors such as better law enforcement, demographic changes, and higher incarceration rates. The statistics below prove that crime doesn’t have a name, race, or city written on it. You may think that visiting places such as Maryland, Texas, California, or New York exposes you to a lot of crime, but it was, actually, Tennessee that had the nation’s highest violent crime rate last year.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 26 out of every 1,000 people, nationwide, experienced violent crime. A 15% increase in how many people reported being victims of rape, robbery or assault. Property crime, burglary, theft, and car theft has risen 12%.

The US Naval Base shooting, which resulted in at least 12 deaths, occurred in September of 2013. This tragedy stood out from the extensive list of US shootings, not only because it took place on a naval base, but because Washington D.C. has one of the lowest gun crime rates in the US.  In 2012, there were approximately 106 homicides committed by guns compared to the 1,304 that occurred in California.

As far as global gun ownership, the United States ranks at number 1. Despite having less than 5% of the world’s population, it has roughly 35-50% of the world’s civilian-owned guns with Switzerland coming in 2nd with 45.7% and Finland in 4th place with 45.3 %.

As a percentage of all murders, firearms are the most deadly in places like Sierra Leone and Puerto Rico, where they constitute 95% of homicides. The US slides down the global rankings with 2.97%, in stark contrast to Honduras’ 68.43% and Jamaica’s 39.4%


One important factor to consider – avoid comparing state violence because rankings tend to be simple and ignore the main factors that influence crime, as well as the numerous ways crimes are measured and reported.

Many who were bred in posh surroundings often have a false sense of reality, as opposed to someone who had a bleaker upbringing. These qualities should be applied on an individual basis. Many seem to see one group and slap the same label on everyone. If this ignorance doesn’t end it will continue to swallow the world, whole. It is most necessary to spread intelligence, not ignorance and assumptions.

The 10 and current most dangerous states in America

These statistics, like many other things, continue to change daily.

1. Tennessee
Violent crimes per 100,000: 643.6
Poverty rate: 17.9%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 24.3%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,371.4 (10th highest)

2. Nevada
Violent crimes per 100,000: 607.6
Poverty rate: 16.4%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.4%
Property crimes per 100,000: 2,809.4 (23rd highest)

3. Alaska

Violent crimes per 100,000: 603.2
Poverty rate: 10.1%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.0%
Property crimes per 100,000: 2,739.4 (24th lowest)

4. New Mexico

Violent crimes per 100,000: 559.1
Poverty rate: 20.8%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.1%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,600.7 (4th highest)

5. South Carolina

Violent crimes per 100,000: 558.8
Poverty rate: 18.3%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 25.1%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,822.2 (the highest)

6. Delaware
Violent crimes per 100,000: 547.4
Poverty rate: 12.0%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.5%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,340.9 (13th highest)

7. Louisiana

Violent crimes per 100,000: 496.9
Poverty rate: 19.9%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 22%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,540.6 (5th highest)

8. Florida

Violent crimes per 100,000: 487.1
Poverty rate: 17.1%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 26.8%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,276.7 (15th highest)

9. Maryland

Violent crimes per 100,000: 476.8
Poverty rate: 10.3%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.9%
Property crimes per 100,000: 2,753.5 (25th lowest)

10. Oklahoma

Violent crimes per 100,000: 469.3
Poverty rate: 17.2%
Population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 23.8%
Property crimes per 100,000: 3,401.0 (9th highest)


Based upon the rate of crimes reported such as murder rate, Crime, (Violence, property, business, and drug related) and Civil Unrest, here are the current and most Dangerous Cities in the World

These statistics, like many other things, continue to change daily.

Cape Town, South Africa
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Bogotá, Colombia
Grozny Chechnya, Russia
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Mogadishu, Somalia
Baghdad, Iraq
Caracas, Venezuela
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Karachi, Pakistan
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Remember, statistics are ever-changing. 

~ by Ashly Smith

Ashly is a freelance writer and poet from Baltimore, MD.

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