What Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Virginia?

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia

With its rich history, stellar economy, southern hospitality, natural beauty, and reasonable cost of living, life in Virginia can be very appealing. However, regardless of where you’re headed, safety should be at the top of your priority list. Although Virginia boasts low crime rates overall and is frequently ranked as one of the safest states in the country, it’s still important to be aware of what cities should be avoided in Old Dominion. 

Based on FBI crime statistics, the most dangerous cities in Virginia include Portsmouth, South Boston, Roanoke, Galax, Colonial Heights, Marion, Petersburg, Norfolk, Richmond, and Newport News. Galax alone, the state’s fourth most dangerous city, has a violent crime rate that is over two times the state average and a total crime rate that is a whopping 81% higher than the national average.

So, if you’re looking for a safe place for you and your family to settle down in Virginia, it is critical that you know which areas to steer clear of. With that said, let’s explore the top 10 most dangerous cities in Virginia.

Do you need movers?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

FIND LOCAL CONTRACTORS


2022 Virginia Crime Statistics

When it comes to analyzing crime in Virginia, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics – which are collected and published annually – is the best source. The crime data is separated into two main categories: violent crime and property crime. Violent crime includes crimes such as assault, rape, murder, and robbery. Generally speaking, when an area has high levels of violent crime, it’s best to steer clear.

Property crime, however, encompasses crimes like burglary, theft, vehicle theft, vandalism, and arson. These crimes are typically considered non-life-threatening and involve shorter sentences. However, property crime is often around four times more common than violent crime. Most states, Virginia included, tend to have higher rates of property crime than violent crime.

Violent Crime in Virginia

The violent crime rate in Virginia is the lowest of all the states located in the South Atlantic region of the country. With a rate of 2.1 incidents per 1,000 people, Virginia’s violent crime rate is about 43% lower than the national average. Though, the state experienced a slight increase in violent crime year over year, rising about 5% from 2.0 incidents the previous year.

Regardless, Virginia still has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation – taking the sixth spot on the list of states with the lowest overall crime rates.

  • Aggravated assault accounts for roughly 62% of the violent crimes in Virginia, compared to a 68% national average.
  • Murder makes up only 2% of the violent crime in the state, which is high when compared to 1% nationwide.
  • Virginia experiences about 1.6 fewer crime incidents per 1,000 people than the national average.
  • The state had 11 mass shootings during the year 2020, which was one more than the previous year.

Property Crime in Virginia

For the past several years, property crime in Virginia has been on the decline. The state experiences only 16.4 property crime incidents per 1,000 people, compared to about 21.1 nationwide. Overall, Virginia has the second-lowest property crime rate in the South Atlantic region of the U.S.

  • Virginia experiences a larger proportion of larceny-thefts (83%) compared to the national average (73%).
  • Burglaries are less common in Virginia than the rest of the U.S., accounting for only 10% of all property crime in the state.
  • The state reported 4.7 fewer property crime incidents per 1,000 people than the rest of the country.
  • Package theft is the crime that most Virginians are concerned about.

What Are the Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia?

Although the state of Virginia doesn’t even make the list of the top 20 most dangerous states in the country and there are plenty of safe areas, there are also places have exceptionally high crime rates. In an effort to help you avoid the worst locations in the state, we’ve ranked the most dangerous cities in Virginia for 2022. While you can certainly speak with some long-time residents of Virginia about which cities to steer clear of, looking at statistics will help give you the most unbiased answer.

To determine the most dangerous places across Old Dominion, we took a look at reported FBI crime rates. More specifically, we examined the property crime, violent crime, and total crime rates for each city in Virginia with more than 5,000 residents. Those with the highest crimes per 100K people in 2022 earned a spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in Virginia:

  1. Portsmouth
  2. South Boston
  3. Roanoke
  4. Galax
  5. Colonial Heights
  6. Marion
  7. Petersburg
  8. Norfolk
  9. Richmond
  10. Newport News

Let’s dive in deeper and analyze these communities in detail, along with their characteristics, crime rates, and livability.

1. Portsmouth, VA

  • Population: 96,071
  • Total Reported Incidents: 6,398
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 946
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,861
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,807

With a violent crime rate that is a staggering 149% higher than the national average and an overall crime rate that is 222% higher than the state average, Portsmouth earns the top spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. Residents have a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Portsmouth and crime is on the rise, increasing by 12% year over year.

Though, that’s not to say that there aren’t safe areas in the city. In fact, Olde Towne, a charming historic seaport found in Portsmouth’s historic district is one of the safest places to live in all of Virginia. Then, there are other areas, like Newtown, that are very dangerous and drive up the city’s overall crime rate.

2. South Boston, VA

  • Population: 8,000
  • Total Reported Incidents: 367
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 368
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,460
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,828

With an overall crime rate of 4,828 per 100K people, South Boston is deemed the second most dangerous city in Virginia. Still, people are drawn to the small-town feel and southern charm of South Boston. This town of nearly 8,000 residents is located in south-central Virginia.

Though the violent crime rate is lower than the national average, South Boston boasts a property crime rate that is nearly four times the state average. Overall, you have about a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a victim of crime in South Boston. Year over year crime has increased in South Boston as well, by about 3%.

3. Roanoke, VA

  • Population: 99,329
  • Total Reported Incidents: 4,788
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 387
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,413
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,800

Voted as the top mountain biking destination in the world and offering easy access to the Appalachian trail, Roanoke is considered the third most dangerous city in Virginia. The overall crime rate in Roanoke is 93% higher than the national average and the city boasts a violent crime rate that is almost double the Virginia average.

Based on FBI crime statistics, Roanoke has the second-highest violent crime rate in the state and the third highest property crime rate. Assault is the most common violent crime, while theft is the most common property crime. All in all, you have about a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Roanoke.

4. Galax, VA

  • Population: 6,858
  • Total Reported Incidents: 284
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 459
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,035
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,494

Known as the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Galax is the fourth most dangerous city in Virginia. This small city of nearly 6,900 has the highest rate of rape cases in the entire state. Although assault is the most common violent crime in Galax, rape is not far behind. Galax’s property crime rate is the fifth-highest in Virginia, with theft being the most commonly reported incident.

Although year over year crime has dropped in Galax by about 8%, you still have a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of crime in this city.

5. Colonial Heights, VA

  • Population: 17,554
  • Total Reported Incidents: 791
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 399
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,047
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,446

Located about a half-hour south of Richmond and a part of the Tri-City area, Colonial Heights takes the fifth spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. Violent crime in Colonial Heights is nearly double the state average and property crime is a staggering 92% higher than the national average.

The city has the fifth highest rate of rape cases in Virginia and assault is the most common violent crime. Year over year in Colonial Heights has climbed by 9% and you have about a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of crime in this city.

6. Marion, VA

  • Population: 5,891
  • Total Reported Incidents: 248
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 429
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,005
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,434

With an overall crime rate that is 129% higher than the state average and 66% higher than the national average, Marion is the sixth most dangerous city in Virginia. Despite the high crime rates, people are still drawn to this city and it has earned the nickname “America’s Coolest Hometown.” Though, this small town of about 5,891 has the third highest burglary rate in Virginia.

Assault is the most common violent crime in Marion, with 20 incidents reported in 2019. The most common property crime in Marion is theft, with a rate that is almost three times higher than the state average. Overall, you have about a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim in Marion and crime is on the rise, as year over year crime has increased by about 17%.

7. Petersburg, VA

  • Population: 31,997
  • Total Reported Incidents: 1,268
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 748
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,306
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,055

Despite its stunning location situated along the James River and at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers, Petersburg is considered the seventh most dangerous city in Virginia. The city’s overall crime rate is 110% higher than the Virginia average and 53% higher than the national average. In 2019 alone, Petersburg saw 19 murders, earning it the highest murder rate in the state.

The violent crime rate in Petersburg is over three times the state average. Property crime is high as well, with over 1,000 reported incidents in a single year. Overall, you have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Petersburg.

8. Norfolk, VA

  • Population: 245,724
  • Total Reported Incidents: 9,730
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 546
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,462
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,007

Norfolk is the third most populous city in Virginia and also ranks the seventh most dangerous in the state. Violent crime is high in the city, as residents have a 1 in 183 chance of becoming a victim of rape, assault, or murder. The murder rate alone is nearly three times higher than the state average.

Though, property crime in Norfolk is even higher – the fourth highest in Virginia. Theft is the most common type of property crime, with a whopping 6,765 incidents reported in a single year. According to statistics, year over year crime has increased by 2% in Norfolk and you have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a victim of crime in this city.

9. Richmond, VA

  • Population: 216,773
  • Total Reported Incidents: 9,142
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 463
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,499
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,962

Richmond has one of the highest populations in the state and is more than just the capital city of Virginia. It is also considered the ninth most dangerous city in the entire state. Despite making strides to combat violent crime, Richmond still has a violent crime that is over two times the state average and 22% higher than the national average.

With 55 murders reported in 2019, Richmond has the fourth highest murder rate in Virginia. For property crime, the daily crime rate is 2.13 times higher than the Virginia average. Overall, you have a 1 in 217 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 29 chance of becoming a victim of property crime.

Do you need movers?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

FIND LOCAL CONTRACTORS


10. Newport News, VA

  • Population: 181,606
  • Total Reported Incidents: 5,540
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 596
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,529
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,124

With a total crime rate per 100K of 3,124, Newport News is the tenth most dangerous city in Virginia. The city is located on the peninsula side of Hampton Roads and is known for being home to the Virginia War Museum. Daily violent crime in Newport News is 1.69 times more than the Virginia average and daily property crime is 1.54 times more.

Overall, you have a 1 in 33 chance of becoming a victim of a crime in Newport News, Virginia.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

Recently Published