What Are the Most Dangerous Towns in America?

The most dangerous places for homeowners are beaches and seemingly sleepy southern towns, according to the FBI. In an annual report, the FBI publishes the metropolitan areas with the highest property crime rate, and homeowners should take note.

According to the FBI, property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. “The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims,” the organization states, so this is not a measure of overall crime rates.

LiveWatch looked at the highest property crime rates to determine the top five most dangerous areas for homeowners. The areas, all south of the Mason-Dixon line, appear on the top ten list for 2010 as well. Columbus, Ga., dropped from number one to number five, while Myrtle Beach moved up just one place in 2011.

Each area has its property crime per 100,000 residents listed first; all are over the national average. Are any of these areas or statistics a surprise? If you’re a homeowner in one of these places, comment about your experience with safety.

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: 5,590.1

  1. Population: 272,427
  2. Total property crimes: 15,229

This tourist destination attracts 14 million visitors in the spring and summer, but still maintains the highest property crime rate in the country. Myrtle Beach’s violent crime rate is a whopping 178% higher than the rate for all of South Carolina

2. Macon, Georgia: 5,518.6

  1. Population: 235,351
  2. Total property crimes: 12,988

Macon, GA is the first of two Georgia MSAs to make the list. Including Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs Counties, Macon has a property crime rate of 5,518.6. The median household income in the city is $36,888 and over 24.1% of the population is below the poverty line, a probable influence on the high rate of theft.

3. Hot Springs, Arkansas: 5,487.3

  1. Population: 96,750
  2. Total property crimes: 5,309

Hot Springs’ property crime rate is 113% higher than Arkansas’ total property crime rate, a statistic somewhat correlated with a median income that’s 19% lower than the state median. The area is famous as former president Bill Clinton’s birthplace and for its hot springs, which continue to bring in tourists to spas, but the crime rate continues to hover in the top national crime lists.

4. Fayetteville, North Carolina: 5,458.3

  1. Population: 371,029
  2. Total property crimes: 20,252

With a property crime rate of 5,458.3, the Fayetteville, NC area, which includes Cumberland and Hoke Counties, started off the 2010 list as the best of the worst. The area is best known as the home of Fort Bragg, a major US Army base, and the Pope Army Air Field, both located in the city of Fayetteville. In 2008 the city was declared “The World’s First Sanctuary for Military Families” and TIME magazine declared it “America’s Most Pro-Military Town.”

5. Columbus, Georgia: 5,280.5

  1. Population: 298,305
  2. Total property crimes: 15,752

Columbus rounds out the top five most dangerous places with a property crime rate that’s 78% higher than the rest of Georgia. The metropolitan area has a median income of $39,500, 17% lower than the state’s median income.

Whether you live in a Most Dangerous Town or a sleepy suburb, protect your home with a security system from LiveWatch.

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