With 2,137 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, the dubiously distinctive title of America's most dangerous city goes to Detroit, Mich.
This is Motor City's fourth straight year atop Forbes' annual list, even though its violent crime prevalence fell 10 percent last year. That's because even with that dip, violent crimes there are still five times the national average.
Los Angeles is happily missing from Forbes' list – the second- and third-place slots are occupied by St. Louis, Miss. and Oakland, Calif., respectively. Using the FBI crime data that Forbes used, we determined the City of Angels has a violent crime rate of about 522 crimes per 100,000 people, which is pretty incredible considering how much larger its population is.
But what happens when we crunch some South L.A.-specific numbers? Before we do that, a few disclaimers: First, Forbes noted that the FBI data they used wasn't intended to be used in city comparisons, in part because of differences in police reporting standards among different jurisdictions. (Forbes did it anyway.)
Second, Forbes' data is measured per 100,000 people, and South L.A. crime numbers, which come from the Los Angeles Times' Mapping L.A. project, are listed per 10,000 people.
So, using a completely unscientific method, we made Forbes' numbers comparable to South Los Angeles' numbers using a little something called division.
For example, here's what the violent crime rates for Forbes' top three most dangerous cities in the U.S. would look like if they were listed per 10,000 people:
1. Detroit: 213.7 crimes per 10,000 people
2. St. Louis: 185.7 crimes per 10,000 people
3. Oakland: 168.3 crimes per 10,000 people
South L.A. neighborhoods weren't quite in the same league. For example, in Harvard Park, where 19-year-old Patrick Caruthers was recently killed, there's an estimated 103.7 violent crimes per 10,000 people.
Here's how some other southside neighborhoods rank:
– Vermont Knolls: 99.2 violent crimes per 10,000 people
– Vermont-Slauson: 83.5 violent crimes per 10,000 people
– Vermont Square: 73.2 violent crimes per 10,000 people
– Florence: 67.6 violent crimes per 10,000 people
– Florence-Firestone: 59.7 violent crimes per 10,000 people
So, compared to Forbes' most dangerous cities, Los Angeles isn't doing too bad. Even the neighborhood with the county's highest crime rate, Chesterfield Square (109.7 crimes per 10,000 people) isn't as bad as the 10th-most dangerous city on Forbes' list: Buffalo, with 123.8 crimes per 10,000 people.
We should note that the crime rates provided by the Times are over a six-month period, and not a year, but that's still a pretty good indicator of how the year will go.
In recent interviews with OnCentral, the captains of southside LAPD divisions Newton, Southwest and 77th Street have been both realistic about the crime problem and optimistic about crime reduction in their respective areas.