An Oakland police crime scene technician takes photos as they investigate a triple shooting in the 3100 block of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
Jane Tyska—Getty
October 19, 2022 2:58 PM EDT

Detroit was one of the most violent major cities in America in 2021, even though the city’s homicides dropped 4% from 2020. “We are not in any way celebrating these numbers,” Detroit Police Chief James White said earlier this year. “These reductions illustrate the value of our efforts together as a collaboration during an unprecedented time in history.”

Nearly 300 miles west of Detroit, Milwaukee had a record year of killings in 2021, continuing the upward trend that started for them in 2020. “I don’t think it’s even a subject of debate anymore that lower-income communities took a harder hit from COVID and the impact that had on gun violence and homicides,” Jeff Flemmings, the Communications Director for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, says.

Memphis also struggled significantly with homicides in 2021, breaking the record the city set in 2020. “I think it’s going to take more than just the police department. It will take more than just the mayor. It’s going to take all of us,” Pastor Walter Womack, a Memphis community leader, told NBC WMC-TV in Memphis in 2021.

According to FBI crime data, in 2021 these three cities had some of the highest homicide rates in the country.

Read more: Homicides Continued to Increase in 2021, According to the FBI’s Flawed Crime Report

The FBI’s 2021 crime data, released Oct. 5, offers an incomplete picture of crime data nationwide—an estimated 40% of police agencies, including police in New York City and Los Angeles, did not report data because of a change in the system the FBI uses to record crime stats. As a result, the FBI had to estimate national crime figures for 2021, with questionable results.

For instance, the FBI estimated there were between 21,300 and 24,600 homicides in the U.S. last year. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported nearly 26,000 homicides in 2021.

However, for cities that did report crime data to the FBI, homicide figures can provide a useful window into the level of violence.

“Homicides are probably the most reliable data point,” Thomas Abt, a criminal justice researcher and a senior fellow with the Council on Criminal Justice, says. “We’re all in agreement on homicides, not just based on FBI data but on other sources as well.”

It’s important to note that most homicides (80%) were committed with firearms, continuing the surge in gun violence that’s happened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is the FBI’s 2021 homicide data for the largest cities in the country. Not every major city had complete crime stats for 2021; of the 50 most populous cites in the U.S., 18 reported no crime data, or had only partial crime data available. Those cities were excluded from the list.

Homicide stats for America’s biggest cities

Memphis, Tenn.

306 homicides. The homicide rate was 48.7 per 100,000.

Detroit

303 homicides. The homicide rate was 47.9 per 100,000.

Milwaukee, Wis.

195 homicides. The homicide rate was 34.3 per 100,000.

Atlanta

159 homicides. The homicide rate was 32 per 100,000.

Kansas City, Mo.

156 homicides. The homicide rate was 30.7 per 100,000.

Louisville, Ky.

192 homicides. The homicide rate was 30.5 per 100,000.

Indianapolis

239 homicides. The murder rate was 27.1 per 100,000.

Las Vegas

152 homicides. The homicide rate was 23.5 per 100,000.

Columbus, Ohio

203 homicides. The homicide rate was 22.4 per 100,000.

Minneapolis

94 homicides. The homicide rate was 22.1 per 100,000.

Albuquerque, N.M.

120 homicides. The homicide rate was 21.3 per 100,000.

Houston

464 homicides. The homicide rate was 20.3 per 100,000.

Dallas

212 homicides. The homicide rate was 16.5 per 100,000.

Nashville, Tenn.

99 homicides. The homicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000.

Tulsa, Okla.

59 homicides. The homicide rate was 14.3 per 100,000.

Denver

100 homicides. The homicide rate was 14.1 per 100,000.

Portland, Ore.

83 homicides. The homicide rate was 12.9 per 100,000.

Fort Worth, Texas

118 homicides. The homicide rate was 12.6 per 100,000.

Oklahoma City

82 homicides. The homicide rate was 11.9 per 100,000.

San Antonio, Texas

168 homicides. The homicide rate was 11.6 per 100,000.

Charlotte, N.C.

98 homicides. The homicide rate was 11.1 per 100,000.

Austin, Texas

79 homicides. The homicide rate was 8.2 per 100,000.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

38 homicides. The homicide rate was 7.9 per 100,000.

Wichita, Kan.

23 homicides. The homicide rate was 5.8 per 100,000.

Seattle

41 homicides. The homicide rate was 5.6 per 100,000.

Boston

36 homicides. The homicide rate was 5.5 per 100,000.

Raleigh, N.C.

26 homicides. The homicide rate was 5.5 per 100,000.

Mesa, Ariz.

25 homicides. The homicide rate was 4.9 per 100,000.

Arlington, Texas

19 homicides. The homicide rate was 4.8 per 100,000.

San Diego

63 homicides. The homicide rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

El Paso, Texas

30 homicides. The homicide rate was 4.4 per 100,000.

Virginia Beach, Va.

14 homicides. The homicide rate was 3.1 per 100,000.

The following major cities did not report data to the FBI, or did not report data for the full year:

  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Long Beach, Calif.
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Tucson, Ariz.
  • Washington, D.C.

 

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Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com.

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