18 U.S. States You Should Avoid—Get Out While You Can

Written By Jill Taylor

The US has a reputation for being a dangerous place, though it’s unfair to tar all 50 states with the same brush. However, some states truly are dangerous places to live, just like the following 18 most dangerous US states to get out of ASAP!

New Mexico

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According to Forbes Advisor, New Mexico is the most dangerous US state, with over six times the violent crime rate of the safest state, New Hampshire. Aggravated assaults and murders are among the most common violent crimes. New Mexico also has the third-highest property crime rate in the US.


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Florida is known for sunshine, beaches, and Disneyland, but it’s also one of the most dangerous states in the US. Common crimes include burglary, vandalism, aggravated assault, and driving under the influence. Florida even inspired the ‘Florida Man’ Internet meme, which mocks how often Florida residents commit bizarre crimes.


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Mississippi may be beautiful, but it’s home to some of the most dangerous cities in the US. Cleveland has a massive crime problem, particularly violent crime, property damage, and robbery. Vicksburg, Greenville, and the state capital, Jackson, have also long struggled with crime, with residents at high risk of becoming victims.


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As of 2024, Arkansas has the second-highest violent crime rate in the US, as well as high numbers of burglaries and property damage. Residents have been disillusioned by increased crime and poverty rates, and some are moving to other states to escape. Many of those people can report first-hand dangerous experiences in Arkansas.


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Texas has been ranked as one of the worst states to live in, mostly due to how dangerous it is. The Texas Tribune reports that due to loose state gun restrictions, deaths by firearm have reached levels not seen since the ’90s!

South Carolina

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South Carolina is a charming state to visit, but it’s not one of the safest to live in. It’s home to Myrtle Beach, a popular tourist location with high rates of violent and property crime. Florence and Orangeburg are other examples of dangerous cities in South Carolina that you should avoid.


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People are attracted to Arizona’s wildlife and nature but don’t consider the dangers. Coyotes and mountain lions pose a threat to anyone who isn’t familiar with them, and the blistering summers can be dangerous for your health. There’s also violent crime in Arizona’s urban areas to consider.


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Missouri is renowned for being peaceful, so the fact that it’s actually dangerous might shock you. A few years ago, Missouri was ranked one of the most dangerous states for black women and girls due to terrifying racial homicide rates.

New York

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New York is huge, but being surrounded by a bustling population doesn’t mean you’re not in danger. Recently, there have been a string of violent crimes in New York, including a shooting on a train platform in the Bronx and a subway conductor stabbed in the neck in Brooklyn. Yikes!


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Louisiana is one of the most dangerous US states due to its high murder rate. The New York Times states that Louisiana has had the highest murder rate in the US for 31 years straight. The state also has a history of violence, so it’s long been a dangerous place to live.


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Tennessee has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the US, mainly because of Memphis. It’s not uncommon to see police walking in the downtown area due to high crime rates. Residents also report having their homes and cars damaged by vandals.


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Alabama is a dangerous place to live because it has weak firearm laws, which have given rise to higher levels of gun violence, with over 500 people, on average, dying from it each year. Alabama’s other frequent crimes include aggravated assault and robbery, leaving residents fearing for their safety.


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Many people wrongly believe Alaska is dangerous because of its rural areas and wildlife, but it’s the violent crime rate you need to watch out for. Alaska has above-average rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and aggravated assault, and its geographic isolation makes it challenging for law enforcement to respond promptly.


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Nevada is home to some incredible sites, including the city of Las Vegas, but it’s one of the riskiest places to live in the US. Locals regularly express concern about violent crime, especially because Nevada still lacks integral firearm restriction laws. There are high levels of property crime, too.


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California is a tourist hotspot, but it’s frequently accused of being too lax on crime, with many residents demanding stronger laws to make it a safer state. People are at high risk of becoming victims of property or violent crime, especially in Californian cities such as Oakland, Emeryville, and West Hollywood.


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Colorado is another state suffering from a terrifying increase in violent crime. CBS News explains that violent crime in Colorado has been getting worse, and sadly, it’s the number one state for victims not reporting violence to the police. Always call emergency services when you notice danger!


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Montana is another state you’ll likely want to get out of due to loose safety laws. Not only does it have lax firearm restrictions, but it’s also one of the most dangerous states to drive in, with high numbers of vehicular accidents. Sadly, domestic violence rates are also rising in Montana.

South Dakota

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Last but not least, South Dakota is known for its glorious nature, but it’s also one of the most dangerous US states. Its mountain roads can be perilous, and city life often isn’t much safer. South Dakota’s violent crime rate is accelerating, especially in areas like Rapid City and Chamberlain, which worries residents.

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