The Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia in 2020

Overall, Virginia is a great and safe state to live in. In fact, US News & World Report ranked Virginia as the 6th “safest” place to live in 2017.

But, as with all states, there will always be certain cities that are less safe than others.

To help you determine how safe your current or future home will be, Richmond Alarm has listed below the top 10 most dangerous cities in Virginia.

The cities below were selected due to having the highest rates of violent crimes and property crimes out of all cities in Virginia with a population of at least 5,000. We used varying reports and studies, including information published by AreaVibes.

#1: Portsmouth, Virginia

Topping the charts as Virginia’s #1 most dangerous city is Portsmouth, Virginia.

Portsmouth’s crime rate is 222% higher than the average crime rate for Virginia and is also 132% higher than the national average.

Now, don’t get us wrong—certain areas in Portsmouth are actually quite safe and beautiful. For example, Olde Towne, a quaint historic seaport located in the historic district of Portsmouth is one of the safest places to live in the entire state. However, other areas, such as Newtown, are considered more dangerous and drive up the city’s overall average crime rate.

Let’s take a closer look at some Portsmouth crime stats...

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Portsmouth:

  • 1 in 141 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 18 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 16 chance of being a victim of any crime

Portsmouth crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100k residents

Violent crime

711.9

Murder

17.9

Robbery

235.5

Aggravated assault

420.6

Property Crime

5727.7

Burglary

1219.8

Larceny

4104.1

Car theft

403.8

Want to learn more? Just check out our blog, “Is Portsmouth, Virginia a Safe Place to Live?”

#2: Danville, Virginia

Danville’s crime rate is 147% higher than Virginia’s average crime rate. It is also 80% higher than the national average.

But if you’re looking to move to this small town, keep in mind, that Danville is also rated as the #1 medium city in Virginia for cost of living. In fact, the cost of living in Danville is about 22% lower than the national average. Plus, this medium-sized city provides great restaurants and activities, including the renowned Riverwalk Trail.

However, you should definitely be aware of Danville’s high crime rates before you decide to move to this town. Let’s take a closer look at some crime statistics specific to Danville, Virginia…

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Danville:

  • 1 in 167 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 21 chance of being a victim of any crime

Danville crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100k residents

Violent crime

600

Murder

31

Robbery

163.1

Aggravated assault

371.9

Property crime

4,338

Burglary

691

Theft

3,411

Car theft

235.1

#3: Richmond, Virginia

The city of Richmond has one of the largest populations in Virginia. And more people means more chances for crime.

That said, Richmond’s crime rate is currently 60% higher than Virginia’s average and 17% higher than the national average.

The good news is that Richmond’s crime rate is decreasing year over year (by ~28% every year). Plus, as the “Capital of the South”, Richmond’s restaurants, attractions and overall rich history makes this city a great place to live.

But, of course, if you’re looking to move to Richmond, you need to be aware of the crime rates. Let’s take a look at some Richmond crime statistics…

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Richmond:

  • 1 in 301 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 35 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 32 chance of being a victim of any crime

Richmond crime incidents & stats

Crime# per 100k residents

Violent crime

332

Daily crimes

8.76

Law enforcement employees

840

Property crime

2,866

Roanoke, Virginia

The crime rate for Roanoke, VA is 145% higher than Virginia’s average rate and is 78% higher than the national average.

However, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Roanoke might be worth considering. Voted as one of the top mountain biking destinations in the world, Roanoke provides quick and easy access to the Appalachian Trail as well as many outdoor attractions. The downside to this is that its crime rate is much higher than most US cities.

Let’s take a closer look at crime stats in Roanoke, VA…

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Roanoke:

  • 1 in 249 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 23 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 21 chance of being a victim of any crime

Roanoke crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100k residents

Violent crime

402

Murder

16

Robbery

79

Aggravated assault

265.9

Property crime

4,492

Burglary

486

Theft

3,718

Car theft

286

#5: Galax, Virgina

Galax, Virginia’s overall crime rates are 107% higher than Virginia’s average crime rate and 50% higher than the US average crime rate.

However, if you’re a fan of small towns and mountain scenery, Galax could still be a town to consider. The town is known as being the “Gateway to the Blueridge Mountains” and offers a quaint but lively downtown scene.

Before you buy any property in this city, though, let’s check out the crime statistics in Galax, VA…

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Galax:

  • 1 in 355 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 26 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 25 chance of being a victim of any crime

Galax crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100k residents

Violent crime

282

Murder

14.9

Robbery

44.6

Aggravated assault

193.2

Property crime

3,864

Burglary

520.2

Theft

3,091.6

Car theft

252.7

#6: Emporia, VA

Emporia, Virginia’s overall crime rate is 135% higher than the Virginia average and 72% higher than the national average.

Emporia is the second-least populated city in Virginia but it’s also the host for numerous well-attended festivals and events throughout the year. Some of these events include the Virginia Pork Festival, The Virginia Peanut Festival and The Great Peanut Tour.

Emporia is conveniently located just 8 miles from the North Carolina state line and is an hour’s drive from Richmond.

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Emporia:

  • 1 in 237 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 22 chance of being a victim of any crime

Emporia crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100k residents

Violent crime

423

Murder

38.5

Robbery

173

Aggravated assault

192.3

Property crime

4,288

Burglary

557.6

Theft

3,663.9

Car theft

96

#7: Marion, Virginia

Marion, Virginia has an overall crime rate that is 129% higher than Virginia’s average and 66% higher than the US average.

Although this city makes the list of most dangerous VA cities, Marion’s culture and sense of uniqueness have made it a pretty “cool” city to live in. In fact, the town has more than earned its nickname of “America’s Coolest Hometown” with its always-improving historic downtown, artisan shops and outdoor recreation.

The only aspect of this town that’s not cool is it’s higher-than-average crime rate. Let’s take a closer look at Marion’s crime stats...

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Marion:

  • 1 in 292 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 22 chance of being a victim of any crime

Marion crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100K residents

Violent crime

343

Murder

0

Robbery

34.3

Aggravated assault

274.1

Property crime

4,232

Burglary

736.7

Theft

3,220.8

Car theft

274.1

#8: Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia’s crime rate is 110% higher than Virginia’s overall average and 53% higher than the US average.

Many people, however, have forgiven the city’s higher crime rate and have chosen to call Petersburg home. This is most likely due to the city’s beautiful location. Petersburg is situated along the James River and at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers.

Aside from the picturesque riverside backdrops, Petersburg also is a city with a thriving small business community. This means there are plenty of employment opportunities and great places to eat, drink and shop.

Before you fall in love with this city, though, let’s take a closer look at Petersburg’s crime statistics...

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Petersburg:

  • 1 in 126 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 30 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of any crime

Petersburg crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100K residents

Violent crime

794

Murder

37.8

Robbery

236.3

Aggravated assault

478.9

Property crime

3,403

Burglary

557.7

Theft

2,489

Car theft

356

#9: Norfolk, Virginia

The crime rate in Norfolk, VA is 115% higher than the Virginia average and is 57% higher than the US average.

Don’t cross Norfolk off of your places to move to just yet, though. This city is a popular place to visit and live in (to say the least). Norfolk was even named Favorite American City for 2018 by Travel and Leisure, and it’s easy to see why. The city has more than 114 miles of shoreline to explore, world-class cuisine and a fun culture that offers lots of entertainment.

But of course, you should be aware of Norfolk’s crime rate, which is currently higher than most US cities. Let’s take a closer look at Norfolk’s crime stats…

Chances of being a victim of a crime in Norfolk:

  • 1 in 180 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 27 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of any crime

Norfolk crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100K residents

Violent crim

556

Murder

14.7

Robbery

151.3

Aggravated assault

334.8

Property crime

3,479

Burglary

471.5

Theft

2,984.6

Car Theft

292.8

Source

Want more info? Just check out our blog, “How Safe is Norfolk, Virginia?”.

#10: South Boston, Virginia

South Boston’s crime rate is 11% higher than the overall average for Virginia and is 53% higher than the US average.

However, over 8,000 people have embraced South Boston’s small-town feel and southern charm and call it home. The city has held onto its rich history over the years and is the home of the turning point of the Revolution, “Crossing of the Dan”. Plus, residents are just a short drive away from bigger cities like Durham or Greensboro, NC.

Let’s take a closer look at South Boston crime statistics...

Chances of being a victim of a crime in South Boston:

  • 1 in 215 chance of being a victim of a violent crime
  • 1 in 27 chance of being a victim of a property crime
  • 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of any crime

South Boston crime incidents

Crime# of incidents per 100K residents

Violent crime

467

Murder

0

Robbery

202

Aggravated assault

252.6

Property crime

3,763

Burglary

707

Theft

2,954.9

Car theft

101

Moving to one of these cities? Secure your home with a Richmond Alarm security system

If you’re considering a move to one of these cities, don’t let the crime rates ruin your peace of mind. At Richmond Alarm, we’ve spent the last 70+ years keeping Virginia homeowners safe with customized home security systems.


We offer a wide range of state-of-the-art security products such as video surveillance cameras, smart locks and more. Plus, we can back your home security system with our Five Diamond monitoring services for round-the-clock help whenever an emergency presents itself.

Schedule a free quote

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