The 10 Most Deadly Places To Live In America
You may not realize you’re close to danger, crime, natural disaster, or some combination of forces out of your control.
If you live in any of these cities you may need to take some preventative measure and get ready for what’s coming.
10. Memphis, Tennessee
Two of ABC’s top 25 dangerous neighborhoods are here. Memphis has one of the highest crime rates of any US city. So lock your doors and buy a gun. Then what? It’s surrounded by counties that were hit by natural disasters. Memphis itself is in Shelby county, which is struck by an average of 8 tornadoes every 10 years.
And the future? It’s about 40 years overdue for a big earthquake. In 1811, the fault line erupted in a quake that reached 200 miles from the center. It literally made the Mississippi River run backward. Will bad crime get better or worse after a disaster? Are you prepared for that?
9. Houston, Texas
Two million people, the Gulf of Mexico, oil spills, and hurricanes. Need I say more? The BP oil spill covered 420 football fields of water, causing billions in damage.
And let us not forget about hurricanes. Houston and its suburbs make up the largest US hurricane disaster area.
The worst ever US natural disaster was in 1900, when a hurricane slammed into nearby Galveston Island, killing 6,000 people (some estimate 12,000 people).
Pollution? Yep. 59 million pounds of it poured into the city’s air and water system in 2009. The EPA says that Houston’s water has been slightly radioactive since 1996, the first year that the EPA started testing for that. Who knows how long that’s been happening?
8. Seattle, Washington
The most powerful earthquakes in the lower 48, scientists say, come from the Cascadia subduction fault. In other words: Seattle, Washington. With four serious quakes in the last 100 years, scientists are watching for another blow like the one in 1700. This was a 9.0, the same size quake that sent a tsunami to Japan.
The 80-foot tsunami that washed over Indonesia makes me sit up and wonder what Seattle should expect in the near future.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
The billions in damage caused by hurricane Katrina could have paid for 28 hours of Super Bowl ad time. It sunk 80% of the city and killed more than 1,800 people.
And it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Police corruption and crime was rampant before the storm hit.
But has it changed in New Orleans after the storm? No, says the Department of Justice. They reported in early 2011 that the corruption was “wide-ranging” and “deeply rooted” in the city.
6. New York, New York
It’s not the violence that makes it dangerous. It’s the quake-making fault line that runs across 125th street in Manhattan and another fault line in Brooklyn. A rumble from either of these lines could topple gas, electricity, water, and travel for millions of people in a tight range. And that is not the scary part.
Three fault lines all meet… at a nuclear power plant. The plant is built tough, but seismologists say that the Ramapo fault line could make an earthquake that’s even stronger.
Put natural disasters aside for a second. It’s well known that NY is a terror target. Most travelers enter the US here. Imagine if some terrorist let a virus loose in JFK International Airport. Within hours travelers could take that virus anywhere in the US.
5. Newark, New Jersey
Read New York’s dangers above. Ditto for New Jersey. Now add one of the highest crime rates in the country. 281,000 city residents know that if they don’t lock their doors, they will regret it.
Throw in one of the most dangerous chemical plants in the US. If one rail car released its chlorine gas at the South Kearny facility, it would threaten 12 million people in a 14-mile radius.
4. Miami, Florida
Miami has the 16th highest crime rate in the country. It’s 14th on the FBI’s list for most violent crimes.
But let’s not talk crime. Let’s talk storms. Storms have side-swiped, grazed, or missed Miami five times in the last half-century. It wasn’t since Hurricane King in 1950 that Miami butted heads directly with a major storm. So many close calls means the next big one is over due.
3. Oakland, California
About 53,000 Oakland residents were hit by violent crime in 2010. But Oakland pushed past Miami because of earthquakes. The nearby San Andreas fault slipped in 1989, causing a medium 6.9 quake that collapsed highways, buildings, and killed 60.
A different fault line, the Hayward fault, runs directly underneath the city. Because its last four big quakes were in the late 1800s, scientists are on the lookout for the next big one. And it’s more likely all the time.
A quake here could affect more than 5 million people directly. Another 2.4 million if the water is cut off. And untold numbers beyond that if it starts a tsunami.
2. Los Angeles, California
With 4 million in the city and 10 million in the surrounding county, you can bet that any trouble here will be serious.Factor in the same earthquake threats from Oakland (see above) and you have a deadly mix. The Northridge earthquake in 1994 killed 60 and injured 5,000. It was only a 6.7 in magnitude.
During the LA riots it took 4,000 soldiers and Marines to restore peace. Rioters looted and attacked vehicles, even dragging people from their vehicles and beating them. With so many people packed into this city, any panic could devastate the millions who live here.
1. St. Louis, Missouri
According to Morgan Quitno (an independent research firm), St. Louis has the highest rate of violent crime of any large US city. We’re talking murder, rape, and assault.
Popular Science adds that St. Louis has a higher-than-normal chance of natural disasters. Why? A fault line sits nearby that could cause earthquakes and flooding.
A 500-year flood along the Mississippi would give a repeat performance of Katrina in New Orleans. In 1956 Missouri saw 42 tornadoes, killing 56 people. The last 20 years in Missouri averaged 30 tornadoes a year. Almost a billion dollars in damage.
Now put that together with the major oil and gas pipelines in the city and you got problems. Add 22 million pounds of toxins spewing in the air in 2009 alone. All these dangers in one place make St. Louis America’s deadliest city.