Violent crime -- a broad category of offenses that includes rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide -- is on the rise in the United States. According to FBI data, there were a total of 1.3 million violent offenses reported in 2020, or 388 for every 100,000 people -- a 5% increase from 2019.

The uptick was led by a spike in homicide. The number of murders surged by nearly 30%, from 16,669 in 2019 to 21,570 in 2020, the largest year-over-year increase on record. The spike in murders came during a year of national turmoil marked by coronavirus lockdowns, mass protests against police misconduct, and a sharp rise in gun sales. These are the states buying the most guns.

Despite the increase, the national violent crime rate remains well below the highs reported in the 1990s. Still, crime is ultimately a local phenomenon, and in some parts of the country, violence is much more common than in others.

After climbing by a near-nation leading 19.3% year over year, Kentucky's violent crime rate stands at 259 incidents for every 100,000 people. Despite the increase, violence remains less common in Kentucky than it is nationwide and in all but 10 other states.

The increase in violence in the state was led by homicides. There were 323 murders committed in the state in 2020, a 46.2% increase from the previous year, when there were 221 total murders.

All crime data used in this story is from the FBI and is for the year 2020.

 

RankStateViolent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020Total violent crimes, 2020Total homicides, 20201-yr. change in violent crime rate (%)
50Maine108.61,46622-5.7
49New Hampshire146.42,00012-4.0
48Vermont173.41,08114-14.3
47Connecticut181.66,459140-1.1
46New Jersey195.417,353329-5.6
45Virginia208.717,9255240.3
44Rhode Island230.82,440324.4
43Wyoming234.21,364187.8
42Idaho242.64,432418.4
41Hawaii254.23,57641-11.0
40Kentucky259.111,60032319.3
39Utah260.78,47110210.6
38Minnesota277.515,69819017.4
37Mississippi291.28,6383154.8
36Oregon291.912,3801252.6
35Washington293.722,596301-0.1
34Iowa303.59,60111113.9
33Ohio308.836,1048205.3
32Massachusetts308.821,288160-5.7
31Wisconsin323.418,86130810.3
30North Dakota329.02,5183215.6
29Nebraska334.16,4736911.0
28West Virginia355.96,35211712.4
27Indiana357.724,161505-3.6
26New York363.870,3398081.4
25Florida383.683,3681,2901.4
24Pennsylvania389.549,7931,00927.1
23Maryland399.924,215553-12.0
22Georgia400.142,85094317.4
21North Carolina419.344,45185212.8
20Colorado423.124,57029411.1
19Kansas425.012,3851003.5
18Illinois425.953,6121,1514.7
17Delaware431.94,262732.2
16California442.0174,0262,2030.2
15Texas446.5131,0841,9316.6
14Alabama453.622,322471-11.2
13Oklahoma458.618,2552966.2
12Nevada460.314,445180-6.8
11Montana469.85,0775416.0
10Michigan478.047,6417549.3
9Arizona484.835,9805136.5
8South Dakota501.44,4764025.7
7South Carolina530.727,6915493.8
6Missouri542.733,3857239.6
5Louisiana639.429,70473416.4
4Arkansas671.920,36332114.9
3Tennessee672.746,32866313.0
2New Mexico778.316,393164-6.5
1Alaska837.86,12649-3.4